[00:00] Mike: This is startups for the rest of us episode 63
[00:12] Mike: Welcome to start ups for the rest of us, a podcast to helps developers, designers and entrepreneurs to be awesome at launching software products whether you build your first product or just thinking about it. I’m Mike.
[00:20] Rob: And I am Rob.
[00:21] Mike: And we are here to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. What’s going on?
[00:26] Rob: Hit Tail is done sir.
[00:27] Mike: Good.
[00:28] Rob: Yeah I am stoked, I just within the last hour I wrapped up all the work that I had, you know, talked about in the last podcast so.
[00:36] Mike: Cool.
[00:37] Rob: So it’s done in terms of code complete and I have tested it, you know I am pretty confident it’s going to work. Of course uploaded it to the server and like all the stuff crashed because of, you know, configuration stuff so I have some troubleshooting to do. But it’s still early in the week and I am feeling good about hitting my deadline next week, so it’s been nice. You know I have had to take a little crash course in jQuery, I really hadn’t done much with it. The last time I did a lot of front end stuff was maybe four years ago and it was just coming into prominence. So that’s been kind of cool to realize its super elegant, have you worked a lot with it?
[01:07] Mike: I have worked some with it not a lot. What little I have worked with it, I mean I know that it’s pretty powerful and have seen some of the things that it can do and the way you attach functions to different pieces of the UI, I mean that stuff is really kind of neat.
[01:21] Rob: Yeah so it’s been a pleasant surprise and it’s also been pretty nice working with Stripe. You know I am a big PayPal proponent and I have several accounts. I basically pay them a pretty nice car payment in commissions each month just because of all the money I funnel through them. And I applied for the website payments Pro things which I already have one account for a different website. And that just allows you to process credit cards on the back end. Because right now the way Hit Tail does it is it uses, there are basic subscriptions which as you know are kind of a nightmare. You can’t update them; they cancel themselves all the time for random reasons. So you really don’t have control of your customers, you can’t run reports, there’s all kinds of trouble.
[02:00] So I am just going to do basic you know, back end HTTP post to process credit cards. So to do that you get the website payments Pro. So I applied for it, it’s basically a merchant account and you know and a gateway, and they rejected it. And I was like what is the deal? And they told me that it’s because I had to fill out what type of business Hit Tail was. It basically helps SEO like online marketing that kind of stuff, and they replied with like internet marketing, there are too risky internet marketing businesses are. I am realizing that like there is a certain meaning to the phrase internet marketing right? It tends to be more of the, I’ll say the more scammy stuff.
[02:37] Mike: And it’s more just the term than anything else not really what you are doing.
[02:40] Rob: Absolutely.
[02:41] Mike: Yeah.
[02:42] Rob: Absolutely it’s not all right? Basically I have a SaaS App that helps legitimate businesses, I mean my customers are like legitimate businesses making money online selling real products, often you know a lot e-commerce sites. Os it’s just comical and there is like five years, no there is almost six years of history in this PayPal account. Because they were saying there could be too many charge backs because its internet marketing. And I said look at the last six years, there have been I don’t know like five charge backs or something in six years out of thousands of charges. And but they were like nope, we are not going to budge. So then I would grrr, kind of like it comes back to roost. But anyway all that, I went with Stripe.
[03:17] Mike: Cool.
[03:19] Rob: So yeah it’s been pretty cool, they’ve got a nice API, I think my one complaint is that they only have libraries, like service Ad libraries for PHP, Ruby and Python and that’s it. And it’s just like wait a minute, now there are third party libraries and stuff but they are not complete.
[0:03:33] Mike: Right.
[0:03:34] Rob: That seems like an oversight to me. I mean I am in Classic ASP, note expecting a VB script implementation. But I was kind of at one point because I have been doing it in Dot Net and I had to go to like some third party Randall things that, you know was missing some calls and such.
