Andrew W.: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy where I do interviews with entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses, and I do it for an audience of real entrepreneurs who are often building their businesses as they’re listening to these interviews, and they’re looking for insights about what works for others. And frankly, we’re all just fans of business and entrepreneurship, and so we like to get lost in the stories behind the businesses that we know or in some cases don’t know.
I didn’t know about today’s guest’s company. Check this out. You know, we’ve been noticing that in a lot of my interviews, an entrepreneur will do something in a spreadsheet or watch someone else do something on spreadsheet, see how frustrating it is and say, “You know what? There ought to be software that fixes it, that makes it easier. There’s got to be a better way.” And then they create software. And often the story seems to be, “Wait. Once I discovered the software alternative, money just kept pouring in. And since it’s a SaaS-based business money kept pouring in on a monthly basis.” That’s not exactly how it works out.
Today’s guest is Andrew Rogoff. He discovered that people were managing employee time using spreadsheets and he said, “There ought to be a better way.” And he came up with it. And the quote that I’ve got here from my producer’s notes when she talked to him was, “Running out of money was an unending anxiety in the beginning. So just coming up with the software alternative to the spreadsheet method was not enough. It was still frustrating. It was still tough.” And I want to find out how he pulled it through, how he figured out what the product should be, how he figured out how to get customers and how he got out of this financial anxiety. Andrew, are you still anxious about money?
Andrew R.: Not as much as we were.
Andrew W.: No, okay.
Andrew R.: We’re kind of on top of that situation at the moment.
Andrew W.: Yeah, I should say, I don’t know that that ever goes away. I imagine like Mark Zuckerberg waking up in the middle of the night and I go, “Wait a minute. What happens if . . . ” All right. Andrew whose voice you just heard is the founder of Resource Guru. They are a cloud-based team calendar. So imagine if you have two writers, for example, and you have a new project and you’re not sure, who do you send that project to? Well, you can ping each one of them and ask them, or if you use Resource Guru, you can see who’s got some availability and who’s working on a project right now and just assign the work to the person who’s empty, who doesn’t have anything to do, or is underworked.
All right. We’re going to find out how this company was started and built thanks to phenomenal companies. The first will help you raise money by using crowdfunding. It’s called StartEngine. And the second sponsor will help you hire, well, not hire a designer but get a team of designers from all over the world to contribute ideas to you and you pick the one you like. It’s called DesignCrowd. But I’ll tell you more about them later. Andrew, good to have you here.
Andrew R.: Well, great to be on. Thanks a lot for having me.
Andrew W.: Andrew, my producer said she talked to you, you don’t usually give out revenue but you know this is Mixergy, you’re willing to do it for the first time ever. You’re nodding.
Andrew R.: Yeah.
Andrew W.: What is your annual revenue?
Andrew R.: It’s an exclusive just for you because I really love your podcast, and I know you’ve got a great audience. So I think it’s about time we talked about it. Our annual revenue . . . Did you want our annual revenue?
Andrew W.: Yeah, let’s do the annual.
Andrew R.: Okay. Annual revenue is $1.7 million.
Andrew W.: That’s me clapping for the transcribers. Can you guys transcribe clapping? Congratulations. I know I’m clapping because I know how hard you worked to get here.
Andrew R.: Yeah.
Andrew W.: I did my research. Wow wee.
Andrew R.: It’s been unbelievably hard. I never expected it to be this difficult, actually, but, yeah, I mean, it’s good to have that kind of revenue, but it’s a strange situation because I’m incredibly disappointed as well.
Andrew W.: Why?
Andrew R.: It’s not where we wanted to be right now. We wanted to be much further ahead. We’re really, really ambitious. And so both my co-founder and I are sort of a little disappointed with where we are, but we’ve . . .
Andrew W.: Where did you want to be?
Andrew R.: Sorry?
Andrew W.: Did you have a specific number that you wanted to achieve?
Andrew R.: Yeah. Well, we really wanted an exit after five years, and we’ve now been going six years.
Andrew W.: Wow. Okay.
Andrew R.: So it’s taken us a while to get to this point. And our investors really wanted an exit as well, so in that way . . .
Andrew W.: Because . . . What kind of investors do you have?
Andrew R.: We started off with a seed round from friends and family and taking the kind of money that can get you into trouble when you all get together at Christmas if your company’s gone bust. That was quite nerve-wracking. And then we raised another round of £500,000, which included index ventures. And now a company called LocalGlobe, which is a VC here in London.
Andrew W.: So who are the ones who you feel would need the exit more? Is it the friends and family?
Andrew R.: Yeah. Yeah. Index [inaudible 00:05:16], I think we’re investing . . . It was a tiny amount of money for them. It was a seed investment. I think they kind of wanted to see . . . They thought it sounded interesting and wanted to see where it went and also to be in there when we raise the next round. But friends and family are the ones that are really investing and hoping they’re going to get a great return before they die.
Andrew W.: Who’s the most awkward person to have asked, the one who you feel like they came through, they need the exit, this is not someone who just has money laying around and you may be would have felt especially guilty about if you couldn’t make the money back?
Andrew R.: I don’t think we have anyone like that because we did tell everyone this is a tech startup, that they go bust all the time, this is a risky investment. So we . . .
Andrew W.: So who is the one you’re pulling for? Who’s the one that you would really, Andrew, like to see do well? Parents?
Andrew R.: Brothers.
Andrew W.: Brothers. Yeah.
Andrew R.: Yeah. It’s a natural reaction, I think.
Andrew W.: Yeah.
Andrew R.: And then we’ve got other investors who have been a little noisy. Some investors had been quite a bit noisier than others in asking “When are we going to exit? When are we going to exit?”
Andrew W.: You mean mom and pop type investors, not professional investors?
Andrew R.: Yeah, mom and pop. Yeah.
Andrew W.: Who’s a little noisy?
Andrew R.: I’m not going to mention that.
Andrew W.: Don’t give me the name. Give me like the type of person. Is it a friend? Is it [inaudible 00:06:45] or girlfriends?
Andrew R.: The trouble is if I tell you, then it’ll be pretty easy to . . . But they’re great. They’ve been really supportive, but they are . . . They invest . . . Like all investors, they invested to make a great return, so they’re looking for that.
Andrew W.: Hey. I heard . . .
Andrew R.: I have offered to buy them out and . . .
Andrew W.: And what did they say?
Andrew R.: Which hasn’t been taken up. So I feel like I . . .
Andrew W.: People want the big exit.
Andrew R.: Sorry?
Andrew W.: Because they want the big exit. They want this feeling that I invested in a startup. I saw it all the way through. Right?
Andrew R.: Exactly. And they can see our progress.
Andrew W.: If someone gives you a medal at mile 25 of a marathon, they don’t want that. They want to cross the finish line at 26.2. They want to get the same medal but still feel like they saw the whole thing through. And who knows? Maybe at the end is a bigger windfall than you anticipate. Am I right?
Andrew R.: Yeah. They don’t want to be the people that turned down the Beatles.
