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Bright & Early Podcast

Launching a Product by Scratching Your Own Itch with Laura Elizabeth




Episode Transcript

The following transcript has not yet been edited. I am slowly editing them, identifying speakers, and cleaning up issues; but I haven't gotten to this one yet. For now, it's helpful for some Ctrl+F action to find a pull quote.

Brian: Hey everyone and welcome to bright and early the podcast for people building early-stage startups.

I'm your host Brian Rhea.

I talk to entrepreneurs, product people, designers, and marketing pros to learn what works, what doesn't, and why; giving you at least one thing to apply to your business first thing tomorrow.

my guest today is Laura Elizabeth Laura is an entrepreneur and a designer she's the founder of client portal a product that helps creative agencies manage the client onboarding process she also runs design academy i/o which helps developers conquer their fear of design Laura welcome to the show thank you thanks for having me it's it's completely completely a pleasure been following your work for for a little while and have heard you on a number of different podcasts so can't wait to hear you share your experience building and launching client portal which came out of I mean scratching your own itch as a as a designer right yeah exactly so client portal was something that I made for myself back when I was a freelancer for about maybe seven years or so maybe longer and I I wanted some kind of project management tool for my clients and I tried things like Basecamp and other you know project management software and I found that my clients weren't using them I was working on fairly you know fairly smallish projects not in big companies with huge teams I was usually working with like one or two people on a project so we didn't need anything kind of complicated and I'd send them you know say you know can you post this in Basecamp and they just resort to email because the email easier but then what the problem was was they were losing files that they weren't saving them properly I'm pretty organized with all my files and you know they asked me to resend them stuff that I've already sent them a million times and I just wanted you know something some place to keep all these things that looked really nice and looked branded and made me look professional and you know all that kind of stuff but that just didn't have all the all the fancy tools that I didn't really need for for Basecamp say yeah client portal was basically made to solve that problem something simple beautiful branded that hopefully clients would actually use okay so and how far how far into your journey is a freelancer you said you were viewed freely freelance for seven years how far into that into that journey was it that you thought Basecamp is not enough the existing tools out there are not enough this is painful so it was probably it was something that I struggled with throughout the vast majority of the time I was freelancing and but it was towards the end that I really maybe the last year or so that I really found a solution for it and you know what's interesting is it wasn't my intention but client portal ended up being the thing that enabled me to quit freelancing altogether so I finally solved the problem that I'd been trying to solve and then I didn't actually have that problem anymore because I mean I am my full-time thing so yeah it was it was definitely towards the end but I had a good year or so of you know using it with clients and that kind of thing okay yeah so I mean the the the journey that you're describing there is one that I think a lot of folks who are doing consulting services full time a lot of a lot of people want to do that exact thing which is to observe a problem observe it enough times and then design a solution to build it and it sounds like you you definitely did that what was the what was the validation like the product validation process like was it just completely natural and you know exactly what to what to do or how did you go about designing and building the very first version of client portal yes that's a good question so I didn't I didn't ever intend for it to become a product so like I said it was just something that I made for myself to you know scratch my own itch but what I was doing at that time is I was speaking at a lot of conferences trying to go on podcasts and you know just put myself out there more specifically to build your to build your design exactly design business yeah okay yeah just to just I wanted to I wanted to kind of market myself and you know I thought if I do you know conference talks and I do all this kind of thing then I'll become more well-known and then when people want a designer they'll probably think oh yeah I remember that talk that I went to she was a designer I'll contact her and it was kind of a marketing thing for me yeah um but what I did was I so I was speaking at a freelancing conference in Stockholm and I was talking about client onboarding and how you can onboard your clients better and I mentioned this client portal I said you know you don't worry you don't have to use these fancy onboarding tools I tried it didn't work you can just have an area on your website and I had screenshots up when I was like you know just do something like this is really simple and what was cool is after the conference the that conference organizer went around the room and they said you know what was your number one takeaway from this whole conference and I think it was to a three-day conference so it was a big one and more than 50% of the room said Laura's client portal idea it's true where can I get it and I was just completely thought I mean people were like coming up to me saying when you said that it was such a Eureka moment for me I realized you know this is what I need it so it's so simple you know can I buy it and all that kind of thing and I was in a mastermind at the time and my