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Vulnerable Founder Vulnerable Founder

#24: What keeps me up at night - Loneliness

1 month
I've heard it said many times that being an entrepreneur is lonely. That's one of the reasons why many mentors recommend lone-wolf founders to find a co-founder, to share the experience with. It's been a different experience for me because I have a co-founder, and she also just happens to be my wife. We probably have a dynamic much different than others, as I have to decipher emotions from actual disagreement. It can be tough at times, but that's everyday life, and we keep on pushing forward.

But that's not the loneliness that I'm sitting here thinking about.

Our product is backed by a huge desire and motivation to help others. We are doing what we are doing with hopes that we can help to open up opportunities for creative entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, but we are starting from scratch. The loneliness that I feel is the part where I am motivated to help everyone that I can possibly help, but it is hard to get the time of day from most. I understand why, as we all operate in a noisy environment where everyone wants our business.

But I just want to help, and I'm not even asking for money.

It's a lonely path because I am here, trying to build a platform, trying to get attention, and trying to demonstrate the tools that we have built. It's far from perfect, but the first step in a bigger vision to create a massive amount of value. Yet I struggle to find people to listen, or to take the time to try things out.

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash


It's not all loneliness though, because to those that have listened, I thank you. Those that have taken the time to hear me out, to see my vision and to try my app, provide me with the sparks of hope that keep pushing me forward. I appreciate every on of you—all future customers will follow because of the path that you helped to create for them.

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Vulnerable Founder Vulnerable Founder

#23: What keeps me up at night - Product market fit

1 month
Here again, I’m laying in bed with so many thoughts running through my mind—one particularly has my mind racing.

We are hitting on a very interesting market and have what seems to be a very strong hypothesis, but... But what exactly do we need to build to get the market we are targeting?

We have done a number of “launches” and now we are about set to open up our app to the public to see how they will take to it. I can’t help but wonder if this will be enough—enough to at least get started.

An interesting benefit that I think we have is that our product has the potential to gather our target market, but also connect with individuals to gather feedback and learn more about them. It’s going to be a very interesting few weeks ahead.

I can lay here and wonder what we need to build, but the first step is to just get the thing out into the wild and see how people respond. Let’s do this.

Photo by Juan Rumimpunu on Unsplash

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Vulnerable Founder Vulnerable Founder

#22: Being a nurturing entrepreneur (dad)

1 month
I'm a dad and one of my primary responsibilities as an entrepreneur is to make sure that I stay a good dad. I also happen to be working with my wife on this startup of ours, so we have to be doubly thoughtful about how we raise our son.

COVID has had a lasting impact on our family as it pushed us toward something we had been exploring for some time, and that was to homeschool our son. He participated in remote learning after schools were shutdown a year ago, but as the summer was coming to an end, we faced the decision of what to do for the fall. We had enjoyed our time with him at home, which also happens to be our startup office, so with his enthusiastic approval we decided to homeschool him.

We have taken the path of giving him more freedom to explore what he wants to spend his time on and what to learn about. One thing that has been a pleasant surprise was the amount of interest he has put into reading, which also includes the entire Harry Potter series (he's almost done with book 7). He also has spent considerably more time than I would have imagined doing art, from drawing to cardboard construction. He confiscates most cardboard boxes from our Amazon deliveries, and has gone through a pile of origami paper and rolls and rolls of Scotch tape.

I love baseball, but building a stadium out of cardboard was entirely his idea!


He is still young, and leans towards playing as much as possible, so we spend time prompting him with more structured learning. My wife has been great helping him with math and Japanese study. I have been encouraging more hard skills like typing and coding, but also life skills as I take him shopping and have him help me with gardening.

Learning coding principles, and yes, that's his dwindling supply of Scotch tape on the bottom shelf.


We have been very blessed as the neighbors across the street have children that are being homeschooled this school year as well. They have been able to share recess time together, and play as often as weather permits. Our COVID quarantine was effectively our two houses and the street in between, but the kids stayed outside and faithfully wore their masks as they played. They have been extremely helpful and adaptable in such a strange time, but there's no doubt that they have also been having a blast as well.

Our homeschooling adventure is a work in progress and we will see how things change, especially as life outside begins to normalize. The business is starting to gain momentum, so we will have to make adjustments as I get busier with the startup. This special time in our lives has been a blessing and I am so very grateful for the time I have had to spend with my wife and son.

Here's to a successful business, and a successful family life!

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Vulnerable Founder Vulnerable Founder

#21: Catching up. It's been a while...

1 month
I have to give a lot of credit to those that faithfully blog, YouTube, or podcast. It's a lot of work and takes dedication to keep on creating content, day after day. I guess if you make it a priority, it's going to be something that you just do, like waking up and going to work.

