2020: year in review

• 3 min read

This was a weird year.

I tend to be overdramatic sometimes, but I’ve never felt so much turbulence in my life. So much worry

Are we gonna make it?
Should we start letting go people?
If we do, who goes first?
Should we cut salaries?
Is this OK to buy ads or should we save for salaries?
Why clients are churning?
Why are we not growing fast enough?
Why is this competitor bullying us?

And now at the end of the year, I can say with relief that we made it, didn’t have to let anyone go or cut salaries. We’ve found new ways to win clients and grew a little bit.

A little bit. Nothing special. It’s OK, we’ll get better next year.

But yesterday’s “year in review” meeting BLEW MY MIND, people.

Everyone shared their accomplishments and I felt so much shame for thinking that there was nothing special in our growth.

Just look at this

Marketing

We have created an outstanding brand. I get such messages nearly every day

complements about lemon.io branding

A year ago, we were almost entirely dependent on one channel - Quora. This is one of the biggest risks in business. Now it almost doesn’t bring us new leads, and we have 7 new acquisition channels.

We’ve created a network of freelance writers, docs, and processes for them. This allows us to create landing pages and articles at scale.

Since launching Lemon.io we’ve reached almost 60% of codingninjas.co total traffic benchmark. 10 months vs. 5 years.

Growth in traffic

Talent acquisition

One of the largest tasks was to gather all the information about 2700 engineers in one custom-built CRM. Now we process more engineers, add more parties to sourcing engineers, and match candidates better with startups.

One more accomplishment to a “scale” bucket. We’ve automated most of the repeating tasks and delegated tech interviews to freelancers from our community.

It’s easy to see how we are gaining speed. 50% of this year’s freelancers were onboarded in the last 3 months.

Sales

We processed almost 4.5 times more requests from leads (389 last year vs. 1713 this year) than we did for the same period before launching lemon.io.

Remember the screenshot of our sales calendars I’ve shared with you?

Sales manager calendar

If in January we had 2 full-time, 2 part-time contracts and 6 small projects. In December, we already have 9 full-time and 11 part-time contracts.

Outbound leads never worked for us until Olga joined our team. She did many experiments and iterated until it worked! 7833 personalized emails >> 67 positive replies >> 30 calls >> 4 new clients. Which is huge!

Product

We’ve created

  • Web app for clients and freelancers
  • CRM
  • Marketing website
  • Custom internal analytics of leads

..with one CTO, one QA, and zero in-house engineers.

We understood that the right way for us is a mix of internal engineers and freelancers. Last week we made offers to 2 candidates.

This was a weird year.

It was hard not to worry, keep yourself motivated, stop reloading the map of cases, reading news, trust everyone around, and stop thinking WHY ARE WE NOT GROWING FASTER.

It makes me want to cry how proud I am of my team.

← 2021 goal: grow from $2.7m to $10m
$10k Google Ads experiment that failed. →

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