Wyatt Jozwowski on His Journey From Near Failure to Over $40k MRR

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Today, on The Early-Stage Founder Show, I’m talking with Wyatt Jozwowski, the Co-Founder at Demio, a SaaS webinar platform designed to help you attract more customers and build better relationships.

Wyatt and his team have a rapidly growing business today, but their startup’s outlook hasn’t always been so bright. In fact, just a few years ago, they almost had to shut the company down.

In our chat, we’re going to dive into what went wrong in the early days and how they turned things around to get where they are today.

If you’re thinking about throwing in the towel or just want to learn from the mistakes of another founder, then this is the episode for you.

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Topics covered:

  • (00:04) – How Demio got started and what it’s all about.
    • (00:11) – Wyatt explains how he saw a real need for a reliable marketing webinar platform.
    • (00:43) – His own experience using various platforms for his company Drip Apps.
    • (02:38) – Where Demio is today.
      • (02:51) – Hovering around 43k MRR.
      • (02:51) – Growing at 10% per month.
  • (03:24) – “We’re done playing startup”.
    • (03:40) – Wyatt discusses what when wrong in Demio’s early days.
      • (03:45) – Trying to implement too many features.
      • (04:44) – Impatience to get the product to market.
      • (04:52) – Unfortunate experience with an overseas agency.
      • (05:22) – Failing to pay attention to the core needs of their potential clients.
        • Streaming platform.
      • (06:29) – Wyatt details where the funding for Demio came from in the early days.
        • (06:38) – Drip Apps.
    • (07:33) – The differences in the development and hiring processes between Drip Apps and Demio.
      • (07:53) – Drip Apps is a simpler interface.
      • (07:53) – Drip Apps is an information product.
      • Drip Apps was a cash flow business whereas Demio was a legacy project.
    • (08:48) – How long it took to build the Demio product.
      • (09:02) – The start and stop nature of development due to challenges with the streaming platform.
      • (10:14) – The team dynamics at Demio, and their experience working with agencies.
    • (11:15) – What made Wyatt realized something had to change.
      • Having to return to the drawing board after the first beta round.
      • (11:27) – Discussing the reasons for hiring a technical advisor to help with the decision making process.
      • (12:15) – Why they stopped worrying about features and even removed some that were complete.
      • (12:52) – The importance of reputation when it comes to webinar platforms.
      • (15:06) – Discussing the specific role of the technical advisor.
        • (16:19) – How they found him.
        • (16:30) – Whether it was worth it or not to bring him on board.
      • (18:07) – Wyatt explains how they knew when they were ready to go public.
        • (18:29) – Made it free during beta to enable testing of their core aspects.
          • (18:59) – Reliability and scalability.
  • (20:06) – How the Demio team plans to maintain simplicity while adding new features and developing their product.
    • (20:27) – Building with their specific clients in mind.
    • (20:55) – Constantly re-evaluating the underlying problem that they’re trying to solve.
    • (24:19) – Being extremely thoughtful about any added feature.
  • (25:19) – Challenges going forward.
    • (25:23) – Demio’s top priorities to ensure they capitalize on their growth.
      • (25:30) – Maintaining a long-term mindset focused on sustainability.
    • (26:54) – Potential challenges that Wyatt foresees they may have to overcome.
      • (27:05) – Stretching their resources to compete in the marketplace.
  • (27:53) – Parting advice for founders.
    • (28:09) – Advice Wyatt would have wished to have when he first started out with Demio.
      • (28:09) – To be patient.
  • (30:15) – The reasons that compelled Wyatt to continue to pour money into Demio despite the nearly overwhelming obstacles.
    • (30:18) – Never losing hope.
    • (30:25) – Knowledge that there was a viable market for their product.
    • (30:41) – An unwillingness to give up on their investments of time and money.

Rapid-fire Questions:

  • (31:23) – What do you spend too much time doing?
  • (31:31) – What do you not spend enough time doing?
  • (31:38) – What are you hoping to accomplish in the next quarter?
  • (32:18) – What are the potential obstacles to those goals?

Resources mentioned:

  • Drip Apps:  Wyatt’s marketing and SEO course site.  (00:43)
  • Our SaaS Journey to 100k MRR”:  Demio blog article sharing how they were able to turn their company from near failure to growing success.  (03:31)
  • Rob Walling:  Founder of Drip and host of MicroConf whose path to success resembles the journey that Demio has taken.