Andrew W.: Right. All right. I get it. Meanwhile, you come from a family of really interesting people. Who was it who was offering to box coal miners?
Andrew R.: That was my grandfather.
Andrew W.: Your grandfather, he used to what? Stand in the street and say, “I will box any one of you coal miners for money.” What was the deal then?
Andrew R.: Yeah. I mean, my brother told me about this, so I don’t know a huge amount about it, but yeah, that’s . . . I don’t think he had a job, and he needed money, and he was a pretty tough guy, and I think people were surprised that he could beat up miners.
Andrew W.: I’m wondering why you don’t know about this.
Andrew R.: I think once he beat up one of them he realized there was a sort of [pattern 00:08:27] that he could . . .
Andrew W.: Did he make money from it, by the way?
Andrew R.: Yeah. Yeah, he did.
Andrew W.: I wonder why you don’t know about this. I wonder if you’re like me. I wouldn’t ask my parents directly about their parents because not that they would have a hard time telling me or it would be an awkward conversation. I just don’t like the intimacy of it. And I know this feels a little weird. My wife and her parents will kiss each other all the time when they meet. They say “I love you” for goodbye. I say “Get off to my phone” to my parents. I like that I could be rude to them. I don’t like the intimacy of getting on a call with them and saying, “Tell me about grandpa.” Is it the same thing with you?
Andrew R.: Yeah, it is. Unfortunately, both my parents are no longer around, but . . .
Andrew W.: Did you have that then with your parents? And then now you’ve . . . Did you have it with your parents where you didn’t want to ask because it felt a little too intimate?
Andrew R.: Not so much intimate. But, yeah, it’s . . . I guess there’s so many other things that we talked about sort of put me in on the mundane day-to-day stuff that we never actually took the time to sit down and talk through those things. Actually, now that they’re both not around, I really regret not talking to them about that kind of thing. I mean, I just took a video of my dad. This is a strange topic to get on to. I took a video of my dad because there’s a photo hanging in his house of a bunch of people from his way back and I didn’t really know who they were, so I said, “Can you just tell me a bit about these people?” and took a video of him because I kind of knew that he wasn’t going to be around all that much longer. And I’m glad I did that because now there’s a photo hanging on the wall, and I can identify the people.
Andrew W.: And the meaning behind it.
Andrew R.: Yeah.
Andrew W.: All right. It is kind of an awkward conversation to have gone on to but I’m glad that we did. I wonder if I’m going to feel regretful. I sense that I’m going to feel regretful that I won’t know the stories, but I won’t regret that I didn’t have the conversation with them. I like having intimate conversations with strangers like you where we just meet online, whenever, I don’t know. I was talking to Noah Kagan, my friend about this. I like really close friendships but not too close. Like, we could have this kind of close conversation, we can get together over drink and talk, but once it gets a little too close, for some reason, I have an issue with it. I don’t know what it is. But you don’t have that at all. I feel like you’re looking at me like I’m a weirdo. There’s acceptance but also acceptance of the weirdo.
Andrew R.: Oh, I’ve got some friends that I’m really close to, and we’ve been through just about everything together. I think I’ve got an unusually large number of friends from my school days, and so we’re really close and we tell each other . . .
Andrew W.: And you’ll talk to them. If you have relationship issues you’ll talk to them.
Andrew R.: Yeah, yeah. We talk about absolutely everything. But those friendships were made a long time ago and what I find is that the newer friendships, it’s much harder to get that kind of those intimate conversations, and then it does start feeling awkward kind of talking about those things, but . . .
Andrew W.: Let’s talk about business again. Coming back to you getting started in online space, what was stagsandhens.com?
Andrew R.: Oh, that was a really strange business that I sort of fell into. It was basically a website that helps people organize their stag and hen parties.
Andrew W.: What is this stag and hen party? I never heard of it until you . . .
Andrew R.: It’s bachelor and bachelorette parties.
Andrew W.: Got it.
Andrew R.: And I fell into it because years ago when the internet was kind of actually just started to become a bigger thing there was sort of a land rush for domain names. And I sat in front of the computer with my brother and some friends, and we were just trying to find domains that were free that we knew would . . . Because people were making ridiculous amounts of money. They were buying it one day and selling it a couple months later at some ridiculous amount of money. So I thought people are going to want to organize stag and hen parties online one of these days and . . .
Andrew W.: Because the sense was everything’s going online. We needed to go to bookstores to buy books. Now we’re buying books. At some point in the magical future, someone might even buy groceries online. And get this, I bet even bachelor and bachelorette parties or stag and hen parties are going to be online. That was your thinking at the time . . .
Andrew R.: Exactly. This was in a time when I actually had an argument with a friend about people buying groceries online. I said, “This is going to happen, and it’s going to be big.” And he said, “No. It’s a fad. It’s a passing phase. It’s never going to happen.” And, yeah. So we all know the end of the story, but at a very early stage in the internet, I knew this thing was going to be massive, but I thought I need to get involved somehow, make some money out of it. So I registered this domain name and then I . . . Because I had a full-time job, I couldn’t really do anything with it, so I then it took me four years and I eventually thought, “God, I’m sitting on this thing. I really need to do something.” So I started working on weekends and evenings. I built a website, I learned PHP really badly. I just kind of built this site and learned about SEO most through Moz mostly.
Andrew W.: Moz.com or what used to be called SEOmoz.
Andrew R.: Yeah, yeah. So I was interested in your interview with Rand because he’s kind of really helped me in the early days. So I learned a lot about SEO. And then the site started taking off, and people started arriving and traffic went up, and then I thought, “Okay. How can I monetize it?” So I eventually turned it into kind of affiliate site because I couldn’t think of any other way to do it. And I found some good great partners here in the UK who organize these events and just put them together, and they gave me a great commission. And so it turned into sort of a lifestyle business on top of my 9:00 to 5:00 job. And I eventually got it to a point where I quit my 9:00 to 5:00 job and . . .
Andrew W.: Because of this?
Andrew R.: Yeah, to focus on it and try and grow it.
Andrew W.: I saw what you were doing. This is like in the early 2000s, 2002, I think it’s when you launched it. It did things like . . . First of all, it had stories of people’s bachelor or bachelorette parties, which are always interesting. It had photos from there. I think I saw a guy you couldn’t really see his butt, but he was about to get slapped in his butt by a stripper. And then there were a whole bunch of services that you might want to use if you wanted to organize your own party. Like, there was one company, what was it? Red7 that would do the whole thing for you. And this was essentially the business. You quit your job in order to work on this. You eventually sold it. It wasn’t a huge exit, right?
Andrew R.: No. It was tiny.
Andrew W.: Tiny.
Andrew R.: Tiny exit, yeah.
Andrew W.: And what did you guys do? $20,000 or so, £20,000 pounds a year?
Andrew R.: Yeah, I think it was something about that, 20 to £30,000 a year, something like that. At the time, it was enough to keep me going. But yeah. It wasn’t a business that I wanted to be in, and I found myself in strange situations where I was sort of taking phone calls from strippers, and then I eventually I had stripper companies trying to outbid each other to get higher up on the advertising. And I just thought, “God this is . . . I don’t know how I’ve ended up in this place, and this is not really where I saw my career going.”
