How 30yr old Marc Köhlbrugge built Betalist, WIP and Startup Jobs into successful businesses while travelling the world
Published on: 2018-11-26 | Category: startup | By: admin
Hi everyone, this is our first interview post on SuccessfulMakers and our first interviewee is Marc Köhlbrugge.
Thank you for accepting to the first and we wish you all the best in your business.
Let's get straight to the real stuff!
Tell us about yourself and who you are
Marc Köhlbrugge. 30 years old. Born and raised in the Netherlands, but now traveling around the world. I'm a bootstrapper and have made a bunch of different products.
Tell us about your side projects
There's too many to list, but the three I'm focused on at the moment are:
1. WIP (started in 2017) – A community of makers shipping together.
2. BetaList (started in 2010) – A place to discover tomorrow's startups, today.
3. Startup Jobs (started in 2016) – All startup jobs in one place.
How much in recurring revenue are you generating right now and the revenue model
Low $xxx, xxx annually everything combined. Revenue models:
1. WIP: memberships at $20/mo
2. BetaList: advertising ($899/week) and "expedited reviews" which is a way for startups to skip the review waiting queue ($129)
3. Startup Jobs: paid job listings ($199)
What's your plan for the next 6 months and where do you see yourself in the new year 2019
Right now my focus is on WIP. It has grown a lot since a year ago when I started it. The onboarding flow can be a bit confusing for new members, so that's something I'll be improving in the coming months. Besides that, I'm continuously taking in feedback from the community and improving the product based on the community's needs.
What are some of the challenges that you have experienced along the way
The main challenge I face every day is managing my time. It's the scarcest resource I have, and it's one you keep spending whether you want to or not. How to decide which products to work? And for each product, should I focus on marketing? Product development? Which features? The answers to these questions define the success of the products, but there's no clear-cut answer. It's something that just takes time and intuition I guess.
Who are some of your competitors and what makes you unique?
There have been a lot of similar products popping up in recent months. Some WIP member actually made a list of them: WipClones– I don't think it's fair to call all of them "clones", but it's meant more tongue in cheek.
One common argument I've heard for them starting their own platform is because they wanted to offer a free alternative whereas WIP is paid. Fair enough. I do think that's indeed a differentiating factor, but I don't believe "free" is necessarily a better option. It might work when the group is small, but over time it will become very difficult to keep things balanced. WIP started as free, but I had to introduce a paywall when the growth started to disrupt the community.
That paywall acts as a relevancy filter of sorts. If you don't expect to get $20/mo worth of value out of being around a group of highly motivated and helpful makers then WIP is probably not a good fit anyway. I think partly because of this the WIP continues to be a vibrant community despite growing in size.
Great! What advise can you give to aspiring makers to be able to make over $1k MRR like yourself and what keeps you going!
Don't get too attached to any one idea, but keep shipping new products until you find something that sticks. I think Andrey Azimov is a good example of this. He started the year with the goal to reach $1,000 in MRR. I think he reached it or is pretty close. The way he did was by continuously trying new products and not getting bogged down trying to force one to be successful.
Nowadays it's so easy to get the first version out the door, making it feasible to just try a bunch of things. The key to that is actually shipping products and getting them into the hands of your customers. It's not shipped until people use it.
How can other makers connect with you?
They can connect with me via Twitter:- Marckohlbrugge
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