Monthly Recurring Revenue has gone from zero to over $3300.
We’ve found five unique customer acquisition channels.
We learned that freelance developers really hate paying referral fees, even if they wouldn’t have found the work otherwise, and would rather pay a flat rate.
We learned that hiring managers vary in their price sensitivity according to how tech-savvy they are: for example, a nontechnical founder is willing to pay a $200/month/developer recruitment fee, but a technical founder would pay one-time flat fee <$200, if that. We learned that there are more w2 developers in USA than freelance developers due to tax reform legislation that was passed in 1986. We’ve grown our customer base from fewer than 5 subscribers to over 60 active accounts, and increased our prospect list (e.g. purchasers of our books and mailing list signups) to over 2,000. We’ve identified the size of the market using top-down as well as bottom-up estimates and identified some key players (in the freelance programming platform market: Upwork, Guru, Freelancer; ancillary competitors: IT staffing firms like Randstad; development agencies like YC-funded Gigster). We have improved the product from barely a crontab, some ruby scripts, and a mysql database into a webapp with 6 major functional areas, (Preferences, CRM, Portfolio webpage, Training Materials, Share An Opportunity, Search [this is really just Algolia]). We search 40+ markets for jobs instead of just 10+. We filed for incorporation and started preparing essential legal documents, started to open a business bank account, and hired a bookkeeper to label all of our transactions in our accounting software. We’ve grown to understand the importance of culture fit (communication) during the freelancer hiring process, as well as the importance of having a specification/scope of work for freelance projects in order to ensure both parties are successful (we haven’t implemented this, structurally, into the webapp yet, but we will). We learned that freelance developers immensely care about time commitment when searching for work, and like to search based on a fulltime, part-time, or project-based commitment. I learned that developers respond very well to transparency, as do hiring managers. Despite relying on it as a livelihood, freelance developers dislike sales, so creating a “pull” approach to placement (that results in getting matched to a paycheck very quickly) rather than a “push” approach will be adopted very quickly. The main hurdles for a software development project not getting started are: manager doesn’t trust developer; developer doesn’t trust manager; project doesn’t have a specification yet; manager doesn’t know what a fair price is; developer doesn’t know how to bid the project. (Most of such problems are solvable through the right software). Developers are willing to take a chance on new platforms and see if they quickly get matched with a project that’s a good fit. So a smarter-matching engine is essential, as is a high volume of projects. The list goes on…