Andrew W.: You know what, Andrew? Here’s the thing. I feel like entrepreneurship and the startup lifestyle has been exaggerated for a long time in the sense that this is where the big money is, you get to make your own hours, you get to actually live the life you want. The reality is that you don’t make your own hours. You’re working all the time. If you have a client who needs you, they’re making your hours, and they could do it in the middle of the night. You feel a little bit of a hesitation and guilt about contacting someone in the middle of the night, but if someone from Australia has a problem with my website, they’ll call me in the middle of the night, and they shouldn’t feel any hesitation because they have a problem with something on their credit card. What are they going to do? Wait till it’s convenient for me? No, they don’t. Right?
So it’s not that convenient. It’s not super profitable because look at how many years you go. Some of the best years of your life you go making $20,000 or £20,000 pounds a year. Meanwhile, I don’t know, if you’ve got friends in finance. I have friends in finance. It’s not at all unusual for them to make 10, $20,000 a month just starting out in the early years, and they get to live a pretty decent life for that. The upside is you get to be a little more creative as an entrepreneur, and you get to hopefully create something that outlives you or something that you can sell for big windfall and then the rest of them are jealous. But then it feels to everyone else like this is the easy next step, the obvious next step, you start your company, you make it work, and then you get rich.
Andrew R.: Yeah.
Andrew W.: And I mean, I’m not being a downer about it. I just feel like if you accept the difficulty going into a marathon, then when at mile 20 you hit the wall, you don’t go, “Oh, what’s wrong with me? There’s a problem here with my ability to run. Everyone else seems happy.” If you accept you go, “This is part of it. I’m going to break through this freaking wall, and I’ll do it.”
Andrew R.: Yeah, I think it’s a big illusion that you get control of your own time and you can . . . Anyone who thinks that when you start a business like this that you can then start playing tennis every afternoon and . . . It’s actually the total opposite. And a lot of my friends when they call me and say, “Can you come and play tennis?” and say, “Oh, I really can’t. I have to . . . ” Afterward, they say, “Well, you’re your own boss. Why . . . ”
Andrew W.: Right.
Andrew R.: “You do what you like.” And I say, “Well, it doesn’t really work like that. I’ve never worked harder in my life than running this business.”
Andrew W.: And part of why I left Los Angeles when I started Mixergy was, people were expecting I could hang out at any time. “You’re your own boss. What is it that you don’t like about me or you’re disrespecting me? When I ask you to coffee, you don’t want to come hang out for coffee?”
Andrew R.: Yeah.
Andrew W.: So I moved to Argentina where they couldn’t reach me and then I got to work. All right. Let me take a moment talk about my first sponsor, and then I want to get into the problem as you saw it when you were watching people use spreadsheets. I feel like, boy, if you could just sit and watch people use spreadsheets, you can come up with the business ideas of a lifetime.
All right. My first sponsor is a company called DesignCrowd. I had this experience, Andrew. I wanted to hire a designer. I’m not going to embarrass them by saying who it is. But every time I’d asked for something, I feel like they were not fully respecting my needs because I couldn’t talk their language. And then I’d have to wait for them to get it done, and they have other projects, and suddenly I’m like begging them to do the work that I’m supposed to pay them for. And I get it, right? My $2,000 for a small project, it’s not going to make or break them, but I need it right away, and I needed my way, and I want to see some examples because I’m not . . . I don’t know what it’s supposed to look like, and I can’t describe to you in words what I’m looking for. Sometimes I need you to see the wrong thing in order to tell you what the right thing is.
So, finally, I went to DesignCrowd one evening. It was a Friday night. Olivia was out of the house. I was sitting there with a whiskey and just said, “Let’s give it a shot.” And on DesignCrowd, all I had to do is just answer a couple of questions. And I didn’t think I could because I didn’t think I could express what I was looking for, but the questions were written so well that I couldn’t help but respond. I knew what I wanted. I knew that I wanted my design for my cover art for my podcast to look like this . . . to use the same color as the design for the top podcast. I wanted to copy them exactly. Top podcast was Planet Money. I said, “Use their green. Maybe some people will be confused. They’ll sign up for my podcast because they’ll think it’s theirs,” or I don’t know. Maybe people . . . Maybe the halo effect will happen and people will think of me the way I think of them.
Anyway, I filled this out. I got into my weekend, totally forgot about it. I came in on Monday. Monday, not a month later and now we have other projects, but Monday. My assistant and I were going through my email. I had dozens, literally dozens. I think it was 81 different designs from all over the world. And I’m going in and suddenly I have opinions because some of them sucked ass. They weren’t paying attention to what I wanted. I could go in and say this stinks. And then a couple of them were great, and I could compliment them. And now I started to form really solid opinions, and I could give them feedback and correct them.
And then one person use the color yellow, and I thought, “Oh, this stands out nicely. This actually is the right color.” And I gave him a little bit of feedback, and then he adjusted, and I hired him. Actually, I didn’t hire him. I just paid for his project, and I didn’t have to pay for any of the others. This is what it’s like when you work with designcrowd.com. Anyone who is listening to me who wants beautiful designs, even if you have a great designer and you just want to shake things up, it’s inexpensive enough that within a few days you could have a world of designs at your fingertips to pick from.
All you have to do is go to designcrowd.com/mixergy. And when you do, you’re going to get this beautiful experience that I had. You could use it for brochures, for websites, for cover art, for anything you can imagine, t-shirts, whatever design you have. Get a crowd of designers to contribute their ideas to you and only pick and pay for the one you want. And if you’re not happy with any of them, they have a money-back guarantee. And I know that they will stand by it because for some reason one of our listeners tried to take advantage of it, didn’t get a response fast enough from them and I said, “Tell me.” And I always say to my audience, “Tell me.” He told me and I immediately forwarded to DesignCrowd, and they took care of it right away.
So here’s the deal. You get a bunch of designs. You pay for the one you like not for the others. And if you hate the whole experience, they’ve got a money-back guarantee. If you want a discount and get . . . If you want all that and a discount, go to designcrowd.com/mixergy. Designcrowd.com/mixergy. And do you know what I need? I need to have like a timer to tell me like set a 92 second timer and when the timer goes off, I’ve got to stop the ad because I go too long. All right. I’m going to do that with the second sponsor. I’ve got to remember to do that. All right.
Andrew R.: Sounds good. Could you mind me asking what country the designer was from that you picked?
Andrew W.: You know what? I don’t know. I don’t know. Why do you ask? It’s interesting question.
Andrew R.: No. I’m just curious because it’s one of the great things about that is that you get people from all over the world. So, it’s . . .
Andrew W.: I know. I was using Upwork to get somebody to help me with a spreadsheet and the guy was from Slovenia from Ljubljana. I hope I’m pronouncing the name right. I love that city so much. We just happened, my wife and I, to spend a day there on our way out of the Balkans. So freaking beautiful.
