✔ It's all about passion! - Chapter 2 - Passion 1: Money [part 2]

Note: This is a 6th excerpt from my book "It's all about passion" which I wrote and shared as a gift to my readers and my Nozbe customers on my 35th birthday. You can get the entire digital ebook (PDF, Mobi or ePub) for free or buy from Amazon (all proceeds go to charity).

I will be publishing the entire book as a series of blog posts over the next weeks here every Friday, so you can read it bit by bit (I know you might be too busy to read an entire book at once). I'm also doing it to be able to "talk to you" about each chapter in the comments section below, so make sure to post your feedback, questions and your passion-related stories in the comments. Thank you for your passion!

"It's all about passion!" - The 7 types of passion I discovered over 7 years of running my productivity startup

Chapter 2 (part 2) - Passion 1: Money

It's all about passion - chapt 2_2

When you're only motivated by money - you will lose

Everything was going as I had planned. Then suddenly one competitor showed up. And another. And one more... and my unique "business opportunity" space started getting crowded.

And these other guys were building a better product than mine! And with more features! Better design, offer, whatever the bottom line was, I started to lose ground.

The thing is, if you're only motivated by the money, you're going to lose interest quickly. This is what happened to me. I started giving up. It was supposed to be an easy business! I was supposed to be rich and famous! What gives?

Finally I surrendered. It was too much effort with too little payoff. It just wasn't worth it for me. I went back to doing e-commerce and Internet marketing consultancy gigs for my clients and decided to give it up for now with my own web-based business. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be for me, or so I thought.

It's so easy to give up if you don't become rich and famous quickly which was all that motivated you in the first place. I don't want to entirely discourage anyone from copying a proven solution to their local market - maybe you have a unique angle on this, maybe you're truly passionate about the industry and feel you can contribute by making a better "copy" of the product. It's hard to say. What I know is this - if you are motivated by money, your chances of failing increase exponentially.

Do you think I learned my lesson? Well, not quite. I built a second "copycat business" in 2005 and again, after some initial traction and first customers, I thought I was on to something. But the story did repeat itself. First problems arouse and I started giving up. Finally I surrendered. Again. This time around I was certain I'd never have a chance at building my own web based business. It wasn't meant to be for me. Little did I know that a small task management tool I built "on the side" for my own purposes will become my main business and calling...

"Building startups is really in fashion now. Unfortunately very often it comes down to a "Startup Lifestyle" which means pretending that you're doing a "cool project" sitting in a cafeteria with your Macbook. The truth is, a startup is simply a fast-growing company where there's no time to lose. You just have to work a lot. Like crazy lot. And you can only do it with passion." Art Kurasinski, blogger, co-founder of Fokus

My startup idea found me...

When I failed with my two previous startups where I wanted to earn a quick buck with a copycat business launched in my home country, I stopped searching for a startup idea. It found me. When I was struggling with productivity and with the amount of work I was getting from my clients, I read the GTD book by David Allen ("Getting Things Done - the Art of Stress-free Productivity").

Inspired by David's method I built a tool that'd help me achieve my goals and implement the GTD system in real life. I spent a whole day researching the web to find a tool I needed for this (and back in 2005 there were not many) and finally when I found nothing, I dedicated one weekend to building a very simple, bare-bones web-based tool with some PHP and MySQL hacking. When two years later I finally took the plunge and showed my tool to the world, I realized there were more folks like me who needed something similar and it took off.

In the first three months I got 5000+ users and launched my premium service and started charging for Nozbe. It was a scary moment for me. What if nobody really likes it? What if nobody pays? Well, I risked it all, made a big launch and when the first orders came I knew I was on to something. In the first 2 weeks I got 100 orders! I know, 100 out of 5000 is not an ideal conversion rate, but these were 100 real people paying for my software! Yay!

Charging for software is great and your customers become your investors

Everything shouldn't be free "as in beer" or "as in air" and many guys building software don't get it. When you charge for stuff, apart from getting a revenue stream and being paid of your efforts, you can really verify if people really like what you're doing. When they are paying for it, it means it's worth something. Otherwise they wouldn't be parting with their hard-earned cash for you. They'd actually go to a bar and buy a beer instead :-)

When people spend their money on the thing you're selling, believe it or not, they are buying in on your passion and they are prepared to share it with you and align it with their passions and desires.

They become your investors. Even though they have a minority stake, it's a big deal for them. They've shown their commitment and later they'll show it even more by commenting on what you're doing, by sending their feedback and letting you know what they think. They are in this together with you.

The commitment goes both ways - you just took their money and you can't fail them now. Your job is to make sure they get their bang for their buck. It doesn't mean to just do what the customers say, it means to listen carefully and do what you're supposed to do to make your product better.

To be continued... or get the book free and continue reading :-)

Question: Do you use paid applications or you stick to free ones?

Posted on Friday, September 12, 2014 (passionbook,business,money)

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