2017 in Review

2017 has been an insane journey. I did many things that I would like to share.

Here is a list of some of my most exciting learnings and below I have expanded a bit on each.

🎓 Got a bachelor’s degree in Business Development Engineering.
🏡 Get your base in order
🏃‍ Have fun, get out of the building, and stay fit
😁 Actively pursue new customers and stay structured with a CRM
🎤 Online marketing and speaking to startups offline makes a gold combination.
💻 Learn a new coding language. It will keep you Agile (pun intended)
⏳ Time can tell if your new idea is just exciting or a promising project.
🧔 Get a mentor. It will change your life
🤯 Making the product only takes a fraction of the time.
🤗 Facebook Groups is the most engaging network scene
📈 Trigger Growth is the growth agency startups need


⭐️ Here is what I learned ⭐️

🎓 Got a bachelor’s degree in Business Development Engineering.

Mixing practical experience with a theoretical foundation and you have a potpourri of amazingness. In other words, we startup people like action and to “do” all the time, but sometimes it is good to think, reflect, and strategize.

🏡 Get your base in order

After having moved around five times in 2016 while studying and running my business, my girlfriend and I finally got an apartment.

Getting a fixed base in Copenhagen has given me much more time and capacity to reflect and create. The life as a nomad can no doubt be exciting — during the year we also traveled quite a lot between moving addresses — nevertheless having a base and getting into a rhythm of working out and getting solid friendships locally, is critical.

🏃‍ Have fun, get out of the building, and stay fit

Make sure that you have some activities that get you out of the building and forces you to stay fit while doing all the freelancing stuff

To spice things up, I decided to pursue a personal interest of mine and got a part-time job as an indoor body-flight instructor. I finished the Instructing lessons in March. This work has turned out to be the perfect way for me to keep the edge with briefing people, staying fit, and giving me some great friendships not entirely focused on startup stuff.

😁 Actively pursue new customers and stay structured with a CRM

In previous years my sales process has been very passive, in the sense that I would react only to incoming requests.

During 2017 I have actively been turning it around to proactive outreach, speaking gigs, and a pipeline of prospects.

With this change to outbound sales, I have also started using a CRM (Customer Relationship Mangement) system.

Using a CRM system has helped force me to think more structure about selling and making a sustainable business.

🎤 Online marketing and speaking to startups offline makes a gold combination.

One of my tools for getting awareness has been speaking opportunities.

Speaking in front of motivated startup people is exciting.

I created my own concept called, “Live Growth Hacking”.

The idea is to turn a traditional talk upside down.

Instead of 70% monolog and 30% Q&A, I wanted to make something more inclusive and engaging.

So I make a short 30% pep talk to ignite some questions in the minds of the audience and then 70% Q&A with actual startup cases.

This is super thrilling.

💻 Learn a new coding language. It will keep you Agile (pun intended)

I have been programming for that past ten years or so and like to play around with new frameworks or programming languages.

Python has been on my list of languages to explore for some years.

This December I had a fun little project that suited very well as a “Hello World.” With some help from a friend of mine, I was able to scrape a list of +100k website domains within 3 hours of playing with Python.

⏳ Time can tell if your new idea is just exciting or a promising project.

Working on different projects is a blessing and a burden. Love working on many things and I am starting to accept it as a lifestyle. It has however been difficult in the past since I always wanted everything to be done within a week or two.

In 2017 I have tried something different.

I let projects evolve without the desperation I have had before. This has been quite liberating and fulfilling, because projects that were doomed to fail anyway, would do so without me spending all my time and energy on it, while the strongest projects and ideas kept popping up in my mind.

Furthermore giving time to the projects will show that the people I work with also care more than the initial excitement of the idea.

If both you and your cofounders like a project that hasn’t taken off, even months after you discussed the idea for the first time, this indicates that there is a strong team with patience and perseverance, and worthwhile idea.

🧔 Get a mentor. It will change your life

This year I have had the great pleasure of working with and learning from brilliant people.

Before I make important decisions, I seek their advice and reflect openly with them on what to do next.

Other times I ask my self the question “What would my mentor do in this situation”.

Having intelligent mentors around me has been one of the most rewarding and maturing improvements to my entrepreneurial journey.

🤯 Making the product only takes a fraction of the time.

It is all “the other things” that takes 90% of the time of making a solid business.

I made a chrome extension for growth hackers.

It was an excellent way for me to zoom out and see the whole process of product development within a few weeks. The process made one thing incredibly clear to me.

Here is a breakdown of time spent (not full time)

  • 1–2 hrs making the core functionality as a javascript snippet
  • One week for turning it into a functional and beautiful chrome extension working in developer mode.
  • Two weeks of bug-testing so it would work when downloaded from Google Chrome Store.
  • Two weeks of landing page creation

After having been involved in many projects, it has become clear to me it is often not the core functionality or the secret sauce that is the most time-consuming. It is all the “other stuff” including monetizing the product with payment systems and limiting features for the “basic plan”, writing text for a help center, preparing and launching on product hunt, sales, customer support, etc. It is all these things that steal away the time.

🤗 Facebook Groups is the most engaging network scene

In 2017 I have joined more Facebook groups than ever before. I have spent some time lurking in most groups, contributed in some and in many of them I have found tremendous value. Value, in the form of shared pieces of knowledge or people with similar interests to me. I have connected with some hundreds of group members, skyped with several of them, I have met them when traveling, they have visited me in my home in Copenhagen, and even babysat a dog for one of the startup founders from one of the groups. For me, it has been exciting to meet and connect with like-minded founders and growth people.

📈 Trigger Growth is the growth agency startups need

This summer I decided to focus my attention on Growth Marketing.

Previously I have been working with web development and custom coding.

However what I find most interesting is to grow companies.

I attack this from the most holistic view possible.

Therefore all the effort I put into learning UX and UI design, SEO, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing and Coding can be combined to upgrade the entire sales funnel of a startup.

With the shift in focus, I also rebranded my company from Digivi to Trigger Growth.

Since this summer I have had the pleasure of working with several startups from different corners of the world, and that motivates me every day.

Happy New Year
I wish you a happy and productive 2018.

❓ What is one thing you are happy you learned this year? ❓


P.S.
I also posted this text on Linkedin.
It would mean a lot to me if you would give the post a like, comment, or both 🤗