Why Do People Want This (Biz Side)
What is the problem? Who is the target customer? What is the solution, the promise? Why do people pay?
The Problem: User experience design is an important part of product design. There are many resources to learn UX, but when it comes to education and training, there is no such thing is too many resources.
Target Users: For those looking to learn advance UX skills and keep up with all the new design tools.
The Solution: Greg Rog built learnUX.io, a content site with a subscription model to host his library of premium videos and courses. People pay to learn and grow in their profession. Simple as that.
Why Is It a Good Fit For the Founder
Why does the founder keep working on the business? What makes it a good match for their strengths, goals, and desired lifestyle?
Greg identified a lack of material for design professionals, to keep up with all the newest tools. Material that is great quality, logically connected, and well paced. So he decided to create some.
Greg spent 1000 hours creating the video content. Now spends a few hours a month updating the content and maintaining the website.
Mix of what I love doing, basically a mix of UI design and education. I've been doing that for many years now. If I learn something I have to put it out there, record a screencast, write a post, or something.
Things that make an educational website a good fit for the founder:
- Can leverage skill from having previously recorded courses. He has been recording videos in Polish for the past 10 years, even before YouTube.
- Existing network of UX people from attending conferences and such. He is part of his target audience.
- Teacher at heart, desire to share what he learns.
I started recording but at the same time I tried to validate the ideas I had before I put a lot of effort into it.
The business thinking and strategies that worked well:
- Content-first approach of making 10x better content, quality vs. quantity.
- Building an email list gradually from publishing on multiple channels (YouTube, Medium, etc.)
- Made a product for people he likes and relates to as a UX designer. Liking your customer is an important pattern for long-running business.
- Being good at planning and strategy, being aware of why things could work out. Not just crossing your fingers and hoping that you'll get lucky.
Greg has launched a few other products after LearnUX, including one webflow/figma tool six months ago. Not sure if he continues to create content for LearnUX or it may be on auto-pilot.
First 100 Customers
Where did the very first customers come from? What channels did the founders try? What didn't work? What did work? How long did it take?
Action: Created Medium articles with his content to test and validate if it resonates with people. Also embedded YouTube videos within Medium articles.
Outcome: Did not get any feedback or hints from people in terms of what they want. But successful with building reach and recognition for his profile. Also collected email addresses of interested people.
Action: Started a YouTube channel for LearnUX with 4 high-quality videos.
Outcome: Got 3000 subscriptions with those videos alone. One of the video got 100,000 views.
Action: Created a free resource which could be downloaded by providing an email address. Shared the resource on UX facebook groups (e.g. Sketch Together). Actively shared valuable UX content on other communities like Quora and Reddit.
Outcome: Built an email list of 600 nonrandom interested people.
Action: Designed a really unique website to showcase his UX skills and submitted the site to various design awards.
Outcome: Much higher than expected amount of traffic from the award websites. 6000 - 7000 visitors. Higher than Product Hunt.
Action: Launched with subscription payment on Product Hunt and sent an email to his email list on launch day and several more in the first week.
Outcome: 20% of the email list converted to paying customers. That would be 120 customers after launching (from an email list of 600).
Things that didn't work: reaching out to influencers in the UX world to create buzz for LearnUX prior to launching.
LearnUX's business model is recurring subscription to access the content. It's $15 per month or $144 per year. LearnUX was doing $10K MRR in Feb of 2020.
Why I choose this company to research - Seems that a tech education site may be in my future in some form. I wanted to deep dive into an existing business to assess long-term sustainability, meaningful revenue potential, and marketing and growth strategies. I learned some of those things from this case study. Some open questions I still have:
Does LearnUX continue to acquire new customers now? Are the existing customers sticking around or churning after a year or so? Is the founder still excited about updating content?
You can learn more about LearnUX's story on the IndieHacker's podcast episode 149.