On Matt Report Pro and being scared to launch

If you follow me closely you know I’m embarking on a new journey. A real step up to the plate, face the music, look at myself in the mirror kind of journey.

Launches are scary and unnerving, but don’t worry, I’ll bring you along for the ride.

2013 was very exciting for my personal brand and for the company I started five years ago with my father. Lots of traction in the community, products built and new clients served. Let’s keep the ball rolling right?

Over the last 2 weeks I quietly rolled out Matt Report Pro. It started with a new homepage and an early signup form. Last week I contacted the early signups to offer them a special signup promotion and for folks that I’ve coached, they received a free year membership.

A big THANK YOU to everyone that has joined thus far. 

Earlier this week, I talked about the Pro version during the intro of my latest podcast and offered up a bit of a special promo code there as well. Then there was a quick blurb at the bottom of the post as well– no hype, no massive Twitter announcement. Slow and steady is going to win this race for me. (I hope.)

Here’s what I want to talk about in this post: 

  • Why the Matt Report Pro
  • The challenges of transparency
  • Free versus Paid
  • Providing true value
  • Connecting with an audience

Let’s get to it.

Transparency and #medeirosing

How do you define transparency in today’s online communication?

  • Is it the social graph?
  • Is it what you write in a blog?
  • What you Tweet?

Maybe the better question is, do you trust these people being “transparent?”  Let me start with this: I’m just like you.

You being the person trying to start a business. You being the person trying to find your way. You being the person trying to level up.

“But Matt, you have a services company, a theme company AND a dev shop. You must be rich.” 

Incorrect.

Like you, I’m trying to level up our projects and our bottom line. The product business is great, but requires lots of R&D and marketing efforts. Client services constantly introduces new challenges. It’s a constant balancing act of building new revenue streams and stabilizing the existing ones.

So when the 2% of dev shops are turning down clients left and right — and Envato sensationalizes six-figure theme shops (I’m guilty of this too), know that I’m out there hitting the pavement to learn how these organizations get there so the both of us can benefit.

Because like you, I need to eat too. I need to support and grow a team. I need to re-invest into my company and more importantly, my community.

That’s who I am. I’m you. I’m on a mission. I’m #medeirosing

Why are you telling me this? 

I see the term “WordPress celebrity” thrown around and it bothers me.

Take WordCamps for instance. When I attend, I’m there to connect with people. It’s not about falling into a click or hanging out at the cool kids table. I want to meet you and help you in some way. 

I enjoy meeting new people, connecting them with others and providing value. That’s the genesis of MR.

We forget that people fresh into WordPress, freelancing and networking are overwhelmed by finding their way. I was lost in the beginning and bridging that gap is what I want to do.

Why Matt Report Pro?

To offer more value for folks trying to get a WordPress business off the ground and help them achieve their goals.

I can’t do this without making it a healthy and profitable business. Why? It takes an immense amount of time to create content, schedule interviews and promote every week. Content that I know can save people countless hours and increase revenue by the tens of thousands.

A Pro version is going to take a whole new level of dedication on my part. I won’t be able to do all the editing, scheduling and show notes — stuff that takes up a bulk of the time — while running a company. Enter in the need for hiring and contracting out specific processes of the show.

The more I can offload the “dirty work” the more I can focus on solving issues for the audience and increasing the value of content.

Monetary goal

Produce $40k a year in revenue from memberships, featured content (startup challenge etc), consulting and innovative ways of sponsorship.

Why $40k?

To reinvest back into the show. To hire a producer. To travel to WordCamps and meet with new people that I can help. I don’t know about you, but anytime I hop on a plane to a WC I’m looking at 1 – 3k in expenses. Until I’m rolling on up dubs like a 10up or WDS, I’ll need to hustle.

Saying no to ads

When I thought about the monetization efforts of MR, the most obvious was placing advertisements in the show.

I talked with a few major sponsors. Some that would put me on the fast track to my $4ok goal. Like, 50% to my goal if they were the only sponsor. Amazing, I’m half way there.

The issue was I didn’t feel comfortable. It didn’t feel genuine and it didn’t provide enough value to my audience.

Let me put myself in your shoes: Did I want you to hear the same ad 3 – 5 times a month? No.

Saying yes to ads

Unique content like The Startup Challenge will still have sponsors. Because this type of show only comes out every ~45 days, it’s not something you’re going to become numb to. It also presents a unique opportunity for my fellow WP startups to reach my audience in an innovative context.

Extend sleeve and place heart

The internet is a funny place.

When I announced that there would be a paid version, I received a grab bag of interesting messages. Some folks were happy to join and elated to join a community they could benefit from. Others were outraged as if I had already charged their credit cards without even asking.

I didn’t. You signed up to be notified. I notified you. I digress.

