4 min read

Growing Content Snare from 0-1k Paying Users, with Jimmy Rose

Growing Content Snare from 0-1k Paying Users, with Jimmy Rose

Jimmy Rose is the cofounder of Content Snare, a tool for collecting documents and information from clients. In this episode, Jimmy shares his startup journey including finding product-market fit, what worked in marketing, his approach to hiring, and more.

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Note: The notes below are a summary by me. For direct quotations, please listen to the audio from Jimmy above.

Pathway to MVP

  • Started as a completely different idea, a briefing tool.
  • A startup is about asking people about their pain points, so talked to 15 different agencies, and found that chasing information from clients is a bigger problem.
  • Once we knew the audience is agencies, started content right away. Sharing things Jimmy knew, had keyword volume, starting the SEO.
  • Presenting the MVP came a few months later. Had a few screenshots, presented as a sneak peek with a link and buy button.
  • Way under-charged. $60 for the year. A mistake in hindsight.
  • Didn't really need the money, more of a validation metric.
  • In hindsight, $60 is in the realm of AppSumo deals, leads to high churn, not enough buy-in who would give you feedback.

Feature Management

  • Don't use a feature voting board, becomes a dumping ground.
  • Just kept tabs on what people requested on intercom.
  • Connect the dots from there to work out what's going to be a good commercial choice.
  • Now we just put that feedback into an airtable.
  • Using RICE framework to evaluate: Reach, impact, confidence and effort.
  • Product management has become more of the job over time.

Finding Product-Market Fit

  • Gone all in once fully comfortable, the company is at a good stage where it doesn't need to rely on external client work.
  • Originally it felt like pushing poo uphill. Things didn't come easy
  • But I thought we had product-market fit.
  • Had originally written accountants off as the ICP, 3-4 times.
  • Partly due to personal bias.
  • But once we find this segment, things became much easier.
  • Learned that accountants are very tech-forward, thanks to Xero, and understand the value of their time.

Marketing

  • Content and SEO always been one of my favorites.
  • Simply used that skill to focus on another industry to support the current product.
  • Partnerships have been big, knowing influencers and having webinars.
  • Podcasts, having guests, and being guests on others, too.
  • A bit harder with accounting, since I'm not an accountant.
  • Gabriel Weinberg's book called Traction was helpful.
  • Look at the framework to ideate which to run a test, and how to run those tests, then choose which ones work best for you.
Amazon.com: Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth eBook : Weinberg, Gabriel, Mares, Justin: Kindle Store
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  • E.g. For promotion via blogs, try blog banner ads to test.
  • We found most everything we did, didn't work. Because we were fairly low-priced products because of the CPA.
  • There was also personal judgment involved and raw numbers.
  • A lot of luck was involved, too.

Unexpected Problems

  • It felt so like pushing crap uphill, not knowing what was wrong.
  • Kind of had a product-market fit, but not knowing for sure.
  • Felt like we peaked out, churn was equal to the growth rate.
  • Felt like we'd done everything, wrote all the content, knew all the well-connected people, gone to the conferences, felt like we couldn't do much more with our abilities.
  • Only got better once we found a better fit.
  • Now using ProfitWell with custom fields to see what industries makeup what % of revenue.

Hiring

  • Hiring and firing is the hardest part of the business.
  • Treat job posts like writing a landing page, you want to sell the company.
  • Throw in things that give people an opportunity to talk about themselves.
  • We got one of our best hires because we wrote something like, "You don't need to meet these requirements but let us know why you might be a good fit anyway."
  • We don't use standard questions, and that narrows down the candidates.
  • Works well to help choose people who put effort into their answers.
  • For content, we use test tasks, and give them all the same task, with a set of instructions.
  • Doing the same with WordPress developers, with a complex task.
  • Almost know most of our applicants just by email and test tasks, before even talking to them.
  • People can screw up interviews. Some people don't do well under pressure, but does that really matter if they're a writer or developer?

Next Milestone

  • 2,000 paying users.
  • Originally, not too worried about competition. But seeing a lot of tools starting up.
  • Thankfully other products not doing it as good as we do.

Advice to Others

  • If someone is in the same situation, constantly getting good feedback, but can't work out why they're not growing...
  • There's probably something wrong with product-market fit.
  • Once we got to targeting accounting, it just changed. And now we're excited about business again.
  • You can get through that and it will be amazing when you do.