On Thursday, March 6, I emailed a couple of my friends and said, “I’m considering a soft launch of watershawl.com to have a place to put those new productized services/service-as-a-product – and have a place to separate the place where I try to get more work to do vs. the place I write about breakfast. I’m not re-incorporating, but I’m not opposed to that if it comes to that. I’m just wanting to build something back up that is still a part of me. I still use the Watershawl email address and I’m still in business as “Erich Stauffer” so why not?”
On a whiteboard in my office I wrote all of the products-as-a-service I could think of to sell and some possible prices. Pricing was based on previous jobs I had done as a consultant. The key would be to be as clear as possible about what I was doing and what they were getting in order to make sure both sides understood and were in agreement. I decided not to release all of the products at once, but instead to release them one at a time.
One of my friends wondered if watershawl.com, the domain used with my previous company, Watershawl, Inc., was a good idea, “What about coming up with a more business friendly name for the relaunch?” I said, “I’ve been purging so many company names from my repertoire over the last 5 years that the thought of trying to figure out a new one makes my stomach churn. Naming an idea has always been the thing I do first. I don’t want to do that anymore. Instead, I can work on developing the business model under watershawl.com and if I get more customers, I’ll have a business that I can name.”
But after some thought, I offered the following idea. After all, I was seeking counsel and I would be a fool if I didn’t at least consider the input from those who were offering to help. “What do you think about the Managing Actions name?” That was a domain I registered in 2008 and a lot of the blog posts on this site originally came from. This wasn’t the first time I had tried to start something else using managingactions.com. In 2010 I created Action Management, a management consulting service specializing in business process management and staffing models, but I didn’t take it seriously (although the idea did help get me an 8 month contract that helped save a business). This time would be different.
I had set managingactions.com to not renew in July, but it already had WordPress installed on it. I changed it back to autorenew and put up a new Genesis theme. I then created a homepage that explained the first product, “Web Analytics Review”. It had graphics explaining the how the product worked (i.e. 1. Give access to analytics. 2. I review. 3. Meet and go over.). I then added a testimonial from a client who had purchased the product the week before. I already had sold the product so I knew I could do it again.
The Future of Managing Actions
I’d like to use the products as an inroad to do more marketing consulting, starting with looking at analytics but then getting into a review of marketing processes, management of marketers; helping business owners setup processes for creating and managing content (i.e. either using a content management system like Compendium, Hubspot, or Eloqua; or by simply creating editorial and promotional calendars and then using a service like Bufferapp or Hootsuite to manage it).
The Overlap Technique
One challenge is that I still have my day-job and I don’t want to jeopardize that. I count on that money and I like my job. That means I can’t use LinkedIn as a platform, but I can use Google Ads or other under-the-radar things. So far I’ve setup a Twitter account and posted it out on my personal Google+ page, but I haven’t gone farther than that. I won’t be able to setup an Instagram account because I already had one under that name and deleted it, but that’s okay. Instagram probably isn’t the best channel for web analytics review marketing.
Sean Wes has a technique called “The Overlap Technique” (http://seanwes.com/book/) that talks about building up a business on the side while holding down a day job. That’s the approach I’d like to take. One of my goals for 2015 is to “do what I tell my customers to do” and those things are: blog, podcast, and create videos. So far I’ve been blogging, and I’ve lined up a podcast co-host, but I haven’t made any podcasts or videos yet. One other option is to record videos and/or podcasts in the car while driving using my iPhone. What I’ve lacked is a reason. Now I think I have one.