Erin Hopmann

How do you feel about the project?
I think it’ll be good to have finally introduced change. Feels a little like a hamster wheel lately. Today I began to rethink our strategy and questioned some of what we’ve largely built – in lieu of some teacher survey analysis – and Jess is anxious to just get going. Nothing has to be permanent, but I’m also conscious of the fact that patience for a company – even among our biggest supporters – could wear thin in the presence of continued changes.

What’s the plan?
Nothing really new here, other than what I mentioned above. Within the next week, new fee structure will be in place, come hell or high water.

How can people other than teachers help out?
This question was posed as a comment on yesterday’s post. We’ve focused so heavily on our teacher fee restructure that we seem to have failed to help everyone else understand what they can do to help Dabble survive. So thank you for pointing it out, Christine!

So, consider this your handy dandy guide to helping Dabble propel forward.

1) Spread the word. Sounds cliche, but the single most important thing we can accomplish is getting more people aware of us. Invite your friends to classes (particularly the BYO / social ones that we can almost guarantee will leave you smiling bigger than it you just went to the ole dinner and drinks route), tell your talented brother he should teach a class, forward a class you know your coworker would love. Tweet about us. Share a class on Facebook.

We know lots of businesses ask for the same thing, and it’s true – for most of us, word-of-mouth is king. And you have limited time. But just a quick forward – and we try to make it easy by sharing on FB, Twitter, or email (and rewarding you for sharing!) means a ton to us.

2) Take a class! Duh, right? But if even a fifth of our users signed up for a class this month instead of saying, “I’ll get to it, I’ll get to it,” it would help immensely. We’re now holding about 120 classes a month in Chicago across a wide range of topics. We know the home page can be almost overwhelming (and we’re working on that). Dare you to not find a class that doesn’t pique your interest.

3) Provide introductions. Not just to anyone. But specifically, we’re interested in talking to companies and organizations who we might partner with to offer classes, purchase class packages, and other ideas we’re tossing around.

4) Spread the word… to people in other cities. We’re mainly focused on Chicago right now, because of our resource-constrained situation. But we have the technology that can support classes anywhere. So it’s worth noting that when you think “who can I tell about Dabble?”, please don’t let geography constrain you.

Any other ideas? Jot ‘em in the comments below or shoot us an email.


Jess Lybeck

How are you feeling about the project?
Good. Better. Feeling more clear about everything after the confusion of the last few days. I get in my head a lot, put pressure on myself to resolve problems and see impact too quickly. I get excited really easily which makes it easier for my optimism to take a nose dive when things don’t go as planned.

I did some more Dude & The Zen Master reading, I stepped away from work for a bit, I got organized, I did some yoga – and somehow got my head back in the “go with the flow” mode. Funny enough, it’s a more productive mode too.

What’s the plan?
Chugging along. Not much new to report here.

We’re finishing up on the fee change feature and then moving on to homepage / course page / marketing initiatives. Got some great feedback on the homepage mockup from Day 14 (and a ridiculously mean comment, fun!) so we’re incorporating that into the next phase of things.

Still feel we’re moving a bit slow. Erin thinks a ton about each decision (I’m the opposite). We decided on a direction with the Fee change a week ago and while she’s onboard with going forward with it, she’s still ruminating on things. It’s good to do research, it’s good to analyze, but I think we’re stuck in a little bit of analysis by paralysis mode.

My personal philosophy is that we don’t have all the information and we never will. We can’t wait for a big neon sign telling us where we need to go. We need to just make decisions with the information at hand and move on. I know impatience runs in my blood – so I need to step back and realize that Erin & I balance each other out in a GOOD way. Impulsiveness isn’t always the answer.

But, not-so-secretly hoping the analysis will done by the end of the day and we can move on 🙂

How can people other than teachers help out?
Good question. For Chicagoans, telling your friends about Dabble & taking classes is the biggest thing you can do to help. Making the commitment to Dabble once a month or finding a group (corporate, birthday or otherwise) to take a class is icing on the cake. More eyeballs on the site means more filled classes, more happy teachers and the revenue that we need to sustain the business.

If you want to do one thing – tell 10 people via email and post Dabble on your Facebook page. It would mean the world to us.

Odds & Ends
I got on the phone with Lauren of Why Not Girl today. She asked me “Do you have any regrets with Dabble?” … by answering, I realized that I really don’t have any regrets with Dabble. We’ve built something we’re proud of, we’ve made a ton of decisions that have led us to this point. Many people could say we fucked up here or we should have done this there, but the truth is that we consistently made decisions that we felt would be best for ourselves and the company. I feel grateful for where we’ve come and what we’ve learned. There’s no regret in that.


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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Photo by Lucasfasolo

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24 responses to “Day Sixteen”

  1. Hey Jess and Erin!

    First, I commend you for what you are doing with Dabble and this Thirty Days of Honesty project (notice I say “doing” and not “did”, especially in referencing the former). I truly believe you have something and have thought that since you (Jess) first told me of the idea and I took my first Dabble class.

    As someone who is at the very early stages of trying to launch her own business, I am so glad to hear that you don’t have regrets. While the road may be rough, especially right now, the fact that you both have taken this step is one of the many reasons why you need to be commended.

    You are certainly not “bored housewives,” but women (not to focus on gender) who have taken a risk, but who also have made your personal lives a priority. That is not being misdirected professionals, but human beings.

    I am so glad to hear that you wouldn’t trade taking this chance for anything in the world. It gives me hope about starting my own business as well wanting me to cheer you on even more.

    Looking forward to connecting with Erin here in SF and offering up any help I can provide.


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