A lot has been happening in the life of this founder, which will need to be broken up in to many different, shorter posts.

I just wrapped up a four-week "Build Sprint" for Startup School, where I set a goal to find and activate 10 new user accounts in Pivvt. We were able to get six new accounts, and that was from weeks 1 and 3, but what we learned and were able to accomplish over that time was tremendous. I put in a lot of thought and action into our focus, and have emerged with an even clearer vision of where we are headed.

It is amazing the resources that are out there, that is available for free. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, go and sign up for Startup School. It's well worth it, if you put in the work.

That's it for now. More to come!

4 weeks well worth the time!

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Inside Pivvt Inside Pivvt

Updated Landing Page

2 months
In an effort to focus more on creators and bring value to them, we have updated our landing page. There's a lot of very exciting work ahead. Here's to helping creative entrepreneurs establish viable businesses, so they can finally quit their "day jobs" and spend their time doing what they love!

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Vulnerable Founder Vulnerable Founder

#20: I've caved in to vertical videos...

2 months
I heard about YouTube Shorts while poking around in Clubhouse tonight. I've thought about creating short video content and tried it out once, but filming, editing, and uploading was a lot of work and took a lot of time. I think I now have a format that will work for me, especially as I am definitely not a TikTok or Instagram type. Let's see if I can make Startup Shorts a thing. Ha!

I honestly just want to keep a record of what I experience going forward, and could care less about monetization. After all, I'm building a startup. That's where I want to make my money!

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Spotify (Anchor.fm) is the latest to expand creator monetization

2 months
Spotify announced yesterday that they will be enabling podcasters to create subscription options for listeners, a direct hit to Patreon. They are recognizing the need for more monetization options for content creators beyond advertising. You have to wonder, at what point will the market get tired of subscriptions...

Another interesting announcement was a deep integration with Wordpress, to make it easy for blogs to be transcribed into audio form for podcast distribution, or to transcribe podcast episodes into a text-based blog post. Interesting tools, especially the latter. However, the last thing I want to hear is a mechanical voice reading a blog post for me, but it could be good for vision impaired audiences (if they don't already have text to voice capability already?)

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The Creator Economy Middle Class

John Dodson 2 months
I recently came across a great article that really hit on points that I have been thinking about recently. I especially liked the term "creator economy middle class" because it really hits on problems I see on the internet today. Our entire focus at Pivvt is on this group and their audience.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be touching on the ten points discussed in the article.

For now, here is the provided summary for the article:

Right now, the creative economy on platforms like YouTube and Instagram looks a lot like the U.S. economy — there are a few big winners and a lot of people hustling to make a living and barely getting by. But it doesn’t have to be like this. Platforms can be — and sometimes are — the new vehicles for the American Dream, offering a stable, middle-class income and the promise of upward mobility. Fulfill that potential, however, is a choice: Platforms can decide how they dole out exposure and rewards, and whether they broaden users’ exposure or create filter bubbles with rigid hierarchies. The author recommends 10 policies platforms can adopt to broaden opportunity: 1) focus on content types with lower replay value, 2) serve heterogeneity in user preferences & empower niche, 3) recommend content algorithmically with an element of randomness, 4) facilitate collabs and community, 5) provide capital investment to up-and-coming creators, 6) decouple creator payouts from audience demographic, 7) allow creators to capitalize on superfans, 8) create passive (or almost-passive) income opportunities for creators, 9) offer a form of Universal Creative Income (UCI), and 10) provide creator education and training.

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A focus on the Creative Economy

2 months
Patreon led the charge, then Substack, and others followed. Creators are breaking away from big publications and turning to other apps to monetize their content independently. YouTube has a subscription service for channels, and now it appears that LinkedIn is getting into the space as well.

The creative economy is the future of small business, and the big tech companies are noticing.

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Vulnerable Founder Vulnerable Founder

#19: Startup School Build Sprint

2 months
I've talked about Y Combinator before, and Startup School is a free program they put together to bring best practices curriculum to aspiring entrepreneurs. Let's just say that is is very well worth the cost! In all seriousness, it's a great model because they help to educate new founders which ultimately feeds into their Y Combinator program. There's no question that the program pays for itself; it's a brilliant funnel to their core business.

That said, they are kicking off their next iteration of the "Build Sprint" this week. This is a four week program for Startup School entrepreneurs to set a very specific goal to accomplish in that time, to help build momentum into the application deadline for the next YC summer cohort.

Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash


I am joining this Build Sprint to target building up our customer base. My goal for the next four weeks is:
Get 10 customers onboarded onto the new app.

So now that the world can see my goal (that includes the two of you who actually read this!), it's time to go out and get things done. Here's to a good four weeks, and I'll be sure to post updates about my experiences during that time, right here.

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