Where to learn more:

If you want to learn more about Demio and stay in touch with their developments, they’ve just launched a new blog documenting their journey.

Transcript:

Andy:  Wyatt, thanks for coming on the show.

Wyatt:  0:00:03.4  Yeah Andy, thanks for having me.

Andy:  0:00:04.3  To start things off, let’s just get with the basics.  What is Demio and how did it all come about?  How did you get started with that?

Wyatt:  0:00:11.4  Yeah, so basically Demio is a webinar platform that we built for marketing and sales.  And we started out back in September 2014, basically just out of need for the product – you know, I was running a lot of webinars at the time and saw a lot of other people having frustrations with the current platform.  0:00:31.2  So that’s why we set out to build it.

Andy:  0:00:33.1  And what was it that you were doing where you were running these webinars or had experience with webinars.  What, kind of, led you to that pain point?  Or at least to have experience in that space?

Wyatt:  0:00:43.0  Sure.  So I have another company called, Drip Apps, which is a membership area for learning SEO and paid traffic and stuff like that.

And so we do, like, monthly coaching sessions and then also promotional webinars to get new members in.

0:01:00.6  And so we were running those pretty consistently and you know, I tried a few different webinar platforms at the time and it was always just such a pain, like, integrating all the different tools together and having the user experience was just like a nightmare.

0:01:14.4  It was a joke.  Like, at least that’s the way I felt at the time.  So, it kind of spurred the idea and need to build a different platform.

Andy:  0:01:21.3  Yeah, it’s funny, when I was actually working with a client a year or so ago, I was tasked with, “Alright let’s get some on-boarding webinars in place.  Not crazy marketing ones, like nothing going super deep, but let’s just get some basics to help show people how to get started with the product.”

And I was like, “Alright, let’s make sure to pick the right tool” and then I dove into them like, “Wow, these all are horrible and I don’t know if there is a right tool.”

And we went with WebinarJam 0:01:48.5, which was like, fine, I guess.  But it was, like, clearly built for the, like, over the top, like, internet marketing crowd, and then you had to deal with the big delay between when you talk and when people can hear you.

0:02:01.0  It just was annoying, so I’m glad to hear that you went to the space to kind of change things up a bit and make it less annoying for users to deal with.

Wyatt:  0:02:12.2  For sure.  Yeah, it’s so actually strange, like, I don’t know if this is true for a lot of other companies or products, spaces, whatever you want to call it, but the amount of customers that we have that find us and think that Demio’s the right solution, like, it’s amazing how many other platforms they’ve tried before landing on Demio.

Like, it’s just insane to me.  Like, it’s not like they’re coming from one platform.  They’ve tried, like, five.  Or they’ve tried ten.  0:02:36.2  And it’s insane.

Andy:  0:02:38.3  Yeah, for sure.  And so, to fast forward a bit, you started to get into the space to really provide a better option to the market, because truly, there aren’t many great options out there.  So, fast forward a few years later, where is the company today?

Wyatt:  0:02:51.3  So, right now we’re hovering around 43k MRR.  So, and we’re growing at about 10% month over month, give or take.

So, you know, basically we started Demio just ten months ago, so most of that growth has come pretty quickly.  You know, the two years before that, it was spinning our wheels a lot and in development.

You know, a whole story on its own of kind of the journey that we took to be able to get to the point where we could actually sell Demio.

Andy:  0:03:24.6  Right, and that’s what I want to talk about today because a few weeks back you published an article called, “Our SaaS Journey to 100k MRR” 0:03:31.5 and in that you shared some pretty intimate details about almost shutting down the business and then how things started to turn around.

0:03:40.1  So what was it that went wrong in those early day?

Wyatt:  0:03:45.5  A lot of things.  So, I mean, when we were starting out, you know, we just had this idea of what we wanted to build, and it was just – we were so idealistic about everything.  Like, we drew out every single feature that we wanted, that we thought was missing.  We thought, you know, these are the problems that are wrong with the current platforms.

0:04:03.2  We’d look at all these features, we’d be like, “Oh that’s cool, yeah we want that.”  And so it just started – we started everything on the wrong footing I guess you could say.  And like, we just had like big dreams for what we wanted the platform to be, with no real idea of how we were actually going to do it.  0:04:21.0  Or why it was so challenging.

