ShootZilla: Mom Uses Facebook to Validate Idea and Generate $10k in Pre-Sales - with Esther De Boer

When Esther joined the Foundation last year, she was looking for a way to stop trading her time for money and build a business that would let her spend more time with her family.

Today, Esther runs ShootZilla, a photography business software product that helps wedding photographers organize their shoots and double their leads without forgetting a thing. Her business is one of the many companies that came out of last year’s Foundation and her journey over the last year is really inspiring.

In this episode, you’ll learn…

  • 00:50  How her life changed over the past year.
  • 05:41  Where she was at after 6 months in the foundation.
  • 11:03  How she probed with photographers to find a pain in their business.
  • 14:10  How she honed in on exactly the software she wanted to create.
  • 15:30  Tips on how she built the mock-up (first ever time doing this).
  • 17:51  Why it was easier to sell people before her product was built.
  • 20:53  Why she signed up for the foundation and what she expected.
  • 25:21  Why it's necessary to pre-sell & ask for money.
  • 28:21  How she sourced and chose a developer to build her product.
  • 37:20  How she used Facebook to get pre-sales & beta customers.
  • 43:13  Her recommendation for people who are looking to start a company.


Show Notes

Podcast transcript:

Andy: Welcome everyone to another episode of Starting
from Nothing – The Foundation Podcast. Today we have with us
Esther de Boer on the show.
Esther is the founder of, a product that helps
wedding photographers organize their shoots and double their leads
without forgetting a thing. Her business is one of the many
companies that came out of last year’s Foundation class and her
journey over the past year is just ridiculously inspiring. I’m stoked
to have you on the show today, Esther. Thank you for coming on.
How are you doing?
Esther: I’m great. Thanks for having me.
Andy: Yeah, absolutely.
Esther, let’s go back to a year ago. When you first got started, where
were you at a year ago? Let me ask you that. What were you doing a
year ago?
Esther: A year ago I was running my wedding
photography business.
Andy: Okay.
Esther: And I was listening to a lot of podcasts and reading a
lot of blogs on making money online.
Andy: Why?
Esther: Sorry?
Andy: Why?
Esther: Why? Because I’ve started photography in 2009 and
before that I worked in … yeah, at a mobile company. So, I already
made the switch to working from a passion, doing what I love but
being a wedding photographer is like training time for money. I can
only sell a wedding day once and then I’m books. So, if I even … if
do great trade marketing, I get a lot of inquiries but I can only sell
one so that kind of bothered me. I was looking at something that
was more scalable.
Andy: Got it.
Sorry about that. We’ll have to cut that. Some dude just interrupted
us. That doesn’t happen often.
So, you were tired of being in the role where you’re exchanging
time for money. What were you watching or what were you
listening to?
Esther: Mainly Pat Flynn’s podcast from The Smart
Passive Income blog.
Andy: Cool.
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: Is that where you saw Dane’s interview and stuff?
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: Did you believe Dane when you first saw his
Esther: Sorry? Did I relieve?
Andy: Did you believe what he was saying?
Esther: Oh, believe him. Yes, absolutely. It totally
makes sense.
Andy: It made sense?
Esther: Yeah. Especially when he interrupted Pat Flynn on …
Pat Flynn said, “Well, so far that’s a bit scary.” Or is a bit, you
know. An unknown field, unknown territory. And for me it was also
something I never ever thought of doing because it’s like, yeah, out
of my comfort zone – completely.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: So, when he talk Pat Flynn, well, you know, that’s
something you’re scared from but that doesn’t mean you don’t have
to do it or if you cannot do it. You can do it. So, it’s come from me
[inaudible 00:03:30].
Andy: Beautiful.
Esther: I believe when I set my mind to it then I can do
anything that I’m physically capable of. So, let’s follow that dude.
Andy: So, you listen to Pat Flynn’s blog and you hear
Dane’s interview, what did you do next?
Esther: I signed up, of course, for the Foundation website and
I got a lot of emails from Dane and I … yeah. I just signed up for
the Foundation last year.