[03:46] Mike: Yeah I see it, I am looking at it now. I do see that they have, you know, like a Stripe Dot Net library that somebody has contributed and there’s a bunch of others that people have contributed which it’s nice that those things are available. But at the same time it sucks that you have to rely on a third party library instead of one you know that they offer because if they ever make updates to their API or make some changes, it could be you know weeks or never before those APIs get updated.
[04:12] So you know if they break something, you are going to have to go in and fix it. And that’s something that all the open source proponents have said oh its open source you can fix the code anytime you want and its like, well, I don’t want to have to.
[04:24] Rob: Yeah.
[04:25] Mike: Just give me the library, I mean you guys are the ones who are offering this as a service that’s why you sign on with those services.
[04:30] Rob: Right, I think the one saving grace is that they do version their API. So it’s you know it’s like Stripe.com slash V1 slash blah. So if they update it I am they will put it in a V1.1 or a V2.0. And hopefully not break the back, kind of backwards compatibility.
[04:47] Mike: Right.
[04:48] Rob: Ideally. But I do hear you I would much prefer to have a supported full API, because even with the Dot Net one there was some stuff that I was going to do with it where the calls just were implemented in the class library. So anyways, yeah I had some hesitations about going with Stripe, they are a startup, I mean its basically like if they go down that’s catastrophic for me right? If they go out of business, of they start charging an exorbitant amount, I mean I know PayPal can be a pain in the ass but they are pretty stable. And if Stripe has to do some big thing because their pricing is very odd, there is no monthly fee at all.
[05:17] Mike: Yeah.
[05:18] Rob: And it’s like 2.9% on every transaction, I cannot see that as a sustainable pricing model at all. Because PayPal is by far the cheapest right and they’re 2.9% plus 30 bucks a month. And Authorise.net tends to be around 2.1 to 2.5% per transaction but they are between 50 and 100 bucks a month depending on who you get. I just don’t think its viable having worked in the credit card industry knowing the amount of fraud and expense that goes purely into risk management and reducing fraud, I mean that’s why you pay so much for these credit card accounts, you know these merchant accounts and such.
[05:54] I mean and because that Authorize.net you know wants to make an exorbitant amount of money. I can see being a little bit cheaper maybe than PayPal, maybe. But I just not doing a monthly fee I don’t see as sustainable. Maybe they will grandfather existing customers in that will be fine, and maybe down the line they will start charging 10 ort 20 bucks a months and again I will be fine with that. But my only concern if suddenly they just have to, you know, they are going under; they are out of their VC money, because I’m sure that what they are on at this point.
[06:21] I haven’t researched them but I am imagine that’s what they are going and they are running out and then they just have to do a –what was it? Chargify that was like a bunch of people connected to their API and then they just, they had to like double or triple their pricing. And everyone was just pissed because it’s like you’ve already invested all this time you don’t want to leave and they didn’t grandfather people in. So yeah looking forward to getting this new design line and I will point people to that after its all done in the next week or so.
[06:44] Mike: Cool.
[06:45] Rob: And how about you, what’s new?
[06:45] Mike: I decided that I was going to run a bit of an informal survey on my blog and I ran it inside the academy and asked a couple of people if they could comment on it. But basically the survey was around WordPress and whether people had any thoughts about the security of it, whether ether were concerns about it. And so far I am not necessarily surprised by the results of the survey, I mean its still going on, its still listed on my blog and I threw it out on Twitter a couple of times.
[07:17] But roughly, let see here, about 25 people have come in and weighed in on it so far, and of those about 30% have said that they feel that the security of their WordPress sites is a problem that needs to be addressed and the other 70% have said no. They don’t think that it’s an issue.
[07:31] Rob: So all 25 have used WordPress or use WordPress currently?
[07:35] Mike: Yes, that’s one.
[07:36] Rob: Okay.
[07:37] Mike: Because that was one of my first question was how many sites do you have running WordPress and not one person who said none. Six said one, nine said two to five, three said six to ten.
[07:46] Rob: Got it.
[07:45] Mike: One person or two people said 11 to 20 and three people said more than 20.
