Video Husky: 187 days in
In the last update that I wrote about Video Husky, we were 98 days old and had just acquired our 10th customer. In my mind, this was a huge milestone because it represented both validation and product-market fit.
At the time I was confident that I could scale and grow this business fast. Having seen how other entrepreneurs and small business owners (like Jake Jorgovan and Russ Perry) were able to scale their productized service businesses — I thought I would be able to achieve the same results in a similar 3–6 month time frame.
Between setting up the business, hiring employees and paying mentors among many other expenses, I’d invested over $25k USD thinking that it was no big deal, that I’d have recover my investment and more in no time…
Yet a couple days ago on Friday morning (Aug 31st — the day before our 6 month mark), there we were at 10 customers, no tangible progress made. In a sense it was even worse than that because for most of July and August we actually only had 5 customers. Between the lack of incoming revenue and an additional hire — Video Husky was bleeding money fast.
It’s hard to accept when things aren’t going your way. There were definitely times during that two month spell where I doubted Video Husky’s potential and my own ability. It’s not easy showing up to a weekly meeting with your employees doing your best to keep morale up and hoping against hope that you won’t have to tell them that this is their last week on payroll while worrying if you’re the cause of the problem.
But here’s the thing…
Even though on the surface nothing had changed, behind the scenes we were working hard to ensure things would improve. Ken and Paul (the first two editors at Video Husky) were both 100% committed to the cause, working long hours even when they weren’t necessary, constantly setting a great example for our newest hire and proactively discussing how we could further improve Video Husky. Without these two, Video Husky wouldn’t be possible and I’m so grateful for their belief in our vision and me.
On my side, I was working with two coaches, Alex McClafferty and Russ Perry, to improve both myself and give Video Husky the best possible chance to thrive. Russ’ EXPAND02 program was an amazing experience for me personally. It showed me how far I was from the person, businessman and leader that I needed to be for Video Husky to succeed but at the same time lit a fire under me to reach that level by growing constantly. Where Russ showed me the importance of the daily battle, working with Alex provided me with perspective. Living in an age where we only see the extraordinary, it’s so easy to develop unrealistic expectations (see the two articles I linked above) and get disheartened easily. Being able to share my difficulties, challenges and failures candidly every week with Alex went so far in ensuring that I stayed focused on the big picture and didn’t give up.
So why is this important?
Because on some level or another, whether personal or professionally — everybody wants results.
We all have values, we all have metrics for those values (Mark Manson has a great article on this) that define success for us. Having these values and metrics dictate our overall self worth and happiness is unavoidable…but being intentional about what those values and metrics are can change everything.
It’s so damn easy nowadays to get caught up in the measurable but meaningless things like views on a Quora post or likes on a Facebook photo (both of which I’m guilty of) rather than the intangible but infinitely more important impact of connecting with a stranger over relate-able experiences or the moment of happiness shared among friends in the second that picture is taken.
For myself and Video Husky — this meant letting go of a lot of our tangible goals. For the longest time I’ve wanted to build a seven figure business because I thought that meant I would “be successful” and “worthy”. Even before Video Husky, I attached so much self worth to how my businesses’ performance that you could predict my mood based on the revenue of a particular day.
In their own ways, Russ, Alex (and Mark Manson through his book Subtle Art) showed me how flawed that approach was and over the past couple of months I’ve begun to let go of that belief and trust that things would work out for themselves. While I still have revenue targets for Video Husky, I’ve removed the need for a deadline and instead treat those targets as milestones that will be hit sooner or later. While I highly value and prioritize Video Husky, I’ve slowly changed the definition of success from an external dollar metric to an internal “did I do the best I can today?” one.
And as lame as the approach sounds…it fucking works.
Ironically by focusing less on revenue targets and just doing my best to be clear and intentional about the work that I do on a daily basis (figuring out what can make the most impact and just doing that) — sales have started rolling in.
As mentioned above on August 31st we finally got back to 10 customers…but the interesting part was four more customers came in through the door that day and we ended the week at 16 customers (more than triple our customer base just two weeks ago).
The ironic thing behind all this? The excitement that I used to get from new sales isn’t really there any more — the feeling is more a quiet contentment I’ve done my best and while I hope things go well, acknowledging the final result is ultimately out of my hands.
So what happens next? I really don’t know. My guess is that we’ll be able to on-board 3–5 new customers every week for the foreseeable future but give it another 90 days and I might report back eating my own words…
But what I’ve realized though is it really doesn’t matter. By the end of the year whether we have 50 customers or none, I’m just grateful to have worked with a great team at Video Husky, to have made an impact on our customers worldwide and had the opportunity to work with two men who I admire greatly.
Einstein put it best when he said,
“Not everything that can be counted counts. Not everything that counts can be counted.”
So take the time today to think about what you value and metric you use to measure it…you might be surprised by what you find.