Entrepreneur Office Hours - Issue #167
Failure to launch
I’m frustrated, and I’m going to use my pulpit here to explain why…
Behind the scenes of Entrepreneur Office Hours, I’ve been working some long nights developing a new project I think/hope will create good content for all of you. It’s the kind of thing where I haven’t gone to bed before 1am in nearly a month because I’m trying to find extra hours in my day. I haven’t put in that kind of effort since launching my last company a decade ago.
Whatever… you don’t care about any of that. The only reason I’m complaining is because I was excited to launch it this week, but unexpected “complications” happened, and it’s delayed.
I was actually planning to launch it last week, too, but there were complications.
Heck… I was going to launch it last month, but… well… complications.
Believe it or not, my point for writing this isn’t that I’ll eventually have something new to share with all of you. Instead, it’s a reminder that nothing ever gets finished as quickly as we think. That’s because when entrepreneurs envision new ideas and estimate how long they’ll take, they always underestimate.
I’m guessing it’s because entrepreneurs have a habit of being overly optimistic. As a result, we create our time estimates while imagining that everything is going to go perfectly. Unfortunately, it never does, and the result is a failure to launch when we think we’re going to launch.
The same thing is certainly going to happen to you. When it does, know you’re not alone. We all get too optimistic, and we all make the same mistake. Embrace the delay and keep grinding. You’ve come too far to quit now.
Early customer acquisition may not be as valuable a metric as most investors and entrepreneurs think.
Learning how to quickly tell when investors aren’t interested will save you tons of time and frustration.
Office Hours Q&A
I have a small but growing social media following. I am probably what is called a “micro influencer.” But I have had a few companies reach out for brand partnerships. Am I too small to do them? If not, how do I figure out how much to charge? Is it some sort of calculation based on the number of followers I have?
Thanks for your advice,
If you only had a small following and were actively reaching out to people looking for brand partnerships and sponsorship deals, I’d tell you you’re wasting your time. It’s better to focus on building as big an audience as possible, otherwise you’ll be spending all your time chasing tiny brand deals, and that’ll cut into how much time you can spend growing your following large enough to make it worth something.
However, if brands are reaching out to you on their own, that’s a different issue. You didn’t have to chase them down, which is a win. As for whether or not you should work with them, I can’t answer that question for you, but I can give you questions to consider:
Are you interested in promoting that brand and/or product? This piece of advice should be obvious, but, in case it isn’t, don’t partner with brands just to partner. Choose brands you care about or would actually use, otherwise your audience isn’t going to be happy.
Is the brand paying you enough to make it worthwhile? This point also addresses your “How much should I charge question?” The creator/influencer world doesn’t have set prices. You charge what you want to charge, and sponsoring companies decide whether or not they’re willing to pay. What you charge is completely up to you, just remember to make your price worth your effort. Don’t undersell yourself or your value. Sure, you might think you don’t have a huge following but if someone contacted you about a brand deal, it means someone wants to reach the people you can reach, so your audience must be valuable to them.
Is branded content going to upset your readers? You obviously don’t want to upset them; however, at the same time, if your following won’t tolerate you trying to recoup some of your costs for creating content by including an occasional ad, then what’s the point of having a following? In other words, don’t avoid ads just because your followers would prefer they didn’t exist, but don’t go overboard, either. Most followers will tolerate a reasonable amount of branded content so long as the rest of your content remains in line with the reasons they followed you in the first place.
Can you make branded content your audience will appreciate? This last question is a bit of an extension of the previous question (as well as Question #1). While not 100% necessary, the most effective branded content should look and feel very similar to all your other content. The better you can do that, the more effective your content will be (and the happier your sponsors will be).
Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!