A while back, I started to experiment on a low-key level how people in and outside my circle on Twitter would respond on a few queries.
For the sole purpose to build a case about how supportive one really is to another.
Often, you see people Tweeting about growing their following with the idea of supporting each other.
Support can come in many forms. Whether it’s some sorts of short advice in a Tweet, or buying the product they just launched because you genuinely believe in their success rates.
For a while now, I have been buying and supporting others in public in the form of an LTD, subscription and so on.
That placed me on the map, but the SEO crash course was something that truly spiked interest.
Random people started to DM me, others wanted to introduce me to their 0MRR business and some of them asked me so many questions I decided to take on a call and give up my time for them in return for nothing.
Whilst for some think time is ok, and some yelled at me that I HAVE TO help them, there are lines in terms of how valuable time one is for another.
But more on that later.
Even to date, people still DM me about SEO, and I tell them that SEO is not my core skillset. So naturally the conversation goes where they start to ask what I do or how and what it’s all about.
Taking the call
In the last 6 weeks, I took more calls from people than I did for an entire year. For the sole purpose to steer them in the right direction at no cost.
Eventually I end the call with supporting me with coffee would be nice so we can pay it forward to the next one.
Crickets. 70% of them go silent after that.
Same goes for replying in DMs.
Asking me 300 questions that would solve their entire business.
I rarely refuse to answer each and every question. In the hopes, one day they would return some support in any form. But it doesn’t have to be for me.
- Out of the 140 cold DMs I got in the last 6 weeks, about 40 of them asked me to buy their product to get them out of 0MRR
- 80 of them asked me questions about helping them in business or give them advice
- 35 out of 80, I scheduled a call with them and helped them pivot. And I often take at least 1-4 hours more of my time to help post-call.
- The remaining 20, was pure sales pitch and ignored completely
I low-key bought other people’s products that I have not mentioned yet in my Twitter feed.
I did it by design as part of the experiment.
Because I hoped that they will return the favor to other Indie developers or solopreneurs.
In the last 6 weeks, I spent about 100 hours on the phone.
With an average of 2 hours more after the call in terms of helping them (such as adjusting documents, cold email strat, research etc)
Total time spent: 170 hours. At my rate, that’s about 85 000 USD of my time.
Time I hoped was wisely spent to help them move forward but also hoping they would do at least something in return for one another.
There is a startup I have been helping in the background with a few things here and there.
Including adjusted pricing, ideas and overall framework of the business.
Once a few things were completed, I decided to reach out to 80-ish people that DM’ed me that asked for my help, support and never bothered again with me.
I sent out the message:
Explained them what it’s about, and it would be great to support this business that is actually useful to support them for a few months.
Total cost per month: $1.99. Do it for 3 months, you’re out of pocket $6 tops.
I do the same with 0MRR startups. Supporting them a few months at least.
Not because I would always use the product. But because it gives them the MOTIVATION to do better.
Everyone likes to see their first internet dollars earned. Everyone needs that little motivation to build a better product.
You would think that you get some positive responses and some reaction from the same people that DM’ed you in the cold, you called with and spent your time with for free right?
Out of the 80 people I picked to DM, 2 responded.
1 actually supported the business.
1 out of 80.
Currently I see a huge flaw in mindset. In how everyone might shout they will support each other, but I have not seen a shred of evidence so far on my end that this statement is true.
I am not angry.
I am absolutely sad that the people I talked to, see everything transactional for themselves and want to gain the max out of me, but are not willing to return ANY favor.
Like fuck nothing.
How does that stack up in a circle where everyone seems to support on the surface but is more looking for opportunities to either just extract free info out of someone else or sell their product only.
I spent 170 hours of my time, to get an absolute net return of 1.99 times 3 for someone else I try to get off the ground.
I understand that not everyone can just open their wallets. Even for 2 bucks.
But I know many can.
At this very moment, I can reduce my Twitter circle to 10-15 people max.
And I am trying my best to give everyone the same chance and shot they deserve.
Except that I will not spend time like I did in the last 6 weeks on others.
I trade off my time in the hopes to help not only that person, but also others and they count support just as you do.
For me, this is a sign why Indie community can fail. Not saying it will happen, but there is zero fucks indication in my personal experience today that they will succeed, unless they’re willing to once in a while return that small favor for someone else when an other person helped you steer.
End of the day, I still pick and choose whom I will support.
Just like I support and pay at random for sponsored ads in a newsletter for the next 8 weeks for 4 startups.
Just like I will be more careful in my choices who I will call with and sacrifice my time.
To make up the difference, I am going to buy 20 subscriptions myself for the business I am helping and get him off the ground.
Because if I can’t count on at least a few, I will do it myself.