Andy: Perfect.
Esther: And … yeah. That’s where it all started.
Andy: Was it a hard decision to make?
Esther: Well, it was a lot of money. So, yeah. I did look into
my budget to see … Luckily for me, the timing was perfect because
the wedding season is ending around October. So, I had time and I
had money at that time.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: Since I didn’t do any weddings in the winter, that’s
normal for me. I had a lot of time and the money quickly became
less and less.
It was just enough and my husband helped a little bit at the end but
… yeah. I could manage.
Andy: Did you have an idea for what you wanted to build
when you started?
Esther: Oh no, no idea. No.
Andy: Let’s walk through the process then. You signed up
in October or so, what was the first month like?
Esther: Yeah, it was hectic. But I just listened to all the
content and if you really listen to all the content and read everything
then. There are so much truth and value in there. I guess I’m really
good at picking things out and applying them. That’s what I did. So
I heard from everybody that idea extraction is like the big part of
your comfort zone thing so …
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: I was really happy that that started in the beginning.
The girls I knew … if I could do that then the rest would be okay. I
hoped the rest would be okay.
Andy: So, real quick, before you dive in to more of the
beginning, let’s fast forward six months or fast forward to now like
… Well, let’s do six months first. Where were you at the end of six
months? Like at the end of the Foundation course and we’re in
Vegas together.
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: Do you remember where you’re at in terms of presales,
Esther: I had 20 sales and … I didn’t launch yet so I was still
developing. But I think I have my MVP live for where they’re using
Andy: Beautiful. So, MVP was live, 20 sales. Do you
remember how much revenue from those 20 people?
Esther: Around 10K-ish maybe. Maybe those, yeah.
Andy: Perfect. Ten grand or so, 20 sales, and you just had
your first minimum viable product up and running that people were
testing and using and experiencing?
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: Beautiful. Okay. All that in six months, it’s so
Taking us back to October, when you started idea extraction, what
niche did you start with?
Esther: I started with moving companies because I knew
somebody who had a moving company so I started with familiar
territory. Or at least with that one person because I didn’t know
anything about the moving industry. After I talked to him I started
cold calling universities to do it, you know?
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: Yeah. Experience the cold calling vibe and … Yeah,
it was great. I really procrastinated on picking up the phone. I did
some mindset changes that they taught us in the one-on-ones and
then I picked up the phone and I was really surprised that people
were really talking to me and opening up about their problems.
Andy: Do you remember some of the mindset changes you
shifted early on?
Esther: I’m borrowing them, I’m observing them. They don’t
want to talk. All the things that you think maybe unconsciously.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: You’re procrastinating on picking up the
phone and calling.
Andy: So, if somebody is just listening to this and they
wanted to get started an idea extraction, what are common obstacles
that you’re going to come up for them? Like mental blocks.
Esther: Well, the ones that I just said … I think
everybody had those.
Andy: Yeah?
Esther: But you’re going to pick up the phone to call
complete stranger and ask them about their business and … Yeah,
that’s so weird. People don’t do that anymore.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: And it’s weird because when I look at my children
who are five and seven, they ask all the questions in the world and
they’re not afraid to talk to strangers and ask questions.
Andy: Yeah. It’s natural.
Esther: It’s natural and we are grown up and started to
be afraid of those.
Andy: We’re more afraid of strangers as adult than we ever
were as children.
So you started doing idea extraction on the moving company and
how long did that last for?
Esther: I think only four calls because I … yeah. I pretty
quickly experience that they wanted to talk to me and I got an idea
about their problems – very general. But I was also talking with
other people on the community. Also thinking about the interviews
that you did with previous members. One thing I remembered was
that you really have to stick with these markets. You really have to
dive in deep in this market and talk to these people every day.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: And I was … yeah. I’m still a wedding photographer
and I think I will always be a photographer because I really like it. I
just don’t want to trade time for money so much.
So, for me it’s natural to talk to photographers daily and … yeah. I
really thought at myself why should I even be nervous? Why not
Andy: Beautiful. Then what did you do once you made that
Esther: Then I switched to photographers. Yeah.