Andrew R.: Really?
Andrew W.: Coffee culture like you wouldn’t believe, nice weather, really interesting farmers market. I could totally understand why the guy would live there instead of, for example, San Francisco, like me. Live there, do your work there, enjoy life there, stop pretending that America has got everything for everybody and work on sites like DesignCrowd. Beautiful.
Andrew R.: Yeah. I’m going to visit. It’s right on my doorstep.
Andrew W.: Where are you? What city are you in?
Andrew R.: I’m in London.
Andrew W.: In London. Where do you like to go? Is there a city that you like to go to that’s a little undiscovered?
Andrew R.: There are a lot of cities in Europe that I would like to go to, not so much undiscovered. I love places like Barcelona and . . . Where else have I been that I really loved? Rome is really beautiful. Not so much, yeah, off the beaten track [inaudible 00:24:15].
Andrew W.: You what I like. I went to Pamplona to run with the bulls, and the day or two before everyone else came in to run with the bulls, it was a nice little town. You can go and have great lunches, nice dinner, walk through the streets. And then once the running of the bulls started, the whole place was so crowded. I went to the bathroom at a restaurant, people said, “Why are you using the bathroom in here? You’re a man. Go pee on the streets.” I said, “What are you talking about?” They go, “This is a tiny town. We don’t have enough bathroom for men. Get out of here.” But it was like a world of difference. I love that city. My favorite or one of my favorites is Geneva. It’s like Paris, but they love speaking English.
Andrew R.: Right.
Andrew W.: Right. The coffee culture, but you speak to a guy in English, he’ll talk right back to you in English.
Andrew R.: Have you been to Tallinn?
Andrew W.: No. Why? What do you like about it?
Andrew R.: That’s also an amazing city. A bit off the beaten track in Estonia.
Andrew W.: You know, if I wasn’t with kids, I would love to travel the world and work. I do think working remotely is just one of the treasures of working online. The ability to be inspired by a new environment. Now that I’ve got kids, what I did the other day was I went to Berkeley. I’ll go to Napa. I’ll go to Palo Alto. I’ll sit on the Stanford campus and work. It’s inspiring but not in the same way as going to Barcelona or something.
Andrew R.: Yeah. Well, I . . .
Andrew W.: Actually, Barcelona I would never work in and I’ll tell you why. The theft there is out of freaking control. And they are proud of it. It’s like they think that they have more machismo because they have more theft there, so no one’s cracking [inaudible 00:25:46]
Andrew R.: I never noticed that in Barcelona. [inaudible 00:25:51]
Andrew W.: [inaudible 00:25:52] in the front. I dated a girl at a time from Barcelona. She was so proud of the fact that if you leave your bike there, someone’s just going pick it up and take it away, and I realized what she’s expressing to me is part of the culture there. [inaudible 00:26:05] about Barcelona?
Andrew R.: It’s Spanish machismo.
Andrew W.: Yeah, but expressed in Barcelona in a different way. They like that there’s like a lot of energy, a lot of people, that it’s big crowds. They like that it’s not the safe, clean place that you might find in Switzerland.
Andrew R.: Yeah. The Spanish are a bit different to everybody else. I don’t know if you ever saw that video of how the Spanish dealt with a guy who just robbed a bank. And he was riding off on his motorbike, and the Spanish police just drove their car straight out and into him, knocked him off his bike.
Andrew W.: Really?
Andrew R.: In this country, that would be an absolute outrage.
Andrew W.: Yeah, the lawsuits in the U.S.
Andrew R.: In Spain, they just drove straight into him and knocked him off his bike.
Andrew W.: Yeah. You know what? That kind of crime doesn’t pay. If you want to commit crime, go back to Wall Street and commit white collar crime. You’ll be safe. No one’s ramming into you with a car. All right. What is it that you saw on a spreadsheet? And what . . . Give me an example of one of the companies you worked for where you saw people use a spreadsheet for what Resource Guru is now doing?
Andrew R.: Well, I worked in a marketing agency part of Euro RSCG, which is a big agency group. And we have this spreadsheet that lived on the network at the time, and I think it was an Excel spreadsheet. And in there, you had all people listed on the left-hand side, and you had all the projects across on the calendar, and you had to make your own calendar because spreadsheets don’t come with the calendars. You have to manually drag cells and create September, October, November. And in the early days, we weren’t even using things like Google Docs. We were just using spreadsheets. So if one person had it opened, you couldn’t open and edit it. You had to wait till they closed that and then you could open it. And so this was an absolute nightmare. And there was no visibility across the company. The people had to do the work, didn’t have visibility into the spreadsheet. They didn’t even know what it was.
Andrew W.: So it was a manager who was going in and saying, “I’m using this designer. I better go and block them off so that other managers don’t try to use him too”?
Andrew R.: Yeah, yeah. It was primarily . . . I mean, I worked as a digital producer and project manager. And . . .
Andrew W.: This was 2008 if I remember when you were there, right?
Andrew R.: Yeah, roughly. Yeah. 2008, 2009. Well, I was a freelancer for a long time working in lots of different agencies doing this kind of job. I worked at . . .
Andrew W.: That explains why I kept seeing Senior Producer, Senior Interactive Project Manager, Senior Producer, Senior Producer, Senior Producer, your whole LinkedIn profile at different companies. I thought maybe you were getting booted out of them. I see. It was a freelancer. And so they were doing this for you. At different companies, they would go into a spreadsheet and put in your time?
Andrew R.: No. As a project manager, your time wasn’t in there. It’s just the people that were doing the actual work rather than the people who were organizing that.
Andrew W.: And so, you were supposed to go and fill that spreadsheet out and wait until somebody else closed it out so that you can do it.
Andrew R.: Yeah. So when you’re planning a project, you’ve got to go into the spreadsheet, and you’ve now got to book all the resources that you need for that project and you’ve got to do well in advance as well. So, often, we were planning like two, three months in advance. And then you would discover that you don’t have a designer at the time that you need, and then you’d have to arrange to get a freelancer in and all the rest of it. So you can’t really live without this kind of scheduling because otherwise, your projects will never get . . . you’ll never do them on time. So they are essential, but they’re just horrible to use. And I was working there with one of my colleagues who is a friend of mine and . . .
Andrew W.: Percy.
Andrew R.: Percy, yeah. Yeah. And he sort of half-jokingly said, “Well . . . ” At the time, we noticed Basecamp and we thought they kind of . . . We sort of learned a lot from Basecamp. I mean, they were doing some great stuff and one of the first to have really clever SaaS subscription model. And we thought, “Well, why don’t we do something similar?” And kind of never really thought it would happen and take off. But because we’re both working 9:00 to 5:00 and . . .
Andrew W.: Was this going to be like a stag and hens type of website where you were doing it on the side, make a little bit of money, or was it . . .
Andrew R.: We didn’t really know. We knew that this was going to need investment and if we were going to do it, we needed to really do it properly. So this was . . .
