Living by Doing

I'm a single founder working on improving my business and myself.

3. February 2014 22:12
by Anders Thue Pedersen
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How to make more doing nothing.

3. February 2014 22:12 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

When I finally broke out of my bad business relationship 4 years ago, I was in a pretty bad shape.

I could work only for a couple of hours before my brain shut down an even a simple programming problem would become unsolvable.

For this and many other reasons I promised myself that for the first six months I would say no to all new projects and all offers of partnership etc.

The first time someone asked me to become part of a new (exciting) partnership, I had to sit on my hands and force my mouth to say 'No', no easy feat since I had just sold my “life works” for a lollypop to save my life.

This ‘No’ and the next one and next one slowly led me to get more energy since I concentrated on helping my existing customers, and only enough to make the amount of money I needed for paying my bills.

Yves Klein painting

After saying no to “everything” for a year and a half I was invited by a previously colleague to pitch my idea for a project he had, he liked my ideas and the rest as the saying goes is history, this project led me to build up my business that now has 5 employees.

Last week I went through the same rollercoaster again, even though in a much smaller scale.
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27. January 2014 16:13
by Anders Thue Pedersen
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Goals and Happiness

27. January 2014 16:13 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

I have this 10x goal for my TSR business and this blog is part of how I try to be accountable and get some work done every week.

This has worked somewhat but I have also been doing other things to keep me focused and on track.

This blog has a status at the bottom that summarize how the last week has been going and where I am on my 10x goal.

For as long as I have had a smartphone I have had a special account where the orders tick in. In the beginning when I got an order a week it was a huge kick every time the bell was struck, and later when i got more than an order a day it was a constant reminder that I had done 'it'.

Lately with this blog (but not because of it) and mastermind groups (but not because of them) I decided to focus more on my growth and my revenue.

This goal setting made me really focused on the orders, and I kept a weekly track by marking all orders as read Monday morning, and then my unread counter on my phone showed how this week’s progress was going, if I was ahead or behind the needed number of orders to reach my weekly goals and grow my revenue.

DON'T EVER DO THIS!

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20. January 2014 21:52
by Anders Thue Pedersen
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I give up.

20. January 2014 21:52 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

Not my goal of 10x and not my dreams of a SaaS app, more Windows Apps and not my consultancy business. I give up on my high expectations of myself, I let go and relax (some more) and enjoy what I have done instead of cursing over what I have not done.

You should try it - it feels great!

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13. January 2014 08:51
by Anders Thue Pedersen
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Back on track

13. January 2014 08:51 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

It has been a bumpy ride this Christmas, the sales went down and I got nervous and had a lot of thoughts regarding my previous 4x. I started thinking if it was just a wishful fata morgana or a real trend.

This week has luckily proven what I after much thinking and talking with all my mastermind groups, friends and wife had come to believe – that my 4x was something real and that I still have more starts to reach and more victories to win.

Back on track

The drop in sales made me feel like a derailed train, as if I did the wrong things and now everything would be like trying to force a train through a dense forest instead of running smoothly on the tracks.

The reason this scares me and make me panic is that I have been down a road in my previous business live that was like pushing a dead whale through a forest. Somewhere in those 11 years of agony and hard times I lost my vision on my left eye due to a Scleroses attack, (I do not have MS (knock on wood)). I lost all put one of my friends, I lost a lot of money but most importantly I lost myself.

The last 5 years I have been looking for my set of tracks in life. I have been looking for who I was and what I should be and do.

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6. January 2014 20:42
by Anders Thue Pedersen
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Why I am tired of reading post with ”10 something to get more something” titles

6. January 2014 20:42 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

Honestly, I love those posts, but often the lead to some more items on my to-do list, and it has now gotten so long I cannot manage it any more.

The problem with a to-do list for me is that most of the items on it no longer has my interest; they start to feel like work instead of fun. I have to be honest and let you know that I have never had a normal job so I have no idea how that feels. What I do know is when there are too many task in a project that are trivial or is something I have no interest in, I slowly stop working on that project.