[07:49] Rob: So either people self selected and didn’t answer if they were—if they used a WordPress…
[07:54] Mike: Yeah.
[07:55]Rob: Or just a lot of people use WordPress, a probably a little of both.
[07:57] Mike: Right and I said hey if you use word press then please fill this out, you know, I didn’t ask people who weren’t using.
[08:04] Rob: Got it okay.
[08:05] Mike: I try to self select…
[08:05] Rob: You self selected okay. So what do you think? I mean what are your thoughts on that or why did you do that?
[08:10] Mike: Well I did it more because I have been thinking more about what directions I want to go with Audit Shark and how I want to push it into the small banking industry and it really seems to me like, you know, I have to pick something that people are going to be more familiar with. I don’t know its configuration—I think configuration management may be just a little bit more advanced than most people are ready for. And I don’t want to go through the process of educating them about why they should be doing it. I just I don’t want to have to do that.
[08:37] So I think that if I were to kind of take kind of a step down a little bit in terms of the complexity of what I am doing, then vulnerability management or patch management kind of is the next step down that, you know, I can still use all the code that I have basically I just need to build different rules for the engine to run. And I haven’t really built very many rules to begin with so its not really like I am creating any more work for myself I just have to decide which of those directions I want to go. And the primary advantage of something like that is I can sell it online, I don’t necessarily have to walk into somebody’s environment to be able to sell it because people are generally familiar with what virus scanners and patch scanners do.
[09:12] So I think that poses some definite advantages. But one of the other things I was looking at was are there other places where I could build kind of a very specific version of the Audit Shark engine and use it for something like that. So auditing WordPress installations seemed like it might be viable so I want, you know, I just wanted to do the research a little bit before I actually went and built something.
[09:35] Rob: Got it, yeah there are—now there is already at least one service, I’m sure there are more but there is a service, I have no idea what its called but I used I when I got hacked by the TimThumb Vulnerability the last couple of months. And it had some weird name, I am sure if you put WordPress security scan you will find it in Google. Yeah you can do as many free stands as you want online and then it was like if you wanted it to automatically scan they charged you know 99 bucks a year and I think then it did a daily scan or something or hourly, who knows.
[10:05] And it would let you know of stuff and I think it might even help, or at least suggest how to clean it up. So you might want to take a look at that because that’s what you are suggesting right? Perhaps going in that direction?
[10:13] Mike: Yeah I didn’t really fully flesh out what my idea around what I was going to do was, I mean because one of the questions that I asked was, you know, what would you want to see in a product for monitoring your website? And the responses were kind of all over the place, I mean some people said I am all set, other people said I want something that will notify me the second the new vulnerability comes out that I am susceptible to. And other people said that they wanted it to be able to take backups and snapshots and make sure that their WordPress installation was able to be reverted if things changed at all. It was really all over the map.
[10:47] Rob: Right, yeah that seems like just kind of a whole different market than, I know the code can be similar or you can have overlap but like completely different structure.
[10:55] Mike: The code is identical that’s the funny part.
[10:56] Rob: Well not to do all, just to do a scan right? Just to do a scan and look at vulnerability, not to do all the stuff people are asking for.
[11:03] Mike: Right.
[11:04] Rob: But I think once you get into it, like the real money that—the loss leader would be the scans because a lot of people I would guess have done that. But it will be like to make the real money you would have to add all these advanced people are asking there will be additional code. And in addition you will have to figure out if you want to sell direct to you know consumers like myself or if you want to go to like web hosts and try to sell them you know large licenses for, I mean I don’t know, I think of Dream Host or DWP Engine or someone who manages thousands of WP installs if they have something like this or would license it from you.
[11:35] Mike: Right.
[11:36]Rob: So yeah it just seems really different than going after the banking market.
[11:38] Mike: Right.
[11:39] Rob: But of it’s a pivot it’s a pivot you know, if you figure out that’s the way to go.
[11:43] Mike: Yeah and like I said it was just an idea that I was kicking around so I said hey why not do a little bit of the market research and see what people think of it.
