Week in review 13/05

Hey guys,

Here is a short update of what happened this week!

We hired new designers.

Last week we hired three new Senior designers and one of them, Binsar, started this Monday.

Binsar has a lot of experience specifically in UX and we are thrilled to have him on board.

We are setting up 24 hours updates.

Very important update for us but for our customers too. We decided it was time for us to provide more frequent updates to our customers. This week we are testing whether we can provide constantly 24 hours update to our customers.

New features.

We should be releasing towards the end of next week a major new feature that will help you tell us your needs more easily, stay tuned!

Week 22/04 in review!

So I decided to do on the top of the monthly summary a sort of week in review where I’ll go through 2-3 business and fun things that happened at our indie startup. Let me know if it is a good idea and what you’d like to hear in those short report 🙂

I am not sure on how the format will be but the idea… Is to tell you how we are doing week over week. It is a great way for us to 1. Keep in touch our customers on updates / developments 2. Get feedback/validation on our ideas and 3. It’s introspective, when I write it usually helps me structure my thoughts better.

Perhaps I’ll also use these short weekly summaries to give a few things or test new features with the readership so stay tuned 😉

What we worked on last week

 

  • Production — So Manypixels is organised into three main sections: Production, Sales, and Product. Production is basically responsible for making great designs. Then sales is to get more clients and to make sure existing clients tell us their experience and refer us to more clients.  Finally we have Product which helps us automate our business and make the whole experience of ordering a design better.Two months ago I hired Milaa to head the Production department (which is 90% of our work right now to be honest!). She has been terrific so far (I know, I say that in every post).  Of course, she has to improve some things but overall she impressed me and has a great attitude.
    Typical conversation with Milaa on Skype

    We have also recently hired Indah (right, on the front), who is doing customer service and finally we have got Sendy (left) which is Quality Manager. Sendy is a former UI/UX designer who’s basically building the quality processes and building training materials for our team.

    Last week Milaa and Sendy met up to discuss how we could improve the quality and the speed from the designer standpoint. We all concluded the following:

    The first step we need to do is to categorize our requests, like items on a restaurant menu, and have a clear way to go about doing them, like a chef following his recipe, the cooks being the designers“.

    Sendy made two presentations over that categorisation of requests but I felt we were not digging enough. He made great categories but I thought we needed to be more precise (have sub categories for example). We kind of found a way to improve vastly how we do these requests and should roll it out in the next couple of days  🙂

    Illustration header we recently made for a SaaS
  • Sales — Recently we started experimenting with direct acquisition again (mostly contacting companies with a simple “Hey guys, saw you were looking for a designer. We do amazing work, want to hire us?”) as well as asking our customers if they’d be happy to refer us to their friends in exchange for a referral fee (we pay USD $100 per month per referred customer). We just started doing this so it’s too early to tell the results!Also, we did something cool in April, we “hired” Indie Testers. Read the full post here.  Basically I gave away 5 Manypixels subscriptions to the IH community in exchange of weekly feedbacks. I asked them to give us a LOT of feedback and strategical advice each week in exchange of free designs. It has really been helpful so far!
  • Product — We are still developing our dashboard to better understand customer tastes and requirements. This is clearly the bottleneck though, it takes way too long to develop so we’re probably going to hire an in-house developer supporting our CTO.

 

Plans for this week

 

This week and probably the next 7 or 8 weeks we are going to be super focused on understanding who our customers really are and improving our service delivery.  One of our Indie Testers told us the following “Robin, your early success shows you’re on to a real need that folks have; the next step is to understand who those people are, what value you’re providing them, how to keep them subscribed, and where to find more of them.” This is where our focus is going to be for the next couple of weeks.

If you enjoyed this post, do let me know why on Twitter or via email (robin@manypixels.co)

 

Building a million dollar business and empowering 10,000 freelancers in 2018

Updated 16/05/2018: This is still a draft!

My name is Robin and I am the founder of Manypixels and I am from Belgium. Back in the Netherlands I was running a successful business during my studies but had to find another opportunity as I was getting anxious of not working and also seeing my savings decreasing. I looked around what people were struggling with in my coworking space and a lot of people had a hard time to find a designer. On my side, I had travelled extensively before and was in good contact with designers in Asia. On the plus side, I was planning to stay there for a while and thus it was a good way to start something in that niche. Last but not least, I felt a strong desire to fix that problem: Making high quality design for startups, so let’s go!

Moving to another country

Now… The thing is that running a freelance business is not exactly my goal. The problem with freelancing is that sell your time so it’s not really scalable. If you decide to take a two weeks holidays, you do not make any money. However, running a productized service is what I am aiming for. You reduce your service offering, you find something that people need on a monthly basis, you create a service delivery blueprint to ensure consistency, speed, and quality and you already have something more scalable. Sure, you need more hands to have more revenue but it’s much more scalable than freelancing.

One million dollar bootstrapped business in 12 months

Right now, Manypixels is making about $10k a month (we update this monthly on our Transparency page). Our goal is to scale this 10x (1000% growth target, so about 85% growth rate per month) to make that $100k/month ($1.2m ARR) by the end of the year. While it means we will have to aggressively seek new clients, it also means we have to keep in mind the most important thing: Make sure existing clients are happy and stay with us.  Hence, we have to find a good balance with our service delivery (making sure we have happy customers and a retention as high as possible and as few refunds or cancellation as possible).

10,000 freelancers

It has now been five months since I have been living in Asia.

Building in public

Why am I posting this? Because it will make us accountable to reach our goals. Honestly, these goals are very stressful but it push me to deliver, because I have a competitive mind and hate to lose competions 😛 but also because I plan to share our learnings of getting there with you. Sharing learnings might empower others to create their own business which I find cool but also we might receive feedback on how we do X or Y.

What this blog is going to be about?

  • Building in public, with our users: We plan to regularly ask on Twitter and here what type of features or which improvements as regard to our service delivery we could do.
  • Transparency: Every month we will share our metrics dashboard (and yup, this includes revenue and profits). We will also try to share as much as we can about our strategy.
  • Learnings on building a profitable, bootstrapped business: We will share weekly at least one learning.
  • Other type of posts & announcements: We will use also this blog as a way to show our case studies & important announcements about Manypixels.