Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Freshly Squeezed is currently generating $3K MRR.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
Ever since a young age, I’ve been absolutely fascinated by the idea of entrepreneurship. I had always wanted to be able to run my own business. I was a bit of an outsider in high school. I didn’t have any friends and I would spend most lunch breaks on my own. This gave me a considerable amount of time to develop business ideas and try things without worrying about what others may think.
Fast-forward several years...
After parting ways with a digital marketing agency in October 2019, I was in a position where I could go all-in on an idea that had been brewing in my head for a while - a content writing business.
It was a scary time. There were a lot of unknowns. I wasn’t sure if I could make it work and I was worried I would fail. Failure is definitely something I was concerned about. At the same time, I was fully aware that allowing negativity to consume my head would be unproductive and distract away from the task at hand. I knuckled down and did everything that I could to build a customer base as quickly as possible.
If the value proposition diminishes over time, you’re more likely to see customers drop off and fall to the wayside. This is why I put a huge amount of time and effort into going the extra mile for my existing customers.
I knew that if I didn’t at least try to pursue my life-long ambition, I would regret it. This was the perfect opportunity to take a deep dive and try to make something work, anything. The last six months have gone so quickly - it’s incredible. I have several customers in the SaaS industry and I also work on content for businesses in an eclectic mix of other industries. I really enjoy the variety and it keeps me on my toes!
After six months of building Freshly Squeezed, I am now earning considerably more than I was at the digital marketing agency. It sounds too good to be true. In a way, I don’t want it to sink in anytime soon. I’ve been playing my own game and working towards my own financial targets. I do treat it like a competitive game and that’s exciting to me.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
Freshly Squeezed delivers SEO blog content to startups and small businesses. Content writing is a core component of the digital marketing strategy of any business. Working at the agency gave me the opportunity to see money being made from content writing services. When I saw customers paying for these services, it suddenly made the idea of starting a content writing business feel achievable.
I conducted several weeks’ worth of market research in the evenings when I would get home from my job. I started to make notes on a Google document to collect my thoughts and start building on the idea. The name “Freshly Squeezed” came very early on. To this day, I still absolutely love the name - I’m beyond happy with it.
In terms of writing the first few articles for customers, I was very interested to see whether there was a ‘style’ or ‘tone’ that universally appealed to businesses. The truth is, every business has a unique brand with a distinctive voice - and I have embraced the challenge of crafting content to match this. The priorities of my customers can also vary. Some are solely interested in extracting SEO value from the content, while others are more focused on using the content to boost consumer confidence.
Describe the process of launching the business.
It all happened rather quickly. The first few days were filled with frantic outreach. I had just been laid off by the digital marketing agency that I worked for, so it was an emotional rollercoaster. I was determined to make this work, totally committed. Creating the website on Wix was the easiest part of the process, it was just a very basic landing page. It was very much a case of getting the website up and running.
I tweak and tamper with the website almost daily - testing new copy and visual graphics. I really believe that a website is something that should evolve over time as you learn more about your target market. There’s nothing worse than visiting a website that hasn’t changed in 5 years. The website for Freshly Squeezed has evolved considerably over the past 6 months. In many ways, it’s completely unrecognizable, with the exception of the branding which has remained consistent throughout.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
I was actually talking to someone about this the other day. I believe that customer retention is directly correlated with the value proposition of a product or service. If the value proposition diminishes over time, you’re more likely to see customers drop off and fall to the wayside. This is why I put a huge amount of time and effort into going the extra mile for my existing customers.
Lots of service-based businesses become so focused on customer acquisition that they forget about their existing customers. From my perspective, this causes the customer journey to crumble. I want to build a team of advocates for my content writing service and I know that customer retention is key to getting people to this stage of the journey.
At the same time, you don’t want your business to be stagnant. I do put a lot of effort into attracting new customers across a variety of different marketing channels. Cold emailing is immensely underrated. With the right email template, this can produce far better results than any paid advertising campaign.
My email marketing campaigns are mostly automated. I prefer to write follow-up emails manually because they really demand a certain level of personalization. Overall, I am reasonably happy with my email marketing conversion rates, but I am always trying to improve my templates.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
I’m focused on providing my existing customers with as much value as possible whilst exploring growth opportunities through marketing campaigns and other initiatives. I have started the process of building a team of highly-skilled writers that are experts in their fields. This will allow us to deliver content for customers that operate in niche markets.
At this moment in time, I do the vast majority of the content writing myself. When I do use other writers, I play them exceptionally well. In return, I expect nothing but the best. When someone comes to Freshly Squeezed, I want them to have the confidence that they will receive best-in-class written content with an extra slice of magic.
With the right email template, cold emailing can produce far better results than any paid advertising campaign.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
I’ve always been a big dreamer. Since starting this business, I have only learned to dream more. There’s nothing wrong with ambition if you have the work ethic, determination and will-power to make it happen. You’ve got to get outside of your comfort zone and take some risks, even if that’s between the hours of 5 and 12 every evening.
After being laid off by the digital marketing agency, I could have started looking at the job market - that would have been the easy route. Fortunately, I was in a situation where I had a small window where I could go all-in on an idea. If you feel daunted or scared about embarking on a dream, that’s one more reason to do it.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
I feel like I spend my life using Google Docs and Trello. These are both fantastic tools that help me on the operational side of things. I was never really a big fan of spreadsheets, but my love for them is starting to grow. I find them to be particularly useful for building email lists as part of outreach campaigns.
Wix gets a lot of bad press, but I prefer it to Squarespace and WordPress. You are given so much freedom over the design of your website, which is very liberating. The speed at which you can make edits is also a plus, especially if you want to constantly tweak things, like me.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
There’s too many! I’ll be completely honest, I actually spent a lot of time reading Starter Story in the first few weeks of starting my business. I have so much admiration for all of the inspiring entrepreneurs that have fought hard to execute on their ideas and build bootstrapped businesses. It really is amazing.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
At the beginning of every day, I put a piece of paper and a pen on my desk. By the end of the day, the piece of paper must contain a list of every productive activity that I have participated in.
The longer the list, the better! This is a very simple method of improving your productivity. It can be very easy to get distracted during the working day and this helps me to stay focused.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
I’m looking for writers that are hyper-focused on particular niche markets. If you’re a writer that produces content solely for a specific industry, I’d really like to hear from you.
Where can we go to learn more?
I’m always down for an email! If you’re dreamin’ up your next big idea, I’d love to provide you with a few words of positive encouragement. That’s exactly what I needed when I was starting out 6 months ago.
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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Hey! 👋I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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