Andy: Did you have a lot of friends who are photographers?
Esther: Yeah. Photographers live on Facebook almost. So,
there’s like huge communities of photographers on Facebook.
Andy: You did some really innovative stuff on Facebook
too, if I recall. Like the groups that you reached out to.
Esther: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But I was already in those groups
so people knew me there so it was really a natural thing to do.
Andy: Oh cool. So, tell me what you did there, with the
Facebook groups.
Esther: At first I probed in one of the groups I’m building a
really cool product. Anyone who wants to see. Tell me who is
interested then I’ll give you your demo. So, nobody was interested.
Andy: This was the first thing you posted?
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: Did you know what you’re going to build?
Esther: Oh, no. It was later on in process. Sorry. Yeah. For
idea extraction I called all the way.
Andy: So, called photographers.
Esther: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Andy: What type of questions would you ask when you’re
calling the photographers?
Esther: I would mainly ask them about how they work from
wedding inquiry to delivery of the images. Like what are all the
steps in between and how do they manage all those steps. I was just
looking for troubles that they come up with.
Andy: Why did you focus on this space? Like that specific
area of photography.
Esther: Well, I think I just follow the instructions from them
about idea extraction. And I think they would say the main problem
areas were workflow or were this, that and then I ask them what’s
the most painful thing and most of them say the administrative stuff
around the shoot. So, I would focus on that and then they would
explain to me step by step what that is. I’m sorry, [inaudible
00:12:16] approach. Yeah.
Andy: Beautiful.
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: At what point did you know that you had an idea that
had potential?
Esther: I kept hearing the same answers. So I already knew
that was a painful thing but I also knew there were already solutions
for that; although not really in Europe. I really try to figure out if the
solutions that were already there answered their problems because I
had tried these solutions as well and they didn’t solve my problems.
After a while … yeah. At first I dismissed the idea because I feel it
would be too big and in the Foundation we are trying to look for
small problems that can be solved like in development of eight
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: And I knew this was going to be bigger.
Andy: Do you have a background in software?
Esther: No.
Andy: How did you know it was going to be bigger?
Esther: Because I asked somebody in the Foundation at
hallway and he advised me on that.
Andy: That’s so amazing.
Esther: I was really thankful for him because I really needed
advice on that. Yeah.
Andy: So, it felt like a bigger problem to solve?
Esther: Yeah. Absolutely.
Andy: It would take longer to develop, probably more
money to develop.
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: Did you have a budget in mind of, like, what you
wanted to spend to develop software?
Esther: Not really but I wanted to have the MVP in
eight weeks.
Andy: Beautiful.
Esther: So, yeah.
Andy: So, you kept getting the same answers over and over
and they all kind of led to this problem that Shootzilla now solves.
What did you do after, you know, say you got five people that told
you the exact same problem, did the answer become clear or how
did you know what the software would be?
Esther: I didn’t until I started drawing so that was also really
painful for me because I was in doubt whether the software
wouldn’t be too big but I couldn’t be sure until I drew sketches of it.
I really spent two weeks making sketches and sending them to Ed
Holloway and going back to the drawing board and trying to get … I
also read the book Getting Real from 37Signals in that time. So,
really, really, really, really trimmed down to the thing that’s
[inaudible 00:15:01] and note all the extra things that people also
mentioned also in their idea extraction course.
Finally it became clear to me what’s the pain would really … how
the pain would really be solved. And then I created an MVP in
[inaudible 00:15:19] that Ed Holloway also agreed on, like,
[inaudible 00:15:23]. And then I started showing it to the people
that I had idea extraction course with.
Andy: Perfect. At what point in the Foundation are you right
now? Like what month?
Esther: That was right around Christmas.
Andy: Right around Christmas. So, it took about two
months or so to extract the idea, to get clear on where the pain is at
and to build, you know, you built a mockup of the MVP.
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: How did you build the mockup of it?
Esther: I used Keynotopia. Was like mockup for a
templates for keynotes.
