"Building a business is a chess game, rather than a quick rollercoaster ride."
Alessio is building Livelogue to help creators monetize their audience. In the process he is connecting with creators and learning their struggles - all so he can build a better product.
Previously he has been around in both the corporate and startup world, building brands on Amazon FBA and even a Hydrogen Battery startup at his university.
What does a productive day in your life look like, and how often do you have days like that? Or what is a regular day like?
- 7:30 am: Shower + cappuccino in my backyard.
- 8:00 am: Creator support emails.
- 9:00 am: Twitter engagement + DMs.
- 10:00 am: Creator interviews and 1:1 support (Zoom/Meet video calls).
- 1:00 pm: Meet my co-founder to review learnings from users and brainstorm product (conceptually → feature prioritization).
- 4:00 pm: Content writing for Twitter + cold emails.
- 7:30 pm: Beach Volley.
- 10:00 pm: Fam time and day debrief.
How many failed projects do you have, and how have they set you up for success? Or what is a failure you are grateful for?
Ohh... I’m 33 and I feel I have failed enough with previous projects.
At 24 I built a Hydrogen Battery at Uni → Raised 2 rounds of funding and didn’t go anywhere for me (my ex co-founders are still doing something with it, 10 years later).
At 27 I built 3 brands on Amazon FBA - in the first 2 years we made great money, streamlined the processes and felt great. We had the opportunity to sell the main brand but we didn’t. We were greedy - we wanted more. Now those brands are doing very little (I should have sold it when the opportunity was there).
At 31 I started Livelogue and now working on it full-time - and I know I will make it. It’s not just because of the problem-solution we are tackling, but the co-founders & team I am working with. These are the people I’ve always (unconsciously) wanted to meet - and the moment is here now.
How and when did you get your first user/subscriber/follower/customer? Your first 1000? And how are you getting people in the door today?
We launched 5 weeks ago and we have over 700 users in the first 4 weeks - all organic. I know we are doing something right, now we need to “improve” the product with what we are learning from the first batch of users and re-launch to get a new set of learnings.
People are coming from Twitter and cold outreach. But for now it’s a playground, until we nail it and we prepare for growth.
How do you monetize what you build?
Free platform - we take 5% of what you sell. I’m here for the long run, to make an impact in the creator economy industry and lower the entry barriers for people who have dreams but get overwhelmed by the amount of tools and complexity on how to get started.
What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made?
Quitting my job at 28 without a plan. Used my savings to get myself out of my comfort zone. But that allowed me to start Amazon FBA - learn a ton about e-commerce - and meet my current co-founders. None of this would have been possible otherwise.
What is your tech stack and why?
How do you stay up-to-date with technological developments, and how do you incorporate this knowledge into your projects? Or how do you keep learning and improving your craft?
I am not a tech builder myself, I am the interface with the outside world for 80% and doing product for 20% - user acquisition, positioning, partnerships, inform product decisions, UX and creator support.
What advice would you give to a smart, driven builder yet to experience any “success”? What advice should they ignore?
Don’t listen to too much advice. If you have a vision, go and make it happen. Surround yourself with 3-4 mentors older and more experienced than you to give you ideas (not solutions).
Remember that Product Market Fit is ONLY what matters. In my opinion, it counts way more than your MRR - get the product right for a specific market first, then you can worry about monetizing it big time.
What is your process for starting a new project? How do you decide on an idea to pursue?
Exciting industry. Growing market. Scalable opportunity. Right people & team to do it with.
How do you come up with new project ideas? (If helpful: How did you come up with the idea for your latest project?)
During covid my gf at the time (now wife) was doing a yoga teacher training and I was thinking how I could have helped her to run a virtual yoga studio to get started on her yoga journey. That’s how we started building an MVP... now evolved into Livelogue for creators (not just yoga people).
What are bad recommendations you hear about building?
Go solo. I think the power of having a co-founder is undeniable.
In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
Building a business is a chess game, rather than a quick rollercoaster ride. A strategic long term play to ensure you are taking steps in the right direction. You can always go back, but there is a cost. I prefer to take an extra day to sit on ideas before doing something that won’t be right.
If you believe in your vision A LOT then you have to go for it, persuade people you are talking to (team, users, investors, friends, etc) and be patient for results.
But if you don’t believe in it yourself... then the quicker you realize this the better.
In this section, I (Mat) share a few comments and links I found especially interesting about today's guest.