I actually saw one of the people were masterminding in London a few a few weeks ago and he was reminding me of them basically having to force me to make this into a product because I was thinking this is too simple I've seen software before so where you know I was thinking it needs to be like base camp it needs to be big and complex and it needs to do everything because people are going to want everything and it took so many people to convince me and just say look you need to do this you've got the validation people want it people excited about it just do it and so finally I thought okay I'm just gonna do it I'll just try it and see what happens so what I did was I had a first version of the product which is what I was using for myself it was kind of buggy it was just all it was was actually a HTML template and I just went into the code and just updated it manually that way I knew obviously this wasn't gonna be enough for people wanting to use it and most freelancers I knew were using WordPress so I thought I can't need to make this into a wordpress plugin I didn't want to necessarily invest in doing that without knowing for sure whether you know it was gonna be you know whether it was going to take off or not so I launched pre-orders to people who went to the conference and I said you know if you preorder this you'll get the HTML stuff now but it's gonna fund the development of the WordPress plugin so you'll get the WordPress plug-in as soon as it comes out and you know I did that that went really well and it made more than enough for me to hire a developer and get it and get it going so that's how it started how many people signed up for that pre-order so I can't remember the number of how many people signed up but I made about $10,000 from the pre-order alone okay and that's what you used to you just said to fund the development of the WordPress plugin because that is and because that's what just for a bit of technical background for anyone who's listening that's interested that's what client portal is is your your customers purchase a either a monthly or an annual license to be able to host client portal on their own WordPress instance is that right yeah license is all yearly but ya know they host on their own WordPress website um but they can keep it forever so you keep the product forever regardless of whether you renew or not the the renewal just means you you'll get support from me and developers okay so and how long how long ago was it that you launched officially launched client portal I should know this I think it was maybe two maybe three years ago at time it was around Black Friday and I think this next Black Friday will be about three years thank you to to ensure three ish years do you mind you know you don't have to I'm not sure if you'd share this publicly but are you comfortable sharing publicly with the listeners what client portal brings in per month yeah so at the minute it brings in around seven thousand dollars a month that's just from that's just from people buying the licenses so what's gonna happen now is I I started the annual update and support fee a year ago on 4th of July so in about a month or so there's going to be a little extra income come in from people who want to pay to continue the support and the update so I'm interested to see so I don't know the exact number right now it's going to be a bit higher when when these you know yearly updates start coming in but it's around that right now okay that's it's so it's so fascinating that you that you kind of that you had to be talked into moving into into the printer product business what what what was the what was that experience like when you did your mastermind group convinces you to do this you start giving some time and energy to it what was what was your thought process or what were some of the challenges that you faced as you were making that transition yes so launching the product was relatively easy because I the the conference organizer was willing to send an email out to his list basically saying about remember this portal that you know Laura talked about she's gonna release it and it's gonna be you know this much money blah blah blah that part was relatively easy because he had a large audience of free dancers and so all I had to do was kind of package it up and you know give it to people I had to do things like you know all those technical things like get the email sequences set up make tutorial videos and do all that kind of thing so there was a lot more work than I thought there was going to be involved and but it wasn't overwhelming it wasn't too much um the difficult part was once I'd done those pre-orders and I'd made the WordPress plugin and I've launched it the difficult part was getting reliable you know people to reliably fire every single month so I actually found that after I launched it everything just kind of went dead you know it wasn't just like I launched it and now suddenly I get 7,000 a month from it it was I launched it and then virtually no one bought after that because they didn't have the urgency of being like you know you get this for really really cheap if you buy it now but you got to buy it within the next three days it was just always available I didn't have traffic coming to my website so it was really difficult that the actual launching part was so easy but it was actually the part afterwards that was very difficult to get some momentum going for it and so what are what are the things that you've found to be effective in building up the momentum that youth that you started to see yes so what I did was I started with creating an email course a free email course which was basically the conference talk that I already did about onboarding way talk about you know how to eliminate as client phone calls you know if people get too many phone calls from clients and just all this kind of project management client work and I made that into a free email course where you just put your email address in