We never sat there and thought, like wait a second, why isn’t there a platform like this already?  Like, is there reason for that?  0:04:28.9  And like, what we learned is that it’s just actually really challenging like, the core aspects of it.  Like, the streaming aspects, the reliability, the stability, like all that stuff.

And so, like when we were starting out, you know, we were super impatient.  0:04:44.3  We were wanting to get started, we were wanting to get to market right away because we knew there was a need for it in the marketplace.

0:04:52.1  So, you know we hired out quickly, we ended up actually just working with like an agency overseas that we ended up getting screwed over by and losing over $100,000, and wasting like months of time.

And so there were like multiple things like that where we were just spinning our wheels.  0:05:09.7  And then hiring, like we made some bad hires because we were just so impatient and like always felt like we were behind and like we had this pressure on us.

0:05:22.3And then when we did get going we were spending all this time building feature after feature and like making this robust platform when in reality we weren’t paying attention to what needed our attention, which was the core streaming platform.

0:05:32.3  And we’ve learned that like the hard way throughout that time that like that’s what really matters, that’s what people really care about.  0:05:39.9  All the other stuff is great, and it can help you sell the platform, but it’s not why people stick around and recommend it and all that great stuff.

So, like early on we almost died multiple times and it was because we were always on the brink of running out of money.  0:05:54.0  We were always spinning in circles.  There were times when we just like we would spend months building something out for the streaming infrastructure and then we’d realize, “Wow this really doesn’t scale past like 300 people on a webinar” or something like that.

0:06:11.4  And then we’d just be like, “Well this isn’t going to work.”  And we’d have no idea of what to do.  Like there were no other possible solutions, so we’re like, “We’re almost out of money, we have no idea what to do, we just spent all this time building this, no one on our team really believes in it anymore,” and so that’s like why we’d have to have conversations about shutting down.

Andy:  0:06:29.5  Where did the money come from in those early days?  Because you hadn’t launched yet, so you weren’t selling the product.  Where was the money coming from to keep this going?

Wyatt:  0:06:38.0  So for awhile, it was just money coming in from my other company Drip Apps and so I was putting in, I’d say $20-30,000 a month into Demio.  And ya, we were burning it as fast as I was putting it in.

Like literally, just like putting money in every week and then it was gone the next week and just continuously doing that.  0:06:58.3  And it got harder as time went on because I was neglecting Drip Apps.  You know, syphoning the money rather than reinvesting it and running adds.

0:07:07.4  Like, I remember shutting down our advertising campaigns at one time.  Because Demio needed the money badly and we couldn’t like risk not having that.  So I was working with like an ad agency for Drip Apps, we were growing it, I had to shut all that stuff down.  Continue syphoning money, and then as time went on, we did like little side jobs.  Like my partner and I, we were doing all kinds of different things to get money in, and we always just barely scraped by.

Andy:  0:07:33.5  And so, for Drip Apps, when you built that, because it sounds like reading that article and hearing you talk, a lot of the issue was that you and your co-founder, you weren’t technical, so you had to get outside help on building it.

With Drip Apps, why was it different that time?  Like why was it easier for you guys to – or for you to outsource the development there?

Wyatt:  0:07:53.8  Yeah.  It’s a really good question.  I think because, first of all it’s just a lot simpler all the way around.  Like, the main core product of Drip Apps is an informational based product.  Like it is like a custom members area and stuff, but it’s nothing compared to Demio.

And I think – but besides for that though, I think it was just like our outlook on it from the beginning.  Like, the outlook on Drip Apps was more like this is a cash flow business, whereas with Demio, it’s like this is like legacy or something.

Like this is where we are going to invest all of our time and so it was really important.  And that I think added like some unnecessary pressure and made us make impatient decisions and stuff like that.

Whereas if we would’ve just taken it more lightly and not been so attached to it, then maybe we would have been about it in a different way.

Andy:  0:08:48.6  Ok.  And so how long was it when you were working with this agency, when you were trying to really get that first version out there?  Like how long did it take until you actually had something to sell?  Was it really just up until ten months ago?

Wyatt:  0:09:02.8  Not necessarily.  We made to like the first round of beta about a year and a half ago, and we were selling it at the time.  We got up to like right around $2000 a month in recurring revenue, so nothing crazy, but we got there in just a couple weeks of selling it.

