It’s been too long! You’re receiving this email because you signed up for my personal newsletter about customer research, product design, and personal growth.

I last sent an email newsletter way back in April. It feels like forever ago because so much has happened in the last 3 and a half months but this week I have some exciting news to share.

After almost a year of working on independent projects nights and weekends, I finally made the jump to being a full-time independent business owner.

The decision to leave a well paid full-time role was driven by a combination of factors.

1. Becoming increasingly frustrated with the inflexibility of full-time employment.

2. Having an existing base of stable consulting clients.

3. Wanting more time and mental energy to work on asset building activities (like this email).

Why did I really want to become independent when I could have easily continued in a full-time role?

My why is to have the freedom to design the lifestyle that is right for my little family

I recently read Paul Jarvis’s book Company of One and found that the concept of finding your own personal “enough‍” really resonated with me. I’m not particularly motivated to become a zillionaire or grow a big team, but instead, want to build a sustainable business that provides the flexibility to do meaningful work on my own schedule that helps others be successful.

That’s why the entity I created for my business is called Balsm Labs, it’s intentionally vague and doesn’t really mean anything to most but it’s an acronym of our families initials. My wife Brittany, myself, and our adorable puppy Lucy.

My Business Strategy
In my opinion, one of the greatest advantages of running your own business is the ability to be intentional about what you work on (although this is certainly sometimes easier said than done). Solid positioning and specialization are the two strategies I intend to double down on. Here’s how I’m thinking about my initial positioning, shout out to April Dunford’s amazing book Obviously Awesome and this summary of how the Userlist team applied it to their business.

Product Name

Customer Discovery Sprints - Done-for-you customer discovery for busy founders.

Market Category 

Category: Done-for-you customer discovery for busy founders.

Subcategory: Smaller SaaS companies without a dedicated customer/UX researcher.

Competitive Alternatives

- Founders intuition and application of insights from conversations in other contexts (eg. sales).

- Designers occasionally doing research to kick off projects.

- Skipping customer discovery altogether.

Unique Attributes

- Done-for-you

- Low complexity

- Jobs To Be Done methodology

- Reusable asset creation

- Educational materials


Avoid wasting time and effort in building the wrong thing.

Reduce stress by having qualitative evidence to support business decisions.

Increase product adoption and retention through better messaging and onboarding design.

Target Audience:

Founders of software companies who:

Are building early-stage products and don’t have customer discovery experience in-house.

Have too many things on their todo list to do in-depth customer discovery.

Run growth-stage companies but aren’t sure how to unlock the triggers behind why their customers buy.

What do you think? Please reach out and let me know, I would love to hear your feedback.

My focus for the remainder of 2019
Outside of existing client work, my core focus of the remaining 4 months of this year will be creating assets that can provide value independent of the time I spend creating them.

1. Evergreen content creation

I plan to write much more frequently on my personal site and I’m starting to line up some guest writers and interviews to break up my own content.

I also started working with the amazing Laura Bosco to finally write the guide I outlined in my 2019 goals. to help founders focus on the understanding the desired outcomes their customers are trying to reach rather than on the features (or outputs) they create.

A couple of weeks ago I releasing my first education product. 1-Hour Customer Interviews. A free email course to help founders extract actionable insights from conversations with customers.

I want to make this course the best free resource on the internet to help founders better understand their customers and build products they love.

2. Productized Service Offerings

I believe a sustainable way to build a services business is o productize the work that you do to make it easier to sell and more predictable to fulfill. With that in mind,  I just launched a new offering that lines up with my positioning and a need I identified in the market.

Customer Discovery Sprints - Done-for-you customer discovery for busy founders.

This service will provide founders with the qualitative insights and evidence they need to make better product decisions, improve their messaging and accelerate growth.

If you know anyone who might be interested in this done-for-you service please don't hesitate to share the landing page (linked above) or make an introduction. 

3. Product Growth

My final goal is to invest more time into creating and growing products that generate revenue entirely independently of my time investment. I intend to work in alternating sprints on 2 different projects.

PaymentLink. A simple tool to get paid for productized services. The work required here is almost exclusively marketing which I intend to tackle in the coming weeks.

TBD. A new product challenge to research, build and launch something new while documenting the journey.


I promise to get back on the wagon and send this newsletter consistently every two weeks moving forward. I plan to be more transparent about how I’m going about building my business along with some stories and learnings from my work with clients.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear what’s going on in your life and what you’d like to hear about that would make this newsletter more interesting to you. Hit “reply” and let me know.

Talk soon,


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