3 min read

How AUTHENTICITY led us to Product-Market fit (Part 1)

How AUTHENTICITY led us to Product-Market fit (Part 1)

2021 was a transformational year for Ceeya and everyone involved in it - both our customers and employees. Many solopreneurs now rely on our platform to run their businesses, whether it's offering a 1:1 counseling, a group dance class, career coaching, logo design, etcs. Each of our customers makes anywhere between several hundred and tens of thousands of dollars per month and it's truly rewarding to see them grow their business using our service.

The ever-ongoing journey of Ceeya the startup has not been, however, all smooth and cakewalk. In fact, it was quite the opposite - I spent most of my time trying to solve problems one after another in every aspect of the business - from fixing an engineering glitch to responding to every customer's request as if it's my own. For example, the online payment solution we were using informed us one day that it will shut down our account as our business use case is beyond the scope of the contracts with their own banks. They gave us 24 hours (although it was extended to a few days later) and I was writing codes in a panic for a seamless transition. Reflecting on what we've done in 2021, I'd say that much of last year was spent on figuring out what our customers (or users) really want. After talking with ~300 solopreneurs, paying out hundreds of thousands of dollars to them, and 4 major product adjustments (a.k.a. pivot!), we've come to the answers we've been looking for. The results are quite exciting as our business is now growing 2x, 3x every month.

So what happened? If I summarize what drove us to the product-market fit, one word comes across my mind before anything else. That is AUTHENTICITY.

When David and I co-founded Ceeya, we set out our mission early on. Ceeya's mission is to 'Empower People to be Independent'. Having been full-time, part-time solopreneurs ourselves with combined revenue of ~$900K, we know how career independence can enrich one's life. You may or may not make more money. But the freedom of managing your own time and choosing what you work on and who you work with provides you with a whole new perspective in a very positive way. We wanted more people to experience the same thing and this is why we founded Ceeya - empowering people to be independent.

Since the journey started roughly at the beginning of 2021, Ceeya has experienced a number of business adjustments (a.k.a. pivot). I'd like to share the stories in multiple blog entries.

2021 Q1

We spent most of our time building the beta product while trying to acquire the first few users to try our product. We talked with solopreneurs in several categories including fitness trainers, dance instructors, product design, software consulting, and even cooking! We believed that the product differentiation we had would be significant enough to lure some people in trying our product. Essentially, we were selling our product as all-in-one tool for solopreneurs and creators allowing them to easily create 1-on-1 services, group events, booking, etcs. (This would later turn out to be a wrong message which I will cover more in details later). Looking back, we were mistaken people's interest for finding PMF (product-market-fit). At the end, the biggest reason why people wanted to work with us initially was because they liked us. More specificially, they liked how hard we were working and how knowledgeable we were in the business. It was exciting to have found people who were willing to work with us when we still have a buggy product.

(to be continued)

#freelancer #solopreneur #creator

written by Kisang Pak, co-founder @ Ceeya

Ceeya helps solopreneurs and freelancers make more money. Ceeya closely works with each of its users to launch and grow their business. If you're one of the (prospect) solopreneurs, visit https://home.ceeya.io and leave your email to launch and accelerate your solopreneur business. Or send an email to kpak@ceeya.io directly.