0:09:02.8  And the problem was that again, the streaming infrastructure, like some of the core aspects that it was built around, like at that time, we were built around Flash.  0:09:34.1  And like, we knew that wasn’t the future, we knew that wasn’t – like we didn’t want to be built on that, but like, we were so out of options.  Yeah, like we had no choices.

0:09:45.9  And so we went with like what we thought was the best option and it just wasn’t working.  Like for people using it.  We knew it deep down like.  And so it wasn’t one of those things we could just gradually improve over time, it was like the core foundation.  So we had to stop it, refund those people and sit back down and try to rebuild it again.

Andy:  0:10:07.0  And when you had to sit back down and build it again, were you still working with the agency at that point or had anything changed there?

Wyatt:  0:10:14.0  No, we weren’t working with the agency.  So we worked with them for maybe four to five months maxed before we completely like just cut them off and realized that were just getting entirely scammed.

0:10:27.5  So at that time, we were working with an internal team of three developers.  Which was too many.  0:10:35.4  Like, but again it just came down to like, we felt we were pressured, we felt like we were behind, we thought we needed it.

Like we had one developer working on like what we call like our user dashboard.  One working on the streaming stuff and one working on the webinar room and like job description and all that stuff.

0:10:53.5  And so like, we were just trying to put all the pieces together and hoping that it would all come together at once.  Which I don’t think it happens that way.

0:11:02.2  And if you were to go back, or if we were to go back and do it again we would say, “Ok what really matters?”  And we would hire just probably one person to work on that one problem and see if we can solve that.  And if we can, then we know everything else is going to work.

Andy:  0:11:15.9  I see.  And then, when was it that you realized that something had to change?  So after you have that beta and it’s not working, you go back to the drawing board, did things start changing then?  Or what happened?

Wyatt:  0:11:27.6  Things did start changing then.  I remember we started looking for a technical advisor at that time.  And so, I remember that night like specifically, I was in a hotel in New York, David my co-founder was like in Tampa and I called him and I was like, “Dude this is not working, we got to shut it down and try to rebuild it.”

And it was a really hard conversation and like there was a ton of stress around it, but the next day, David was flying over there and we were meeting with somebody that we were interviewing to be like a technical advisor.  Like someone we could rely on to help us make some of those decisions that we just had no idea about.

0:12:04.7  And we did end up hiring that person.  He came on board, kind of like in a part time advisor position.  Which helped a lot.  But from that point forward, we just knew we had to focus on that.

0:12:15.2  And so we stopped just like worrying about features.  Like, we cut out so much stuff out of the platform.  Even stuff that was already finished, we deleted it.  Like, we deleted so many features because we knew we just wanted to focus on the core aspects.

0:12:31.0  And the goal then at that time was to get to beta and just get users and see if people liked it.

Andy:  0:12:37.6  Right.  Because at that point, you’ve learned enough.  You clearly understand that if the core functionality isn’t up to par, it doesn’t matter what features you have because ultimately people aren’t going to stick around if the core of it isn’t working.

Wyatt:  0:12:52.0  Exactly right.  And like, the thing that’s always been in the back of our minds is that like, you know, reputation in a lot of ways with webinar platforms matters.  And we didn’t want to get to a point where it’s like irreversibly destroyed.

0:13:07.0  So like you know, when someone runs a webinar there’s potentially 500 people online, or 800 people online, and all those people are seeing what’s happening.

And so all it takes is a few bad webinars like that and all of a sudden everyone thinks it’s a bad platform.  So.

Andy:  0:13:21.1  Yeah, for me, when I was testing out all those options, I think the platform has changed since then so I’m not going to name it, but there’s one webinar platform where when I was using it, the first webinar I was doing, it’s already been put out to the list, people have registered, it’s like literally ready to go and their servers went down.

0:13:39.9  And I couldn’t get ahold of anyone, couldn’t do anything, like, I’m getting all these emails from people so I have to send out a blast, “Everyone I’m sorry, it’s not working.”  It’s just like, it was the worst thing ever.

And so, it’s just like, I don’t care how much that is changed, I’m just not going to use that one again.  0:13:57.0  And if people were getting those emails and in the footer it said what the platform was.  Like, I’m sure they don’t have a great impression either.

So, it’s just – I know fully what you mean.  The stakes – in the grand scheme of things, yeah, the webinar didn’t go off, no one died, nothing big happened, but it’s still not professional.  It’s embarrassing.  You don’t want to go through that.

