Make Your Own Thing

I’ve wanted to write about this forever, but I’ve never made the time to do this. Justin Jackson’s most recent post, “Focus on your own shit”, has given me the much-needed kick in the pants to finally write this though.

This article is about doing your own thing and how I almost fucked up Receiptful by looking at what others were doing.

To tell the story, I need to rewind the clock with about two years though…

I’d just seen Dan Martell tweet about an article titled “Growth Hacking with Email Receipts Is a Huge Missed Opportunity”. Intrigued I read the article and I immediately decide that this is the idea that I’d like to pursue post WooThemes (and PublicBeta).

I then make a jump in my mind and decide that this idea makes most sense if I was to build it on Stripe. Why?

Well at the time, I was in total awe of what Josh Pigford was creating with Baremetrics and how he’d just reached $10k MRR as a solo founder in a couple of short months.

That amazed me and I wanted in on that action. The growth of the Stripe ecosystem also seemed logical and felt like the next big opportunity. So I decided to go all-in on Stripe.

The first version of Receiptful was exclusively available on Stripe and we were targeting other SaaS vendors as our customers. But things never quite clicked (for a variety of reasons), even though we had a handful of relatively successful beta users along with a lot of additional interest.

It wasn’t until I decided to scrap the Stripe version of our product and instead focus on Shopify & WooCommerce (and thus eCommerce store owners instead of SaaS vendors) that we finally started to see traction with Receiptful.

Where am I going with this?

Due to my admiration of what Josh was doing with Baremetrics, I had subconsciously narrowed my thinking about what Receiptful could be. I didn’t question everything about the decision to build it on top of Stripe or been true to my opinions / preferences / values in relation to the product and company that I had hoped to build.

I think Justin says this so well:

Agonizing over your competition doesn’t help you serve your customers better. Being jealous of your peers won’t improve your craft.

I got lucky in the sense that I had enough of a cash runway to allow me to make the pivot from Stripe to Shopify and WooCommerce. But my narrow initial thinking and focus could have been fatal.

I’m not arrogant enough to think that my way is the best way. But it remains my way and I’m more likely to succeed when I’m being true to myself.


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