So how do I keep my inspiration, productivity and traction? I need to prune my to-do list, to get it smaller and more interesting so I do not slip and lose my traction.

10 more ideas to 10x my business, steal them if you like them!

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30. December 2013 00:01
by Anders Thue Pedersen
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Fear and Entrepreneurship.

30. December 2013 00:01 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

I'm afraid all year round, afraid I'll fail, afraid I'll go bankrupt, afraid the users won't like my software, afraid my peers won't like my ideas and afraid that everyone will figure out I am an imposter.

I have fought the fear. I have been running from the fear. I have tried to barricade me away from the fear.

Nothing worked.

This is what i feel like when I am afraid.

This is how I feel like when being afraid!

Then I did the only thing left to do, I started to talk about the fear. I told friends, family and business associates about my fear.

I told my friends how afraid I was of not being a good programmer, employee, and friend. One said, "You are the fastest programmer I know", another said "It sounds like you are an excellent boss".

I talked to my wife about how I was afraid where everything was going and how I had no plan, and she said that in her optic I was good enough and a great employer.

I even talked to an employee and told him how I at least once a week on my way to work thought about if today would be the day they (the employees) called my bluff and figured out I was afraid if what I did was okay. He did not believe me and told me that I was so sure and so confident.

I was much less afraid before my 'success', when my watermark software revenue was 1/4 of now I was very calm about it, but now I am afraid it will go away and never come back. I am afraid I cannot 10x my revenue and I am afraid someone will call my bluff.

See a red thread?

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23. December 2013 22:52
by Anders Thue Pedersen
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Copywriting!

23. December 2013 22:52 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

It’s almost Christmas and here in Denmark we give gifts on the 24’th so tomorrow my daughter will be spoiled (again, we had our first Christmas eve yesterday, but that’s another story)

Since we started our vacation a week ago, I have wound down on the actual work done on my software and website but this do not mean that I have been doing nothing.

I have been reading more than usual, and when I saw that Thibaut Barrère tweeted that he was working on his copywriting skills I thought I had to do something about mine too, so I started reading copyhackers first book “Where Stellar Messages Come From” that had been sitting on my virtual bookshelf for months, and quickly realized I don’t really find the subject very interesting.

I tweeted this, and Joanna from copyhackers replied I had to continue since she was sure I would benefit.

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16. December 2013 12:57
by Anders Thue Pedersen
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Getting help is not as bad as you would think!

16. December 2013 12:57 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

An important factor of my current website revenue has been that I joined a mastermind group.

This has helped me do stuff I did not believe I could. I have received help when I had doubt on how to do new things and I have even received code pieces that helped me by speeding up my completion of a new feature.

Before attending a mastermind group, I had a hard time doing stuff I did not feel I mastered. Creating a website selling software was something I had never done and knew nothing about so even though I knew how to code and had ideas for products (I even had a friend making real money selling software!). So basically I had NO excuses for not doing it, and still it took me a long time getting started.

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9. December 2013 21:08
by Anders Thue Pedersen
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How to: never become a failure again.

9. December 2013 21:08 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

As I wrote in my previous post I have done almost all errors known to businessman (and even some unknown ones too), therefore, after I rebooted my life I have been thinking, reading and talking a lot about failure and how to avoid it.

At MicroConf I talked to some of the speakers about failing, how they dealt with the fear of failure and failure itself and what I learned from this was that failure is not avoidable but you can do a lot to keep your failures at a minimum. Then just last week, Adii from Woo Themes wrote his “pause” post, about how he had to take a pause from his latest project and since I talked to him about failure it made me think even more about how to handle failure or even better how to avoid it.

I was thinking if I could do anything to be absolutely sure to never again fail as I have done before, and let me tell you I have had failures that was big (and small). Big when entire NT controller hard drives was accidently deleted during server upgrades or failing to run a company – running it straight into bankruptcy.