Wyatt:  0:14:18.3  No, not at all.  And if you care, which we did, a lot, it like, it really gets at you.  Like, it really gets at you and makes things so stressful.

And, I mean, what we’ve learned, no mater what, is that we picked a really stressful industry to go into.  0:14:34.8  Like, it’s a live environment.  Like, things are always going on, things can always potentially go wrong.  And that’s helped us build a better company because we look at it from that perspective now.

0:14:48.5  But we didn’t realize what we were getting into when we started.  And so now, for us, like, simplicity in those core aspects are always going to be like our guiding lights essentially as a company.  0:15:02.3  Because otherwise, it’s just not sustainable.

Andy:  0:15:06.3  And so to go back a little bit though to talking about bringing on that technical advisor.  When they were working part time and just kind of, I guess advising, what did that role look like?  What were they actually doing?  Was it just consulting with the developers?  Kind of giving guidance, or what did that look like day to day?

Wyatt:  0:15:27.5  Right yeah, so it started out more hands on kind of a position, like actual part time.  I would say maybe like 10 to 20 hours a week.  And yeah, it was working with the developers, it was talking with us, it was like translating things to us.  Like, walking us through like the decisions and stuff.

0:15:45.0  The reason why we went with this guy specifically was because, you know, we were exploring at the time, going into like a different technology, like WebRTC, and this guy had been working with these different streaming platforms that we were considering for like, 15 years.  He had been with them from the beginning.

0:16:07.5  So like, he – not only did he know these platforms, he knew the downfalls, upsides, but he also knew the people inside of them.  The CTO’s, like all this.  0:16:16.2  So it was just like this like inside scoop that we then had.

Andy:  0:16:19.2  How did you find him?

Wyatt:  0:16:20.5  Actually, so we were searching for a long time – how we actually found him was through a recruiter.  So we had to pay a pretty hefty fee when we decided to go with him.

Andy:  0:16:30.2  Interesting.  And it seems like it was totally worth it.  Because I know this is something where, as a non-technical founder, it’s really hard to know where to go with a lot of development.  And a lot of times, yeah, you think you can partner with an agency and sometimes that works out.  0:16:45.4  A lot of times it doesn’t.

But even when it does look like it’s working out, if you don’t have the technical knowledge to evaluate the code, making sure that they’re making long-term decisions for scalability, for all these other things that matter, it’s really hard to kind of guide the ship.  0:17:03.8  You just don’t know what’s going on.

So it seems like even though that cost was hefty, I’m guessing it was worth it.

Wyatt:  0:17:09.0  Yeah, it was worth it.  And you know, when we like set out to make that hire, it was actually for like “CTO”.  Like, we wanted someone that was not just going to be an advisor, but also be able to code, and like lead, and like that stuff.  And we didn’t find that.

0:17:28.5  We found this guy instead who we decided like was going to be worth it no matter what.  Even if he couldn’t code, even if he couldn’t be in there more than a certain amount of hours per week because he had an other – he was a CTO at another company.

0:17:41.7  And so, like, we worked with what we got there, and it was awesome.  It ended up helping us tremendously.  And so, yeah, I think it was worth it.

Andy:  0:17:51.6  And then since then, since that first failed beta, you go back to the drawing board, you bring in this technical advisor to kind of help right the ship and it seems like by simplifying things down by really focusing on the core that matters, things go better.

0:18:07.5  So what started happening then?  When did you finally get to the point where you said like, “Alright, let’s make this public.”

Wyatt:  0:18:14.0  Yeah, so we finally had a product that was like ready to go, ready to use, and like I remember doing a team meeting.  Like we do team meetings every Monday, and I remember getting on this one and just being like, you know, we’ve realized what’s important over the time since we started and we’re going to dial in on that even more.

18:29 And so I listed basically everything we were rid of inside of our platform and what we’re going to focus on, and then I dropped an even bigger bomb on everyone, and I was like, “And we’re making it completely free during beta, because what I want to happen is for us to get hundreds of users and in using the platform during a short period of time so we can really test these core aspects.”

0:18:59.3  Reliability, scalability, like all this stuff that we know now is really going to matter.  And I was like, “And that’s why we’re stripping out the other features, because we’re just not going to have time to look at them.  We can consider adding them back after beta, but for now, if it doesn’t have to do with reliability, scalability or the core aspects of our platform, we’re not touching it.”