mm-hmm yet over five days you get a free email course and then at the end of that email course I'll then pitch client portal to you so I'll talk about client portal and you know what it is and how it can help you and I'll give you a discount and all that kind of starts and so what I did was I went on freelancing because I was targeting freelancers I went on freelancing podcasts and you know conferences and basically did what I was doing before client portal and I would at the end I would pitch my email call so I'd say you know if you want to find out more I have a free email course on the subject of onboarding and I got like a vanity URL which is basically I think it's client experience course calm which just redirects to a client portal slash newsletter but it was just easier to say on podcasts yeah and then people would go in there and then they'd sort of learn about client portal from there so that was really my the only way I built up momentum for client portal in the early days it it was hard work you know I had to do a lot of promotion for it and I had to always be there trying to you know get the word out what's really helped recently though is now I've started to get a lot of Google traffic and I get and I say a lot I don't get a huge amount I think it's only like 4,000 a month or some things it's not huge but they're ridiculously targeted people because something I didn't realize this was like a really happy accident his naming client portal client portal was like the best thing I could have done for my business like for sure because so many people search for client portal WordPress and that's exactly what they're searching for and it's exactly what my products called obviously I mentioned WordPress throughout because it's a wordpress plugin right you know as more people were coming to my website my website was you know again it climbing the ranks and I think now it should be I hope it's still number one and I get a decent amount of traffic and now the vast majority of my sales come straight from Google to my website and then they buy whereas you know even a year ago maybe less it was all of my cells were going through my email course so my strategy is kind of changing as the product grows but that email course and just going out there and going on podcasts talking about not client portal like I'm talking about today but talking about freelancing and just sort of working in client portal as one of the many things you can do to help your freelancing business that's what really kind of got me started I would well in this and that just seems like a smart smart approach and it's the sort of advice that you hear often which is just teach first teach teach teach and I even noticed on on client portals website the email course is like a top-level navigation item and it's not as if you know it's like further on down the page and that in the pitch like it's a top level you know the email course and so it's it is interesting that that's been part of your strategy from from day one is to educate help people just be better at their at their work and okay by the way I've got a tool over here that you might be interested in and over time now you forget you've been able to build up momentum to where you have essentially free inbound traffic that's converting to sales just seems like you've gotten about that in a in a very smart way yeah it's yeah it's definitely been good and what's interesting is I'm actually taking that email course off the top level navigation soon I'm changing my whole navigation just focus more on the product and it's still gonna be there but it's gonna be in a like a more kind of tablet yeah I mean now ya know the business has matured your strategy can shift and adjust yeah exactly so it's not that so what I always worry about is you know safe people fire client portal and they may see because I do this too and then they see that they're the email cost goes away from the top-level navigation and they're like oh maybe that didn't work very well I shouldn't do that too one thing I would always say to people is make sure you're following people who are just one small step ahead of you yes because even though me removing that now works for me now because I have the traffic coming in if I didn't have that as a huge part of my strategy at the start and I just tried to rely on non-existent Google traffic it wouldn't have worked out right yeah I have to remind myself to do that as well like I'll see bigger companies than me making a certain change and there's usually a reason they're making that change and it doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to be better for everyone or for me do now I think I think that that is such that is such good advice is to to follow the path of somebody just a little bit ahead of you so much of the especially for early-stage founders who are looking to massive companies for inspiration that's they're just they're just not there's not in the same context that that you are or that we are right now so that's interesting we're there I'm curious were there times along points along the way where you just became completely discouraged like this isn't this is not gonna work or there were other opportunities that that began to distract you or to tempt you what was that like yeah so I'd say at the start definitely you know when I was talking about how after I did the launch pretty much no one was buying that was a bit discouraging and it was also difficult as well because I I hired a developer and you know I paid my developer hourly and you know I still had to make sure that I was you know paying her and you know for all because this was when we had lifetime support and lifetime updates and everything and what was worrying was I was thinking well we know what if this doesn't take off and I have to keep supporting these people and I'm not a developer myself so I'm I'm not always the best person to be supporting them if there's bugs or anything like that you know what