Let’s be brutally honest here, we don’t know how to sell a business for 5 figures, let alone 7 figures…
But that doesn’t mean that we’re not going to try.
Inspired by Matthew Woodward, Buffer and Gary Vaynerchuk, who are all BRUTALLY honest about their goals and progress.
AND after assigning one of the focusses of the Virtual Valley Blog as Honesty AND getting excited about our two years goals, we decided to make these public and to publish a monthly update on our journey to selling Virtual Valley for seven figures.
Who This Post Will Help:
- Anyone interested in starting an online business
- Anyone already running and online business
- Anyone that wants to feel better about their decision not to invest time and resources into building and launching a business online
How To Read This Post:
- If you are a startup founder/internet business owner pressed for time, scan through the headings in the Table Of Contents below and review those relevant
- If you are a normal person or just like stories, then settle in and enjoy the rollercoaster
Here is our Goal Pyramid for the next two years:
You can read about our LONG build up to the launch here and once we finally reach the launch we aim to achieve the following in the next two months:
Equivalent to 10 full time Virtual Team Members, we aim to have $7k in monthly recurring revenue by the start of February.
To clarify our business model, Entrepreneurs are able to hire Team Members through the Virtual Valley platform by validating their credit/debit card details or PayPal account, which are then charged an amount equivalent to the amount of hours worked by their Team Member multiplied by their Hourly Rate as tracked by our time tracking software at the end of the month.
The Team Member Hourly Rate includes a 20% uplift that we provide in exchange for Team Member recruitment, payment escrow service and time tracking software.
SYSTEM WITH 5 WORKING PROCEDURES
We have decided to focus on building a system that is as automated and documented as possible, which will help us when the time comes to find a buyer, retain knowledge through staff turnover (although we plan on zero attrition) and to drive profitability.
Each major process within the Virtual Valley system will have an attributed Working Procedure.
50 GUEST BLOG POSTS
Inspired by Leo from Buffer, we plan to gain initial traffic and links for Virtual Valley by placing value offering post on blogs followed by one of three Customer Avatars (an idealised and imaginary version of the customer we believe could benefit from using Virtual Valley).
We will create another full post on our Guest Blogging procedure and the results experienced but have some reasonable results over the past 6 weeks which can be seen here.
1K BLOG COMMENTS
As you may have noticed, we are attempting to bootstrap the growth of Virtual Valley, partly for the challenge and partly due to a lack of capital.
Though, in conjunction with Guest Blogging and an ACTIVE Social Media presence we also plan to build relationships, contribute to blogs that we admire (and that are followed by our Customer Avatars) whilst sending traffic back to the Virtual Valley blog using comments to add value.
100 BLOG SUBSCRIBERS
If you have spent ANY amount of time in the online marketing world you will be aware of the mantra:
“The money is in the list”
Which isn’t 100% accurate…
The money is actually in the relationship with the list.
So we will aim to provide content that will help 100 people over the next two months SO much that they will hand over their permission for us to contact them again in the future in the form of their email address.
We will then add further value in the form of information regarding working with Virtual Team Members, so much so that a number of those 100 subscribers will ascend to Entrepreneurs that have hired a Team Member through the Virtual Valley platform.
10K TWITTER FOLLOWERS
As part of our integrated content, social and SEO strategy, we will aim to tweet 50-100 times a day on both the @virtualvalleyio and @tomhuntio (our founder) Twitter accounts sharing relevant content, building relationships and generally having a laugh with our audience.
There will be no fake followers or other such “shenanigans”, just manual human connections every day for the next 60 days or so before we review our strategy again in February.
Here is our progress so far:
We are off to a strong start with MRR due to an existing client from a previous business and a friend who was happy to test an unfinished product.
Three Key Learnings
1. CREATING VALUE TAKES TIME
CREATING VALUE TAKES TIMECLICK TO TWEET
In his book Zero To One:
Peter Thiel describes a business as:
“Creating X amount of value for the word and then capturing Y of X.”
First we must focus on creating “Y”…
The “Y” that Virtual Valley provides lies in our curated database of the best Virtual Assistants in the Philippines and our proprietary time tracking and invoicing software.
Now, building both of these has taken months…
Not the 30 days that we envisioned to start this project.