Andy: And how does that work for somebody who’s not
familiar with building an MVP?
Esther: Yeah. These are templates of buttons and frames that
you would also see on a website. So you can practically just create a
website in keynote which is PowerPoint for Mac. And the front
thing is that each button you can link to another page. If you export
it as a movie or as a clickable movie then people can just click
through your presentation and it looks like they are clicking through
a net.
Andy: Beautiful.
Esther: That’s what I showed my idea extraction people.
Some of them would pay for something like this.
Andy: What’s their feedback?
Esther: They would pay for that. Otherwise I
wouldn’t have stayed here.
Andy: Tell me the first person that you showed it to.
Esther: Yeah. That’s really a cool guy and he said, “Hell
yes.” And then he said, “You’re going to be rich.”
Andy: Really?
Esther: Yeah, yeah, it was fun.
Andy: Was it somebody you knew?
Esther: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Andy: And so you’ve done idea extraction on him, you went
through, you build the MVP and set up another phone call with him
I assume and showed it to him or did you just email it to him? How
did you go about it?
Esther: Yeah. I went on one-on-ones with everybody and
then I said … I took Skype Premium account so I could share my
screen and then I watched them as they would click through the
MVP on their computer. So, I send them to them by email and then I
watch their faces to see how it works.
Andy: Beautiful.
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: Was it easy to sell or hard to sell after you had the
MVP up?
Esther: No, it was easy I think. Yeah. It was actually
more easy then than now I think.
Andy: Now, this is … that’s a really interesting statement.
That it was easier than the now because then you didn’t have a
Esther: Yes.
Andy: Like there is no product. You were just selling an
idea at some level. Why was it easier then?
Esther: Yeah, I don’t know. I had a really good deal because I
gave people like a year off because I really wanted to have a big
chunk on it from my development. And if I would only have them
pay like three months then that wouldn’t really solve my funding
problem. So, they got a really good discount. That’s one thing. And
the other thing is that I also heard this guy from Belgium say in a
podcast from you. People really like to be involved. They want to
help you create a good product so they signed up easier I think.
Andy: So, it’s easier to sign up people before you actually
have the product built?
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: It’s so funny. I’ve heard this from a couple of people
now. They said the exact same thing.
What was the offer that you put together? Like if somebody wanted
to sign up six months ago, what was the offer?
Esther: I made a three [inaudible 00:19:22]. I sold it six
months for 10% off, 40 Euros a month. Or they could choose to pay
a year in advance and then they will get three years of access. So
they get a whole year free. Or they could buy a lifetime account.
Those were the three options.
Andy: What were the different price points?
Esther: 192 and 400 and a thousand Euros.
Andy: A thousand Euros for a lifetime access to the
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: What did most people buy?
Esther: The two-year account.
Andy: The two-year account for 400 Euros?
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: Beautiful. When was the point when you knew that
you had a product that could work? Was it after you got your first
sale, was it after … doing the idea extraction? At what point did you
know like, “Oh, wow. This could really work.”
Esther: I think … I don’t know. I think I always
believe that it’s possible.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: And if it’s not working then it’s something
I’m doing wrong.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: I think I always knew that it would work.
Andy: Cool. So there’s no doubt in your mind at all? Like
you …
Esther: Oh, there’s always doubt. There’s always
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: Yeah. I just have to fight with actions and
Andy: So, when you signed up for the Foundation, what was
your mindset in signing up for it? Like what did you expect?
Esther: I had no idea what to expect.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: I didn’t. I just hope I could easily do it and that the
calling wouldn’t be so bad as I expected it, something.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: Yeah, and that was it. Yeah.
Andy: Go ahead.
Esther: I’ve read a lot on marketing and I did a lot of work on
mindset before. So I knew I’m experiencing those areas but not as
much as I know now that you guys are.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: Back then I thought I was really experienced. But …
yeah. Finding the pain, doing calls, asking your customers what they
want. That’s the stuff I never touched before. It was just really
dumb. Yeah.