So, lesson #1 on launching a business and waiving the proverbial heart on your sleeve flag:

Not everyone will become a customer. Folks won’t be as excited as you for the launch. You can’t expect everyone to have discretionary funds to buy your product or service.

Lesson #2:

That does not mean you hold back. You still give it your all. You still search to provide a high level of value and return for your customer.

All of that said, how is the revenue looking so far?

First two months of Matt Report revenue

First two months? You just said it was announced 2 weeks ago?!

That’s right. I’m roughly 47 days behind schedule and cutting into my annual goals. If I launched on time in January, I’d be a lot further along than I am now. Stick to your goals please.

  • $100 in sales (MR Pro)
  • $500 in Monthly Recurring Revenue (MR Pro) (This will not be realized until next month)
  • $200 in consultation

As I continue to promote Pro and add new features, I’ll keep you up to date on the income reports. For those of you that joined, I can’t thank you enough for supporting me. I promise to work hard to deliver the results you’re expecting.

Now to the promotional piece of this article…

procasts_feb2014

ProCasts for February

If you become a Pro member, you can enjoy this month’s ProCast lesson with Chris Lema, Tom McFarlin and Pippin Williamson.

These 3 gents join us to talk about raising rates, scaling your business and finding new clients.

ProCasts are monthly lessons lead by some amazing WordPress entrepreneurs and freelancers. They will join us to give detailed presentations or discussions on particular topics that can help you level up.

What else is going on in Matt Report Pro?

  • A private community for Matt Report listeners
  • A place to learn how to improve your WordPress business
  • Monthly Mastermind calls
  • Monthly training sessions
  • Direct access to my guests
  • Member only content from each interview
  • Private forum to interact with other members and Matt

If this sounds interesting to you, consider joining. If you have questions, ask me.

Looking for Matt Report Pro alternatives?

Providing an insane amount value is the only growth hack I know.

  • Can’t afford MR Pro but still want awesome content from other entrepreneurs? No problem, my iTunes feed is still free.
  • Want to join a community hyper-focused on WordPress entrepreneurship but can’t spend the monthly nut? That’s why I started the Google+ community with over 350 members. Free.
  • Need a direct line for advice or someone to bounce ideas off of without having to go Pro? No worries, WPMentor.org is for you.
  • No extra cash to for me to do a direct consultation? Apply to my startup challenge and get 3x the advice.

The bottom line is, for the last year I’ve built a bunch of free valuable channels to leverage and going Pro is the 20% that comes with a price tag.

If you’re interested in supporting Matt Report and learning how to improve your WordPress business for a touch more than your average managed hosting account considering joining.

Thanks to everyone for supporting me over the last year. Let’s crush it in 2014.

9 Comments

I am looking forward to participating and learning from the new and expanding community. Posting in G+ and Linkedin groups have a value for me, but since those areas are public– not everyone is comfortable having exchanges that include deeper business challenges/concerns. I believe that having a space like MattReportPro forums can provide advice, support and encouragement and a place to put an idea out there and have it “constructively critiqued” before investing time and $ in the client world.

I have started topics in the forum which have been responded to and have listened to the first set of Procasts which are a nice complement to the MattReport interviews via itunes.

As someone just starting out in business for himself I’ll be honest and say that the price point is a little high for me, but that’s not to say that I don’t see value in it.

I’m looking forward to checking this out once I get things rolling a little better for myself.

God speed and best of luck with your endeavor, man. Thanks for your good work.

Jimmy,

I totally understand. When I thought about the pricing, I didn’t do a business model or market research. I just asked myself, what would I be willing to spend monthly to get some solid advice and connect to a community.

I invite you to our Google+ community to get you over that hump and get the ball rolling. You might even find yourself a mentor on wpmentor.org (free) to put yourself on the fast track.

Keep me posted on your progress and thanks for being part of the community.

Matt,

Congrats on the launch of your pro service. I have been watching your interviews and really enjoyed them. I agree that the pro service price will be a little of an investment for a freelancer or a boutique agency (like mine).
How would you compare your service to wpelevation.com?

Troy is a great guy over at WPElevation.

I don’t have access to his membership site, but from the outside it looks like he’s more geared towards the consultant + service end of the business. Where I focus on that, I’m also looking at product based businesses too. Plugins, themes and other SaaS. Not to say he isn’t either, because he interviews some of the same people I talk to.

Like many membership sites, you get the return by what you put in. i.e. If you signup and don’t interact with others, or ask the questions you need answered that month — you simply won’t see the return.

As I build up content/courses, there will always be a library you can use — but I hope for the monthly price of less than $100 you can use the membership as a support line for your business.

Need another point of view when negotiating with a new client? Post it to the forum.

Need to find the right plugin to solve a new issue? Post it to the forum.

Looking for feedback on a new product? You get the idea 🙂

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