How We Launched A $1.2K/Month Edtech Application That Helps Beginners In The IT Industry

Start An Online Courses Business
About The Company
Coming Up With The Idea
Building The Product
Launching The Business
Growing The Business
Revenue + Financials
Lessons Learned
Recommended Tools
Books & Resources
Advice For Founders
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
$1,200
revenue/mo
2
Founders
0
Employees
product
Duomly
from Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
started January 2018
$1,200
revenue/mo
2
Founders
0
Employees
253K
alexa rank
2.46K
followers
1.87K
followers
3.71K
subs
market size
$200B
avg revenue (monthly)
$121K
starting costs
$7.53K
gross margin
75%
time to build
5 months
growth channels
SEO (blog posts, organic traffic from search engines), Email marketing
business model
E-Commerce
best tools
WordPress, Google Analytics, Facebook
time investment
Side project
tips
36 Tips
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productivity
other
Discover what books Radoslaw reccommends to grow your business!
Listen to the audio version of this story!

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hello, I'm Radoslaw Fabisiak, and together with Anna Danilec, I'm the co-founder of Duomly e-learning company. We started our ideas to give people a better learning experience about two years ago.

The project which we built is called Duomly, and it's an edtech application that helps beginners join the IT industry.

But as well as supporting advanced programmers with knowledge about how to build projects.

We focus on parts of IT like Machine learning and AI, Front-end and Back-end development, Blockchain development, and building Mobile apps.

Students can learn programming theory with fun through interactive challenges, quizzes, coding tasks, but can build real-projects as well, and see their live progress.

Three months ago, we gave our clients the possibility of paying by credit cards and started selling first accounts. Now we have sales of around $1200/month.

how-we-launched-a-1-2k-month-edtech-application-that-helps-beginners-in-the-it-industry

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

Both of us have been full-stack programmers for years, and as we know, the IT industry changes a lot in a speedy time, so it's the reason we need to learn many new technologies, to keep the right level.

If you'd knew how to do it properly, you'd do it much faster, cheaper and better.

We already had various resources where we can learn from, in most cases, we felt it's a must, not big fun.

As IT people, we need to learn a lot, and sometimes we do even a few courses or books per month, I can say learning is a massive part of our lives.

So we wanted to make the learning process more fun and pleasure instead of working-type spending time.

After some research through our IT friends, we noticed most of them had the same feeling, and a lot of them would improve their skills much more if the way would be better, so we found we should implement that idea.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

The first idea of building Duomly was in January 2018 when blockchain was coming into IT with a huge buzz, CryptoKitties were very popular, and people went crazy about the whole crypto industry.

We already had some knowledge about the Solidity programming language, so we decided it will be our first content.

I learned the most crucial skill is the possibility of solving problems and looking for new solutions, so sometimes we could solve a problem in a much shorter time than we would spend on looking for somebody who can do that for us.

Because it was an after-hours project, we didn't spend so much time on stuff like design, wanted to do MVP for people and see if they will like it, so our first design was done by Anna in 1-2 days, next she started creating front-end, and I focused on the back-end.

The whole development process with the first main features took us about 2-3 months, and we started tests with real users, after getting feedback on what we should immediately change, we went into improving apps design/workflow.

The first version even didn't have a landing page because our very first idea was to start giving content and see if people will like that, so we didn't think about so many features yet, just started development, to deliver as fast as possible.

In June/July 2018, we decided to make Duomly public and live, give the app to people without charging them, to build the first user base, improve the product, and started working on content.

how-we-launched-a-1-2k-month-edtech-application-that-helps-beginners-in-the-it-industry

Describe the process of launching the business.

We still didn't have a proper launch of the project with big fiesta, media-buzz yet.

But if we can take our day of going live as launch, we just made it public and shared with users through our social media.

I would name as a past-MVP with more rich content and paying customers, we still learn from our users what we should improve, what to rebuild, and try to refactor our courses to give users the best experience, and when I see the feedback, I could say our improvements work.

In the launch step, we had prepared 3 or 4 courses and invited about 300 users as early-testers of our platform and content, which strongly helped to improve users' experience. That allowed us to get the first paying customers, and most of them evolved from current free-users.