Andy: At one point … and you’re talking Vegas, you said
you reach the point during the idea extraction calls where you
stopped being afraid of the word no. Instead of avoiding the word
“no” you tried to get to know as quickly as possible.
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: What do you mean by that and how did that shift for
Esther: Well, I evaluated my calls and then I was really
bumped when somebody said no so I hung up the phone and I felt
really bad. I told myself, “You know mindset … it’s not going to
work. My product sucks. It’s not going to work.” And then ….
Yeah. When you evaluate, you’re pulling your head you think, “Oh,
but why? He said he had that problem so why doesn’t he think this
is a good solution?” And then after I had a couple of these
experiences I called people back and I asked them why? What’s the
problem with the solution? Why are you not convinced that it will
work. That’s how I got valuable inside on how to improve my
Andy: Got it.
Esther: So, I need that. I need people to tell me why.
So, I need to hear a no or a yes.
Andy: So you want either one or the other not neither like
maybe you’re halfway entertained. It’s either “yes, I want this” or
“no, I don’t” and “this is the reason why I don’t want.”
Esther: Yeah. Exactly.
Andy: And why is that so important?
Esther: Otherwise, I will not follow up enough on my people.
So I will not gain as much information as I need to have because
people want to be polite so they are not telling you in the face what
they don’t like.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: You know? So, I really invite them to speak
their minds.
Andy: Beautiful. What were other really big mindset shifts
you had during the first like two or three months?
Esther: Yeah, I thought it was really scary to ask for help.
Just encourage people on helping me with copywriting or with the
software [inaudible 00:24:12] stuff or …
Andy: Yeah? What …
Esther: But I really needed it so I did it.
Andy: What was your experience reaching out to Ed?
Esther: Great.
Andy: Yeah?
Esther: Absolutely. Yeah.
Andy: Was it nerve-wracking for you?
Esther: No. All the time when I do it, it’s okay.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: I’ve experienced that before too like the being
hesitant to ask for help from people. Why wasn’t it very, like, nervewracking
at all for you?
Esther: Because he’s a great guy. (Laughs)
Andy: (Laughs) Ed is an amazing guy.
Esther: And I mean all people are great and they are always
ready to help and I get a lot of calls or requests via email now as
well to help and I answer them as well so … yeah, why not.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: We’re here to help each other.
Andy: Yeah, totally. It’s funny when people have success
they just want to help others who will get there too.
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: What else? What else shifted for you? Had you presold
anything before?
Esther: No.
Andy: Was that a big shift for you mentally?
Esther: No, because I heard the webinar with Sam
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: He made it so crystal clear that you should ask for
pre-sell because … yeah. People are polite so they will say yes
especially friends.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: People like you they say, “Yeah, you’re doing a great
job. Go on. Go on.” And then … yeah, you don’t have money in the
bank. If you fund it all by yourself you will get bankrupt if they
don’t buy [inaudible 00:26:00]. It’s really natural. It was really a
natural thing to do.
Andy: You know it’s interesting hearing this because I
wonder if someone’s listening to this and they hear you say that it is
really natural. But if, you know, if you think back a year ago, preselling
would probably seem very unnatural. Like how do I sell
something I don’t have a product. Why would somebody buy it?
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: If somebody is listening and thinking that right now,
can you explain why it is natural? In a little more depth.
Esther: I think your mindset changes all the time so I knew I
was going to do a lot of things that would be out of my comfort zone
and I think I kind of prepared myself for that. So every time I hear
somebody telling you that’s the right direction and just taking action
upon it and the only way to change your mindset is to do stuff
different and experience the results. And for me the results were
always good. People said yes or no and it was fine. They didn’t say I
hate you now or something. Yeah. I mean they would still be my
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: And even today I got a customer [inaudible 00:27:18]
at all so I kind of think of running my money back and I said,
“Yeah, that’s fine. No problem. Just tell me why didn’t you login
and what made it shifts from yes to no and …” yeah. Let’s discuss.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: But sure, no problem. I only want happy
Andy: I love that because when you focus so much on
learning there’s no right or wrong, there’s no success or failure. Like
everything is just about learning more.
