The last two years were weird for everyone. Everything moved a bit slow but we needed time to process all the changes in our lives and to step into a new stage. We managed to take some time off and focus on ourselves and that was great.
I learned a lot, contributed to a few projects, and started to build my first tech startup, Brunch. We made steps forward, figured out the next steps but when you draw the line we don't have a high-growth product yet or the resources to build it. 2021 was a really hard year for me. Entrepreneurship is really hard in general. It's lonely and filled with uncertainty.
My experience so far
Starting from 2014 I mistook entrepreneurship for freelancing for many years when trying to build stoica.co as a digital marketing agency. Instead of focusing on building the business I was working on projects for our customers and did no business development whatsoever. I didn't package our services, didn't do cold outreach, and didn't create any kind of content to educate and attract new clients. We grew the team on referrals but we barely grew.
I tried to do anything for anyone at a cost that was ok for our customers at the time and we survived for a few years. We made a profit and grew the team a bit but not to a comfortable level. I made any mistake I could have made for the past 10 years and learned a lot so I really hope this new year will be a lot better and all the experience I gathered will start to pay off. Really hope so.
My aim this year is to focus on fewer projects and write a lot more content. I will try to write more and read less, to build more and be a lot less reactive. I will try to engage with a lot more people and focus a lot more on getting things done and less on doing things myself.
Last December we started Elrond Giants, a community powered by 10k NFTs on Elrond aiming to build a village-like metaverse environment and a lot of other cool projects. We're still figuring things out but so far this seems like a really promising project plus we learn a lot about new technologies, communities, governance, and ownership structures. Our bet is that if we
I'll continue to build stoica.co together with the team as a digital marketing agency and take things to the next level. We're planning to grow to 1M in revenue and it's an important step from around 250k where we are right now. We'll package services, build a few products and focus a lot more on creating useful content and growing a community around the team.
We'll also continue to build Brunch and other products. We'll try to partner a lot more with other teams with complementary competencies and learn as much as we can about how to build better products faster. It's a long journey but we already learned so much from the last year and can't wait to discover what this year has in store for us.
It's all about
Community-led products - It has always been about communities and small groups of people building together. Now more than ever a group of people with shared interests can make a big difference for your business or startup.
You make sure you know who you are building your product for and start gathering all these people around a virtual fire in a Facebook group or Discord or anything similar. Create value for them, share resources, ideas and help them in any way you can. Make them a part of your vision and anything you build for them and ask for help. And marketing will not be a problem (I didn't get there yet but I heard that's the way).
Value-driven marketing - Create value for your users or potential customers and they will help you move forward. They will buy from you, share feedback and help you build the best product or business ever.
Spammy ads, convincing people and promising life-changing experiences stopped working a while back. Today it's all about showing and proving your worth first. You can build a freemium product and they will buy it when it's the right time if you have a really good product. Try to lock users into a subscription or make it hard for them to unsubscribe and you will never see them again.
Merging design and technology - Many big opportunities today seem to be a mix of design thinking, business, and technology. We need to design better solutions powered by the latest technologies and structured so that everyone that contributes to building the solution gets his fair share.
Blockchain seems to be on the rise and a big opportunity right now. Building a startup is easier than ever and you can get funding and support as soon as you prove any sort of traction. Even working as a freelancer seems to be easier than ever if you can prove your worth. It's a good moment for builders to build.