Yo! Podcast #01 - @AJLKN - Founder of Carrd
|David Senra||Mar 19, 2019|
In college, I started out creating templates. I was making money. So when I graduated college I said I guess I’ll just keep doing this.
Where HTML 5 UP! came from: Things we’re going well for a while. I got complacent. I let my skills wane. I decided to get my shit together. So I taught myself responsive design.
AJ optimized his personal runway: Even when I was making money, I kept my costs low by continuing to live with my parents. This allowed me to save a good amount of money.
People think it would be great making money doing pretty much nothing. But you feel like shit because you are not being productive. I started to think I needed a new challenge. I was in this mode where I wanted to avoid complacency. This led me to start Carrd.
I am not a tool purist or zealot. Use whatever the fuck you want. If it works, it works.
If someone offered you $50,000 to never use Twitter again. Would you accept it? I get significant value from using Twitter. I wouldn’t trade that. I learned so much from people who are just out there making stuff, starting their own businesses. If I had to pay for Twitter, I’d happily pay for it.
Carrd is a one-man show with low expenses. Within the first few months, it was profitable.
If you want to launch a product that is free, make sure it launches with the paid version already built-in. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to convert to paid right off the bat.
In the past, you were sharing a lot of numbers as Carrd was growing. You’ve slowed down recently: I’m comfortable sharing the challenges of building Carrd, and some numbers. But now that Carrd is pulling down a decent amount of money each month - in my particular case, it just doesn’t feel right.
When you are working on your own products there is a good chance that there is not enough separation [from work and the rest of your life]. Even when you are doing something that’s not work, you are thinking about work. I have to consciously remind myself to avoid doing this as much as possible.
If there is one thing I learned in the last two years is scale changes a thing into something else entirely. It is not just more of something – it is a completely different ballgame. The time and growth of something puts you in a different place, with completely different things you have to think about – with completely different rules.
I think people tend to over-optimize a situation. Example: AJ sends plain text emails. They will say, “Hey I am running a sale right now. Here is a coupon code. Have a nice day.”
I know I am not alone when I say, naming something you make is a pain in the ass.
Constraints really do bring out your creativity. If you have too many choices you might not know where to start.
If you want to build something, start small. Solve a small problem for yourself. You’ll feel a sense of empowerment. You’ll realize you can make your own things that solve other people’s problems to the point they will pay you money for it.
I’m not trying to out Squarespace, Squarespace. I’m not trying to out Shopify, Shopify. Whatever I come up next for Carrd has to fit the ethos of what the platform is about.