Andrew W.: You talk about investments and exits. Even though a lot of your inspiration came from Basecamp, what David Heinemeier Hansson, like every day he’s on Twitter talking about how no one should take funding, how the reason he’s leaving medium.com is because they have investors’ mindset, and they care about their investors more than their users. You’re shaking your head. Why?
Andrew R.: I just couldn’t disagree with him more on that. I mean, I really like those guys, both of them, DHH and Jason Fried. I think they’re both fantastic entrepreneurs but they . . . I think they . . . Maybe I could be wrong about this, but I think they may be a little bit mischievous in that they try to pick controversial topics because then they know it brings them attention, and I think this is one of those topics that they love to sort of fly the banner for. And it’s . . . There’s nothing wrong with raising money and building a company and looking for an exit because if you get an exit, it means you built something great.
Nobody gets an exit with something that isn’t great that someone really wants to buy. And if you’ve gotten to that point, and also there’s no reason why that company once it’s had an exit, can’t go on to continue being great and even greater and move faster and be better for its customers than if you’re just continually trying to grow organically. So I just I don’t understand the philosophy there. I don’t really agree with that. I think there’s nothing wrong with taking money.
Andrew W.: Did you build the first version before you raised money?
Andrew R.: No. We needed to . . . We raised money in order to build that and the first version because neither Percy nor I are programmers.
Andrew W.: How much did you raise from friends and family?
Andrew R.: It was £165,000.
Andrew W.: And this was you said a grueling process. What made it so grueling?
Andrew R.: It was just incredibly hard. If you’ve never talked to investors before or never tried to raise money, it can be really soul destroying, and you can get a lot of negativity. We went to one meeting where we actually we were there for four hours, actually. And it was just . . . I left thinking like close to suicide. I was just so, so negative despite the fact that we had evidence that what we were doing had some potential because we were in the early days, we went into the whole lot of interviews, usability interviews and we took . . .
Andrew W.: You did. You took a mockup that you created using, what is it? Axure?
Andrew R.: Axure, yeah.
Andrew W.: Axure, the wireframing software. That’s what you did. You used it, and then you took it to potential customers, and you sat down with them, and you said, “Try to schedule with this and let’s see what happens.”
Andrew R.: Yeah, exactly. So classic usability interviews and we videoed it. And then we talked to people about whether if we built this would they buy it? And so we had people on camera saying, “Yes, I would . . . This is fantastic. I would definitely buy this. This would solve a big problem for us.” So despite those videos, we struggled to convince some people. But you’ve just got to keep going and keep go from one investor to another to another to another. It’s also difficult asking your friends and family for money, and you get into an awkward situation because what happens if you lose that money? So the whole process is not pleasant.
Andrew W.: Yeah.
Andrew R.: But . . .
Andrew W.: And you finally raised the money, had your wireframe. You needed somebody to build it. Who built the first version for you?
Andrew R.: We actually found a company in South Africa because I was actually born in South Africa. So I had some connections out there. And I also know the kind of work ethos of South Africans that they’re pretty hard workers generally. And also they were quite a bit lower. Their fees were quite a bit lower than in the UK or the U.S.
Andrew W.: How’d you find the right people to do it there?
Andrew R.: We went through a long process, actually. We went through . . . Because I have a project management background, so I went to an RFI and an RFD processor. [inaudible 00:35:23] request for information proposal and asked him a heck of a lot of questions.
Andrew W.: You went to design firms. I mean, dev shops.
Andrew R.: Development companies, yeah.
Andrew W.: Give me one tip that you have about how to hire based on your experience having done this.
Andrew R.: I think it’s really worthwhile spending the time and effort to create an RFI, which is a document saying what is it you want to produce, what you’re trying to achieve and ask them some difficult questions, put some things in there that sort of about their development techniques, how much they know about HTML standards and try and get as much information out of them as possible and then get them to respond to that. And then actually, one of the things that I think is most useful is monitor the way they handle your inquiry and how quickly they get back to you as well. So make a note of the day you sent it and make a note of the dates they promised to get it back to you and all that kind of stuff. And if they miss those deadlines, it says something about those company.
Andrew W.: What do you do? You just find a list of dev shops in South Africa and you started looking at some of their work, and the ones that you liked you sent this request for proposal to and then they would respond back?
Andrew R.: Yeah. Yeah. We did that with UK firms as well, and then we eventually asked for a rough ballpark costs and hourly rates and stuff like that. And then . . .
Andrew W.: Was there one question that you asked that I might not think to ask because I don’t have your experience and one [inaudible 00:37:01] think about?
Andrew R.: There are things that I asked that is kind of maybe peculiar to me. I asked about things like accessibility. What’s your experience with accessibility? And . . .
Andrew W.: Meaning making the software accessible to people who . . . I don’t know what the word is?
Andrew R.: Yeah, disabled people.
Andrew W.: Disabled, right. Why? Why would you ask that? I heard Marco . . . I read actually, Marco Arment, developers, his blog where he talked about that too. He says that he judges apps based on how they accommodate people who are disabled. Why? Why is that a good question to ask?
Andrew R.: Well, it’s not such a good thing in the U.S., but in the UK it’s actually the law. By law, you have to develop your websites for disabled people.
Andrew W.: Oh, okay. And so that was . . . So, you had to be legally compliant and you wanted to make sure that they could do that.
Andrew R.: No. I think it’s more because accessibility is very closely linked to web standards. So if you build something with really good web standards, chances are it’s going to be accessible and vice versa. So they’re really closely linked. And if they know nothing about accessibility and if they say, “What do you mean by accessible? Do you mean that it can run on an iPhone, a thing and a thing?” then they . . . You just know that . . .
Andrew W.: Got it.
Andrew R.: These are people who are not really . . . They don’t love the internet. They don’t spend all their time reading stuff and digging into things because they don’t even know what accessibility is, so it tells you something.
Andrew W.: All right. Let me take the second sponsor. This time I’m going to time myself like I said I would and then we’re going to get back into the story. Hey Siri, give me a 90-minute countdown. I think she’s going to do it. Yeah. All right. Second sponsor is a company called StartEngine. Here’s the idea behind StartEngine. They will help you raise money. Oh, look at you. If you could have only used StartEngine, Andrew. Instead of dealing with one . . . Wait. Not 90 minute. Hey Siri, give me a 92 second countdown, 92 second countdown. You know what? I do that all the time and usually, it works. There we go. I must have not said it right.
Imagine if you could have done that if you instead of going hand . . . If instead of going one investor at a time, one family member at a time, if you could have just gone to StartEngine. I’m getting my head about the timer. If you could have gone to StartEngine and said, “Look, I want to raise money.” They have a bunch of investors. Let me see how many they had here in my notes. 150,000 registered investors on StartEngine, they could have looked at your business, they could have evaluated it, and they wouldn’t have given you big checks each one of them, but together their small contributions would allowed you to raise a lot of money.