Esther: Yeah. You have to really be aware of it because when
I first saw [inaudible 00:27:54] …
Andy: Yeah. Yeah, it still stings.
Esther: And then also ten seconds, 20 seconds. Okay,
no problem. Yeah.
Andy: Did you charge the first guy that was your friend?
Was it weird charging him money?
Esther: No. No, not at all. And we’re colleague’s
Andy: Beautiful.
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: Let’s say it’s January now, you’ve got your first
MVP up, your first couple pre-sales. When you knew you had to
start building the product and you had no background in software,
what did you do? How did you find the developer? How did you
know what to look for in a developer?
Esther: Yeah. Well, I’m thankful … thanks to the
Foundation. That really worked out fine because I had no idea. I
really had no idea. I put up a job description in oDesk which is a
website to find freelancers, contractors. And I got the text bit from
the Foundation and a bit from me and I put it up and then Ed
Holloway asked me to send it to him as well so he could review it.
Yeah. He asked me to send it to him, you know.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: That’s how involved he’d been in my product as well.
It’s awesome. I sent him and he said, “Well, you should change this
in the header because [inaudible 00:29:29] it’s either that. It’s not an
end.” I really had no idea what I was asking. That’s was very funny.
And luckily, I found a really good developer who is in my own time
zone even and … yeah.
Andy: On Odesk?
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: How did you know he would be a good developer?
Esther: I tested him with a test from the Foundation which I
think was created by [Ruben Gomez 00:30:01].
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: And I think it’s good. He also evaluated this
because … yeah, I didn’t know.
Andy: Ruben did or Ed did?
Esther: Ruben did.
Andy: Ruben did?
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: Oh, that’s awesome.
Esther: Yeah, absolutely.
Andy: So you knew going in that you had a good developer
to work with. Are you still working with him?
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: Oh wow.
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: How cool.
Esther: Love him.
Andy: Yeah? What did you pay him? Like what were the
terms of working together?
Esther: Yeah, I just pay him normal by the hour. So, it’s still
the same from the beginning.
Andy: What’s like an average hourly rate?
Esther: For him it’s 30 Euros … yeah.
Andy: 30 Euros an hour?
Esther: [inaudible 00:30:49]. Yeah.
Andy: So, you didn’t give away any equity in the company,
you still own everything and just pay him cash to do all the
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: How many hours did it take to get the minimum
viable product up and running?
Esther: I think I would have to check really, yeah. I think my
first customer used it in March. Yeah. And I don’t know really when
he started but I think that would have been in January or February.
Andy: So, 68 weeks and then …
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: Was he working full time on it or …
Esther: Yeah. The most. Yeah.
Andy: So, if we do … say, eight weeks and 40 hours a week
that’s, what? 320 hours-ish?
Esther: Yeah. If you’re looking for the amount I think it was
around 4,000 Euros to get it live and get the first people on. Yeah.
Andy: Perfect. 4,000 Euros, eight weeks.
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: Did you have the pre-sales to cover that for the most
Esther: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Andy: Wow. That’s so cool.
Esther: It is.
Andy: Yeah. Tell me about the day it went live.
Esther: I didn’t do a really bit launch.
Andy: How did it go?
Esther: I just wanted to get it launched because I thought it
would be easier to get customers that way. So, I just launched it and
I didn’t do really big promotion on it but I just emailed my list, it
was about 60 or so persons. So, nothing really big. And I did get
about five customers since then from that launch. Yeah. Who are
interested. And I learned so much. Again, launching.
Andy: Yeah? What were some of the things you learn?
Esther: Well, I didn’t have a trial autoresponder up and
running so people signed up for trial and they got an account in an
empty tool and nothing happens. No instructions, nothing. So yeah,
it was like coming into a party and there’s nothing there.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: So, yeah. I still have to do a lot of work on that but I
got my autoresponder up and running now so I’m sending them tips
on how to use the tool and I want to do a movie instructions in the
tool as well. Yeah, one step at a time.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: It’s fascinating to me how much progress you made
in six months. How you went from literally having no idea to ten
grand or so in pre-sales and having a product up and running. How
much time were you spending on this?