will I do what will I do at that point and so that was that was a bit kind of scary I suppose but you know having a yearly update and support for he's definitely helped with that you know I don't have to worry about that because that's basically going to fund you know it's not just it's not just me wanting extra money it's actually going to fund the product cuz I need to pay to get this product updated and I need to pay to support the product so that's helping with that so that was just that was one time but you know I kind of that sort of forced me to keep at it plus I really wanted to get into products anyway so I definitely powered through and it wasn't a huge issue for too long to be honest just because I worked really hard and you know did all that kind of thing I did have I do have you know you mentioned start Design Academy so that's my other project that I work on and that actually started before client portals so yeah that was that was always my way out of freelancing was to teach a design course because I figured you know I'm a designer I know how to design I think mm-hmm but it was actually really hard making a design course because I found pretty much every design book and course out there I never found useful for me so I wanted to make it you know really useful and I needed to really figure out how do I teach design like how do I teach it so people actually understand it and people actually get better that took a really long time but I that was where I was building my email list you know I was doing the same thing as I was doing for client portal going on web developer podcasts and getting them to sign up to my free email course on design except there I didn't actually have anything to sell I was just teaching at that point right so once client portal was making enough for me to be able to take a step back from freelancing I focused on my design course and I actually got to you know go heads down on that because freelancing at the same time and doing a online course just it I just couldn't make it work because my client work always came first I'm the kind of person who if someone needs something from for me I can't relax and I've given it to them yeah so I just and clients always need something so you know I was never getting any time and then a you know evenings and weekends I don't really want to spend step at my desk you know working still so I really needed client portal or something some extra income to help me make a design course and I suppose what I learned from that is teaching is far more time consuming and difficult than often making a simple product and I mean a simple pregnant like a crazy complicated one yeah so I kind of let that but that definitely distracted me for a while but now Design Academy's going really well too so now I've got two photos and I recently launched project PAC which is kind of an add-on to client portal which is yes I saw that I'm sorry yeah you want that usual watch that with Brennan done is or we're like in partnership on that okay yeah yes uh no exactly yep so it's just template some documents for web designers we've got Web Design at the minute and then we've just released the consulting edition to you so I'm kind of creating like a suite of products which works really well for me because sometimes it's nice to go between and do different things rather than doing the same thing every single day it also feels like it gives me more financial stability because I'm not just relying on one source of income and that's always been something that's really important to me I always worry about you know money and things like that yeah so having you know a suite of products rather than just one or just freelancing has been really helpful for me to have more of a lifestyle business which has definitely always been my goal with running a business for it to be a lifestyle business yeah it's it's really interesting if you have you've built a diversified portfolio where you have you've got a client portal design Academy and project pack now and so yeah I would imagine there's you know you'll get spikes of interest and one of those things but all pulled together they kind of smooth out the lumpiness that I mean I'm all of my income right now is through services which I mean I love my clients I love the work that I do but it's very very lumpy and so I'm it just as you're talking and I'm thinking about my my personal situation right now how much client work were you doing when you when you launched client portal right from the beginning I'm just I'm like right right now I'll just share a little bit I'm sure I'm trying to get a SAS product off of the ground and it's just so difficult for me to build some momentum and get into the zone on that product because I have you know a fair amount of client work what what how did you how did you manage your time during that yeah it's it's difficult because I was I was working I had a lot of clients at any one time I definitely didn't charge enough my freelance work so I had too many clients I was doing too much what really so it's kind of circumstantial but what really helped me was the fact that this email was going to go out to these people from the conference the conference okay that and that and I basically had one weekend to do it so that email was going out I think on a Monday and this was Friday that I heard about it so I had one weekend to do it so I had absolutely no choice so at that point that forced me to just stop thinking about client work for a minute and just really focus and just get it done and that's what I really needed to do so I think you know if I were to do it again and maybe if I didn't have that that deadline I'd maybe try to self impose a deadline and maybe you know I try things like you know going away somewhere to a cabin or you know whatever or just some so I found a retreat then and you've you've got to force yourself to get it done and obviously it's all individual it all depends on your own strengths