I have owned this company for 15 years since I started it at age 14. My strategy has always been to accept essentially any work. I want to narrow my focus and think more strategically. Different types of gigs come with enormously different amounts of work, reward, and prestige.
I’m done with schools. These are stressful jobs which don’t pay well. I may outsource this to a contractor in order to continue to leverage that segment, but I don’t want to work school gigs anymore. The kids are always mean, and I spend all my time mediating between the opposite wants of kids and their parents. It’s not worth it.
I want to focus primarily on two weekly residencies at dive bars. I want to set up an 80s dance party which benefits a worthy cause, as well as a weekly hard techno night (In the Berghain sense) which more closely resembles San Francisco’s underground sex party scene. This is a very complex and challenging pair of weekly events which should prove a very challenging and engaging project. Currently I am looking at Wednesday and Thursday nights but I do not have venues in mind yet.
Weddings are a very high ticket gig which is also a high stress gig. It’s worth it, and I really should be doing more of these. I usually gross about $1k/gig. Stress is no excuse for ignoring such a lucrative market segment.
Third, I want to expand my probono work. I have some of the best sound equipment in the world, and I can literally give a mic to worthy groups in need.
My first goal is to make $200/week in revenue from these two weekly diverbar events.
My second goal is to do one wedding a month at that $1k price.
These two goals make up $1800/month in revenue. This is just shy of half of my overall monthly revenue goal for the open revenue project. In order to fulfil my overall goal that each of three project should supply at least 20% of an overall revenue of $4,000, this means I should have two other projects grossing at least $800 each. This still leaves me $600 shy of the $4,000 goal.
I had the worst time trying to source a set of lag bolts for Burning Man online this year. I found them listed on Amazon for as much as $50 a set. This is absolutely insane. I went to the hardware store and put together a set from scratch which cost about $6.
I intend to put together sets like this and list them on Ebay and Amazon at prices which dramatically undercut the competition. The beauty of it is that I can use JIT to eliminate all startup costs by simply waiting until a set sells to purchase the parts.
I have the strong feeling that this will be a seasonal business which peaks just before Burning Man, but there is no harm in starting now.
Following as I often do, the example of Pieter Levels, I have decided to create an open and public page to show progress towards my revenue goals with several of my projects. This allows me to hold myself accountable and to show hard numbers related to the writing I’m doing.
Dashboards are a valuable tool which helps us to define clear and measurable metrics for concisely tracking and communicating progress towards goals. This is an excellent tool for business as well as for our personal lives.
I have seen several different approaches to accomplishing this type of dashboard. Many of them have included attempts to develop the dashboard itself from scratch in order to prove the ability to do so. Instead, I have decided to go for a serverless approach. I will simply use a Google sheets document and then publish a connected graph onto the page. I will simply add data to the spreadsheet and then Google will update the graph pictures automagically. No reason to overcomplicate this.
I want to follow two main metrics; total monthly revenue by project, and revenue mix.
You can view the dashboard here: cjtrowbridge.com/open.
We have only a few months left in 2018, but I have one simple goal to track on this new platform I have put together.
- At least three projects have monthly nonzero revenue numbers.
A major abstract goal for me this year is diversification of my revenue sources. They say that the average millionaire has seven sources of income. Too many wantrepreneurs today are spending a huge amount of time and effort on a single project. Any failure or challenges in that project have an outsized impact on the livelihood and security of the entrepreneur. If the goal is to build a lifestyle business, it doesn’t make sense to spend so much time on any one thing. Thus entrepreneurial diversification is a no brainer.
I want to have at least three significant sources of income by the end of the year. Each one should produce at least 20% of my total revenue. This means problems in one project can not have an outsized impact on my livelihood.
- Each of three projects produces at least 20% of total revenue.
- Total monthly revenue exceeds $4,000.
Here is where I track the total amounts generated by each project. The difference here is that I am showing the top lines, not the mix. Most entrepreneurial thought leaders advise starting with a number for how much profit you need to live. This number is often called MRR or monthly recurring revenue. I am currently a student who does not need to have any income. Thus, I am less focused on the total than on coming up with a steady nonzero amount for each project’s revenue. I have set an arbitrary goal by the end of next year of $4,000 MRR which is how much I was making at the dead-end job I had about a year ago.
Several figures are main inspirations for this project. Chief among them is Pieter Levels. His open revenue dashboard shows his several projects and monthly revenue, along with a graph. His dashboard also shows the status of many serverless bots which perform tasks to facilitate his projects. This is an interesting idea which I will look into once my projects are better established.
Andrey Azimov is another interesting case, and a friend of Pieter Levels. I have been following his progress on a very similar open revenue dashboard on his site. His dashboard also includes the interesting feature of an overall progress bar towards his MRR goal. I may incorporate this at some point, but I believe it would require a refactoring of my serverless strategy for this project. Andrey’s dashboard also includes a countdown to the deadline for his MRR goal. I think this is an interesting approach which could enable additional analytics about trends and progress.