🗞 What's New: A step-by-step guide for landing pre-sales

Also: Curation-as-a-Service!  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
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Struggling to close pre-sales? - **Pre-sales can be a game-changer, but many founders struggle** with how to fully leverage them. These tips can help! - **It's hard to sift through content and make good decisions** without developing information over

Struggling to close pre-sales?

  • Pre-sales can be a game-changer, but many founders struggle with how to fully leverage them. These tips can help!
  • It's hard to sift through content and make good decisions without developing information overload. Dru Riley explains how Curation-as-a-Service (CaaS) saves you time, money, and energy.
  • Founder Rohan Malhotra became Hong Kong's first Webflow expert at 19 years old. Now at 20, his Webflow agency has hit six figures. Below, he shares how cold pitching on LinkedIn played a major role in his success.

Want to share something with over 95,000 indie hackers? Submit a section for us to include in a future newsletter. —Channing

⬆ Leveling Up Your Pre-Sale Game

COVER IMAGE

by Gene Maryushenko

Trying to level up your pre-sale game? Here's share my process for generating $1.4K in pre-sales. I am selling a digital product, but you can use these strategies for SaaS also!

Visualize the product

How do you get people to fork over money? You have to share a vision.

enter image description here

Instead of designing the whole thing upfront, I design a handful of screens to explain what the product will be. What if you don't have a visual product, though? Well, just explain what you are looking to build. Write a story about what's broken, why no current solutions exist to properly solve it, and why your solution will be the right investment.

Include potential mockups of the app's UI and functionality.

List the product for sale

Even though the product does not exist, we can sell the vision to people. Personally, I used Gumroad to set up a product, but you can use any of the existing solutions, even just Stripe (if you can add some context and images on the payment page)!

Gumroad interface

Don't even bother with coding proper payment infrastructure at this point. The common pitfall for founders is to go into building mode and start feeling like they are making progress. Unless you know for a fact that your product will be in high demand because you pre-validated it or experienced the pain for yourself, skip the busy work and get up and running as soon as possible.

For a SaaS business, you might think about selling a lifetime deal or a discounted first year. You can even skip subscriptions at this point and sell a small package that allows access for X number of months. Once you have sales and have built the product out, you can manually set those people up in your proper payment system.

Add an incentive to buy early

Why would anyone buy if you haven't created anything yet? Create a powerful incentive that pays to be early.

I set up a $50 discount on my future product (to be priced at $149), and added a bonus combo deal with a previously developed product. Together, the price would be $300 with new pricing. The people who buy now access it all for $99. That's the deal. That's the incentive to buy early.

Add urgency

To make the deal special and not open-ended, I limited the deal to just a few days. This creates urgency and more reason to buy. After all, it's not a great deal if it is ongoing. Just be sure to stick to your promise of cutting off the deal when the time comes.

Teasers

I built up curiosity early on by posting screenshots of the product I'm designing. Naturally, this got people curious, and some even replied asking how to buy the thing that I haven't even created yet.

Product Preview

For a SaaS business, you probably don't have to do this, but it helps to share what you're working on to build up curiosity. Hang out where your potential customers are, and provide something of value. Your goal is to tease what's coming, but also to build rapport and trust. You want people to be familiar with who you are before you show them anything for sale.

You could also manually hunt people down who are experiencing a problem that is being potentially solved by your product, and pitch them the early supporter deal.

Set a deadline and a guarantee

I set a deadline of three weeks for v1, and made a strong guarantee that if I don't deliver, people can either request a refund, or wait for it to be done. Likewise, if the product didn't meet their expectations, they can ask for a full refund as well. This offers a bulletproof guarantee that people can be made whole if they don't like the end result.

Launch and announce

I announced on Twitter. Announce wherever your audience is!

enter image description here

Honor your commitments and promises

For me, this means setting a tight schedule to deliver. I have no idea if I can actually deliver on time, but if I don't, I risk losing sales. The v1 does not need to be complete and amazing, as long as I keep making speedy progress towards the promise of the product that it will become.

I invited people to a Slack channel, and DMed with several others to discuss what people want in detail. Having money at stake forces your feet to the fire. You have to deliver.

What's your pre-sale strategy? Share in the comments below!

Discuss this story.

📰 In the News

Photo: In the News

from the Volv newsletter by Priyanka Vazirani

💻 Discord has become a hotbed for crypto scammers.

🎙 Some Spotify podcasters are making $18K MRR with white noise.

💼 Microsoft is the latest tech giant to slow hiring.

💰 Binance's VC arm will invest $500M in DeFi, NFTs, and the metaverse.

👋 Sheryl Sandberg is stepping down as Facebook's COO after 14 years.

Check out Volv for more 9-second news digests.

📈 Trend Alert: Curation-as-a-Service

COVER IMAGE

from the Trends.vc newsletter by Dru Riley

Why it matters

You need help finding signal in noise.

Problem

It's hard to sift through content and make good decisions without developing information overload.

Solution

Curation-as-a-Service saves you time, money, and energy.

