The Search for Customer #1

I would be lying if I said I’m not starting to panic a little bit. I’m beginning to get a real sense of the numbers and they are daunting. Looks like I have about 10 weeks of runway. Five days after launching my ad campaign it has yielded 0 customers for over $100 spent. I realize now that it is going to take much much more than running a few ads to get customers.

I applied for a solicitor’s permit so that I can start going door to door, but they said up to 30 days to process.

Even a few customers here and there will extend my runway, so it is imperative for me to find them. My instincts tell me that Facebook advertising is not worthwhile. Instagram on the other hand is definitely yielding some results. In addition to the website clicks I have been able to grow my follower count from 6 to 17 in a few days. This is with stock photos and generic copy — definitely the best value for my money. It is so much easier to engage with followers on Instagram than it is on Facebook.

I feel like a blind squirrel looking for a nut. The data is coming in and I am learning, but not fast enough.

The prospect of going door to door talking to people is somewhat unnerving, but here’s the thing — I have no choice. I need to think of better ways to put myself out there and get in front of people, and then in that moment, I need to be authentic and memorable.

This train of thought is leading me to believe that the same approach should be taken online. Instead of stock photos and generic quotes, I should create videos explaining to people who I am and what I’m trying to do and plead with them for their business.

Sometimes ideas like this blossom and become valuable and sometimes they wither away. I’m not sure which is going to happen yet. Mostly because I fear putting myself out there. Snapchat is helping me overcome that aspect.

Another issue could be that my prices are too high, so I’m going to adjust them to compete with similar services on the market.

I’ve accepted the fact that I will be doing much of the grunt work, the actual laundry, myself. If it costs this much to find a customer I simply cannot afford to outsource the work, it is much too expensive. At least until I figure out customer acquisition.

It’s funny how decades of avoiding doing laundry have caught up to me now. It’s funny that when you are in panic mode and desperate for work, you are willing to do almost anything to put food on the plate.

I’m plunging towards the ground in a financial free fall and the only relief is a parachute — in the form of paying customers. It’s more stress than I was prepared for, but writing about it helps. Here’s hoping I find that first customer soon.

To Do List

  1. Lower prices to match the market.
  2. Design print marketing — door hangers, business cards, post cards.
  3. Design print material for referrals — post cards.
  4. Document the back-end process from order to delivery including calendar.
  5. Obtain health insurance.
  6. Obtain workers comp insurance.

Want to follow along? Feather is everywhere!

Thanks for reading!

This story is part of a series documenting the journey of a 2016 Dallas startup called Feather. For your reference here is the Table of Contents for the series.

Previous Story: Open For Business on Facebook & Instagram

Next Story: The Virtuous Cycle of Attention & Trust

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