Ian Wiedenman blog

I grew my company ITW Creative Works from a start-up to a thriving creative development agency through strategic business growth and strong client relationships.

How I Launched My First Profitable Business: The Story of Somiibo

How I Launched My First Profitable Business: The Story of Somiibo
Marketing Business 12 min read 12 comments

Discover how I launched my first profitable business, Somiibo, a social media automation platform, by navigating development challenges, implementing effective marketing strategies, and scaling successfully.

The Genesis of a Vision: How Somiibo Was Born

Back in 2017, I was just an ambitious solopreneur named Ian Wiedenman, dabbling in app development and software engineering, with a sprinkle of marketing expertise. My days were a whirlwind of coffee-fueled coding marathons and brainstorming sessions that seemed to stretch into eternity. It was during one of these caffeine-induced epiphanies that the idea for Somiibo, a social media automation platform, was born.

The concept didn’t manifest overnight. It was more like an itch that wouldn’t go away—a persistent notion that social media management could be so much more efficient. I found myself constantly juggling multiple social media accounts, manually posting updates, and engaging with followers. The sheer amount of time it consumed was mind-boggling! There had to be a better way, right? That was my lightbulb moment.

I envisioned Somiibo as the ultimate solution for social media automation, a tool that would save users from the drudgery of repetitive tasks. The goal was clear: to create a platform that could schedule posts, follow users, like content, and perform a myriad of other actions with minimal human intervention. The idea was ambitious, perhaps even a little audacious, but I was determined to bring it to life.

My initial research involved diving deep into the world of social media algorithms and automation technologies. I spent countless hours poring over articles, whitepapers, and forums, absorbing every bit of information I could find. I also took the time to understand the pain points of social media managers and influencers, which helped shape the core features of Somiibo.

As the vision for Somiibo began to take shape, I knew I had to start building a prototype. Armed with my laptop and an inexhaustible supply of coffee, I embarked on the development journey. The process was both exhilarating and exhausting. There were moments of triumph when a feature worked flawlessly, and moments of despair when nothing seemed to go right. But through it all, the vision of a fully automated social media management tool kept me going.

In retrospect, the genesis of Somiibo was a blend of passion, persistence, and a pinch of madness. It was about believing in a vision so strongly that no obstacle seemed insurmountable. Little did I know, this was just the beginning of an incredible journey that would eventually turn my fledgling idea into a profitable business.

From Concept to Reality: Developing the Core Features

Transforming a grand idea into a tangible product is akin to navigating through a labyrinth—exciting, daunting, and full of unexpected twists. Somiibo’s journey from a mere concept to a fully-fledged social media automation platform was nothing short of an adventure. Imagine, if you will, a solopreneur (yours truly, Ian Wiedenman), fueled by caffeine and an almost obsessive passion for software engineering and app development, diving headfirst into the world of possibilities.

The initial spark for Somiibo came to me in 2017. As someone deeply entrenched in the realms of social media and marketing, I saw the burgeoning need for a tool that could seamlessly automate mundane tasks. Think of how much time you spend liking posts, following accounts, and engaging with content. Now, imagine having a digital assistant that does all that while you sip your morning coffee. That vision was the bedrock upon which Somiibo was built.

First things first, I needed to outline the core features. The app had to be user-friendly, versatile, and most importantly, effective. The blueprint included automation for multiple social media platforms, customizable modules, and robust analytics to track performance. Each feature was designed to give users maximum control with minimal effort. The challenge was to integrate these functionalities without overwhelming the user experience.

In the initial development phase, I wore many hats—software engineer, UI/UX designer, and chief problem solver. I dived deep into the intricacies of mobile app development, meticulously coding each module, and ensuring they worked harmoniously. The experience was a blend of exhilarating triumphs and hair-pulling frustrations. There were nights when the code seemed to have a mind of its own, refusing to cooperate. But every setback was a step forward, teaching me invaluable lessons in patience and perseverance.

One key aspect that I focused on was the modularity of the platform. Each social media task—whether it was liking posts, following accounts, or engaging with content—was developed as a separate module. This modular approach allowed users to customize their automation tasks according to their unique needs. It was like building a Swiss Army knife for social media, where each tool could be used independently or in conjunction with others.

Beta testing was another crucial stage. I opened the doors to a select group of early adopters, whose feedback was instrumental in refining the app. Users loved the flexibility and the analytics dashboard, which provided clear insights into their social media growth. However, they also pointed out areas that needed improvement, such as the learning curve associated with setting up automation tasks. Armed with this feedback, I iterated relentlessly, fine-tuning the user interface and enhancing the overall functionality.

In essence, developing Somiibo’s core features was a rollercoaster ride—a blend of creativity, technical prowess, and a dash of humor to keep the spirits high during those inevitable coding marathons. The end result? A powerful tool that not only met but exceeded my initial vision, setting the stage for Somiibo’s successful launch and the exciting journey that lay ahead.

Overcoming Challenges: The Roadblocks and How I Conquered Them

Embarking on the journey to create Somiibo was like setting sail in uncharted waters. It was exhilarating, but also fraught with unforeseen obstacles. Picture me, Ian Wiedenman, a solopreneur juggling app development, software engineering, and marketing, all while trying to maintain some semblance of a social life. Spoiler alert: The balance was skewed heavily in favor of Somiibo. Let’s dive into some of the major roadblocks I faced and how I managed to navigate through them.

