Louis Nicholls

Thoughts on startups, web dev and other stuff

Category: advice

Playing Battleship: The hard way to find your first customers…

Are you still struggling to acquire your first paying customers?

Even though you’ve put time and effort into sales and marketing?

Don’t worry – you’re not alone.

In fact, you’re in the exact same position as most of the founders who are taking my live Sales For Founders course right now.

You (and they) want to get your product in the hands of customers. And have them pay you.

But you’re almost certainly falling into a common trap.

A trap I see most founders make. Especially Continue reading

17 minutes, $1494 in presales: How I validated my first info product in a few hours.

This is a write up of how I launched ‘Sales for Founders’, my first info product.

You can read a step-by-step breakdown of how I went about…

  • … finding a problem to solve
  • … understanding the problem and creating a product
  • … launching and making my first sales

If you’re launching an ebook, course or consulting product, you might find this article useful Continue reading

3 sales hacks actually worth doing

This article originally appeared in the FiveMinuteFounder newsletter. If you’re building a business and want to grow more revenue faster, join 3’000 founders for practical, weekly articles like this one.

It’s official.

According to a poll by IndieHackers.comContinue reading

Building an awesome cofounder team…

If you ask Patrick and John Collison what their mission is with Stripe, they’ll say they want to “increase the GDP of the internet.

They do this directly (by creating better online payments infrastructure) and indirectly. One of the indirect ways Stripe increases the GDP of the internet is via their ownership of IndieHackers.com.

At Indie Hackers, founder Courtland Allen is helping founders all over the world get the advice, support and feedback they need to build more successful businesses – thereby indirectly increasing the GDP of the internet (and Stripe’s potential customer base too).

I’m a big fan of both Courtland, the Collison brothers, and their goal. And I’ve been thinking for a long time about how I can contribute to that goal without having to be a Stripe employee*.

Finally, I’ve found a project I want to work on which will contribute to that goal Continue reading

We need to talk about cofounders.

Building a business is really, really hard.

Some parts of it you can learn-by-doing along the way. For example sales and customer support.

Other parts, however, you have one chance to get right. With no prior experience and disastrous results if you mess up.

Finding the right cofounder(s) and building a strong, successful relationship with them is an example of this kind of challenge.

Inexperienced founders constantly underestimate how hard this is and how important it is to get right.

I’ve heard that over 20% of startups fail due to Continue reading

Double your sales 🔥 by moving from product- to value-based messaging…

This is a draft of a post I’m writing about how to identify and fix a common marketing mistake founders make, which could double your sales in under 90min.

There are a few rough edges and the examples aren’t final. I’d appreciate any feedback/questions/thoughts to the usual address. Thanks!

Last week, a friend reached out to me with a problem.

He’s a technical solo founder and just started a side project. Because he’s still employed full time at a FAANG company, he asked me not to share his name/project, so let’s call him Dave.

Anyway, Dave’s problem was that he had put up a landing page for his project and was doing cold outreach, but not seeing many sales.

When I took a look at the landing page, it was obvious that Dave was making a super common mistake that nearly all first-time founders make…

His messaging was focussed on the product functionality, not the value to the customer.

We sat down together and, over a coffee, made some small changes to the landing page and cold-email copy.

This week, Dave has converted nearly 5x as many paying customers since Continue reading

How to make your first remote marketing/growth hire

Growing a business is hard…

If everything is going well, you’ll be swamped in work.

If things haven’t quite taken off yet, you’ll be sweating over growth.

Either way, sooner or later you’ll think about hiring someone to handle your marketing and help you grow the business.

As a founder/indie hacker on a budget, you’ll most likely choose to make a remote hire.

Sometimes, this can work out really well. But if you’re not careful, you can fall into any number of common traps which will leave you with more work, no results, and a lot less cash.

Here’s a stage by stage rundown of how to set yourself up for success when making your first growth hire Continue reading

Your referral program won’t work. Here’s what to do instead…

When founders start trying to acquire their first customers, they often search for shortcuts.

One of the most common shortcuts founders try is some kind of referral program.

In this post, I’m going to talk about why referral programs almost certainly won’t work for your (early stage) startup, and how you can get most of the results anyway by building bits of a referral program into your sales process instead. Continue reading

Sales > Marketing

I spend quite a bit of time on indiehackers.com, helping newer founders. By far the most common question I see is “I’ve built product X, how can I market it and get customers?”

Well hang on. If you’re in that situation then you’ve already made a big mistake.

There’s only one way to make sure you’re building something people will pay for. And that’s to Continue reading

How LaserTweets.co uses social proof to reach more customers

In this post I’m going to talk about a powerful but less common use of social proof – to reach new customers, not just handle customer objections. We’ll look at how LaserTweets.co uses social proof as a channel, content and delivery mechanism to reach more customers. Then, we’ll take a look at a few tweaks they could implement to make their social proof even more effective. Continue reading

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