[11:51] Rob: Right, I realized I never mentioned it on the podcast but I returned my Kindle Fire within the 30 days. Yeah I remember I brought it up, I really liked it and I couldn’t justify keeping it and having an iPad was the problem. I mean I just, I felt so lame. So I returned it.
[12:07] Mike: Did you postpone because you were lame?
[12:09] Rob: Yeah I did, I said I just have too much money to spend on gadgets. No I decided to return it but I am still like recommending it to people. You know, if my mom was going to get a tablet, I would kind of ask her what she is using it for. Its like I said, the Kindle Fire not as good as the iPad for web browsing, but pretty much everything thing else I tried to do with in terms of content consumption was awesome. So I just kind of wanted to update folks and close that loop that I still have faith in it.
[12:34] And I mean honestly for 200 bucks for less than half the price of the low end iPad, if I ever got my kids a tablet or something it would be something like that. And the form factor was pretty nice too, it was a little thick, a little heavier for than I’d wanted it to be but for a kid it was very small and it was just perfect for him. He was playing Angry Birds, you know it’s an Android engine so it has all the games that you would want on it.
[12:53] Mike: I see, yeah the only other thing I have is I finally got around to updating my SSL Certificate for Audit Shark which was a lot more of a nightmare than it should have been. I want through, what was it? Comodo the first time and I didn’t realize that they basically gave me a 90 day SSL certificate which I sort of vaguely recall there being this 90 day limit on it but I thought I could renew it and that I would have to renew it every 90 days. It turns out that’s not the case. And they ask you to renew it and then they want to charge you, I forget what the price was but I think it was a little bit higher than their regular prices.
[13:27] So I looked at them and said well, you know what else is out there and I took a look and I went with Rapid SSL instead and they actually offered a pretty good price. I think it was $55 or something like that for two years. But the process of getting it was an absolute nightmare because you don’t have an account when you go through them because Rapid SSL is owned by Geo Trust and Geo Trust I believe, if I am not mistaken, is owned by VeriSign. So you’ve got these three different SSL companies but they all do exactly the same thing its just everyone knows who VeriSign is and you ,may or may not have heard of Geo Trust or Rapid SSL.
[14:03]Because they don’t have an account management system you cant really log into your account and get your SSL Certificates. They just—you don’t have an account to log into so they rely on email. And for whatever reason I was not getting emails. I mean I applied for the certificates like early this morning, I literally just got them. Not the certificates but like I just got some emails with like some confirmations of stuff I was trying to get from their website. And its probably 10, 12 hours alter that I finally got these emails that I would have expected to have a long time ago.
[14:35] Rob: Right.
[14:36] Mike: So it’s just a little irritating, but whatever it’s over and done with now so.
[14:41] Rob: Yeah I guess it’s a little bit of you get what you pay for type thing?
[14:44] Mike: Yeah kind of, I mean I applied—I think my biggest disappointment is that SSL Certificates just seem like a great scam and I am just very disappointed that I didn’t get in on it years ago.
[14:54] Rob: Sure.
[14:58] Mike: I think we have what? Three questions from listeners to kind of talk about today?
[15:02] Rob: That’s right I think this will probably wrap up our listener questions series, we had a bunch of them back logged and now we are getting them done. So today we are going to be talking about, let’s see there are some things about launching around Christmas, generic product names, offline marketing techniques and that kind of stuff. So let’s get with our first one, it’s a voice mail.
[15:22] Caller: Hi I have two questions, the first one is on the 58th Rob mentioned that he was hurrying because he didn’t want to wait too long to market his product. My question is if it’s a good idea to like launch a product just before Christmas? My second question I am a app developer for Android, my questions is if I should go for a generic name for example Electrician Calculator for my app or if I should look for a name that will differentiate my product? If this like makes a big difference my URL is rfxlabs.com where you can see more about the Electrician Calculator and give me any feedback, thanks.
