Since I left 500px, a few people have asked me what do I do now. My usual answer has been short — “consulting”, but since consulting carries so much and so little meaning at the same time, it’s not particularly helpful. So I decided to use my usual medium, Medium, to tell the companies and teams how I can be useful to their businesses.
There are five things that I do well that you can hire me to help with. So, without further ado, hire me if…
— you are building a community
— you are building a consumer-focused product
— you are thinking of expanding into Asia
— you are trying to optimize your acquisition funnel
— you are looking to attract venture capital
…If you are building community
I started my first community, a precursor to 500px, in 2003. From it, 500px was born in 2004. Growing community from 0 to 9+ million members is something that I live and breathe.
There are specific strategies and paths to grow and enhance a community, all without trying to outspend your competitors. The strategies involve making community engaged, and make it work for the company, gaining mutual benefit and helping you spread the word further and in a more authentic way than you would do with advertising.
So far, most of the companies I have been consulting, asked for tactics and strategies around community building.
…If you are building a consumer-focused product
While I have almost zero knowledge in enterprise or B2B products, my main expertise lies in helping companies with consumer focused products. This involves all stages of the development, from naming and finding a right niche (by asking questions like “who is really your customer — who will pay you?”), and developing further, figuring out viral loops, launch strategies, optimizing funnel and marketing, and distribution, whether it’s digital or physical product.
…If you are thinking of expanding into Asia
Having spent almost 9 months in South East Asia, proactively studying Chinese, and working with Asia-based companies and VCs, my goal is to establish an important link between the West and the East, acting as a guide to companies, which are planning their expansion into Asia. In late 2015, 500px had raised Series B round of venture capital from a Beijing-based publicly traded company. Getting into Asia is especially important to companies who are building in industries which are hot right now in that region — AR/VR, mobile gaming, e-commerce, and last-mile delivery. Getting into some Asian markets is easier than in others, but overall experience can be very bumpy even for huge companies, if you are going into these markets without a guide.
…If you are trying to optimize your acquisition funnel
One of the most important jobs of a product manager is to know what levers she has to improve the metrics. When the CEO asks to “double the revenue”, the real role of a PM is to find out what levers she has. The top of the funnel is traditionally controlled by marketing (SEM, SEO, ASO, ads, paid app installs, etc), while PM can control a few connecting points — for example, a landing page, sign up conversion, and points of interaction in between landing page and a check out (assuming it’s a transaction).
My goal is to help companies figure out the funnel, remove all distractions (such as, when the company wants user to initiate a transaction, yet has ads on site that drive user away), and focus on quantifying and “cleaning” the metrics, and focus on improving these conversions. In my last project, I helped a company improve their sign up funnel in the app by 700%.
…If you are looking to attract venture capital
During the years, 500px has raised more than $25 million USD in venture capital, from early-stage funds, such as ffVC, to heavyweights like Andreessen Horowitz, to Chinese companies like VCG. Over the years, my friends who are running their own companies, also raised venture capital, all aiding in my understanding of what fundraising is like. I have been helping companies improve their presentation decks, figure out the right partners and firms to reach out to, and generally advising on intricacies and idiosyncrasies of venture capital.
Generally, these are five things I can help with, especially to small companies, but also to large companies who are creating innovative branches to foster new technologies.
There are two ways I’m working with these companies:
As an advisor
For companies with less than 5 employees and without raised capital, I’m working as an advisor, based on FAST framework, usually without pay, but with an executed advisor agreement.
On a retainer
For companies with 5 or more employees, or with raised capital, a standard retainer agreement (and options, depending on project) is signed to provide services. Starting from $3K USD per month, and scaling up from there, depending on company’s needs. This gets around 3 hours per week in-person consultancy work, plus research and materials.
To get started, just send me a quick email at email@example.com to strike a conversation.