StartEngine was founded by an entrepreneur who I gave a really hard time to in my interview, Howard Marks. My friend said, “Why are you beating up on the guy?” I said, “I’m not beating up on the guy. I just want to know was he really an entrepreneur? Did he really build his businesses? How did he start StartEngine? Does StartEngine really raise money? How does it work?” And I think he rolled with it. He was totally fine with it, but it was my friends and other listeners who thought that I was giving him a hard time.
He loved that I challenged him because he could say, “After I sold my companies . . . ” This is what he told me, “After I sold my companies, I tried being an investor who was going to back other entrepreneurs. I backed them. When it was time for them to raise money for the next round, they had a hard time, and the reason they had a hard time is because they didn’t look like the typical entrepreneur. They didn’t look like Mark Zuckerberg. And if you don’t look like a typical entrepreneur, the next round of investors are going to have a hard time investing in you.” And he said, “You know what? This not the world I want to live in. I have to find a different way.” And so he looked around and he discovered crowdfunding and he said, “Let’s try that.” And that worked out really well.
Wow, that’s 90 seconds already. All right. Anyone who wants to raise money, go to Start . . . No, wait. Go to mixergy.startengine.com. Mixergy.startengine.com. Oh, 90 seconds is a long time for an ad as a listener. I wouldn’t want to listen to 90 seconds but the person reading it, I felt a little bit of pressure, but I would do that again. What do you think of that?
Andrew R.: Siri is going to get back to you in 90 minutes I think as well [inaudible 00:41:09].
Andrew W.: I should have kept it at 90 minutes. All right. Hey, how’d you find people to interview when you were just taking around your wireframe and trying to get an understanding of what people are looking for?
Andrew R.: To get the initial list of people.
Andrew W.: When you were trying to get feedback when you were videotaping them, how did you get those people? Was it people you worked for?
Andrew R.: Yeah. They were . . . Some of them were project manager friends, but then I actually ran out of those because it’s quite difficult to get someone to agree to spend the time to do it. So a lot of people kind of just can’t do it. So we actually started just contacting people on LinkedIn out of the blue and sort of little introductions, I mean, project manager in London, blah, blah, blah. And it’s really interesting. And that’s a great way to do it because then you don’t have the friendship relationship and people can be more honest with you. So I actually think that’s maybe a better way to do it.
Andrew W.: Okay. What did you learn from them in those interviews that you didn’t know as somebody who has watched this play out at many companies where you were a freelancer?
Andrew R.: I think some of our designs were just completely wrong.
Andrew W.: You mean they couldn’t use the designs to get the work done.
Andrew R.: Yeah. And in some cases, they would look at it and they would say, “Well, what’s going on there? I can’t work that out.” So we went with different screens that they could give us feedback on. And I think the main thing that we wanted to get out of it was, “A, would you use this? And most importantly would you pay for it?” That was the most useful answer for us. It was, “Yeah, we would pay for this if it was available tomorrow.”
Andrew W.: Okay. All right. You hired dev shop, they built it for you, you now had a product, you had to get customers. Tell me about the iPad competition and how that helped you get your first customer.
Andrew R.: We set up a teaser website which announced that we were building this scheduling tool and it was going to solve the problem and it just had an email, enter your email if you want to hear when we go live. And then I had a little incentive, which is to win an iPad, which at the time iPads were a really big deal. So, it was kind of like . . .
Andrew W.: I find those types of competitions are still helpful even today. The idea that when Apple announces something that is the highly coveted thing and there’s a lot of attention on it, to connect yourself to that is really powerful. So they announced the iPhone 10 or X as most of us call it, you put it up on your website, and you say, “This is the contest prize.” I feel like [inaudible 00:44:08]
Andrew R.: Yeah. Yeah. It’s probably illegal. I don’t know. It might be against Apple’s rules.
Andrew W.: But you [inaudible 00:44:13] as content, as a prize, don’t you think?
Andrew R.: Can you? I don’t know.
Andrew W.: Why would that be illegal?
Andrew R.: I don’t know. I don’t know if they have sort of guidelines or if they . . . I don’t know. We didn’t look into anyway. We just did it.
Andrew W.: All right. Here’s what the website said. “Fast, simple way to schedule people, equipment and other resources online. Finally, save time and money, no software to install, 30-day free trial, safe and secure, access from any computer, no more spreadsheets!” And then you collect the email addresses. How did you get people to notice that this existed?
Andrew R.: I think we had our own small list of people that we’d worked with in the past. And then I think we also contacted people through LinkedIn. And then I think we incentivized people to . . . It was a friend get friend type referral.
Andrew W.: So every time I told a friend to enter if they entered, I got the entry and they got it.
Andrew R.: Yeah, yeah.
Andrew W.: Smart move. Okay. All right. So you did . . . Wow. Okay. So, you did all that, you collected your email list, you built it up to I think 700 email addresses according to my research, then you message everyone and you said, “We are starting. It’s here. Go get it. Go get it.” And I know the company that signed up first. What was their name?
Andrew R.: Oh, I do. It was Fresh Tilled Soil
Andrew W.: One of my past interviewees. I never heard of them before, that company, but it’s one of those names that just kind of sticks in your head. They signed up . . .
Andrew R.: Oh.
Andrew W.: The founder, the headline that I use for his interview was “How to be a Networking Slut” because it was based on how he got his customers. Richard Banfield.
Andrew R.: Right. Yeah, he might have been . . . He might have been the guy that subscribed.
Andrew W.: I get it. He has a user interface design firm. He signed up. Do you remember the excitement for getting your first customer?
Andrew R.: It was unbelievable. I mean, after all the negativity we’ve been through with the investors and the nerve-wracking side of spending £165,000 on all of your friends and family money it was . . . Yeah.
Andrew W.: You spent all of it to build the first version?
Andrew R.: No, we didn’t. We didn’t.
Andrew W.: Okay.
Andrew R.: But it was nail-biting time spending that money. So when we saw them come through and I think . . . I don’t know. I think it might have been a day or two later and I think there was . . . There’s a 30-day trial, so they subscribed way before their trial ended and that was just fantastic because not only was the first customer that came through the door which you . . . And you know that if there’s one there are more. But it was the type of company, they’re sort of the UX agency [inaudible 00:47:03]. So it was just . . . It couldn’t have been better to get them as our first customer.
Andrew W.: Yeah, yeah. Really well known too and respected in the space. So, they are your first customer. You’ve got a list of 700 people. Other customers come through because of that list, right?
Andrew R.: Yeah.
Andrew W.: So you’re starting to build real revenue here and then because real users are using your real software, not your wireframes, you’re starting to realize some things that you left out. What are some of the embarrassing things? What’s one embarrassing thing that you left out?
Andrew R.: Oh, there was a lot missing. One of the biggest things was drag and drop. So it was a calendar with bookings all over it that you couldn’t drag these things around.
Andrew W.: You have to go in and edit an entry for somebody’s availability, got it, where versus dragging it and now that’s such a big thing that it’s one of the gifts on your company from what I remember.
Andrew R.: Yeah. I mean, if we did that today, again, I think we would just sort of fallen flat on its face.