[16:00] Rob: Alright so good questions, I am going to take a crack at both of them. The first is about launching around Christmas time, and I had talked about Hit Tail, I mean I was trying to get the redesign done in, you know, November basically, October, November. And one it hit the first week of December I knew it was too late because basically the business world goes dead in the last two to three weeks of December. And I mean Dot Net invoice takes a huge hit every December. Anything that does not recur in revenue basically plummets, at least in my experience, in my, you know, eight to 10 businesses.
[16:35] The SaaS revenue, recurring revenue obviously continues but it doesn’t grow. You know I was actually talking with another SaaS founder and he was trying to run like some split testing during this time and we were both remarking on just how little traffic he actually had just for the past, you know, seven to ten days. And frankly people, I mean everyone is just kind of in the mindset of buying presents and taking time off. So I don’t think anyone really wants to make any big purchases during that time. So yeah once I hit the first week of December I knew that it was going to be the second week of January, I was going to wait about four to five weeks to do it.
[17:09]And I would give that advice to anyone I have actually have there has been a couple of folks who have emailed me and said hey I am just getting ready to launch and you know it was like December 10th . And I basically said unless there is a real compelling reason to do it, don’t do it now.
[17:21]Mike: I totally agree I mean I think like any time in December it’s just a bad idea. I would have to argue that even in late November its probably also a bad idea unless you have already got a mailing list that you have been kind of hammering on a little bit I don’t think that launching in the last two weeks of November is a good idea either.
[17:38] Rob: Alright because there is thanksgiving in the states and there is just people are geared up for the holidays. I think the one exception is what you mentioned we run a special in the academy we tend to do it in December. And that’s because we already have relationships with people and we do it fairly early. I mean you can do that but in term of launching a brand new product and trying to get press and trying to promote it I think that’s a tough sell.
[18:00] Mike: I can think of actually one notable exception to that is that somebody inside the academy I saw what they were doing they were building a website called elfontheshelfideas.com
[18:11] Rob: Oh yeah.
[18:12] Mike: And it was all about different ways that you know if you are not familiar with it there is this thing called Elf on the Shelf a little I guess doll that you can get for your kids and try to convince them essentially that Santa Claus watches them through that elf and that elf reports back to him every night and it moves around the house. But people have problems trying to figure out what to do with the elf after the first conflict is because there are so many so many places that you can put it. And if you go to elfontheshelfideas.com they show images of what other people have done with the elf on the shelf. So like there is actually a video there of somebody who had taped it to an overhead fan and turned it on.
[18:50] Rob: Nice.
[18:51] Mike: There are various sorts of things but that’s probably the one exception that I can think of. So if its holidays specific then sure go for it but otherwise I would say it’s probably a bad idea any time in November or December.
[19:02] Rob: Right okay the second part of this question was about he has a product that is basically an Android app and it’s a calculator for electricians and dealing with voltages and all kinds of resistance and whatever something they would use in the field. And which I think it’s actually a really cool idea I used to be an electrician and I looked through the feature set and there was a lot of handy things and you know I used to do by hand in the field. Question was whether he should try to name fancy name or use a generic product name like Electrician Calculator?
[19:30] The answer of course is it depends right it depends on what you are building if you have a new social network you probably want some fancy dancy name. If you have a product like this where people are likely to search for it, they are likely to search for it by that generic name and a tool in that ecosystem meaning the Android ecosystem does not already exist with that name I would go with the generic name. Because if me as electrician I was going to go search for it what would I type into the android search box? I would type in electrician calculator, electrical calculator something like that and so if you have that name you will tend to rank number one for that term.
[20:09] And so even though there may not be a huge amount of traffic any traffic that does come for it is going to come to you. In addition if you can all get the dot com the exact match dot com .net or .org domain name so electrician calculator or electrical calculator.com, .net or .org, figure out which of those has the more searches in Google get that domain name and build a product website. Again it won’t get waves of traffic but you will get the, you know the trickle traffic that’s people typing that into Google. You’ll just rank really high with an exact match domain name you rank really high pretty easily.