and weaknesses my weakness is if I give myself too much time I will absolutely procrastinate until the last minute so I need to give myself like no time I need very I need a deadline of like an hour to do something that's quite big and when I've got that I can really focus and focus hard whereas if I give myself a whole day to do something it will take the whole day and I'll probably feel miserable after doing it because I've just sat around wasting the whole day so I mean if that if you're like me then maybe that something like that would help but I think it really just depends on your own strengths and weaknesses [Music] hey friends this is a great time to pause and let you know that bright and early is brought to you by transistor not FM transistor offers you professional podcast hosting and analytics they host this very podcast that you're listening to right now and my friends I got to tell you it could not be easier I can tell you from personal experience as you also probably know podcasting is becoming one of the best ways to develop a closer relationship with your audience and so if you're thinking about starting a podcast trust me look no further just visit transistor dot FM and if you decide to sign up let them know that Brian sent you so what what is your now that it's you know it's maturing it's established you've got a couple of team members what's your what is your product development process like how do you how do you cook yeah how do you collect requests how do you decide what to build next what's that what's your development process yeah so I'm really looking that I've got a really good team behind me so I have your n who's my developer who's been with me from the start I have Kerry who's my support person and they're both really good so we try to release a big new feature every four to six weeks we have a public Trello board with the roadmap and we'll obviously do bug fixes and small things in between them but we'll try and do one big thing with maybe a few tweaks every four to six weeks and it goes on a mixture between what customers are requesting so like I said I have this Trello board and customers are encouraged to add to that as and when they want with new features and we'll kind of try to prioritize the ones that the most common ones as long as we feel like it fits the vision you know for client portal like we get some requests that are really common that we think you know when just not we're not wanting to get into this territory right now so we'll focus on a mixture of what customers want plus what we think is the best for the product and the good thing is everyone knows the product really well now we could we all just come to an agreement every six weeks or however long it takes us to release a feature as to what the next one's going to be so that kind of chugs along nicely and then you know with support we have a good system in place where you know we have Kerry who handles most of it and then she'll pass it on to your own if it's if it's more technical and so for me it's actually fairly hands-off in terms of the I guess the customer side I just focus on things like marketing so right now what I'm focusing in on is my is you know I get a lot of a decent amount of Google traffic but I still get a bunch of questions come in and I get karey to callate these questions in a Google Doc so I can see them about questions that weren't answered on the website so my goal now is to just tweet keep tweaking the website to make it you know answer all these questions and make that really awesome and then that my next plan is to dip my toes into paid ads paid acquisition I do a little bit of Facebook retargeting but I only just started that and then I'll see where that goes because I really want to focus on the whole the Google traffic I think that's been the best for my business but that's I'm only like a you know I only I only have like a very short-term vision of what's ahead and it just kind of go with the flow in terms of what needs to be done but I'm very happy with client portal being a small product with a small team I don't have any intention to really to massively scale it or create a hosted version or anything like that customers are happy I'm happy so things are chugging along nicely but yeah yeah good for you those were going to be two I was curious those were the exact two questions I was wondering is what it would assure what's your vision for how large you want to grow it and it sounds like small team had a happy small team with a happy customer base and then I was going to ask if you're exploring the idea of a hosted version so that's about the and I've gone back and forth but it's just I don't know so my I always go back to what's my what's my life goal and my goal is to have a lifestyle business where I can where I enjoy every minute of it and I just worry about a hosted version you know if something goes down if it goes wrong you know I hear about people having to get up in the middle of the night and try to fix some server issue or something and you know I know because I I know a lot of people who run SAS businesses and I know how difficult it is to build a SAS and make it profitable especially if you're well I mean whether you're bootstrapping or whether you're funded you know it's if you had of the term slow SAS ramp of death oh yeah yes I mean that is so unbelievably true to become profitable as a SAS with the amount of with the amount of I guess polish and everything that people expect nowadays it's it's really hard and I just don't know if that's what I want so I am staying I'm staying as a little WordPress plug-in but well good for you for for knowing what you want and being resilient against you know outside pressures and keeping up with the Joneses kind of a situation so of course of course things things can change so is there one big mistake that you've you've made with client portal that as you look back is there one thing that you wish you could just go back and get