At a certain point, I had the opportunity to meet with Brennan Dunn after he gave a great lecture on where the internet was going next in digital marketing. I had chosen that lecture at the conference because I wanted to know what he had to say, but also because I wanted to talk to him about his previous venture, Planscope.io, and what happened to it. What he told me was right in line with our findings here.
I approached him after his talk, and introduced myself. I told him that my SaaS was a competitor of his and asked why he had sold Planscope.
The lessons he gave in that five minute chat were critical to the success of the system moving forward. He said:
With that system, I built a tool that solved a problem the way I solved it. But that doesn’t mean that everyone out there solves the problem like that. So I had to help people understand why they needed to solve the problem like this.
Next, because we were focusing on the freelancer market, we were dealing with people that didn’t know they had the problem until it burned them and then they were out of the market.
The freelancer market has a ton of churn. You have a high cost of acquisition, then people leave the market for full time jobs all the time. So as soon as you get someone, they are gone.
Finally, I built a tool when I should have built an audience. Had I done a better job of building a following that focuses on why scoping is important, it would have been more effective than building a tool. The tool should have been the last thing I did, not the first.
Somewhere in the middle of that conversation I found myself wishing that I had reached out to him so long ago. I might not have ever gone down the path of building the thing had I realized the issues. But there I was, and now I understood more about what I needed to do to get this thing going. Unfortunately, it was still quite a while until I could understand what metrics I needed to monitor and how to analyse them.