Esther: A lot.
Andy: Yeah?
Esther: Almost full time.
Andy: Almost full time on everything?
Esther: Yeah. What’s full time for me because I work part
time for four days. In the wedding season I do weddings in the
Andy: You work part time four days a week? Is that what
you said?
Esther: Four days a week. Yeah. One day with the
Andy: So, one day with the kids and you’re working four
days so that’s a good amount of time.
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: [inaudible 00:34:19] other things.
Esther: Yeah. Two other companies they were on low
[inaudible 00:34:24].
Andy: Got it.
Esther: Low maintenance.
Andy: Got it. So, four hours a day is what you say?
Esther: Oh yes.
Andy: Five? Yeah? Minimum?
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: Wow. Do you think you would do this again if you
had to?
Esther: Yeah, I want to do it again.
Andy: You want to do it again.
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: Tell me about that.
Esther: Well, this came from my resume for photography and
wedding photographers. But I also want to do something in the field
of education because I’m really in favor of homeschooling and
travelling, stuff like that and it’s so rare here in this part of the world
so … yeah. I wanted to make that better or … yeah, more common
with software or with tools. I don’t know. I’ll have to look into that.
It’s still a green.
Andy: Yeah. How do you think you as a person have shifted
in the past year?
Esther: Difficult question.
Andy: Yeah. Yeah.
Esther: Yeah. I still believe everything was possible if
you set your mind to it.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: And that’s really what I did. So I pushed through
uncomfortability and … yeah. I still do because I …
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: I still have doubts every day. When I got back from
holiday, sales went down because I didn’t do anything for three
weeks and … yeah. Lots of doubts.
Andy: Yeah. Absolutely. Tell me where things at now. Like
what do you focused on right now and where’s the product at?
Where’s most of your energy really?
Esther: I just hired a tester to do some more quality assurance
because I was getting more and more bugs in production
environment so you don’t want that for your costumers. So now I’m
going to test it onboard as well to do testing and on the other end I
am trying to make … do more interesting for new customers so they
will convert better to a paying costumer.
Andy: How are you marketing? How are you getting
Esther: I’m not marketing yet except for maybe a couple of
emails every week to wedding photographers and I’m also looking
at doing a partnership with … yeah, with people in the industry that
are influential and have big audience. So I’m working at that but
that’s … yeah. I’m okay with [inaudible 00:37:21].
Andy: Yeah, I forgot to ask you. Can you tell us what you
did with the Facebook groups? The first thing you posted, “Hey,
I’ve got this new product and …” crickets. No … And then what
happened after that.
Esther: Yeah, that was funny because I’m a member of this
Facebook groups for a long time so … In the first one I said, “Well,
you know, I’m working on a really cool product,” and I already had
some pre-sales in that group so people knew about it. “And if
anybody else is interested, let me know and we’ll do a demo.” And
even some of the pre-sales people said, “Yeah, it’s really cool.” And
nobody was interested.
Andy: No responses at all?
Esther: Yeah. Maybe one or two like really, really nothing.
And then there was another group who have a lot more people in
there. I wasn’t as active there but … In the mean time you put up the
content of … or Dane put up the content [inaudible 00:38:25]
mindset or you, I don’t know. It was a totally different ball game
because I told the other Facebook group, “Well, some of you have
been asking what I’m up to so I will tell you a little bit. It’s not live
yet and it’s not for everybody. I will tell you when it’s live but if
you’re interested and you want to know more, let me know but I’m
only giving access to people with more than 15 group links or
something.” So, I put some scarcity in there and I put some
requirements in there and stuff like that. I got like 10% of the people
that send me an email from that.
Andy: How many people is that?
Esther: Just 40.
Andy: Forty people responded to this?
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: And what you did differently was like qualify people.
You put scarcity of saying “Hey, I’m working on this thing and it’s
not for everyone. But if you meet these requirements, I’d like to talk
to you.”