Now we are on the stage with about 20 courses, few in progress, and a lot prepared.

We don't stay with content in a place and try to add 2-3 new courses every month.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

As Gabriel Weinberg teaches in his book, we tried all of the possible methods (for what we had money, of course).

We tried to do all of the social media like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, even Pinterest, and Tumblr, it's essential to have a presence there, but it's time-consuming to build a good profile which gives good traffic, but definitely worth it.

In the beginning, we had 0 knowledge about marketing, so all was like blind-shots and a lot of learning. But stats clearly showed us, what was working, what gives us users, what is better for sales, and what gives only visits.

We even didn't miss to shoot into paid marketing. Still, because we bootstrapped Duomly and results were costly, especially in comparison with content marketing, we decided not to go with it so much.

Some time ago, we started a Youtube channel, where we create IT-related content, like career tips, programming tutorials, and general programming talks.

We create by ourselves all the content and edits, so quality is far from pro-level, but we still try to learn these skills and hope every movie will have some quality-progress.

The last month we tried to spend some more time growing that, and we can see beautiful results (still minimal in comparison with big channels, but we can see good progress).

But because the specification of our Industry and users, I think the best value gives us, when we give users value, when they see we really know what we do, we have expert knowledge in topics which we teach.

To prove that we write a lot of technical and less-tech articles which our users can use, get some useful knowledge from these.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We started taking money three months ago and decided to incorporate it from 5, so we are very young as a commercial company, but we have some first paying customers, have good feedback from our users, and Duomly is profitable for now.

In the months when we started selling, we had some consistently grow. We have increased our reach and sold subscriptions, so we would like to continue that level of growth, give users more useful content, improve our marketing channels, and every measure shows it will work.

Our next goal is to achieve $60k/mo in 2020, but we would like to do it until July.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Of course, I still learn every day, and every problem is any lesson for me. Because we are bootstrapping Duomly, most of the things which we are doing, we need to care about money, so we need to learn a lot about the possible solutions.

I learned the most crucial skill is the possibility of solving problems and looking for new solutions, so sometimes we could solve a problem in a much shorter time than we would spend on looking for somebody who can do that for us.

One of the most important lessons for me was: If you'd knew how to do it properly, you'd do it much faster, cheaper and better or at least whom I should hire for that, what motivates me to look for new/alternative solutions.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

For our IT infrastructure, we use solutions from companies like Google, Amazon, DigitalOcean, and Facebook.

For the design and grammar of our content, we mostly use Grammarly, PlaceIt, and FlatIcon.

For social/content, we use a lot of dev.to, Medium and Twitter.

And we manage our work by Asana, pen&paper, and whiteboards.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I try to read at least some pages per day, and most of the time I spend on high-tech, but if I don't learn new techs, I try to learn some personal development.

Probably I wouldn't have space to mention all of the people, but from book authors, worth to recommend are: Timothy Ferriss and his 4-hour workweek, Jason Fried and his Rework and Traction from Gabriel Weinberg, these three are full of real examples.

From video courses, I would like to recommend Chris Croft and Patrick Dang, who gives us a lot of finger-pointed examples as well.

Good to mention is I like to read/listen biographies of entrepreneurs and coaching books, which give me that positive boost.

And for people who don't have time to read, I can recommend app Blinkist, which helps to read shortened versions of books in a quick time, like 15 min per book.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

I'm still the person who needs much advice, but if I could recommend something to younger entrepreneurs for sure, it will be to don't give up, try to solve problems by yourself, master using Google, read a lot, and learn.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

For now, probably we will not hire so many full-time people (maybe it will change soon), but we are open for co-operating with freelancers with positions like:

  • technical writers
  • startup marketing engineers
  • grow engineers
  • testers
  • videographers
  • Designers

If you are one of them, and you have skills that could be useful for us, you can follow our newsletter or profile on the Angellist/LinkedIn for openings.

Also, if we are in special need, we target people ourselves directly on startup/business portals.

Where can we go to learn more?

-  
Radoslaw Fabisiak,   Founder of Duomly

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