It’s the 13th of May. Finally, after 3 years of struggling, going through multiple developers, reinventing the business, fundraising and hours upon hours of research, we’re 2 weeks away from beta launching SocialSync.
To completely describe the entirety of the journey that led from where I was, to where we are now could fill a small novel. So, instead, I’ll condense it into a few paragraphs and hopefully retain the essence of why we persevered through everything.
The date was January 2016, my former company (an influencer management company) introduced a new sales/marketing campaign. This would see us scale from 800 to 40,000 clients in 6 months. This was my first business. I was 22 at the time and after 3 years of getting the business off the ground, I had finally found the formula to succeed.
Our business worked with clients on 24-month retainers, we gave them access to products and services to help them develop their online brand. In exchange, we received a percentage of their online revenue each month.
For some of our larger clients, we started to offer social media management services in order to compete with our competitors. At first, we used digital agencies to do this. Unfortunately, their marketing wasn’t nearly as innovative as our own in-house team so we decided to do it ourselves using our own in-house team.
Suddenly, we found ourselves using multiple marketing programs which never really did everything we needed for our top tier clients and it was so costly we started to heavily cut our overall profit lines.
Worst of all, despite having all this software we still needed to do certain marketing items manually. I remember saying to one of my employees “why doesn’t something exist that simplifies all this marketing? Why on earth does this need to be complicated?!”. In the beginning, we poked fun at how overly complicated some of these software solutions were, however, as time went on and we had more and more clients on this top tier package. The thing we took as a joke became a major inconvenience and it was costing us nearly 6 figures a month to maintain!
I had reached my tipping point. I refused to continue to operate our business like we were doing so I turned to my development team and asked them to create a few tools we could use internally so we weren’t wasting time doing menial tasks.
This turned out to be fantastic for us. We got our solution and we ultimately dumped the software we were paying for, for this horribly unfriendly Frankenstein’s monster that was the first ever version of SocialSync.
Fast forward to August of that year, we added one of these tools to our existing software for our clients to see if they’d actually find this useful. So that the clients that weren’t able to join our top tier package could still benefit from marketing.
It was very positively received, so much so we looked at changing our business model. Unfortunately, before we could, we received a letter from our biggest Ad partner saying they’d no longer be able to work with us due to corporate changes. Over-night we could no longer place ads for our 40,000 clients and the entire business fell apart.
It took me 3 gruelling long years to get SocialSync off the ground. The software had to be remade 3 times through different developers. We had to reinvent our entire software based on the enormous amount of market research we put in. I used every last penny I had to get it off the ground. We had to bring on investors and horribly, I had to create a digital marketing agency in order to pay my staff and fund development.
There were times where we barely made rent, didn’t eat for extended periods of time and went through all winter without heating in Wales when it was snowing because we couldn’t afford the heating cost et al.