[20:40] I think the flipside is picking out like a fancy name of I don’t even know what you would call it but you know the Shezzame machine calculator or whatever especially in that niche I just I don’t really see a lot of value to it. I just don’t think you need to be so fancy, I don’t see much of a reason to do it.
[20:55] Mike: Yeah I would have to agree I mean I think that going with some sort of fancy name that doesn’t necessarily indicate what the product does because its designed for Android and I mean it’s not like somebody is going to sit there on their computer and keep be looking on the web for that sort of thing. I mean if it’s made for Android they are going to be searching for it there and to get the maximum screen time and I don’t know how the Android search mechanism for apps works.
[21:20] But I would assume that it’s going to be keyword based and having it in the products name is going to help you a lot more probably than if you have it mentioned a couple of time inside of the description.
[21:31] Rob: Exactly so obviously if there were already five or ten electrician calculators out there and you really wanted to differentiate yourself then maybe you would think about that.
[21:40] Mike: Or you would name it something very similar and then say Pro or something along those lines to indicate that it is better than the other ones so they may see along side of it because you know why would you want the light edition if you can get the pro version.
[21:53] Rob: Right and it potentially invite lawsuits do.
[21:56] Mike: Yeah
[21:59] Rob: Our next question is from Adam and he is at bookingtimes.com. And he says Rob you mentioned that Mike should go out and meet customers face to face. I am also about to launch my new web app but I am also convinced that there is a huge untapped offline market that will involve other marketing techniques. I think Booking Times is like a practice management its online clinic practice management. So I’m not sure if that’s a medical clinic or psychiatric but something like that.
[22:27] My only thoughts for other marketing techniques are cold calling and face to face meetings. I think direct mail would also fall into those during trade shows that kind of stuff, that was my little insert there. What would you guys recommend for a technical person to do this when they don’t have a customer signup list? Well first of all why don’t you have a customer sign up list because that having that its even if it’s only 10 or 20 people it’s great to have those beta testers. But if you don’t my thoughts are number one Google them.
[22:56] So this is still Adam, my thought are number one Google them see if they are currently online or offline. If they are online see if they are a good fit customer, if not look for reviews and see if I can help them. Number two ring them and ask if they would into discussing how they can best utilize the internet into their business and number three go and see them face to face. I could create a fake account in my app and copy their logo etcetera into my site and show what it can do for them personally only it takes five to ten minutes. I’d be interested in hearing what you guys have done in the past.
[23:23] Okay so a little more info about Booking Times it appears that’s mike was just bringing up an example that he might be targeting like let’s say dental clinics and some of them may not be online at all. Some of them may not have internet access, they may not be able to use a SaaS app. You know Adam is saying that’s he would contact them and find out if they are a god fit for his service and potentially bring up maybe some reviews that people have commented on their dental practice and even try to educate them and get them online. So with that said he has some different thoughts on how to do this Mike why don’t you go first and kind of riff on this and then I will I will add some color.
[24:00] Mike: Sure. So some of my thoughts were as soon as he mentioned Googling them to find out whether they are online or offline I assumed that he is probably going to target companies that are local to him. And that makes sense because those are the types of people that he would be able to easily go visit you know if you can target people who are within the 20 or 30 or 50 mile radius of where you live it’s much easier to go see them than if they are across the country.
[24:24] When you are doing something like that I would probably recommend finding a VA because that can be a time intensive activity. I mean it will take you a long it can take you a long time to identify those people. And it will probably be a lot easier for you to simply hand that off to a VA and say, hey find me as many of these people as you possibly can as opposed to trying to do it yourself. It’s not that you can’t do it yourself it’s just that there may be a lot of them and doing some of that initial pre qualification may just take a lot more time than you think it would.
[24:56] Rob: And I think that’s a really good idea. I actually have a VA doing that right now for Hit Tail it’s been a great use of time.