Players

Curators:

Directories:

Newsletters:

Predictions

Opportunities

Risks

  • Uniformity: As curation becomes more popular, the value of differentiation (even for its own sake) goes up.
  • Bias: By definition, curation is biased. Beware of blindspots. Reference multiple curators if you rely on curation.

Key lessons

  • Time is your most valuable asset. Unlike money, it's nonrenewable.
  • The more creators we have, the more curators we need. The value of curation increases with options.

Hot takes

  • Automated curation will not replace human curators. Despite Skyscanner's powerful algorithms, Jack's Flight Club has 1.5M+ members and ~$800K in revenue.
  • Curation is most effective when done by personal brands. See Oprah's Favorite Things.

Haters

"Curation is biased."

This is a feature, not a bug. Curators exercise judgment in what to include and exclude. Those who follow curators should take this into account. Consult multiple sources to reduce blindspots.

"Everyone has free access to quality information."

The value of curation lies in accuracy, ease of access, and trust. Most information can be found for free, but time is our most valuable resource.

"I'm not an expert."

That's even better. Curation helps you document and accelerate your learning process. You can help newcomers without having the curse of knowledge.

Links

Related reports

  • Digital Products: Curated resources are packaged and sold as digital products.
  • No-code: No-Code tools help you build directories fast.
  • Personal Brands: Curated content is backed by personal brands.

More reports

Go here to get the Trends Pro report. It contains 200% more insights. You also get access to the entire back catalog and the next 52 Pro Reports.

Discuss this story, or subscribe to Trends.vc for more.

🧠 Harry's Growth Tip

Cover Image: Harry's Growth Tip

from the Marketing Examples newsletter by Harry Dry

Clear positioning. Easy copywriting.

Cover Image: Harry's Growth Tip

Go here for more short, sweet, practical marketing tips.

Subscribe to Marketing Examples for more.

🛠 Rohan Malhotra's 6 Figure Webflow Agency

COVER IMAGE

by Rohan Malhotra

Hi everyone! I'm Rohan Malhotra, founder of RoFlow, a Webflow design and development subscription.

I became Hong Kong's first Webflow expert at 19 years old. I launched the agency in January 2021, and did close to six figures in the first year. I am on track to surpass that this year with our growing MRR and one-off projects.

AMA!

What was your most successful strategy for finding clients?

Starting out, it was cold emailing and reaching out to companies that I already knew and had some rapport with. I wouldn’t charge them much (typically $100-$500), and eventually, when I got a big enough client base for my portfolio, I would increase my prices.

Currently, my most successful strategies involve referrals and LinkedIn. I tend to get about three meetings per week for RoFlow from LinkedIn, and about two per week from a past client referring me to another company. Honestly, the best way to go about it is to produce amazing work and let that speak for itself. If your work is good, people will want your service! But if it’s bad, it's going to be really hard to get a sustainable flow of leads and clients.

Do you have a team?

I handle all of the Webflow stuff myself, and keep a very close eye on the designing process. I have two designers working for me; they do 80% of the design, and I finish off with the additional 20% before I give the final approval.

What kind of businesses hire you?

Normally, it's companies who already have some sort of website and are looking to improve it. I have issues with established companies using website templates. If everyone used templates, all websites would look the same. Each design has its own purpose, and is made to reflect the brand values in a subconscious manner.

There are lots of companies out there who do it by themselves, and it really shows in the lack of quality on their landing and marketing pages. When looking at companies that are already working with Webflow (Dell, Dropbox, etc.), you realize that there is a huge market now. All of the new resources coming out via FinSweet and other companies have really broadened the horizons for Webflow!

How do you cold pitch on LinkedIn?

I start off by briefly introducing myself and highlighting a few of the issues on their current site through Loom. This tends to work well, but is nothing to write home about. Here's my general structure:

  • General introduction, including how I found their site.
  • Listing one or two issues with their current site.
  • Including two lines about how I can help, and a link to my portfolio and Webflow Experts page.
  • Loom video.

The key is to provide value for them without expecting anything in return!

What's your pricing structure?

For my one-off projects, I built a little calculator that helps me see how much I should charge. Here is a link to it! However, it is a rough ballpark figure. Pricing can depend on several things, including my availability and depth of animations.

For recurring, it is much simpler. Much like a retainer contract, companies have a predictable outflow and expectation each month. This way, I am able to charge a price that I feel is reflective of the time and effort that I put in per company, and my clients get quality work. Building RoFlow has been one of the best decisions I have made, because it has allowed me to earn a monthly income that has no cap (to an extent), and keeps me going during the months where one-off projects are lackluster!

Discuss this story.

🐦 The Tweetmaster's Pick

Cover image for Tweetmaster's Pick

by Tweetmaster Flex

I post the tweets indie hackers share the most. Here's today's pick:

🏁 Enjoy This Newsletter?

Forward it to a friend, and let them know they can subscribe here.

Also, you can submit a section for us to include in a future newsletter.

Special thanks to Jay Avery for editing this issue, to Gabriella Federico for the illustrations, and to Gene Maryushenko, Priyanka Vazirani, Dru Riley, Harry Dry, and Rohan Malhotra for contributing posts. —Channing

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