Andrew W.: How long did it take you considering that you didn’t have a developer in-house, you were using an agency? How long did it take you between the time that you said, “Hey, we need drag and drop and the time that it was done”?
Andrew R.: Well, I think the first . . . The MVP, the initial launch I think we developed that for about five months and then drag and drop I think . . . I can’t remember how long it took after that. I think it was about two or three months.
Andrew W.: That’s a frustrating part about not being a developer. You can’t just go in and satisfy your customers and keep showing them that you’re improving and improving.
Andrew R.: Yeah, yeah. It’s difficult, but we were pretty happy with having chosen Claflin45 [SP], this company. And one of the things I did was try and build a friendship with them. So I went and spent some time with them and got to know them and tried to make it part of our team. So it wasn’t that difficult . . .
Andrew W.: You flew to South Africa for them.
Andrew R.: Sorry?
Andrew W.: You flew to South Africa to see them?
Andrew R.: I did, yeah. Yeah. It was a good excuse to go anyway.
Andrew W.: I’ve never been there. All right. So you’re starting to impress . . . You’re starting to improve it, you get customers from the 700 email list, but you needed to grow beyond that. The next step from what I understand was search engine optimization because of your understanding of what Rand Fishkin and his team at SEOmoz were teaching now called Moz. What worked for you for SEO?
Andrew R.: I think it was just building a site the right way and making sure simple things like you’ve got the right copy on the page, you’ve got right title tags, you’ve got good link structure, all of kind of basic stuff.
Andrew W.: Did you start creating content that helped you?
Andrew R.: Yeah. Well, we, yeah, created all the sort of feature pages and talking about the features and that kind of thing.
Andrew W.: But you didn’t do . . . You weren’t blogging at the time. You weren’t . . . Boy, I like your old design too.
Andrew R.: I can’t remember that. It was this sort of gray and pink.
Andrew W.: You know what? It was this textured screenshot . . . It was textured background that was big at the time with clear text. It was . . . I don’t know how to describe it. But it looked good. It looked good. I’m looking at and one from about five years ago, six years ago.
Andrew R.: Okay.
Andrew W.: But you weren’t getting into heavy content from what I see. I’m kind of peering into the old blog to get a sense of it. No.
Andrew R.: No.
Andrew W.: So how did you get more customers? That seems like basic SEO. Is it just that people are looking for this type of tool a lot?
Andrew R.: Yeah. It was really basic SEO and basic . . . It was . . . The content was just about the tool. We weren’t sort of trying to do content marketing and talking to project managers about how to run projects and all that kind of stuff, which we’re starting to do now. But at the time, it was just . . . We were fairly sure that people were looking for a tool like this. That was the bet. And it turns out that it was true. People were looking, typing in resource scheduling software. And . . .
Andrew W.: You know what I have noticed people do is when they create software that does what people were kind of hacking together in a spreadsheet, they’ll start creating a spreadsheet template of that thing and putting it online knowing that people are searching for templates for like a resource scheduling spreadsheet template and they’ll have that. The Pipedrive people do it really well. They’ll have a spreadsheet for keeping track of your contacts, and they’ll have it as a template on a whole landing page, it’s clearly designed for that. But as soon as you ask for it, they will give it to you, but they’ll also say, “Hey, we have a better tool for this if you’re looking for that.”
Andrew R.: Yeah. We’re guilty of that too.
Andrew W.: You do that.
Andrew R.: We’ve got free resource scheduling spreadsheet. I think is . . .
Andrew W.: It helps. It helps, right? There are some people who don’t know they’re looking for that. You might as well bring them in for what they’re looking for and then give them what they really need. But you did also was you explained how to use a software on your blog. You also had really good case studies. Frankly, I wish some of my sponsors would have better case studies. You talk about how . . . Where was it? Here’s one. Schedule a TV station with Resource Guru. And there’s a study of how some TV station was using it. Right?
Andrew R.: Yeah. Yeah. MTV. Not MTV. It was a university TV station. Yeah. Well, that’s when we started realizing that we should probably start targeting certain industries because at the time we had no idea. We came from the creative services background, and we knew that there was a demand for it there, but we didn’t know if it extended into things like TV production or government or engineering or whatever. And now we’ve discovered that it’s used in just about every sector you can think of. We’ve got customers in software and engineering and government and even in aerospace.
Andrew W.: Are those case studies still helping you?
Andrew R.: I’m not sure the old ones. I don’t know. I don’t actually analyze our SEO very much at the moment. We just actually hired a company to . . .
Andrew W.: To do your SEO.
Andrew R.: To do SEO, yeah.
Andrew W.: But SEO seems like it’s still a source of traffic for you, a significant source of traffic.
Andrew R.: It is. It is. And it always will be I think, but we want to get better at it because that was done a long time ago just on the basis of me learning from Moz and stuff and not really being an expert. And now we’ve hired a company to really focus on it. And one of the problems we had was we developed a site that wasn’t based on CMS. So that’s been a huge frustration of ours and in fact, that’s still our site now. It’s not backed by CMS.
Andrew W.: If you could go back, you’d create a WordPress site for this sales and the blog. Your blog is not even using WordPress or CMS?
Andrew R.: The blog is on WordPress.
Andrew W.: But the site itself is not.
Andrew R.: But itself and that’s why it’s kind of static. It hasn’t changed for a long time because it doesn’t have the CMS. So we are actually in the middle of rebranding and also developing a new site, which is going to . . .
Andrew W.: You know what? I’m looking at you guys on SimilarWeb where they tell me where your traffic is coming from. Your organic search traffic is still not that high. It’s not as high as you’d expect it to be. Your social I get is not very high. It’s like 1.85 according to SimilarWeb, 1.85% according to SimilarWeb. It feels like what I’m seeing here online is not giving me a clear enough picture of where your customers are coming from. What am I missing about how you’re getting all these customers?
Andrew R.: I think in the beginning we had a lot more customers coming through SEO and that’s slowly defined over time, partly, I think due to competitors coming onto the scene and partly because we’re just not optimizing our site properly. And so what we started doing is spending more money on marketing and advertising. So we tried PPC, and it was just couldn’t get that to work.
Andrew W.: I think you still have some Google ads. Am I right?
Andrew R.: Yeah, we do some remarketing and stuff like that and we do . . . I think we do some Facebook and that type of advertising, but the main thing that we do is through directories, software directories. So that’s been really a good source of . . .
Andrew W.: Oh, like Capterra.
Andrew R.: Capterra and G2 Crowd, is it?
Andrew W.: Mm-hmm.
Andrew R.: Yes.
Andrew W.: That’s the good businesses because other companies will go in there looking for software explicitly. They’ll sell ads for companies like yours. Yeah.
Andrew R.: So they heavily optimize for . . . So they’re really great at SEO. So Capterra is great at appearing top.
