Founder's Journal

Bootstrapping Harder Than Ever

June 24th. A long time since my last entry. As you read this, please excuse poor grammar. I do proof read, but this is a journal entry – more brain dump than crafted article.

Good morning and happy Saturday. My wife and I are traveling to the beach today (Geneva-on-the-lake in northeast Ohio) for one last beach-day before Fall takes hold. My parents are visiting from the Columbus area on Sunday and then I’m off to Sauk Rapids, MN all next week on business.

Although it’s been 3 months since my last post, we’re bootstrapping stronger than ever. In typical bootstrapping fashion, we’re working like dogs with little to show for it. In reality, we’re making great progress pushing all concerns forward every single day.

Below is an update on all our startups, I hope you enjoy the read and your weekend.

Menyu

COVID-19 continues to rock the restaurant industry with unprecedented closings. We’re not unaffected, but holding our own. After months of week traffic and terrible revenue, July and August stabilized with near-record levels in both traffic and revenue.

September is looking very weak, especially on the traffic side. We’ll see if the stabilizing (or even growth) returns in October or we enter another period of weak results.

Either way, we have Menyu almost fully automated with Kevin and I spending a combined 4 or 5 hours a week on it. Our 6 contractors do most of the data entry work. We’re still focused on fast-paced growth, but need more contractors to achieve it. It’s a people game. But to hire more, we need to exit the COVID-19 era and start recognizing revenue growth. That will give us the capital to fuel labor growth and in turn more revenue growth.

We were doing it before COVID-19 going from 1 contractor to 6, so I know it works. We just need to be patient and bide our time.

The Startup Podcast & Blog

As you can see, we’re not real active on this blog. However, it isn’t going anywhere and I will continue to use it to post updates just like this one. Also, as our podcast grows in audience, I see us turning it into a marketing channel for that.

Our podcast about bootstrapping startups is slowly growing its audience each month. We’re getting ready to record our 50th episode, so a nice milestone. We’ll continue to release a new episode each week. Although we’re still in the daily grind for pennies, the podcast gives great insight into what it’s really like for normal people (by normal I mean not wealthy or well-funded) with full-time jobs trying to build a business.

NotifyNext.Net

Our barbershop SaaS for walkins has launched, but we haven’t turned on marketing yet. We decided we needed appointments as well because most shops have a mix of walkins and appointments and don’t want to use two software platforms. Also COVID-19 turned barbershop walkins upside down.

I have spent the last month coding appointments and we’re in our second alpha testing on the staging server. Once the new module passes all testing, we’ll move it to the production server and begin our marketing campaign.

Kevin and Andre are working with a sales executive we hired to formulate our sales plan. His name is Steven. Kevin and Andre have weekly sales objectives given to them by Steven. They’re currently using close.com and working hard to build relationships with barbers and fill our sales pipeline with leads.

Kevin also has a potential deal in place with the owner of a barbershop group on Facebook with 65K+ members. The deal gives us exclusive advertising rights within the group. Once appointments are in production, we’ll start advertising in the group. We’re paying now to have sales copy and adverts designed for this.

Summary

As noted above, we’re hustling as hard as ever. Whether we’ll be successful time will tell, but that’s the life of a bootstrapping entrepreneur – nothing comes free and easy. We’ll keep putting in 20hr days and see where it takes us.

Take care everyone and enjoy your weekend.



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