Six years ago, when I started ConvertKit, I wanted to build a product to serve creators like me.
Five years ago I became acutely aware of a paralyzing number of email marketing platforms to choose from and I couldn’t get traction for ConvertKit.
Four years ago I decided to refocus on a narrow niche and serve those creators better than any competitor could.
Three years ago I was getting meaningful traction in a small community and could look to expand our customer base.
Two years ago our product wasn’t where it needed to be and we were losing customers to competitors with larger teams and more funding.
One year ago we watched these competitors spread themselves thin and start to chase after other markets.
This year we’re still here, focused on creators, with the best product, team, and customers in the industry.
Today we have dozens of creators switching to ConvertKit who chose a competitor years ago. Is that through some giant market shift or a brilliant innovation we just announced?
All we did was stay in our lane, focus on serving creators to the best of our ability, and then outlasted our competition. They either closed up shop, were acquired, or moved on to different markets. Combine that with steady improvement every day and ConvertKit is now in a radically different position from years before.
Success is inevitable if you keep moving.
I’ve been reading Tim Grahl’s book, Running down a dream. He talks about how “Success is inevitable if you keep moving.” which really resonated with me. He goes on to say:
The only thing that matters is that you keep going. The only way you truly fail at a marathon is to stop taking the next step. Sometimes you’re running, sometimes you’re walking, and sometimes you’re crawling. It doesn’t matter. If you’re moving forward, you will succeed.
ConvertKit got to where it is today by pushing forward every day. By never stopping moving. Even when that movement was a crawl.
7 Responses to “Stay in your lane and outlast your competition”
Thanks Nathan, this was something I needed as I continue to work on my own product and face hard obstacles.
How did you keep that unwavering focus? Especially when you were losing customers, did you ever feel that you were chasing the wrong product and should quit while you’re ahead?
Again, this is encouraging stuff Nathan.
The market I’m in feels like that right now, and we believe that by continuing to do a great job and move one step at a time forward, we’ll end up in a great place. It’s good to hear validation of that belief from the other side:)
Great read Nathan. Feel compelled to click and read few blog posts these days, but still typically read any new one you release man. Appreciate ya!
Got the book you mentioned–half way through. Excellent. Thank you for this does of inspiration!
Hey Nathan, did ConvertKit ever try to branch outside of “email marketing for creators” along the way and decide to pull it back for one reason or another? I’d love to hear any learnings you had there!
Yes, we strongly considered expanding into e-commerce to compete with MailChimp and Klaviyo. While it could have been a good move for revenue, it would be expanding outside our core expertise and would require serving an entirely different market. So glad we didn’t!
Great read Nathan, I just recently finished Tim’s book as well and that line stuck with me. This is a great reminder as I’m currently in the process of niching down to serve a more focused group of customers. Thanks for all you do!