Dan Norris is a serial entrepreneur, award winning content marketer and the author of the best selling business book The 7 Day Startup.
In June 2013 after failing at entrepreneurship for 7 years, he founded wpcurve.com, a worldwide team of wordpress developers, providing unlimited small fixes and support, 24 / 7 for $69 per month. It became profitable in 23 days, and 20 months later it has a team of 40, with 850+ customers, and is doing an annual run rate of over $1m AUD.
Dan is a passionate content marketer and has created thousands of pieces of content around entrepreneurship, Startups, WordPress and online marketing. In 2013 he was voted Australia’s best small business blogger by the readers of Telstra’s Smarter Business Ideas magazine. In 2014 Dan released The 7 Day Startup which became a top 10 bestseller in 3 Amazon categories and is still the #2 startup book on Amazon. It is being translated into 3 languages and has been ordered 30,000+ times.
In 2015 Dan is aiming to write another best selling book, grow WP Curve into a $2m business, have Helloify installed on 5,000 websites and start a physical brewery with Black Hops Brewing.
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I just prioritise doing work over talking about work.
Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?
I was 2 weeks away from getting a job after my last startup, Informly, failed. I knew people needed help with their websites and I wanted to present a ‘no brainer’ offer. I also wanted to start a high growth company and just a typical freelancing / agency operation. Our simple idea of unlimited small jobs 24 / 7 from $69 / month resonated and before long we were growing at 10-20% every month.
Can you explain your business model?
We offer unlimited small WordPress fixes for a fixed price each month. Some clients request a lot, some don’t and have us on board mainly for insurance. When it all evens out we make a margin of around 40%.
What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next three months?
I am working on 4 things in 2015: A new book on content marketing called Content Machine, growing WP Curve, kicking off Helloify and starting a physical brewery on the Gold Coast called Black Hops Brewing.
How do you make ideas happen?
I just prioritise doing work over talking about work.
What does your typical day look like?
My day is pretty normal. I take the kids to school in the morning, grab a coffee, head into the Wotso co-working space for a fairly typical 9-5 day. I will surf if the surf is right but other than that I’m either at my computer or out meeting with entrepreneurs. Sometimes I’ll work from home if I need to brainstorm some ideas or churn out some content. I spend most of the day on Slack talking to my various teams for the different projects.
What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?
I didn’t really start it in Australia because I couldn’t think of a good reason to. Our business is a US company that trades in US dollars and all 40 team members other than myself are outside of Australia. My previous startup was an Australian company and I found it impossible to deal with USD and US timezones and US team members. I didn’t want to chase a small market this time around.
What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?
I give away hundreds of ideas for free via my facebook groups and my content. I have a specific post up here with 4 pretty good ones: http://wpcurve.com/startup-ideas/. Another one I think would be good is to have a service that ‘boosts’ blog content. Just doing procedural things like spending a few $$ on paid ads, reaching out to influencers, adding to content listing sites etc. That would be a great business that would solve a big problem. I’m too busy to work on that one.
What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment?
What about internationally?
This is a much bigger list. I look overseas for most of my startup inspiration. I like This Week in Startups and the TV show The Profit. In terms of companies there are thousands. My favourites are probably Uber and Tesla.
What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?
A massive role, just look at some of these disruptive startups emerging – Uber, AirBnB etc. They are turning everyone into an entrepreneur and I think that’s great.
Speaking of affecting social change, is there a particular charity you’d like our readers to support?
Can you name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers?
What about 3 Australians we should follow on Twitter?
Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?
We aren’t looking for funding but we are always looking for great people to work with. We mostly hire developers overseas; I also want to hire some locals but I haven’t worked out exactly how we will do that yet. To date we’ve been 100% remote and all based outside of Australia. The main way people can help is to check out our content at http://wpcurve.com/blog and share it if they think it’s useful. It’s all to do with entrepreneurship, startups and online marketing.
We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetization, product development etc., what would it be?
Where can you find good, affordable designers in Australia?
What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?
Ze Pickle. It’s a craft beer bar in Burleigh on the Gold Coast and our only craft beer bar. I also go to Blackboard Coffee in Varsity Lakes to get my coffee.