a redo on hmm I think um I actually had an answer to this I was thinking about this earlier when I was saying something earlier and I actually had a kind of answer I don't I don't really think I do um yeah I did have something I wanted to say there but I can't remember what it was say I would just say the problem with wanting to redo things is even the the dips that happen uh they tend to you tend to learn things from them and you tend to they tend to sometimes work out really well for you so yeah I don't know if there's anything I would necessarily change because it's like the whole butterfly effect you know yes yeah I guess I would just maybe I don't know hindsight is such a it's such a terrible thing in some ways because I would love to say I wish I just went all-in earlier and maybe started the product sooner or something like that but I'm only saying that now because I know it's I know it's working say yes yeah I would say there's honestly nothing I would really change about how it's gone about okay good for you final final thought final question is you're you're in the thick of it and and building your own business can can be stressful at times just curious if there any practices that you have found helpful in managing your own stress that you would like to share with the audience yes so the best thing that I do is I so I set myself very specific tasks that I need to do each day and I deliberately set myself not very many so I you know today I think I have I need to record a video for client portal and I have a bunch of just things like I need to pay my quarterly taxes you know I need to pay this kind of thing do a few bits and bobs there once I've done that I say okay well I'm done work for the day if I want to keep working I can um but if I don't I can be finished and that helps with the whole you know what I was talking about was if I have a day to do something it'll take a day whereas when I sort of list out just a few small tasks knowing that once I've done those tasks I can guilt-free stop working and do something else for the rest of the day it's really encouraging for me to actually do those tasks the other reason that helps is because I have a tendency to focus on things that aren't necessarily going to move the needle in my business so there I tend to focus on you know replying to emails so I don't necessarily need to reply to you right now but because they're sitting in my inbox it kind of stresses me out a bit and I'll do the busy work and I'll do the stuff that isn't really that important but it feels a lot of time and the benefit to having just a few small tasks that I do each day is that it forces me to give myself a task so if I think you know I'm only going to be working for a few hours this week I need to make sure that this week counts because if I don't then my business is just gonna go downhill like it doesn't it's not self-sustaining by any means so I need to make sure that every day I'm doing something one thing that just builds or grows or it is something really really important and again that's just down to personal knowing your strengths and weaknesses and but yeah if anyone's similar to me that might hopefully help them too it's fantastic thanks so much for that so Laura how can how can listeners find and follow you online yeah so you can check out client portal it's a client - portal do another quick tip don't put hyphens in a domain name it's really annoying that's actually maybe that's that's a mistake that I should have said - say you can find me there I'm also on Twitter at Laurium la uri um if you want to check out design Academy it's Design Academy dot IO but yeah otherwise Twitter's probably the best place to find me my guest today has been Laura Elizabeth Laura thank you so so much for taking some time to chat with me today thank you [Music] well some closing thoughts from me there was so much good stuff good practical stuff in there from Laura I thought that the first thing that really sticks out to me is how the initial breakthrough for client portal came through something that she hadn't intended or hadn't planned on is giving a conference talk to to grow her audience to expand her network to to grow the freelancing business and through that is how she got an initial batch of customers I mean I know for sure that one of the more difficult things in going from zero to one is is fine getting that initial traction or that initial validation and so on first on first glance somebody could could listen to Laura's story and say well wow she sure got lucky there that it just you know so happened at this conference that you know she happened to share it and you know and things things went from there you know what an interesting piece of luck there I think though what's good what's what's you know that the takeaway from that story is that she she created that opportunity for the for that lucky break that to actually happen I've been really enjoying Duvall's podcast that's based off of his off of the super famous how to get rich without getting lucky without being lucky tweet storm in it he talks about the four different kinds of luck blind luck when you get lucky because something completely out of your control happens blind luck or dumb luck and then luck through persistence which you know the the axiom of you know fortune favors the bold kind of applies here luck had things that happen because you're stirring up the pot not in a negative way stirring up the pot but like you're creating action and then he talks about these these two other kinds spotted luck and luck that finds you I recommend digging into that podcast to check it out but it definitely strikes me as this is Laura creating the opportunity for herself to you know experience yes a kind of luck but it would not have happened if she had not you know done the work stuff you know put herself out there to try to do some more networking to to speak in front of people to create to create those opportunities and so I