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: Why did that work? What was the difference do you
Esther: Yeah. In the meantime I read the book
Influence from Cialdini
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: It solves psychology and it works. It works on me as
well. Yeah. I’m a sucker for psychology.
Andy: Oh, me too.
Esther: [inaudible 00:39:56] implement those principles in
your marketing. Yeah.
Andy: Beautiful. I love that. I love when you switch … It’s,
like, all of a sudden you are the price. You’re like …
Esther: You are the price.
Andy: You are the price.
Esther: Yeah, I still have to remember all the time because
my normal behavior would be just to say “Hey, [inaudible
00:40:17]. It is so great. Look at it, look at it please.”
Andy: Yeah. Yeah.
Esther: And it doesn’t work. So, I really have to get used to
the other way around and think … yeah. Think how to do
promotions in that way.
Andy: Yeah. Would you say most of your leads came from
Facebook groups and cold calling for the most part?
Esther: Yup.
Andy: What do you focus on now for lead flow and lead
Esther: Yeah. I’m trying to optimize my site first and get
something up to collect opt-ins, to collect [inaudible 00:40:56] and
to convert them slowly. Because now when I get people to my site,
yeah, it’s too cold and they will not sign up for trial because their
mind was not into getting assistant for their work flow, you know.
Andy: Yup.
Esther: They were not into that paying when they saw my
message on Facebook or when they receive an email from me. So, I
want to convert them to signing up for a newsletter or giving them
something nice. I still have to do it. And then convert them slowly in
a couple of weeks like give them more tips and [inaudible
00:41:35], stuff like that.
Andy: Beautiful.
Esther: Because otherwise if I would get a lot of traffic in my
site then it would be a waste of time and energy from everybody so

Andy: Yeah.
Esther: At first I want to get that conversion rate up.
Andy: So, if you were looking back and you were giving
yourself an advice like a year ago, what would you tell yourself?
Esther: Yeah, I’m not sure because I told my husband maybe
I wouldn’t have done this product because it’s too big.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: It’s a real big product. But on the other hand, I love
this market and I love this audience and I’m one of those winning
photographer myself and I love, the passion for the great image of
the bride and groom, you know.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: So, I might have done it anyway. Yeah. But it is so
much easier if you go for a small product.
Andy: Yeah. I can understand that for sure.
Esther: Yeah.
Andy: Anything else before we wrap up?
Esther: No. I really love what you guys are doing.
Andy: If you were talking … I’m sure you get a bunch of …
you’ve been on Mixergy and a handful of other places now so I’m
sure you’re getting a decent round of emails and stuff from people.
If someone who is listening to this like kind of in your shoes last
year, what advice would you have to them? Around business,
around … just anything in general.
Esther: Yeah. If they are in my shoes and they are thinking of
doing a similar thing then … yeah, sign up for the Foundation. This
is really valid answer if you have the funds. And if you don’t have
the funds, find similar people who are in the same shoes if you are in
the same progress like mindset, like they don’t have an idea or they
don’t have customers yet, they’re just there where you are but they
have the same dream.
Andy: Yeah.
Esther: Start a weekly call together so you can motivate each
other but you can also evaluate each other on your actions.
Andy: Were you doing weekly calls in the Foundation?
Esther: Not really but I was doing the weekly Dane call and
… yeah. Not with a lot of students, these were more one-on-ones.
Andy: How important was the community for you?
Esther: Yeah, it’s really important I think. Even more
so after the Foundation.
Andy: Why?
Esther: During the Foundation everything was organized for
you. So you get to the weekly calls and everybody you know, the
people who are in there and you check with each other behind the
screens on HipChat or wherever. So you had one place to meet each
Andy: Yup.
Esther: So, in the Foundation you have to do it yourself but
… Well, after six months you know everybody so it’s easier to
Andy: Got it.
Esther: So, yeah.
Andy: Cool.
Esther, thank you so much for coming on today. This was awesome
to hear your story.
Esther: Thank you.
Andy: Absolutely. I’ll see you.
Esther: See you.
Closing: Thank you for joining us. We’ve taken this interview
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