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DAY FIFTEEN – SEPTEMBER 9TH, 2013

Erin Hopmann

How are you feeling?
I’m reminded how great it is to have a co-founder alongside me. And Frank, too. Jess was particularly down today, and I think naturally, the other one among us becomes the cheerer-upper. As a sole founder, in moments like these, I think it’s harder to get a pick-me-up.

There’s a bit of clunkiness in how we’re moving forward with a fee structure, but clunky is part of the journey in a start-up. It makes the thinker and over-analyzer in me a little more uncomfortable, but the reality is we don’t have a ton to lose.

I’m visiting Denver Wednesday through the end of the week, and I’m excited to be in the same place working for a few days.

What’s the plan?
Getting closer to introducing a new fee structure. Our teacher survey highlighted some areas of concern, and we’ve tweaked a few things – and also are able to better understand how we need to communicate this change.

We expect hate mail as a result of the change, and some of our best teachers to say, “screw you.” Not easy to hear, but we can’t be friends with everyone. On the flip side, we hope to make a better Dabble, and for those of you who have concerns, know that we’re keeping you in mind and trying to sustain ourselves so we can continue.

Speaking of which, I got a really thoughtful email tonight from a Dabble teacher. In it, he talks about how we’ve been so valuable to him, and goes out on a limb to offer up his support: “I also want to know if there is anything that I and the other Dabble teachers can do to take some of the burden of this struggle off your shoulders.” He then went on to offer up a number of suggestions.

The concern and anxiety he has about our future – because it directly impacts him, and he’s found so much value in Dabble – was palpable. Reading his email had me re-considering yet another option for moving forward – which is the very open, community-based model. Almost not-for-profit in nature. There are many ways this could be modeled, but if we’ve learned anything from 30 Days, it’s that folks are willing to step forward in a big way to help us survive. And if all else fails, this could be an all-hands-on-deck operation. And that’s comforting.

DAY FIFTEEN – SEPTEMBER 9TH, 2013

Jess Lybeck

How are you feeling about the project?
Feeling a bit discombobulated. Erin & I chatted for over an hour today about next steps. There’s a lot up in the air right now and it’s difficult to stay focused on the things that are most beneficial to the company.

We also talked more about the realities of our financial situation. Even with big changes, we probably will both have to find jobs on the side to keep ourselves and Dabble afloat in the short term. We laughed about both of us googling “budget meals” in our spare time (which we don’t have) lately. Tomorrow is veggie lasagna at $1.18 a serving …

The ups & downs aren’t different than they were a few months ago – they are just more palpable now that we’re writing every day. Last week I was riding the high of “uninformed optimism” about changes we are making, this week I’m feeling the low of “informed pessimism” (see this article for explanation of the 5 Stages of entrepreneurship). Erin & I have been riding this roller coaster for two years. We’re good about balancing each other out. When I’m pessimistic, Erin is optimistic and vice versa.

What’s the plan?
We had some great feedback via email today. We don’t do a good job of spelling out the value we have for our teachers. Sure, we have a platform. Sure, we help market. But so much of what we do & how we do it is beneath the surface. We can’t expect teachers to make the leap in logic themselves.

So beyond fee changes & homepage updates, I’ll be working on an infographic of sorts to help both existing & new teachers understand how the “marketing engine” of Dabble works.

Odds & Ends
I’ve realized that I’m putting my identity on the chopping block with this project. I typically value strength. In this project, we are sort of exposing the neck to the world. It’s like an out of body experience. In some good ways and some bad ways.

 

We plan on answering different questions every day. Submit a question you’d like answered by emailing 30daysofhonesty (at) dabble.co.

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26 responses to “Day Fifteen”

  1. Christine says:

    question – what do you want loyal dabble users, like me, to do? i want to do my part to help you guys stay in business, but don’t know the call to action. is it to tell more friends, to go to more classes, to just sit tight and wait to see what happens? how do i help?

    • Erin Hopmann says:

      Awesome question, Christine. Thanks for raising it and the offer to help. We will answer it in tomorrow’s post!

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