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Entrepreneur-ing In Public: Journey Log #4
Autopest goes multilingual!
I teach entrepreneurship at Duke and I’m publicly growing a company — Autopest — from $0 to $100k/year in revenue in order to help entrepreneurs better understanding the process of building startups. Learn more about my journey here.
I had a fun surprise this week. Someone registered for Autopest and used it to pester someone in a foreign language. I have no idea what the language was (in part because I Autopest protects emails and doesn’t make them accessible to anyone… including me!), but I know the email wasn’t in English.
I bring this up because I hadn’t built Autopest with the intention of non-English speakers using it. I hadn’t even considered it. However, from what I can tell, the A.I. read the original email and created a beautiful follow-up sequence in the same language.
So… there you have it… Autopest officially has multilingual support. Yay!
Obviously, the ability to support multiple languages wasn’t an intentional feature, so I’m not going to take any real credit for it. Instead, I’m going to use it as an opportunity to rehash one of the points I’m constantly making about why entrepreneurs shouldn’t focus on features.
Lots of entrepreneurs launch their startups, struggle to get users, and think the reason they’re struggling is because they aren’t offering the right features. As a result, they keep adding features while hoping new features will entice more users. It’s called “feature creep,” and it never helps. It just makes products more complex and unwieldy.
In a way, my unintentional ability to support multiple languages is a great example of why you can’t “feature” yourself to success. To understand why, consider the potential benefit of Autopest supporting multiple languages. I’ve technically opened Autopest to millions of new users. Isn’t that incredible?
In practice, making Autopest available to millions of new users doesn’t mean anything because none of those people know about it and aren’t going to use it unless I find a way to market to them. Until I can do that — which isn’t going to be happening anytime soon — all those millions of potential users might as well not exist.
The same is true for your company. Don’t let feature creep distract you from the real work you should be doing. Focus on getting users who want what you already have and ignore everyone else.
Thanks for reading about my journey growing Autopest from $0 to $100k/year in revenue. To keep following along, be sure to subscribe!
WEEKLY ACQUISITION METRICS:
Site Visitors: 445 uniques (-8%)
New Free Users: 50 (+6%)
Website Conversion Rate: 11.2%
New Paid Users: 0
AGGREGATE ACQUISITION METRICS:
Total Free Users: 250
Total Paid Users: 1
Total Revenue: $15
Total Costs: $20.91
Net Revenue: -$5.91
WEEKLY USAGE METRICS:
Extension Installs: 13
Unique Senders: 6
In my previous update, I explained that very few of my new registrants are actually using Autopest. Since Autopest is a freemium product, if nobody uses it once they’ve registered, it’s never going to make any money. As a result, I have to find a way to turn new users into active users.
To help me solve this issue, I’ve begun tracking two new funnel metrics : Chrome Extension Installs and Unique Senders. Here’s what they mean and why I’m tracking them…
Chrome Extension Installs
Autopest users don’t technically need to install the Chrome extension. All they need to do is bcc “firstname.lastname@example.org” when sending emails. However, when users install the extension, I get to place a free, persistent advertisement for Autopest inside their Gmail accounts that can remind them to use it. This advertising space is critical (as I’m about to explain when I discuss the second new metric I’m tracking).
Unfortuantely, 99% of my current Autopest signups are coming directly from the website, which means I have to convince people to install the Chrome extension after they create their accounts. I’m currently not doing a great job of convincing them, which is why only 13 of 50 new users this past week — 26% — actually installed it.
I’m going to work on improving that number.
Turning someone into a devoted Autopest user requires getting them to send emails. Unfortunately, as I mentioned last week, only three people have done this so far.
This week, I added a major new piece of messaging that teaches people how to use Autopest the first time they open a compose window after installing the Chrome extension. It looks like this:
So far, this new “explainer” box helped me go from having three people use Autopest during the entire first six weeks of its existence to six people using it last week. Admittedly, six people in one week still isn’t a lot, but it’s a heck of a lot more than three people in six weeks. I’ll take it!
As mentioned, the “explainer” box only appears if users install the Chrome Extension, which, again, is a reason for me to start emphasizing extension installs. Hopefully more extension installs equal more active Autopest users and, as a result, more unique Autopest users every week.
I’ll keep tinkering and update you on my progress next week!