DONT GIVE OUT FREE TRIALS! (early stage founders!)

August 3, 2022

DONT GIVE OUT FREE TRIALS! (early stage founders!)I used to think giving out free trials would be great. I gave out a bunch of them for Founders Cafe and a bunch of Stanford/Harvard students signed up. Great right? WRONG!

Basically, they'd sign up, then not engage, then churn.I put so much work into onboarding them only to see them churn. I was so upset. Thought Founders Cafe was invalidated.But when I started making people pay upfront to join, everything CHANGED!!!!

I started getting a completely different persona joining. Fundraisers @_luigilacorte   /driven solo founders @charlesjavelona @heidifung  / Community Super Users   @NilsBunger @PatYiuTazza . They all stuck and engaged like crazy for months. NO MORE STUDENTS JOINED!!!

I realized when I let people in with Trials, I attracted the wrong segment. With trials, I was getting people with low buy intent, vs now I'm getting people with HIGH buy intent / High burning need

Now I charge ANNUAL PLANS up front. I get the cream of the crop — people with the greatest needs for community. This is AMAZING for me — way less churn — and AMAZING for them — everyone in the community is super committed / highest intent.

I think there's a lot of confusion around whether to do free trials (Zapier/Mixpanel does them!).I think free trials are great to use once you get PMF and are trying to get more people with low buy intent.

But pre PMF, I'm not going to spend 1000 hours building for people who have low buy intent (Great product BUT WRONG MARKET!). I only build for people who have the burning pain and Willlingness to Pay. (RIGHT MARKET, now I just need to make the  RIGHT PRODUCT!)

As a result, I know I am building for the right market (high WTP) and just need to make sure the product works.  THATS 10X EASIER THAN BEING MISLED BY RANDOM STUDENTS AND GETTTING ALL THESE FALSE NEGATIVES AHJHAHHHHHADA!!!!!CHARGE MONEY FRIENDS!!! :D :D :D

Maddie Wang founders of founders cafe solo founder
Maddie Wang
Gay / Solo-Founder / Stanford Dropout

I'm building Founders Cafe because as a solo founder, it can be very isolating. Last year, I lost 4 co-founders and a best friend on a previous startup.

Previously built a Minecraft Server ($61k), Amazon Store ($120k), and Queer Chart, where I met my girlfriend & close friends.

If you're interested in joining the Founders Cafe, let's talk and if it's a good fit, down to invite you!
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