Recap Week 01 of the #HACKABUSINESS Challenge

WOW… this is the Recap of the First Week of the #HACKABUSINESS Challenge
… and hence the story begins 🙂

The 4 fundamental Ground Rules

Alright, let me explain the fundamental Ground Rules for the Startup School #HACKABUSINESS Challenge:
  1. Launch a Startup from Scratch! No Website, No Followers, No Products, No Investment!
  2. Bootstrap your way to the top out of your own pockets.
  3. Start out of your Bedroom Office with what you have available.
  4. Develop everything for yourself!

How did it work out?

So as I really need to start from ZERO, one of the very first things was to build a landing page for the Startup School. So I installed WordPress on my hosting account and started with the most simple of landing pages you can imagine. A background image. A Headline plus subtitle and an email submission form. Very simple and no-nonsense. I even dared to submit it to but got rejected because it was just too simple for them. Right they are. I should have known before!

My 1st eLearning Course

I immediately started recording my first eLearning course called Anti-Hacker Security for WordPress with the video equipment that I had bought some time ago and had stacked in a dusty corner of my bedroom. When you sum it up altogether I have around 4.500 USD of equipment already lying around in my house. That included my MacBook Air, a full set of video equipment with lighting system, a digital camera, my smartphone, a printer, an extra monitor screen, a working desk as well as a full host of software tools for video and image editing, like ScreenFlow, Pixelmator and Affinity Designer that I bought from the Apple AppStore.

Equipment Failure

Actually, it was the first time I even tested this stuff, so my faith was put to a test. As it turned out the Logitech C920 stereo mic HD webcam does make some nice pictures but has a crappy sound with blaring echoes that I could not get rid of no matter what I tried. I even put blankets on the walls around me, scavenged the kids beds for more plushies to reduce the side effects of the noise but nothing worked out! In the end, the course got barely approved by Udemy but I had to buy a new microphone nonetheless. So I bought a Blue Snowball ICE from Amazon. The ICE only has a front directed mic, whereas the „fully featured“ Snowball has an option to record both front and back which is good for interviews. But I figured as I will only interview people on Skype, I don´t need to spend the extra 20 bucks. Bootstrapping, right!

My main takeaway

But my main takeaway from week one was that everything takes longer than expected. All those tiny drawbacks and mistakes really add up to eat all your time. And suddenly you realize that your first week is just gone! I dare say it put me 80 hours ahead of the game with no real results yet. Frustrating yes, but when you are still fresh on the floor and highly motivated you eat 80 hours a week for breakfast.

Landing Pages are easy, right?

One thing that was especially frustrating is that under the ground rules, I may not use a professional landing page tool like LeadPages or KickoffLabs, to name just my two favorites. Yes, there are several good ones, but if I had to choose it would go between those two. The thing is that when you earn some money with your stuff the monthly subscription plans of around 30 to 80 USD, depending on the plan will be peanuts to spend, but as I need to pay everything out of my own pocket I need to keep spendings at an absolute low. So I figured I just easily rebuild that functionality with WordPress, no sweat, right? But man, was I into some kind of trouble without even realizing!

The problem is that I wanted to run a referral campaign to boost email signups. I wanted to offer a customized Marketing Plan for your business worth 1.500 USD: I have written some of those for my customers before, so I thought that would be a great incentive! But as it turns out after checking about 5-6 likely tools for that, there has been not a single one that worked the way I needed it to. I just could not get it to sync with my email tool called MyMail.  I spend most of the week testing different tools but none have worked out so far. I even want to get my money back on the ones that I have paid for. Hopefully this will work out!

Stay tuned for the Recap of Week #02!

Watch the Recap of Week #01 of the #HACKABUSINESS Challenge

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