[25:02] Mike: Yup. So that was my first thought on that. And then depending on who you get as your VA your VA could actually make some of those calls for you and essentially act as not necessarily a sales rep but essentially as somebody who is going to prequalify those people. So you are not wasting your time talking to people who they already have something or they just don’t care about it, it’s not a big enough problem for them. If the VA can talk to them and say, hey would you be interested in talking to somebody further about this? Then you can go ahead and have the VA try to set up appoints but I think that those are my initial thoughts.
[25:35] The next one that I have is more of a big thing it’s switched to something that I am kind of dealing with with Audit Shark is the fact that going to meet with customers eats into your time that you are doing for other things. And even though it may not be too much extra time like maybe 20 minutes 30 minutes extra out of your day the problem is they are going to want to meet with you during business hours. And if you have other things going on during your business or during their business hours such as a fulltime job or consulting clients it’s going to be very difficult for you to get way in order to go meet with perspective customers for a product that you are trying to get off the ground. That’s one of those reasons why I am looking to do something a little bit different with Audit Shark while I am trying to move it more online.
[26:15] Rob: Got it. Yeah I think the bottom line is this is you know this is true outbound marketing and this is going to be super time intensive like this is traditional outbound sales trying to get a funnel, cold calling, mailing and face to face meetings. And to have a product like this succeed you are going to have to charge a lot of money for it. I think that charging anything less than 99 bucks a month, I am assuming it’s a SaaS app, charging anything less than 99 bucks a month there is no chance it will work.
[26:43] And my guess is as you try to scale up if you try to hire people and not do everything yourself you will probably have to raises prices to 199 a month as a minimum. These are just rules of thumb but I look at any company who does this kind of app and sales and they are quite expensive. Often they are 200 to 500 bucks per month at their lowest plan. You look at like HubSpot they are 199 a month for non profits and they have a huge they have 200 employees 200 and something employees. More than half of those I think it’s like 67% are sales people right.
[27:11] They have just a very sales heavy organization. And that’s the way its structured they are an outbound sales organization and you can be very successful with that’s. But you really got to invest lot of time, you have to have to know what you are doing or invest lot of time or frankly do both. I can recommend a book that is awesome for this it’s called the Ultimate Sales Machine. If you haven’t read it and you are going to do be doing outbound sales like this I highly recommend it.
[27:36] The other thing I would mention is I really would look for some way to start getting some inbound traffic for this. I cannot imagine that this market is that competitive when it comes to SEO and you know social media potentially even some advertising avenues. I know that’s not going to be you are not even going to build 100% of a business via those routes you are going to get a lot more business by doing the outbound stuff. But my guess is your cost per customer acquisition for the customers you can get through those inbound marketing approaches will be substantially less than you know the face to face and cold calling techniques.
[28:09] Rob: And for our final question of the day we have an email from Joe Moore and he says, hey Mike and Rob it’s a question about outsourcing versus keeping someone in-house. First I just want to say how much I enjoy the broadcast I especially appreciate the shows consistent format that you have established which perfectly sets up the occasional deviations like when Mike forgets the opening line or something. I love that, nice he does that pretty often.
[28:32] Mike: I do not.
[28:33] Rob: We live in one out of ten of the screw ups. So my business partner and I are currently bootstrapping a web start app and I am the design guy not because I am that good at design but rather due to our original design guy bailing on us. My plan is to pay someone to take my place designing the website themes in the future as soon as we can afford it.
[28:49] Here is my question; with both quality and values in mind but mostly quality do you think it would be better to outsource that work on a case per case basis like through Elance or to bring a designer on staff with a monthly salary? In what circumstances would each option be more appropriate? Thank you so much Joe in Albany New York.
[29:07] Mike: So here is my thoughts on it unless you have a fairly large organization where you are consistently churning out new stuff that needs to be designed on a very very regular basis, do not hire somebody to do design. And the reason for that I think is very simple. I mean what you really what is you want the best design you can possibly get and going to outsource that is probably your best bet. And the reason for that is because you can go to a number of different places where you can get multiple people who are going to try and submit designs for whatever it is that you are looking for 99 designs for example.