So, for all you founders out there, do NOT be surprised that if you through up a website for a product/service you think you can create and you don’t get traction, remember, creating your “Y” takes time.
2. PEOPLE DON’T SHARE YOUR CONTENT IF IT IS NOT AWESOME
PEOPLE DON’T SHARE YOUR CONTENT IF IT IS NOT AWESOMECLICK TO TWEET
Our first blog post received over 120 shares, which for a first post on a blog, we think it AWESOME, so thanks everyone for sharing. Now maybe it was the brutal honesty of the post or the detail in which we went into, we do not know.
However, our second piece of blog post, received just 27 shares and we believe this is because this piece of content was just not as awesome.
Going forward, EVERY piece of content we release WILL be awesome and hopefully the amount of people that we help AND our share count will reflect this.
3. NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR PRODUCT
NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR PRODUCTCLICK TO TWEET
No one cares about your product (except from maybe 2 of your closest friends and your mother)
They only care about what your product can do for THEM.
We have found that when describing Virtual Valley to people online or in person with this approach:
“Virtual Valley is a Virtual Team Building Platform connecting….”
We get many more glazed looks and non-committal gestures compared to this approach:
“What would you do with an extra 8 hours a day?”
So if you are building your marketing approach for your business/startup, try taking your customers perspective when sculpting your message.
Three Key People
Ever since starting work on Virtual Valley 4 months ago we seem to keep crossing paths with amazing people that always seem to help us on our way, here are three of the best from the past month:
1. CODY MCKIBBEN
Generously allowing us to take over his blog for a guest post that eventually was shared a total of 6.3k times, Cody inspires and educates digital nomads around the world and is an all round top guy.
2. KEVIN DUNCAN
Kevin has an awesome blog about being a better blogger (which we may have an upcoming guest post on) AND is amazing to talk to via email. This post on building relationships really made us think about how we interact with people.
3. VINCENT DIGNAN
Vincent is BIG on Twitter. He recently spoke at an event Virtual Valley sponsors in London. He provided inspiration and an insight on the execution required to growth hack Virtual Valley over the next 2 years.
Three Key Tools
Our guest post submission success is increased significantly when we have spent time on Buzzsumo before submitting. In 2 seconds you can uncover the most shared articles of a blog or for a keyword.
We do this before submitting a guest post to ANY blog to help us craft our article and headline to something that is proven to work on their site.
2. SOCIAL LOCKER
If you are spending time creating awesome content that will attract people, then why not multiply it’s exposure by adding social content gates.
Take your premium templates/ebooks/downloads and put them behind a Social Locker.
3. VIRAL CONTENT BUZZ
Again, Viral Content Buzz can provide extra exposure for your content AND can provide you will great content to share on your social media channels.
Three Key Focus Areas
1. CONTINUE TO FOCUS ON CREATING INDIVIDUAL RELATIONSHIPS
Though time intensive, we have benefitted massively from building personal relationships with people associated in the blogging, outsourcing and startup world by offering value upfront.
Whether this be guest blogging, commenting or retweeting their content, this invariably leads to us receiving something in return at a later date.
2. GAINING FEEDBACK ON THE SYSTEM FROM FIRST CUSTOMERS
We must endeavour to speak one on one with the first 10 Entrepreneurs that use Virtual Valley to understand the following:
- How they found us
- Why they are using the service
- What they likes/disliked about the experience
As at this early stage, learning will be the key to continual improvement of the service.
3. DOING THINGS THAT DON’T SCALE
As well as interacting one on one with each Entrepreneur that creates an account on Virtual Valley, we will also be manually connecting each Entrepreneur to the best possible Team Member to ensure an awesome experience using the platform.
Though not sustainable in the long term, this will help word of mouth spread and us to learn more about our customers.
This post gives more of an overview of the goals for the next 2 months…
However, in upcoming monthly updates, we will go into greater detail on what has/hasn’t worked which inherently, will be more practical.
We decided to share and document our goals so openly to inspire others to join us on a journey of their own AND also to gather feedback.
Therefore, if you have any feedback or opinions on the goals stated above or even our method of achieving them, please Tweet us or leave a comment below.
And finally, if you think our journey will inspire anyone in your network it would be AWESOME if you could use the share buttons below to send a link their way, who knows the effect that it could have?