Hey Quentin, thanks for taking the time. Can you tell us how ManyPixels was born?
ManyPixels was born in December 2017, when Robin, one of the co-founders, flew to Indonesia, handpicked and hired 4-5 designers and put together a landing page. A few viral posts and a Product Hunt launch later, ManyPixels was born.
Who was your first customer, and how did you get to $60’000/month in revenue?
Our first customers were from entrepreneurship communities like Indie Hackers. No one is as excited about trying new products/services than entrepreneurs themselves and these communities are very supportive. Every company, be it small or big needs design work at some point so it wasn’t a hard sell.
The biggest jump in revenue for us was the Product Hunt launch, literally hundreds of customers signed up in a matter of days. Unable to cope with this influx of demand, the service kind of crashed but we knew we were onto something big.
We kept going with the posts on different Facebook groups, forums, etc. We also started experimenting with cold emailing and LinkedIn outreach but that did not give us the expected results.
We then built a free editable illustration tool where users can search, download and edit very high-quality illustrations for all of the design projects (blog posts, social media graphics, landing pages, etc). We again launched on IH, HN/YC, and Product Hunt and got a huge boost of traffic from that.
About a year and a half later we were at $50K MRR.
What do you consider the main differences between those people who have been successful in your industry and those who have failed?
Everybody can set up a landing page and offer unlimited designs for a few hundred bucks per month. That’s a very attractive offer and finding people interested should not be a struggle. The hardest part comes when you grow and have to keep delivering on those promises.
How to handle different types of projects? How to define the right scope of service? How to make sure your respect your deadlines on a consistent basis? How to deliver consistent quality for something as subjective as design? How to cope with the different time zones? How to best match users and designers together? How to manage a team of 25 designers located all around the world?
What seems to be an industry with very low barriers to entry can quickly become an operational nightmare and setting up the right processes is essential.
I would say that the keys to success are:
1. Understand your customers. Speak to them. Who are they and what do they want?
2. Limit your offering and don’t be afraid of saying no. Don’t try to do everything for everyone.
3. Keep it simple. With your team, your customers, your processes, etc.
ManyPixels has a fully remote team, what are the pros and cons of being distributed? How do you stay organized?
We use a ton of them and they are now the core of our businesses like an office and chairs would be for a centralized team.
We also developed our own customer-facing app that serves as a request management tool. It took us a lot of effort but it is now allowing us to work much more efficiently. The time and resources were worth it.
Users are able to submit a design project, chat with the designers, manage their files and their subscriptions all under the same roof. It took a fair amount to develop but is now allowing us to work much more efficiently.
ManyPixels is a service that has been productized, can you tell us more about this business model?
It probably sounds cliched but the whole idea is to sell a service (be it design, content writing or legal advice) in the same way you sell a product, making it very easy for the buyer to quickly understand what they get, how and when they get it, and at what price.
Accessibility, transparency, and price-predictability are, in my opinion, what differentiates us from traditional service providers and agencies.
I understand ManyPixels was launched in a day, any tips for entrepreneurs on how to get started faster?
I can only speak of my personal experience but I think the biggest blocker for a lot of people wanting to become an entrepreneur is waiting to have a perfect product or service before getting out there and start selling it.
So many smart people are affected by this analysis paralysis and keep delaying their dreams of starting their own business because they are too afraid to act and too afraid to fail.
It is all about iterations, you launch something you get feedback from the market and you adapt. Repeat that a certain number of times and you will find something people want and are ready to pay for it. The sooner you start, the better your chance of success.
It is ok to try, it is ok to fail.
If you weren’t allowed to start a business, what would you do?
Probably joining a fast-growing tech startup. I like everything related to the future of work. How will we hire, work, outsource and collaborate in the next 50 years?
Lastly, what is for you the closest thing to real-world magic?
I am writing this from Chiang Mai, Thailand. Our team is based all around Asia and Europe. We serve customers from all parts of the US. We have no office, we haven’t taken any outside funding, we are growing every month and we love what we do.
How magical is that?