Andy:  0:19:22.7  So it was almost, not just a stress test of the core functionality, but you’re really, if you think about this as like an experiment, you’re really just testing that core hypothesis that like, “Alright, did we get this right?  Like, is this what people care about?”  And then, “Did we get it right?”

Wyatt:  0:19:37.2  Yup, exactly.  And the funny thing that happened was that not only did people like the platform in general, but what we found they really liked, was the simplicity of it.  And so it was kind of funny that we removed all the features and stuff, because that helped with that.

And then we were like, “Wow, we just actually found like, this path that we can go down that people really like about our platform”, and those were the people that were in free beta that converted into customers when we went out of it.

Andy:  0:20:06.8  And from there, there’s two questions.  I guess the first one is just, going forward, as you do add features, because I’m guessing you’re not going to stay with the exact same features that you have now.  Things are going to need to change.  There are things you know you need to add.  So how do you plan to add other features while maintaining that simplicity?

Wyatt:  0:20:27.6  Yeah.  So this is something I think a lot about.  I mean, first of all, it’s understanding who you’re building it for.  Because if you’re trying to build it for everyone, then it’s going to become cluttered, you’re going to have so many features, you know, people aren’t going to use certain things.

0:20:42.6  So it’s understanding who you’re building it for, and so we know that we’re building Demio for you know, essentially a marketing crowd.  Companies and people that want to use Demio for marketing purposes.  So that helps.

0:20:55.8  The other thing is constantly re-evaluating what you have and what you think you want.  And understanding if it’s something that customers want, like why do they want it.  What’s the underlying problem that they’re trying to solve?  People will request things just for the sake of requesting things.  0:21:14.9  Like they think they want it, they think it would make the platform better, but you know, they might be trying to solve a completely different problem that should be left for another software altogether.

0:21:26.2  So like, when we’re adding new things, what we’re doing is constantly reassessing what we already have.  So maybe it’s stripping out certain things.  Like just today I was looking at one of our pages, we have to add new functionality to it, and I was looking at these two features that are there and we realized that nobody’s really using them.  So we’re going to take them out in the next version when we add in the new stuff.  So, it’s making it simple while we’re also adding in.

0:21:50.5  So, it’s constantly re-evaluating and questioning if things are actually helping the user or not.  Because what’s important to think about is new users coming in.  Like it’s easy to just get caught up in this thing where like understand the platform so you can add things and add things and you’ll always understand it, but when someone – when fresh eyes are put on the software, it’s all new to them.  0:22:11.3  So you have to constantly think about it from that perspective.

Andy:  0:22:16.1  Yeah, and it’s something where I’m really starting to appreciate this having come on board Groove a few months back, where that’s kind of what we’re trying to do, is be the simple but powerful help desk solution.

So it’s really hard to balance, because in the early days, we did the exact same thing.  We focused on the core set of features, but over time you have to evolve and still add some features that let your customers grow with your software.  And it’s just finding that balance with how can you do that without losing site of who we’re really going after.

0:22:48.1  And so, we still want companies to grow with us, so we are going to still make sure that we have some of those features that – so they’ll only, some of the more powerful power users, I guess, will need, but then, when doing some customer calls, you’ll realize a lot of the feature requests – what we did, we’d send out a survey, kind of just ask anything they’d like to see changed, just get a bunch of information from them and then follow up with a phone call to dig deeper into it, and a lot of the kind of feedback requests when you dug into it you’re like, “Oh, if you want it for that, that’s just not at all what we’re trying to do.

Like I understand why you want to do that, but we’re not going after that segment.”  And like, obviously you find a better way of saying it and our diplomatic about it, but at the end of the day, if you know who you’re trying to serve, you have to be relentlessly faithful to that vision.

Wyatt:  0:23:39.8  Yup.  Yeah.  I mean, oh man, I love talking about this stuff.  I seriously could talk about all day.  Like, I think it’s critically important.  What you’re saying is 100% true.

It’s really a balance because the natural progression of a company is like you have to kind of go up market because you know, with like, with certain aspects of your business, like churn, and you know, trying to increase your average revenue on a monthly basis and you know per customer and stuff like that.

Like you have to be able to support those types of customers, add new features, like trying to give them what they want, but on the other hand, you don’t want to lose site of like your core aspects of your products.

