Building in public to full-time creator

Building in public to full-time creator

Tell us about yourself

My friends call me Art.

I was born in the USSR. Mom Russian, Dad Latvian, we fled the USSR to Yugoslavia. Then fled the civil war in Yugoslavia and finally ended up in Vienna, Austria. That’s where I grew up.

Initially groomed to become a solo violinist, then rebelled against my dad and quit music. Academic background in business and marketing.

For more than a decade I worked in the early stages of company building. Initially as an event organizer, then a venture developer for a fund until I started my own business.

Who am I? Still figuring that out.

My friend Stew framed this question in a different way: “What are you doing right now?”

From 2015 - 2019 I built an adtech startup called Perengo. We built a programmatic recruitment software used by some of the largest ride-sharing co’s to hire thousands of drivers. The business got acquired in 2019 by the largest recruitment marketing agency in the world.

In 2020 I produced my first EP. It was a down tempo album and is now available on Apple Music and Spotify.

In 2021 the plan was to take some time off and wander. After a couple of weeks of watching online courses (mainly coursera and gumroad) I thought “I should try that too”.
Now I’m building a creator business full-time. The initial goal is to get to ramen-profitability ($1k/mo) via online courses. I’m documenting my journey in public.

What content do you produce?

Currently I think of myself as a writer.

Writing is the main output that can then be turned into different assets.

The way I structure it in my head is a funnel:

Top-of-Funnel: Build audience (= twitter)

Middle-of-Funnel: Engage with higher fidelity content (= website + newsletter)

Bottom-of-Funnel: Convert to paid SKUs (= online course)

This is a rough structure for now and might change in the future. I’m experimenting and want to see what works for the audience and for myself.

Stylewise my writing is very business-y/ad copy like. Short, active, results-oriented.

People I look up to: Tim Urban (WaitButWhy), Packy McCormick (Not Boring)

Why? They look at complex topics and break it down without the bullshit.

One of the best pieces of advice that I keep sharing with everyone is Scott Adams’s “The Day You Became a Better Writer”.

How have you grown your audience?

My current stats:

  • Twitter: ~750 followers
  • Website: ~1500 monthly users
  • Newsletter: 58 subscribers
  • Online course: 3 paying customers (this is suuuuuuper early)

Given the numbers, please take it with a grain of salt.

Twitter

User since 2010 but started focusing on Twitter in Feb 2021 // here a quick write-up.

Next milestone: 1k followers (end of April) → EOY: 5k (stretch goal).

Tactic #1:

  • Engagement w/ accounts that I find interesting
  • Comments/thoughts
  • Introductions of ppl

Tactic #2:

  • Building in public
  • Using to document progress == public notebook

It still blows my mind that people are willing to help with their time and insights. I love that.

Website

I increased publishing frequency and try to cross-link all the blog posts I have

Goal is to create SEO coverage for relevant keywords

Fun fact: 90% of my organic search traffic comes from an article I wrote about the Fasting-Mimicking-Diet

It works because it’s niche + valuable

BUT it’s not what I want to monetize → but maybe I should add affiliate links to it // would be stupid not to now as I’m thinking about it 🤔

Online Course

  • So much work on this one, but here’s 2 thoughts
  • Increase the funnel: It’s a numbers game
  • More twitter followers
  • More traffic on my website (especially on marketing-related posts)
  • Currently splitting my entire online course into small 400-word blog posts and publishing them every day on my blog → then distro on twitter + Linkedin
  • Once this is done I’ll start doing daily brand strategy analyses with the framework I’m teaching → mainly on twitter & linkedin for engagement
  • AdWords → I have a list of high CTR keywords (high-intent KWs) but need to improve the CVR on the landing page first before putting money into paid acquisition

Increase conversion rate:

  • Ratings: I have a couple of 5-star ratings but in gumroad it doesn’t give you an option to write a comment
  • Customer testimonials: This is the single most important thing I’m trying to get → once I have something I’ll put it front and center on the landing pages

How have you monetised (or plan to)?

Online Courses (v1.0)

In the v1.0 I would like to generate a steady income via online course sales.

A lot of experimentation still needed:

  • Course format: Currently self-paced but maybe better to restructure as CBC
  • Pricing: Initially $29 → now bumped up to $99

Where can people find you?

Start here

Best piece is a story about my Dad and the Art of DJing