5 Lessons from 5 Months in Entrepreneurship

Manuel Hartmann
Jul 29, 2019 · 3 min read
Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

I hit my 2019 goals for bookings, in my case $75’000 signed offer value 5 months after starting hartmannventures.com. I therefore take a step back to reflect on what happened March to September 2019 and pass on 5 lessons learnt from founding a company as a “Solopreneur” without outside funding.

Focus relentlessly on customer value
15+ happy customers. $75’000+ bookings. 0 investors. 0 awards.

I am in entrepreneurship to solve real-world problems. In my case, that is helping technology entrepreneurs become successful by gaining more market traction faster.

I deeply believe that creating value for others always pays off — in the short, but especially in the long run. Therefore, I give away a lot of stuff for free where I can. But I can only do this if I manage to more and more decouple my by nature limited time from providing value.

Productize early and often to create scalability
I think it is irresponsible to create the same things from scratch repeatedly. Therefore, I invested and will further invest a lot into the productization of my knowledge. This is going back to the 4 options on how to scale a company, out of which I still prefer to “Putting my brain into the cloud”.

This requires taking time, focus and energy away from whatever else is on my plate — which can be hard besides everything life, but is paying off. Every. Single. Time. At this point: I plan The launch of a SaaS Sales Playbook for September/October 2019 — stay tuned!

Juggle acquisition, delivery, building a company — and life
Founder. That is my official job title on LinkedIn. People some ask how it is to be CEO of my own company. Well — great in the terms that I as a sole founder have the full liberty to paint my website pink tomorrow if I want to (For clarity: I do not).

But I am also VP Sales, Customer Success Manager and “Head of Problems”. That means constantly juggling customer acquisition, delivering the sold value and striving to develop the company.

I think I have a responsibility towards my family and friends and my own mental and physical health to life a live outside of entrepreneurship. To build a company will probably never be a 9-to-5 job. But limiting work hours to 60 hours per week on average seems healthy and working for me.

Keep it simple
Sales is simplicity. That means reducing complexity, removing unnecessary information and helping customers how to gain simple clarity on how to solve their problems. To do less often creates better results. This is not exactly what you learn in academia and consulting. So yes, every of my offers so far still fits on one page and instead of power point, my “offer emails” usually look something like this:

It seems that you do a great job at Achievement A towards reaching Goal B.
It also seems that you are struggling with Challenges C and D and are looking for support to fix this.

Therefore, I suggest tackling the above by doing E at Date F.
I can offer you this collaboration for the price of CHF xx’xxx.

Until then, glad to share this Sales Value Package with you: hartmannventures.com/start

How do you feel about that?

Be grateful
It is easy to get caught up in the journey. But I am tremendously grateful for the pre-requisites and people who enabled and helped me to do what I love by founding my company. Being born in Switzerland itself is a huge privilege, of which I am not proud as I did nothing for it, but grateful.

But most of all, this journey would have been a lot harder without my “investor” aka my wife Miriam Hartmann.

Thank you very much for all your support, love and trust. It means the world to me!

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