0:24:19.0  Which for us is like one of those is simplicity, same for Groove, so it’s really challenging, and I think more than anything, it’s just being really thoughtful about everything that you add.

Andy:  0:24:27.7  Right.  Because I mean, at the end of the day, if you look at Demio, your goal if your software works, if they’re able to use it successfully, they’re going to grow their business, and as their business grows, their needs are going to change.

0:24:42.2  And if you want them to stay with the platform, it’s going to have to evolve as well, but as long as you can kind of keep that core vision, core focus, in mind, which is easier said than done, but you’re clearly well aware of that, then you can strike that balance.  0:24:55.8  But it is something that I agree, I could talk to or talk about for hours.  But I’m glad we touched on that point.

0:25:03.1  But I’m curious, because at this point it seems like things are on a good trajectory.  You have what looks like from an outsider, a better mindset, a clearer, I guess like more holistic strategy.  You know what matters, you know what you’re focused on.

25:19 But so then, getting down to some of the tactics, like how are you going to keep this momentum going in the future?  0:25:23.7  What are your top priorities to make sure you’re really able to capitalize on all these changes that you’ve made?

Wyatt:  0:25:30.4  Yeah so, you know like you said, we have a completely different perspective on things now.  For me personally, just much more like long-term focused and implementing things that just make work in general, like sustainable.

You know, I definitely burned out at previous points in the Demio journey and like it was just bound to happen because of everything that was going on.  0:26:01.1  So now, like you know, I enjoy what I do on a daily basis.  But I set limits for myself as far as like when I’m working, like the amount of stuff that I’m worried about or think about.  0:26:13.2  Like all this stuff.  Like notifications.  Like all that stuff can just drive someone crazy I think.

So there’s that aspect of it, but other than that, it’s just like where we’re at with the company and the product.  0:26:24.0  Like there’s this momentum now, which is really exciting for not only me, but just everyone on our team.  It’s like the positive reinforcement from customers and stuff like that.  Like that’s the kind of stuff that makes us just want to keep going and be around for like years to come.

But it’s making sure that we do that in just like a sustainable manner.  Like we’re not trying to grow at all costs.  We’re trying to just continually grow slowly, make a great product, like serve our customers and just become a great company over time.

Andy:  0:26:54.0  What do you see as a potential roadblock, or a potential challenge you’ll have to overcome to actually fulfill some of those dreams that you just laid out?

Wyatt:  0:27:05.2  So, I think for us, being a bootstrapped company, it’s just always being stretched thin.  And so we’re up against some competitors that have a lot bigger wallets let’s say.  So, a lot more resources and so it’s really understanding I think like what’s important and if we’re not careful, I think we could you know, like I said, get stretched too thin where we’re moving too slowly compared to like competitors.

Like, this is an industry where like a lot of stuff is changing pretty fast.  0:27:40.8  So, I think it’s remaining focused on those things so that we can keep moving at a fast pace.  So I think like that’s one challenge.  Just like competitors, like the nature of the space and how quickly things are changing.

Andy:  0:27:53.6  Then just to tie it all together, we’ve talked about what seems like a hundred different lessons you’ve learned, but if you were to kind of just put a bow on it, what advice do you wish someone gave you when you first started out with Demio?

Wyatt:  0:28:09.9  Probably to be patient.  Like, it’s this balance again of like, you know, taking action right away and like you know, just doing anything because you learn as you go.  But also with the things that you know are important, it’s really like just being patient.  0:28:29.3  And in the grand scheme of things.  Because in reality, like things just take time.  It’s easy to, you know, dream about building like a ten million a year company, but then you realize how much work actually goes into that and how much time actually goes into it.

0:28:43.6  And that’s not guaranteed, and there’s so many obstacles you’re going to run into along the way.  And so instead, it’s just about focusing on like your step-by-step journey.  Just like the next step you can take, the next day, like what you’re doing right now.  And being patient with everything else.  0:29:00.4  Like knowing that it will eventually kind of come together.  Especially with like hiring decisions.  Like not rushing those.

Andy:  0:29:06.5  Are you familiar with Rob Walling at all? 0:29:08.5

Wyatt:  Yes, definitely.

Andy:  0:29:09.5  Yeah, so his story of launching Drip, and for listeners who aren’t familiar with him, he is the founder of Drip as well as a dozen other smaller businesses before that, and hosts MicroConf, 0:29:24.8 [Inaudible] everything.