think that that is it's just I think it's just a great take away if if anyone who would listen to that story and and think oh well lucky for her reframe that reframe that thought to to observe that those sorts of breaks happen for people who take steps to make them happen and I think that she is a clear clear example of that yeah but do do do things and stir up stir up activity and you're more likely to experience that sort of unexpected upside I was also great that that the email course was you know was was part of her her offer not necessarily her offering it was it was part of client portal from the beginning I liked that or I I'd what I took away from that element of Laura's story of client portal story is yeah at the she's only just now getting to the point two years and 7km are re and she's only just now getting to the point that relying on organic search as an acquisition channel is viable and so you know in the very earliest of is getting that traction you have to offer you do you have to offer up something for free that at the end of it then you can then you can make a pitch and so I don't think it think it even came I was in researching and getting ready for the conversation with Laura I I did I noticed I was like oh my gosh like email course is a top-level navigation I don't that that just seems interesting to me and so I went back on the the Wayback Machine the Internet Archive found the earliest snapshot I could find of client portal which was I think sometime in like May 2017 and and yes even even then from from launch the email course as we heard in her story was you know a primary acquisition strategy get get people into the course give them five you know five great emails level them up make them better at what they do and then hey if you want a tool that's also going to help you be better at this then I've got something that you might want to check out I think that's a fantastic takeaway a really interesting thought in terms of you know marketing strategy from day one what else I thought yeah just the little nugget about you know following following people who are one just one step ahead of you I use fantastic advice there's like this little there's one little saying of you know stop asking don't don't you stop asking for directions from people who haven't been where you're going that's that's really good in terms of okay well where I ought where I wish where should I be looking and getting directions from okay I should be getting directions from people who have been where I'm going now you know don't want to you know torture the metaphor here but somebody who has traveled the road five years before you are on it may not actually have accurate timely local information anymore things have probably changed it's just like as much as I you know much as I continue to admire you know the Lord Laura mentioned referenced basecamp in in the in the interview as much as I continued to admire Jason and David and what they've done and that the trail that they blazed so many years ago for bootstrappers and you know entrepreneurs like ourselves the Internet is just a different place now I'm starting to you know feel like yeah you know what does those guys like they have really interesting thoughts they they are not really speaking to my situation anymore when and and plenty of other you know I feel I'm starting to feel the same way about the the guy said for the folks at intercom who I admire and respect and have followed for so long then that their product is not really like a little startup anymore and so I just yeah I thought that was a really I thought that was really fascinating a little a little bit that she threw out there and finally her you know the thing that she uses to manage her stress talking about you know just giving herself a few tasks each day getting those done and being fulfilled yeah be letting yourself off the hook to do more or to push more to do to do those things and then look back and say that was work well done that was a day well spent completely resonated with me I'm going to try to find the this tweet and I'll put it into the the show notes because this is gonna be really hard for me to describe without without the visual but I saw somebody share this I don't want to say like two or three months ago that was like dividing a sheet of paper into thirds okay so just yeah even thirds but then in the middle third you devout so dividing it into thirds like hamburger orientation and then in the middle section like the veggie patty section dividing that vertically into thirds okay so you have a large section up top three mid-sized pieces in the middle and then another large section at the bottom and in the first section you write what is the most important thing I'm going to do today this is it if I this takes up all of my time that's fine because this was the most important thing and then in the middle you put three you know medium-sized or medium priority things that you are going to shoot for getting done and then in the bottom it's just like a bunch a little like piddly little you know things that maybe you'll take two minutes here or seven minutes there to knock out and I found I've been surprised at how effective that has been for me in terms of focus and in just getting it done and so as Laura was was talking through that this you know this little strategy that have been messing around with for a few months came to mind and it completely resonated as always I would love to hear what you all think you can find me on Twitter I am brh EA that's be is in brightness ours and resolution H as in hue II as an element and a as in a center you can also go to bright and early podcast com sign up for the newsletter to stay up to date thoughts that you're likely to hear on the show and thanks again for listening if you've got a quick minute to leave a five star review I would greatly appreciate it and until next 47:39 time I'm Brian Wright


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