Because All Missions Deserve an Audience
I recently started my 3rd “marketing” company.
Registering a new company isn’t a big deal and can be done relatively cheap nowadays, the real question is “why?” Why yet another company in the world?
This question goes back to the many years since I’ve been running my first company, which has a mission of “Creating Freedom”. More specifically, for many years Imonology tried to create freedom at the work place, so that software developers may work flexibly at home, while tacking challenges they love to solve.
Under the education system and traditional views of seeing software developers as mere mechanics, replaceable and disposable at will by the boss, and under constant workload and overtime, being a night owl and stay up late were the expected norms.
Imonology wanted to do something different: it wants to give respect and dignity to developers, so they not only work in a healthy and humane environment, but even have Fridays as a “study day” to learn, rest, and recover, so their creativity can be replenished.
This ideal however was met with harsh market reality. The first customers Imonology served were game developers, and we wanted to build them tools so that even small teams can build creative and massively successful projects to realize their big dreams, just like the big players.
Indie game developers in Taiwan were a resource-lacking minority, so even if they barely finish the games, often there’s not much energy nor resources left for marketing. Yet all successful businesses know that marketing is the key, and that games is a winner-take-all market.
We were forced to find other clients after our game partners fail one after another, and have since built cloud surveillance, IT systems, and blockchain apps. But marketing has always been a pain. Our clients often find us through referrals, and we weren’t sure when the next will happen.
After seeing the crypto boom in 2017, I realized by the end of that year, the poverty problem I’ve observed for many years, may finally have a solution. The idea is to accumulate wealth from crypto investments while building a low-cost redistribution system with the latest technologies.
This led to the formation of my second company, Joint Commonwealth Fund (JCF), a crypto index fund aimed at making basic income a universal reality. We started the project in Jan. 2018 and were working steadily towards a launch throughout 2018. Yet the crypto market was crashing.
Everyone we knew told us to delay launch or change course, but we felt the problem we’re trying to solve is too important to be delayed. When massive jobs are lost due to the AI+robotic revolution, it will be too late. Better to do something and start now instead of regret later.
Call us naive or idealistic. But we definitely were mission-driven.
The reasons why our team wakes up each day isn’t just to live for another day, but to do something meaningful, helpful to the world, each day we’re able to live and work.
With JCF, I got my first exposure to consumer marketing, and realized it’s a much different from the B2B operations we were used to. We hired marketeers, tried ads (but Google and Facebook already decided to ban crypto ads when we launched), but the efforts didn’t end up positively.
So there I was, stuck with two companies that weren’t successful at conveying their missions, whether in the B2B or B2C space. Not because we didn’t believe in what we do, nor we did not have a mission/message, but because we weren’t sure how to get the message across.
Having talked to some other small business or NPO friends, I came to realize this wasn’t a problem of our own, but rather, many good-intention mission-driven organizations have them!
These founders did not come from a business / marketing background, what they had were simply a love or a care for something. Perhaps a craft (how to make the best cakes), a health goal (how to provide organic dining), or a social goal (how to prevent minorities from going destructive).
They all have a mission, a voice, but they lack a speaker.
I wanted to find that speaker, I wanted to perhaps BE that speaker, if I cannot find one.
That was my desire and struggle. Externally I wanted to find a way out for my own two missions. Internally I wanted to help all these missions and voices find their audience, find a way out, so that they can continue operations, perhaps help more people, solve more social issues along the way.
My problem was that I wasn’t a marketer myself! I don’t have the experience nor the knowhow, so how could I help?
I took Medium top blogger Benjamin Hardy’s online course throughout 2018, and have noticed it was hosted on “clickfunnel”. During one of my weekly “pod partner” sessions, where we’d mutually review weekly goals, I learned that he was building webinars with “clickfunnel” as well.
That got me interested and went to survey what “clickfunnel” was about. What I found surprised and amazed me.
ClickFunnels’ Russell Brunson already figured it out! How to find and guide people to what’s called a “sales funnel”, where the true audience for a product/service would find what they’re looking for, while the provider makes great sales. The platform wins as well, a tri-win!
My plan was to utilize ClickFunnels for help my companies and other mission-driven services to find an online audience. But how could I do so in the most effective way that’ll lead to actual success?
Two companies at once should already keep me busy, yet if I don’t dedicate a certain amount of concerted attention on this, it simply won’t happen and I knew it!
So I did what seemed like a very crazy decision: to start a 3rd, dedicated marketing company that helps social enterprises or mission-driven organizations find their audience, based on the ClickFunnels platform. This way this task will sure have my full attention!
To those unaware, this is a strategy called building a “forcing function” into a goal, a concept I learned from Benjamin Hardy. By designing your external environment that to push you towards a goal, you have a much better chance than relying on personal willpower.
The immediate setback I faced were the juggling of three companies at once, and also the learning curve to become an online marketer, since Idea9 Marketing was launched in Jan. 2019.
But we did make steady progress, from building my first online course “52 weeks of startup”, a course/reality show that shared the inner workings of running Idea9, to launching our first crowdfunding campaign, and now making funnels for it.
Though we’re still not quite there yet, I’d say the results have been impressive, something I wouldn’t dared imagined even 6 months ago.
The best part though, has been the personal transformation I’ve gone through: I now wake at 4am on a daily basis, produce both blog and video as part of my morning routine, and have become a regular content creator who no longer fears to talk to an online audience directly.
My mission and that of Idea9?
To “convey values” for all mission-driven organizations, whether it’s a startup, a small shop, or a NPO. To help small teams win big success. If you’re mission-driven and have a voice, then we want to be your speaker!
To learn more, please feel free to drop us a note!