He’s kind of like the king of the bootstrapped, self-funded world, but his story with Drip is very similar to yours with Demio, where he was pouring all of the money from HitTail 0:29:41.2, which was a SaaS business that he bought – pouring all of that funding, Drip, in those early days and just constantly iterating, constantly trying to improve until it finally hit that tipping point where he said like, “Ok we’re on to something”.

And then it started to grow and he started to get returns from it.  0:29:59.9  But and for him, he’s talked a lot online and in person about what kept him going.  What I’m curious though, the last thing that I wanted to just ask is, what do you think kept you going through all of that?  Just putting money week after week from a business that was doing pretty well, into one that isn’t.  30:15  Like why did you keep doing that?

Wyatt:  0:30:18.3  Ah, maybe out of insanity, I don’t know.  I think it was like, partially never losing hope in like, the idea that it would eventually work out.  It was – I mean there was a few things.  30:25 There was also knowing that there really was a big market opportunity for it.  That people wanted it.  We wanted it.  Like everyone that we talked to.  So it was like fighting for that, you know, opportunity.

30:41 And I hate to say this, but it was also probably because of what we had invested.  Like it gets harder to walk away from something the more you have invested.  0:30:51.2  Which is really not the best way to look at it, because you should always be looking forward and just making the best decisions that way.  But, it gets harder and harder the more money you have invested and time, and stuff like that.

Andy:  0:31:01.5  For sure.  It’s easy an outsider to say, “Oh that’s the sunk cost fallacy”, but like when it’s your money, when it’s your cost that is sunk, it is not as easy to come to terms with that, but it does seem like it’s a good thing that you were able to power through.

0:31:15.0  And so, before we wrap up, I just like to ask all my guests a few rapid-fire questions.  So I’ll go through them pretty quickly, but your answers don’t have to be too short.

0:31:23.3  And the first one is just, what do you currently spend too much time doing?

Wyatt:  0:31:29.9  Support.

Andy:  0:31:31.3  What do you not spend enough time on?

Wyatt:  0:31:35.3  Strategic relationships.

Andy:  0:31:38.9  And then getting back into the tactics.  A little bit ago we talked bigger picture, but what are you hoping in, say, the next quarter?

Wyatt:  0:31:48.2  In the next quarter we have a really big update that we’re rolling out that’s going to solve a lot of objections that we’ve been fighting against.  And just make our product a lot better.  So we have that.

We also have revenue goals.  Like now we’re at 43k MRR.  In the next quarter, we want to get that above 50k.  0:32:11.0  And you know, we’re fighting, like, churn.  I think is one of our major problems and definitely an initiative that we’re focused on right now.  So.

Andy:  0:32:18.1  What do you think your biggest obstacle is to reaching those goals?

Wyatt:  0:32:24.5  Yeah so, I think churn is actually one of those obstacles.  And part of it is with the nature of why people use a webinar platform.  Like we have a lot of people that are coming through that are like, “You know, I just need to run one event, or a few events” and then they just don’t have a need for the product anymore.

0:32:45.0  So it’s re-imagining the product in a way that constantly requires or makes the user want to engage with it constantly.

Andy:  0:32:52.6  I see.  And that’s interesting, because yeah, there are certain products where 80% of the market is going to have – or at least the market you want to go after is going to have some recurring use, but there’s still a significant percentage of people out there who just are looking at it for the one off and it’s trying to figure out how do you account for that in your churn numbers.

Do you try to keep them around?  Is this something to worry about?  All of that.  So it’ll be interesting to see how you guys tackle that.

But Wyatt, it’s been great chatting with you and I think we got a lot out of this.  So, if listeners have enjoyed hearing from you, they want to follow your journey, what is the best place for them to go?  Where should they go to do that?

Wyatt:  0:33:32.3  Yeah, so we recently launched a new blog, kind of documenting everything as we go along throughout the journey, and that can be seen at Demio.com/learn.  And you know, we also put up other blog posts and stuff, just on general business lessons and stuff like that.

So, definitely the best place to stay in touch and follow what we’re doing is on the blog.

Andy:  0:33:53.5  Awesome.  I’ll make sure to get all of that linked up in the show notes, and Wyatt, thanks again for the time today.

Wyatt:  Yeah, no problem at all, it’s a pleasure.