For a long time, you may have noticed I mentioned a certain business that I was working on in many of my articles.
The business was called Condensr, and you can still go and learn more about on the landing page I had created for.
Condensr was an app that brings the world's biggest ideas and insights from best-selling authors and condenses them into the fastest, most detailed 10-min narrations.
It was essentially a business & entrepreneurship books summary app - the intention behind it was to give entrepreneurs all the information they need, when they need it, without having to spend weeks or months reading a book.
I, personally, find myself in situations where I need to learn something from a book, however, I'm either reading another book, or the book I need to read is very long.
In fact, I'm in this predicament right now.
Starting my new SaaS business, Hawk Prospecting, I stepped into an industry with quite a lot of competition.
Hawk prospecting was a business born off of a need that I faced when I owned my marketing agency.
Finding prospects consistently was a difficult task to do.
I had to spend a ton of time manually searching Google or other websites to find out all the information on my prospects.
The software available was expensive, inaccurate, out of date, or it just didn't have the sort of coverage I was looking for.
Hawk Prospecting is, in my opinion, the most advanced sales tool available to agency owners and salespeople.
You're able to gain access to the largest database of over 2.5 Billion+ unique individuals, which is around 5X larger than some of the largest competitors.
On top of this, our coverage is far and wide. We're able to find more valuable information than most such as names, emails (personal and work), numbers, social accounts, business info, personal info, etc.
We've even added the extra benefits of searching using not only LinkedIn URLs, but also Facebook URLs, work emails, phone numbers, and names plus domains.
Now, both businesses sound great, right?
However, you're probably wondering why I stopped working on Condensr, and started working on Hawk Prospecting,.
In this article, I'm going to be explaining a few of the reasons that made me switch to SaaS over Condensr.
Massive time investment
The vision behind Condensr was grand. I wanted to have the app in the hands of everyone in the world who valued their self-development so they can all have the same opportunities to learn and apply this information.
To make this happen, it's likely that it would take a long time to build.
Starting Condensr, I initially moved really fast - I wanted to build the app and have it up as soon as possible.
This is why I quickly found a team of developers who were able to make a wireframe for me.
They told me this would help me raise funding, which is something I needed to make the idea come to life and also reach the vision I had set out for the product.
I had bought myself around a month to learn all about my business, plan, and get ready to bring the idea to life.
I wanted to have at least 100 books ready and summarised on the app before we launched - so I quickly started looking for writers and narrators who I interviewed for days on end.
Day after day, I started learning more and came across this thing called the 'Lean Startup' methodology which was something Eric Ries spoke about a lot.
He even had a book on it called 'The Lean Startup' which I read within the time I was working on Condensr.
I had learned that before building a product, you must first learn all about your target market, their problems and come up with a solution to those problems.
Following the completion of the wireframe, I found out that it was completely useless.
Investors didn't want a wireframe or an idea, they wanted tangible results that showed the product would be valuable.
I could have carried on the business with $2000 extra in my pocket.
However, I ended up using the wireframe as a way to show people what my product was going to look like.
I spent a whole month interviewing people and learning all about them.
Within this month, I spoke to a little over 30 people and had 25 good quality interviews at the end of it.
I had also found a freelance writer who started working on the summaries - but the summaries were taking way too long and the 100 book target quickly started looking like a pipedream.
Each summary was taking 10s of revisions, and a few weeks to write.
Already, I had spent a few months, with no real results.
This was one of the biggest reasons I decided that this business was not going to be worth pursuing at this current time at least.
It was going to need a massive investment of time, and I had to get out before I dug myself a hole I can't get out of like what I had done with my marketing agency.
No specialist knowledge
Starting a new business venture, you're advised to start something where you have specialist knowledge or an unfair advantage.
Working with a 'coach,' I came to quickly realise that I had no real advantage starting this business.
There was nothing I knew that others didn't or that they couldn't find out.
This made it really easy for others to do what I was doing.
Following this, my first *real* business was a marketing agency owner.
Both of these roles were slightly similar in the fact that you had to go out and find people or leads who are interested in your products or services.
I had spent a long time in sales-related roles and so I knew the pain points and the sort of product that would be helpful.
When it came to Condensr, however, it was hard to really think of an unfair advantage that I had with this business.
On top of this, I could not build it myself. I didn't know how to code, and although I'm a decent writer, I didn't want to spend ages writing summaries of books.
I was not ready to jump into a CEO position - this requires a delicate balance of a mashup of skills.
This lack of skills required made it really difficult and stressful to be the one to build a product like Condensr.
Competition is a peculiar subject in business.
I've written an article about competition and how to deal with it.
With Condesnr, I avoided doing competitor research because I was scared of the things I may uncover.
So idiotically, I decided to find one or two competitors and say that this was my only competition.
They weren't small competitors by any means too - Blinkist being the largest, had over 20 million members.
How were we going to compete with that!
It's almost as stupid as trying to compete with something like Google in the search engine space.
Following all the interviews I did, the messages I sent, I was slowly and slowly uncovering more competition.
People started to reveal competitors I've never heard of and it just kept feeding into my anxiety.
My initial idea was to simply make 10-min summaries of books that are both short and extremely detailed to the point where it feels like you've read or listened to the whole book within this time.
However, as the competition was uncovered, I realised that this was not a strong enough differentiator if I was to carry on with this business.
Luckily, I didn't spend weeks writing a 50+ page business plan because we iterated and changed our product at least 10 times over.
Each time, it got more stressful, I lost motivation, and the dream I had outlined in my mind faded.
In the end, my freelancer and I had come to the decision that Condensr had too much competition - established competition, and so we had to give it up.
On top of this, a product that brings in £5-£15 per month per customer would most likely be making a loss through paid advertising.
It's important to weigh out the unit economics and see if it makes sense for you and if you'd be able to grow.
In our case, it didn't seem like Condensr might be able to grow consistently and profitably.
Lack of control
Similar to the article I wrote on the 5 signs that you should quit your business or venture, the reason I didn't want to carry on building Condensr, was because I had little control over the progress that was being made.
Like we established previously, I have no coding knowledge or experience and I didn't want to spend all my time writing summaries.
This meant that I had to find others to fulfill these roles.
To do this, it puts me in a position where I had to rely on others to do their job early on.
It made it really hard to control deadlines or people's efforts.
On top of this, I had not much capital and so it was hard to find the best fo the best for the jobs that needed doing.
However, I had luckily managed to find a great freelance writer who was patient and willing to work with me on the business.
It was still really hard to get everything done in time with only me and him.
To hire more people, meant I needed more money, and more time/skills to manage the people I hired.
All of these factors combined made me realise that continuing with this business venture would most likely take a turn for the worst - a turn that I didn't like or anticipate.
Finally, whilst working on Condensr, I spent a lot of time learning about new things.
This time introduced me to a new concept that is known as SaaS (software as a service).
This made me realise the upside of owning SaaS businesses, and so I decided to spend the time I had freely on building SaaS products.
Not long after, I was able to launch my first SaaS business - Hawk Prospecting.
Losing motivation and interest in Condensr, made me look for something else that piqued my interest.
It's important to do something that you're generally interested in and have some sort of advantage in.
Whilst reading the book, 'Atomic Habits,' James Clear mentioned that in order to win and stay consistent, you must stack the odds in your favor.
This means selecting a field where you're more likely to win.
These were the 4 (or 5) reasons I decided to quit Condensr and work on my new startup Hawk Prospecting which is now ready to use and steadily growing.
Have you enjoyed this article?
If so, let me know in the comments below.
Till next time,