So, we’ve just finished the first week of documenting my solopreneur journey! Despite this being a much shorter week (due to starting this blog segment 2 days ago), I’m really happy with how much progress I’ve made on my projects and have actually managed to surpass some of the goals I set.
In this post, I’ll explain the progress that I’ve made on my goals from a few days ago, and then go over the targets that I’m setting for this new week.
If you missed my last solopreneur journey post, Solo Innovator is the blog that you’re reading right now! It’s the place where I’m recording the research I’m doing into entrepreneurship, in the hopes that it can serve as a knowledge base for entrepreneurs, whether they’re just starting out, or have been working on projects for years.
The goals that I set myself for this week were:
- Write 1 research-based blog post
- Complete some housekeeping tasks related to the start of my solopreneur blog series
- Fix the broken links that were detected by Post Crunch
How Did I Get On?
I’m actually really happy with the progress that I made with Solo Innovator. Initially, I was worried that I would get burnt out with all of the research and writing that’s involved with creating one of my research-based posts, but I actually really enjoyed it! Because of that, I ended up writing 2 blog posts, one about how you can use the Stairstep method to grow your confidence as an entrepreneur, and another about growing your business to 1,000 customers.
The housekeeping jobs that I needed to sort out on Solo Innovator were much easier than I expected! This meant that I raced through the changes in about half an hour making it the easiest goal that I had to complete this week.
Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get to fixing the broken links that were detected by Post Crunch. The other goals on this list (especially the Post Crunch ones) ended up taking much more time than I thought, meaning that I didn’t get to this. Luckily, it’s only a small task, so it should be easy for me to pick up next week.
The other project that I’m working on at the minute is called Post Crunch, my blog management and broken link monitoring application for bloggers. If you want the full rundown of this or any of the other projects that I’m involved in, make sure that you read the first post outlining my solopreneur journey.
The goals that I set for Post Crunch were:
- Use my cold outreach marketing strategy to reach 50 bloggers
- Get in contact with my contacts before starting the project
How Was My Week With Post Crunch?
My goal to reach out to 50 bloggers in 2 days with my cold outreach marketing strategy was incredibly ambitious, and I only ended up being able to contact 32 bloggers about the broken links on their sites. I’m not sure about the effectiveness of this strategy yet, as I only sent most of the emails yesterday and haven’t received any responses yet. I’m going to give the bloggers a week and then will get back in touch with a follow-up email, which will hopefully give me a few more responses.
My Cold Outreach Strategy
Before I get into the improvements that I’ve made to the marketing strategy, it’s probably best for me to explain exactly what I’m doing to get bloggers’ attention. As the broken link feature of Post Crunch makes quantifiable improvements to a blog, I’ve decided to focus my initial cold outreach marketing efforts on this.
To do this, I’ve created a private feature of Post Crunch where I can detect all of the broken links on a specific blog. I then input the total number of broken links on the site, along with a specific example of a broken link into an email template and send it off to the webmaster. I’ve created a spreadsheet that tracks all of the blogs that I’ve emailed and notifies me when I should schedule a follow-up if I haven’t heard anything.
Improving My Cold Outreach Strategy
While this process worked really well for the small number of blogs that I tested with, as soon as I tried to use it for a number of sites, I started to run into some bottlenecks, namely:
- It takes a long time and a lot of resources to run this processing for multiple big blogs at a time
- It takes a while for me to identify where a specific link is referenced in a page to be able to include it on the email to the client
While these 2 issues don’t seem too major, they meant that contacting a single site could easily take me 45 minutes after running the processing and finding an appropriate broken link.
To solve this, I spent an afternoon updating Post Crunch to limit the number of blog posts that it processes to 200 for my broken link detection flow. This massively speeds up the processing time to just a couple of minutes and means that I’m able to process multiple sites in one go, which has been a massive help! On top of that, I also made the endpoint return the title of the blog post and the text displayed for the link, which has helped me to find the broken links on the page so much quicker.
While I’d love to fully automate this process so that I simply enter the URL of the blog and an email is automatically sent for me, this would probably take quite a while to implement well. It’s something that I’m going to bear in mind for the future, but I’m going to wait until I see some results from this strategy so I don’t waste any time if I don’t get any responses.
Contacting Previously Interested Parties
My other goal for the week was to contact the bloggers that I had emailed before starting Post Crunch to validate the idea. A few weeks ago, I’d already sent an email informing them that the product is live but have had no response yet. This morning I sent out a new email letting them know that we’ve launched. I’m hoping that I’ll have a few responses in the next few days.
Next Week’s Goals
Luckily most of these goals are pretty straightforward this week! As I enjoyed writing my 2 blog posts this week, I’m going to aim to write 3 research-based posts as well as the week’s progress update post.
I watched an interesting video this week that explained that to grow a blog you both need to write great content and work on getting quality backlinks. Seems obvious right?! Well, so far on Solo Innovator I’ve mainly been focused on creating content, while only spending a little bit of time working on getting some good-quality backlinks. This week, that’s going to change. One of my goals is to start researching how I can gain more backlinks to the blog, which will hopefully help my search rankings. As I’ve got quite ambitious goals this week, I’m probably not going to get around to actually get adding any backlinks, but if I’ve got a plan, I’ll hopefully be able to get some links over the next few weeks.
Finally, as a stretch goal, I need to look into moving Solo Innovator to a new host. I’m currently using a free host, which has been a great low-risk way for me to test the water with blogging. However, now that I’m sure I want to keep pursuing writing this blog, I need to start paying for hosting to prevent the random page slowdowns that seem to be happening more and more often. I’ve currently got some conflicting requirements for a new host, so if I’ve got time, I need to have a good look so that I can decide which host will be best suited for what I’m looking to do.
Solo Innovator Goals Summary
To summarise, for next week, I’ve set the following goals that I want to achieve on Solo Innovator:
- Write 3 new research-based posts
- Fix the broken links that Post Crunch has detected
- Look into how I can get more backlinks to Solo Innovator
- (Stretch Goal) Look into moving Solo Innovator to a new host
My goals for Post Crunch are even more intense than this week too! Even though I failed to reach my goal of 50 cold outreach emails this week, I’m aiming to reach 100 emails sent by the end of next week. Now that I’ve optimised my marketing pipeline for cold outreach, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to storm through getting in contact with more blog owners.
While researching for my how to get to 1,000 customers post, I found an interesting technique called the ICE framework for prioritising tasks. ICE stands for Impact, Confidence and Ease of Implementation. I don’t want to have all of my eggs in one basket when it comes to the marketing of Post Crunch, so next week I want to spend some time coming up with some new marketing ideas and using this framework to prioritise my marketing efforts. If I have time, I’ll begin implementing one of these strategies, however, because I really want to focus on coming up with some innovative marketing approaches, I might not get to this stage. I’ll share my findings and how I found using the ICE framework in my post next week.
Post Crunch Goals Summary
- Contact a total of 100 bloggers with my cold outreach strategy
- Use the ICE Framework to prioritise marketing initiatives
- (Stretch Goal) Start implementing one of the marketing initiatives
So there we have it, I’ve finished documenting my first week of the solopreneur journey. You can check out the next post in this series here! If you’ve made it this far and haven’t seen my first post, I’d recommend giving that a read to get a head start on what projects I’ve been working on. Otherwise, why not see the full set of posts covering my solopreneur journey.