Path to 100 Customers – Month 1

Starting a new company is tough. Starting a new company while in the midst of a global pandemic, murder hornets buzzing around the sky, and general unease about the future of our democratic system, is downright insane. Or is it?

As a long time entrepreneur I have always believed that there is no perfect time to start a business. If there was, everyone would be doing it, no?

As a long time digital marketer (I think about 10 or 20 years now depending if you count the websites I built in middle school…) I have been amazed at how the ad-tech stacks scene has exploded, but finding, sourcing, and utilizing great copywriting has gone relatively nowhere.

SEO, link building, content marketing, press releases, and now podcasting means that you NEED a constant almost religious flow of amazing, original, and useful content.

Large enterprise customers can employ full-time copywriters to tackle these tasks, but that’s not realistic for the millions of small businesses. It also is not realistic for many digital marketing agencies to employee full-time writers who often starve or feast based on closing the next big client.

“Go get a freelancer to do the work.”

Do you know how many times I’ve been told that a freelancer can go do the work you need done?

Look, this is not a knock against freelancers, but I have used all the major networks, groups, and providers to get copy written for me for many different types of companies. Some are great. A few are amazing. Most are not.

Between missed deadlines, haggling over a per-word fee, or just not great content, finding a competent freelance writer sucks. Personally speaking, my passion is digital marketing, not dealing with freelancers (until Panda Copy!)

Yes, you get what you pay for. But great copywriters know their worth, and typically are booked up for weeks or month’s ahead and cost full-time rates for a paragraph of work.

So that’s why I launched Panda Copy in the middle of the chaos year known as 2020.

I know that Panda Copy is the solution to getting rid of the pain-in-the-ass task of getting copy created for your business, website, or clients because I built it FOR marketers in my same shoes…And I know there are tons of you out there.

So, my soon-to-be loyal reader, I plan to take you along my journey to build a sustainable SaaS business from scratch. I would love feedback, comments, and referrals. I would appreciate you calling me out for being stupid, or letting me know i’m walking into a money pit distraction.

Why focus on 100 customers?

I’ve chosen to focus on getting Panda Copy to 100 happy and recurring customers because in my mind that numbers sets the company up to go in three distinct directions:

  1. Continue to grow the business organically and on my own;
  2. Sell or partner with another business;
  3. Attempt to raise funding to take it to new levels.

Also, basing the customers out of 100 makes it easy to show the progress for all you non-math nerds out there.

What have you done in Month 1?

Here’s a recap of where things are at. Full transparency though, this is a bit more than 1 month of work, but I’ll save you nitty gritty.

  • Panda Copy technically launched in mid July, but there has been a significant amount of work to get it up and running to the magical website you see today. Major milestones included:
    • Modeling out a super SWAG (aka Silly Wild Ass Guess) for the business itself. What assumptions I could make, where I would need help, and quite honestly, is this business worth my time. (I work a full time job as a busy marketer as is)
    • Conceptualizing a great brand that lays the foundation for future growth (That’s the marketer in me)
    • Website design and creation – The design was outsourced from an amazing old team-member I’ve worked with for a number of years (I’m happy to give a referral if you’d like). The website Cut/Code was done by yours truly…sorry if you find a bug.
    • Figuring out how to take a customer from signup to fulfillment. This is more complicated than hooking up a payment form and calling it a day – I tested and played with many solutions, ultimately landing on a WordPress plugin heavily customized and tweaked.
    • Setting up the operations of the business! I am a pretty crappy writer, so I leveraged my network of writers and got some commitment from a few old (and new folks).
  • Started running FB Ads in August. Based upon digital marketing experience, I created a simple funnel to get people interested in Panda Copy, then offered them to get started for $5 for a week.
  • Quickly realized some tweaks to the business model needed to be done – including hiring more AMAZING writers, and ramping up spend on Facebook.

End of August Update:

  • FIRST customer on August 6! Huzzah!!
  • 7 new paying customers
  • 1 trial cancellation (They cancelled before renewing the trial. Learnings here for sure…will post in next month’s update)
  • 29 writing projects completed excluding internal posts

So there you have it. First update in the books, and my little business is starting to grow…only 93 new customers to go 🙂

Zach
Head Panda

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