[29:46] Essentially what you want to do is you want to go to find people who are going to be able to do exactly what it is that you want. Now there is going to be cases where you want something that’s got more of a cartoony feel or you need something done in flash or you need something that is done in HTML. There are very few designers that have skills that are going to go across the board. Most of them are going to be able to give you overalls design stuff, most are going to have some sort of a niche that they fall into.
[30:15] For example the same applies to programmers I mean you go hire a programmer if you want somebody to do Pearl programming that’s great you know you find somebody who does Pearl. But what happens in three to five weeks when you need somebody who knows ColdFusion or you need them to know PowerShell or something along those lines. Don’t get me wrong a developer can learn them. But it may be a lot more cost effective for you to hire somebody who has those skill sets because the time window for them to utilize those is going to be so small.
[30:43] You may want to hire a designer but how long is it going to take them to become proficient with flash? At that point you may as well just outsource and you are going to probably find with designers that you are going to end up outsourcing a lot even though you have a designer on staff which is because they just don’t know how to use those other tools.
[30:58] Rob: I would agree I mean it sounds like he said there is going to be website themes in the future that they are going to need. So they are going to need ongoing design work but I completely agree hiring someone on salary is just it’s such a burden that you take on. You really got to you have to have to a lot of design work ongoing to keep someone busy you know for 40 hours a week. And I have seen fantastic designs I have received fantastic designs from outsourced designers.
[31:22] So I think building a relationship with a single outsourced designer is definitely where I would start with this. And then you can always move to employment later I mean if the man or woman really works out I mean you can always hire them later if they want to be brought on or if they don’t want to be you can keep using them or you know find someone else.
[31:39] Mike: I think that the other thing is that just as exactly as you said I mean if you find somebody else and you decide that, hey we really have a need to bring somebody on fulltime you can offer them a job assuming that you like them enough. But it gives you an opportunity to essentially test drive that person and figure out how well they would work out as an employee. If you hire somebody out of the gate I think that you feel a lot more invested in that because you have hired them fulltime you probably went through this process where you interviewed people and brought them in and you spend a lot of time and effort talking to all these people and you don’t want to throw that away.
[32:16] I mean I have gone through the same thing myself I mean you don’t want to get rid of somebody because they don’t have the skills you need or the work isn’t coming in quite as well as you would like. So you tend to hold on to them a lot more than you would if you had them just as a contractor. I mean if its contractor you just don’t give them work if you don’t have it.
[32:32] Rob: Yeah and if you are going to go out and look for designers like Mike said 99 designs is a really good place to go. There is this other cool site that I found it’s called dribbble.com and its D-R-I-B-B-B-L-E it’s got three Bs. And it’s basically designers who are kind of dribbling out their current designs that they are working on. So a lot of them are actually you know working on client designs and they are putting them out. And so I have found a couple of good designers on there including you know one of the most recent ones that I used to help me with some parts of Hit Tail.
[33:02] Mike: That’s cool I haves never heard of them.
[33:03] Rob: Yeah it’s like a designer social network you know. And I feel like as you look at it you get the inside look at what designers are doing and how they kind of relate to each other and stuff. And so and its cool because it’s all visual I mean it’s a little bit like http://pinterest.com/, frankly you just all visual and as you flip through you can just click on somebody’s stuff. And then of course they typically went to their portfolio you can contact them or get an idea of what kind of work they do.
[33:24] Mike: I see that’s pretty cool.
[33:26] Rob: Yeah so I would recommend that
[33:31] Mike: Well I think that pretty wraps us up for the day Rob?
[33:34] Rob: (whispering) Oh I’m on the wrong page.
[33:36] Mike: Leave it in.
[33:37] Rob: No don’t leave it’s in.
If you have a question or comment please call it into our voicemail number 888-801-9690. Or you can email it to us at email@example.com. Our theme music is an excerpt from “We are out control” by Moot used under creative commons. If you enjoyed this broadcast we will have a review in iTunes you can search for startups and you can subscribe to us in iTunes as well. A full transcript of this broadcast is available at our website startupsfortherestofus.com. Thanks for listening we will see you next time.