Andrew W.: I’m noticing I’m show up more and more when I look for my guests’ website and I like when I see them because the ratings aren’t the . . . I mean, the reviews on those sites are not the sharpest. They’re a little too professional for me. I want to get a little more detail into what people hate about the software when I’m researching a guest. But at least I get some reviews from those sites as an interviewer or someone who’s preparing sometimes for meeting, I get to see what real users think about the software that the people I’m talking to make. So that’s helpful. Here’s another thing that I heard that was working for you guys. Going to events. That was a shocker for me.
Andrew R.: I don’t know where you heard that.
Andrew W.: Here is what I got. Let me take a look at my notes. Where is it? Oh, you sponsored Digital PM Summit, Digital Product Manager Summit.
Andrew R.: Oh, yeah. That’s true. That’s true. That’s . . .
Andrew W.: I heard that’s the perfect event for you.
Andrew R.: In the early days that did work for us. That was a really great way to get the word out there, but I think we’ve stopped doing that. We weren’t a sponsor for a while, but then they jacked up their prices like you wouldn’t believe.
Andrew W.: And so, by being a sponsor, how did you convert the attendees into customers?
Andrew R.: To be honest, Andrew, we’ve been really terrible at marketing. We never really had to kind of . . .
Andrew W.: You couldn’t find that one spot where you were getting your customers. Magazine ads, you tried. Even airline magazines, that didn’t do it.
Andrew R.: Yeah. We’re still in airline magazines at the moment. Well, one of them. But through the summit it was mostly we were a bit passive. So we would sponsor it, we would get some good announcements done during the kind of talks, and then we kind of just expected people to come to our website and try it out. And so we didn’t . . . Instead of doing it properly, which is probably the way you really try to get everybody’s email addresses in the room and make sure that they get onto your list and then you follow up and you follow up and you follow up, we didn’t really do that property at all and that’s because we’ve always been such a small team that we haven’t had anyone who can really focus on that and spend a lot of time on it, which is changing.
Andrew W.: But you’re $1.7 million. You guys profitable?
Andrew R.: Yeah, yeah. Well, we’re breaking even. Yeah.
Andrew W.: Okay. And as I said that in the intro, I felt like I interrupted you as you were going to say something. I even saw it in your face. What was it that you were going to say?
Andrew R.: At the beginning?
Andrew W.: Yeah, when I raised the 1.7 million. Was it just that, “Hey, we want to do even better than this”?
Andrew R.: No. I was just going to give you sort of MRR numbers.
Andrew W.: What’s the MRR?
Andrew R.: Our MRR is 147,000 a month.
Andrew W.: All right. What’s next for you guys?
Andrew R.: We’ve just hired a really great engineering team. So we’re working our way through the rest of our roadmap. We’re building a fantastic new [inaudible 00:59:26]. Well, the scheduling side of things, we’re working on a beta, which is actually live in our app and that should be launching in the next couple of months which we think is really going to give us a big boost. And then the next step is to raise some money in the future. I think we want to get our growth rate up and then start looking for the next round. And the next round is the round that we really want to launch us into a completely different space.
Andrew W.: And as far as marketing, the next big thing for you guys is SEO. Yeah, look at this. I’m looking at your blog. I could see how you guys could use a little bit more attention there. The last blog post was over three, four months ago.
Andrew R.: Oh, was it?
Andrew W.: Yeah. It was . . . We’re now recording this in September, May 25th, 2018. It’s “Say Hello to GDPR.”
Andrew R.: Which is one of the worst last blog post time, so, yeah. Well, thanks for pointing out. I need to get that fixed as soon as possible. So we’ll try and get something else out there. But yeah, we . . .
Andrew W.: It does feel like you spend a lot more time on the software than you do on marketing the software.
Andrew R.: Yeah. We’re very product focused.
Andrew W.: I can see that. All right. I’m looking forward to seeing what you’re doing with marketing. Congratulations on breaking even and on hitting over $1 million in recurring revenue. And as a Mixergy listener, how does it feel to be on Mixergy now?
Andrew R.: It feels great. I really I love the podcast and I was . . . I really like the way sometimes you give people a little bit of a hard time. You haven’t done that with me, which is great, so I’ve gotten off lightly. I really like that side of it because you kind of . . . Not in a nice way, but you kind of get in places that other people don’t which is great.
Andrew W.: I think it sounds worse when you’re listening than when you’re experiencing it. It’s like when I talked about the founder of StartEngine, he had no problem with me asking, “Are you really the founder of . . . ” I forget what software company it was. No problem with it. He said, “Look, we really restarted the company. When you restart it, it’s essentially a brand new business. We bought like the remnants of this company, and we turned it into something, and we sold it.” But when you’re listening you go, “How is Andrew asking the guy if he’s really a founder? This is a really impressive person. What kind of jerk is Andrew?” So I’m glad to hear you say that.
Andrew R.: And I like the way you also asked Rand about some really quite weird stuff in his life. He’s obviously got some very colorful background, but I don’t think many people would really dig into that, so it’s really good to . . .
Andrew W.: Yeah. That could come across as very awkward some of the things I asked him. Meanwhile, he freaking loved the interview. He loved it. All right. And I love that you are on here. I love that he was on here. Boy, he’s got to be . . . First of all, I think that he also might have expected that he would have done better financially by now with Moz. Look at all the companies that were influenced by Moz. Look at all the revenue he was producing with Moz. Look at how big this thing got and how much effort he put into it. I think he expected that he would . . . I think he had every right to expect that he would have done more financially.
But I’ll tell you what. If I were in his shoes what I would be super proud of, it’s to see companies like yours that learn from him when you didn’t have much and you credit him with that. I always admired that he was able to do that. I always admired that Eric Ries was able to do that with Lean Startup. How many companies did that?
I think when I first discovered Tim Ferriss, I was wondering, “Is this four-hour workweek a big load of bullshit or what?” And then as I did my interviews I saw how many entrepreneurs with substantive companies weren’t looking to get out of work for like after four hours a week. We just were looking for new insights into how to start a business. How many of them were influenced by Tim Ferriss? And I admire that about them, and I hope that there are people who are listening to Mixergy who will get that kind of thing out of it. But I’ll tell you, even if not, selfishly, I freaking love doing these interviews. I could do this every day for the rest of my life.
Andrew R.: Please keep doing it because they’re fascinating. So, yeah.
Andrew W.: Thanks, Andrew, and I hope to have you back on.
Andrew R.: Thanks.
Andrew W.: Anyone who wants to go check it out, should go check out resourceguruapp.com. Am I right?
Andrew R.: Yeah. We’re moving over to resourceguru.com in the next few months.
Andrew W.: Let me see. If I got to resourceguru.com, yeah, it redirects me over. All right. So screw it, guys. Go to resource guru.com to check out the website. And I want to thank my two sponsors for making this happen. The first, if you’re looking to raise money, here it is, crowdfunding. StartEngine will make it easier for you than it was for Andrew and Resource Guru. And if you’re looking for a great design, go check out DesignCrowd. I should give out those URLs. It’s designcrowd.com/mixergy or for raising money mixergy.startengine.com. All right. Thanks, Andrew. Bye, everyone.
Andrew R.: Thanks a lot, Andrew.