How To Launch A Product, Lose A Contest, And End Up A Winner Anyway

It was only Day 2 of the Gumroad Small Product Lab when I decided not to bother participating.

No, it was late on Day 2, even!  After signing up on Day 1, I hadn’t really decided to launch a product; signing up was driven more by curiosity than anything else. My hope was that  Gumroad would be offering some secret marketing info that I could use to promote my podcast. I had no idea how close that hope would be to what actually transpired.

Chatting with friends on Day 2, I deliberated over whether or not to do this, and what kind of a product I could do. In typical form, I had a hard time thinking truly small – a hallmark of my career is my tendency to over-engineer everything I do. Usually, this works in my favor; on a 10-day time-span, over-engineering would yield the same result as not starting at all; a no-finish. Keep Reading…

How I Accidentally Launched On Product Hunt

When I launched my new podcasting book recently, I had a halfway-decent promotional plan mapped out. My mailing list would be the centerpiece, my Twitter account would dribble enticing podcasting quotes, hashtagged to capture attention from interested folk, my friends would RT me or post promotional tweets of their own, and I’d pop in to forums & try to helpfully answer questions about things that could be found in my book.  None of this is super-advanced in terms of marketing, just a dedication to executing on some basics – which is good, because my marketing skills are basic!

What was NOT a part of my initial plan was for the book to be launched on Product Hunt.

All things being equal, I wanted to get listed, but I honestly knew very little about it. I had an account on PH but had never used it. I had heard many stories about creators and founders posting their product to PH and seeing it promptly disappear. Reading the rules regarding who is allowed to post comments and who isn’t, and how it’s all determined, I got the vague sense that being launched on Product Hunt was like ordering from the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld – one mistake, and you’re outta here! Man oh man, did that turn out to be wrong, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Keep Reading…

There’s Always More to Learn. Launch A Product Anyway.

I am not a perfectionist.

Let’s be clear about that up front, because it’s the first thing people always assume when talking about the long, slow, process I’ve gone through in my journey to launch a product; “Oh, Chris, if you weren’t such a perfectionist, you’d just slap something together and ship it!”

But that isn’t true. I am much, much worse than a perfectionist – I am a completist. What is a completist, you ask? Well, it’s this:

a collector who attempts to collect an example of every item in a particular field.

How in the world does that relate to founding a software product? Or any product at all? What is it that I feel I need to collect to completion in order to be able to launch a product? Keep Reading…

Burning Consulting Questions: How To Get Clients?

I talk to a good number of freelancers/consultants, and I hear this same burning consulting question from a lot of people, both new and established:

I understand you run a successful consulting business and was wondering if you have any “tips” regarding how to get clients?

OK, here comes a “Constulants hate him” moment: I haven’t had to work all that hard to keep my business busy. I’ve been reasonably fortunate in two ways regarding client acquisition:

  1. 80% of my firms’ work comes from word-of-mouth referrals, and
  2. The other 20% comes from people just phoning in after finding my company on Google.

The majority of my business revenue comes from selling new projects to existing clients, far more so than by selling new projects to new clients.  My experience has been that the best answer to “how to get clients” is “sell to the clients you already have”.

That said, at the moment I do find myself looking to fan the flames of marketing a bit. I recently devised a new strategy for marketing my business locally, and I’m not 100% certain it’s going to work. Keep Reading…

12 Things I Learned in 12 Years of Freelancing

So, it turns out that Cogeian Systems turns 12 years old this month. I’ve decided to share some of my experience from these 12 years. Maybe it helps, maybe it doesn’t…but I hope it does.

1) Sometimes turning down work is a good idea.

I am a firm believer that freelance and consulting work is like sunlight; there’s enough for all of us to get a tan. But sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. Sometimes you’re up against a mortgage payment and the sales funnel is covered in dust. In these moments, a nightmare client will *always* appear, sensing your weakness and desperation, enticing you with a big fat check (but not as fat as it would be if you weren’t desperate), if only you can accommodate their abusiveness, idiocy, or micro-managing.

What do you do? Keep Reading…