It’s been 90 days since the last update on List Goal…
… and a lot has happened.
1. The minimal viable version was completed.
2. Three different developers were hired (and then fired).
3. The app completely crashed.
4. Then we found a good developer, fixed the app and did a soft launch to 100 beta users.
5. Over 150,000 new email subscribers have been added by the beta group.
It’s been a grind.
But to see people actively growing their list as a result of using List Goal has been incredibly fulfilling.
Today I’m going to give you an in-depth look at the entire process, what I learned and how you can download a copy ASAP.
Note: Don’t worry if you’re late to the party and have no idea what List Goal is. I’ll get you up to speed.
What is List Goal and why should I care?
List Goal is an application that we started building (as a community) in October of 2014.
It helps you build your email list by focusing on list growth and giving you a personal road map on how to reach it.
After 18 months of experimentation, I discovered that building a list was the most important thing to growing my business.
More so than traffic, Facebook likes, Twitter followers or comments on blog posts.
Email = Revenue.
This is my revenue (by sales channel) breakdown for 2014.
It’s not that simple though.
Recognizing that building a list is important and ACTUALLY building a list are two very different things.
Growing a list is freaking hard. Especially when there are so many other things vying for your attention.
Then last summer I found the solution.
He used to have fancy dashboard that showed minute-by-minute progress of all of the companies’ numbers (revenue, traffic, churn etc.). Then he realized that by focusing on all of those numbers, they never made true meaningful progress towards any of their goals.
So he simplified.
He blew up their fancy dashboard and created this…
Every day they worked towards that goal.
If a potential business opportunity came along, they all asked the same question…
“Will this get us towards 3,333?”
If not, they ignored the opportunity.
They hit their goal in record time.
List Goal is the accountability partner you always wish you had
List Goal will do for you what Noah’s simple dashboard did for AppSumo’s revenue growth.
Once you install List Goal, every time you open a new tab in your browser you see this…
This extremely simple dashboard keeps you focused by showing you your daily goal and your progress towards that goal.
You also get coaching tips and gentle nudges sent to you that will guide you through HOW to grow your list.
List Goal = Focus.
What went wrong?
Now that we’re all caught up, let’s dive into what’s been going on over the past 90 days.
Last time we talked about List Goal, I showed you a redesigned dashboard.
Good news! That is live and working well.
But plenty of stuff went wrong…
1. Three different developers were hired and fired.
This was by far the biggest headache of the entire process.
I went through an extensive vetting process in the beginning and felt very confident in my choice.
However, I should have taken even more time. There were red flags that I ignored in the hiring process that came back to bite me.
The first developer finished the minimal viable version but was not a good personality fit. We just didn’t get along
The second developer had worked for me previously. He had done a great job. Then he did a terrible job on this project. He missed the first 5 deadlines. I should have pulled the plug on him then. But I was patient. That was dumb.
It cost me 45 days of development time. I knew better.
However, by the third developer I had learned my lesson. I was very clear upfront about my expectations. Two days in, he missed his first deadline without communicating to me BEFORE the deadline.
He was fired immediately.
Takeaway: Don’t get in a hurry when hiring. Unless you have to. In that case, fire quickly.
2. The entire app crashed.
One of the side effects of going through three different developers is deciphering the work of the previous guy. Turns out that is hard.
One unintended side effect of that is stuff breaks when you can’t quite make out what the previous guy did.
Unfortunately, this happened while 50 people were using the app. It was a beta version and people expect problems with an app at that stage, but it still sucks to ship broken stuff.
Takeaway: Communicate immediately when stuff breaks. Don’t let the posibility of your crappy product breaking keep you from shipping. The only way to get from crappy to awesome is to break it more.
3. It went way over budget.
My initial budget for the app was $500.
We hit that. But then I wanted more.
As the app evolved, I added features. I don’t regret that at all.
However, I’ve spent considerably more on the app now than I ever anticipated.
Total spent = $3,200. Still relatively cheap in the grand scheme of things. But 6x my original.
Takeaway: Know where to stop. Feature creep can easily eat into the budget of any project. Know your limit.
What went right?
Stuff goes wrong. That’s life.
Focusing on that is annoying. I’ve always been an optimist. It just makes life better.
So, let’s talk about what went well.
1. 120 people are using List Goal every day.
There is nothing quite like inventing something and then having real live humans using it.
I’m grateful that even one person has found value in it. But 120 people!? That’s fun. 🙂
2. 152,340 new subscribers have been added with List Goal.
My internal success metric for the app is how many new subscribers users are getting. At the end of the day, that is all that matters. That’s the true gauge of its effectiveness.
And the initial results have been awesome!
152,340 new subscribers have been added by 120 users of the app.
3. The app is ready for prime time.
I’m extremely happy with the app itself. I’ve tested it extensively.
Certainly, things will break as we add more users, but I’m proud of where it is right now.
New features are being added every day.
In fact, the entire Trello development board is public.
Go check it out.
A look inside the app
Want to take a look inside the app?
I’ve recorded a sneak peak of the app just for you guys.
At the end of the video is information on how you can download it before it’s released publicly.