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2. December 2013 13:10
by Anders Thue Pedersen
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Level up your business, install an aimbot.

2. December 2013 13:10 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

When I was writing my master thesis, I had to take a break from time to time. Many of these breaks I used to improve my hand/eye coordination skills by playing Quake3.

Sometimes when I got frustrated at my current level or if none of the regulars was playing, I would play a game with an aimbot installed, just to feel 'superior' for 10 minutes (or less if someone spotted you ;) This is of course cheating and never gives the satisfaction of defeating someone because you are just better.

I have been self-employed since 1998 and the first 11 years I wad impressively bad at it - if there is written a book about 1000 things you should never do running a business, I have done 999 of those. The last 4 years I have done better and the last two have been much more fun than ever before.

For the first 11 years, I believed, like many others, that I was not good enough, did not have the skills and that I just needed to work harder to be more successful. Through all 11 years this way of thinking failed me and I did not become more successful or better at running my business.

What I have done differently is that I have installed an aimbot, and contrary to online gaming, this is not cheating, wrong or illegal and it is something that is free to install and use, it has no recurring billing, no learning curve and takes only 1 to 2 hours a week to use.

I am talking about joining other likeminded and talking about what you are doing. We call ours a mastermind group and it is something that is only used by some self-employed, but should be used by everyone.

The amount of inspiration, ideas and accountability/commitment I get out of my two masterminds groups are astounding and I would not have been able to grow my business without them.

Then you might wonder how does attending a mastermind group link to my 10x goals, well I will let you know why, it goes something like this.

A friend asked if I would like to meet once every month with him and two others in a mastermind group, I said yes, then he kept talking about the micropreneur academy and I was like, yeah right but I know better.

My friend went to MicroConf in Vegas last year and loved it, and when they announced MicroConf Europe, he asked if I would join him there, I said yes and the rest is as they say “history” and documented in previous posts.

So without a mastermind group I would never have attended MicroConf, never gotten my eyes opened and never done 4x even less done 10x

Status

Last week
I got my installer/software upgraded to the .NET framework 4.0, released the free version requiring .NET 4 to test the waters and see if anybody complaints (none yet).

I have been running a a/b test on the download page, testing if a “works for windows 7” (if you are running windows 7) works better than the 90 days guarantee, even though it has been running for almost 1000 visitors there are still no clear winner – it shifts from day to day, so I will let it run for 1000 visitors more.

I have also worked some more on link building for TSR Watermark Image and the TSR Photo Manger, getting some high PR inbound links.

The last thing I did was emailing a Black Friday special deal with 60% discount, but instead of selling the TSR Watermark cheap, I sold a TSR Watermark + TSR Photo Manager bundle for 23.95 so I only gave away 6USD pr. Sale, and this led to seven orders of the bundle.

Last week my visitors dropped a bit – perhaps it’s thanksgiving or just a fluke I don’t know, but I do know that my conversion went up 0,13% and this made my total “x” rise to 4.13x, up from 3.95x last week.

This week
I hope I get my confidence up enough to release the .NET 4.0 PRO version; this would enable me to move forward with a higher price point version that lets you upload the watermarked photos to Facebook/Flickr/Twitpic

I do not know why I keep on being scared of the customer’s wrath. I know from my analytics that around 80% of all installs are running .NET 4 or higher. Every time I change something I am afraid the customers will be angry – but in reality the changes I have been most scared of has turned up my revenue, so far by 4x, so if there is a lesson to be learned, I believe it is that everything must be tested and tried once.

The numbers

OrdersRevenueVisitsConversion
147% 181% 109% 135%
212% 275% 111% 190%
141% 185% 105% 135%
206% 254% 113% 182%
171% 215% 107% 159%
229% 285% 104% 220%
247% 313% 109% 226%
300% 395% 106% 283%
312% 413% 96% 323%