First off, let’s talk about the technical challenges. Crafting a social media automation platform that was both robust and user-friendly was akin to building a spaceship out of Lego bricks. There were countless nights where I found myself buried in code, wrestling with bugs that seemed to have a life of their own. Debugging became my midnight snack, and I learned to celebrate even the smallest victories—like when a particularly stubborn script finally decided to cooperate.

But technical hurdles were just the tip of the iceberg. The next big challenge was funding. Imagine trying to bootstrap a startup with a budget that made a shoestring look luxurious. I had to be resourceful, often dipping into my savings and cutting back on non-essential expenses (goodbye, daily lattes). I also tapped into freelancing gigs to keep the cash flow going. It was a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul, but it worked. I managed to keep Somiibo afloat without sacrificing quality.

Then came the emotional rollercoaster. The entrepreneurial journey is not for the faint of heart. There were days when my confidence wavered, and self-doubt crept in like an uninvited guest at a party. Would people actually use Somiibo? Was I just chasing a pipe dream? During these moments, I found solace in the stories of other entrepreneurs who had faced similar struggles. Reading articles like this one from Entrepreneur about overcoming startup challenges provided much-needed motivation and reassurance.

Networking, or rather, the lack thereof, was another significant roadblock. As a solopreneur, it’s easy to feel isolated. I quickly realized that building a supportive community was crucial. I started attending industry meetups, joining online forums, and connecting with other developers and marketers. These interactions not only provided valuable insights but also opened doors to potential collaborations and partnerships.

One of the most unexpected challenges was dealing with copycats. As Somiibo started gaining traction, I noticed a slew of similar platforms cropping up. It was frustrating to see my hard work being emulated, but instead of letting it get me down, I used it as fuel to innovate further. Continuous improvement became my mantra, ensuring that Somiibo stayed ahead of the curve with unique features and superior performance.

In the end, overcoming these challenges wasn’t about finding a magic bullet; it was about persistence, adaptability, and a dash of humor. Each roadblock taught me something valuable and made the eventual success of Somiibo even sweeter. So, if you’re on a similar journey, remember: when the going gets tough, the tough get creative—and maybe a little bit caffeinated.

Marketing Strategies: How I Attracted My First Users

When it comes to launching a business, creating the product is only half the battle; the real challenge lies in getting people to actually use it. With Somiibo, my social media automation platform, I knew that attracting my first users would be a make-or-break moment. Here’s how I did it.

First off, I embraced the power of content marketing. I wrote blog posts that not only highlighted the features of Somiibo but also offered valuable insights into social media strategies. Articles like “Top 10 Social Media Hacks for 2017” and “Why Automation is the Future of Social Media Management” drew in readers who were already interested in the very problems Somiibo aimed to solve. This strategy didn’t just bring traffic; it brought the right kind of traffic—people who were likely to convert into users. For more about starting a business, you can check out this guide on Shopify.

Next, I leveraged the power of social proof. Early on, I reached out to a few influencers in the digital marketing space and offered them free premium access to Somiibo in exchange for their honest reviews. The positive feedback I received from these initial users was like rocket fuel for my marketing efforts. Their testimonials and shares on social media provided the kind of third-party validation that money simply can’t buy.

Speaking of social media, I made sure to build a strong presence on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I didn’t just promote Somiibo; I engaged with my audience by participating in conversations, answering questions, and even sharing a meme or two. This approach helped build a community around the brand and kept Somiibo top of mind for those considering social media automation.

But the real game-changer was referral marketing. I implemented a referral program that rewarded users for bringing their friends on board. Not only did this incentivize my existing user base to spread the word, but it also created a viral loop that exponentially increased my reach. It was like having a team of mini-marketers working for me around the clock.

Finally, I didn’t shy away from paid advertising. While organic growth is fantastic, sometimes you need a little push. I ran targeted ads on Google and Facebook, focusing on keywords related to social media automation and management. The ROI on these ads was impressive, particularly when combined with the other strategies I was using.

In summary, attracting my first users to Somiibo was a multifaceted endeavor. It required a mix of content marketing, social proof, active social media engagement, referral incentives, and strategic paid advertising. By combining these tactics, I was able to create a buzz around Somiibo and convert curious visitors into loyal users. And as they say, the rest is history!

Scaling Up: Turning a Small Startup into a Profitable Business

Taking Somiibo from a modest startup to a thriving, profitable business was akin to nurturing a delicate sapling into a robust tree. It required patience, resilience, and a sprinkle of audacity. When I first launched Somiibo in 2017, the initial traction was encouraging, but sustaining and scaling that momentum was a different ball game altogether.

At the outset, my focus was on refining the product and ensuring it met the needs of our users. The feedback loop was essential here. Listening to our users, understanding their pain points, and continually iterating on the platform helped in creating a product that resonated with our audience. But having a great product wasn’t enough; we needed to grow our user base and revenue streams.

One of the first strategies was to explore partnerships. Collaborating with influencers and other tech platforms provided a dual benefit. It not only increased our visibility but also allowed us to tap into established user bases. This approach was instrumental in driving early adoption and, more importantly, trust in the Somiibo brand.

Monetization strategies were another critical element. Initially, Somiibo operated on a freemium model, offering basic features for free while charging for premium functionalities. This model allowed us to attract a broad user base while converting a significant portion of them into paying customers. However, as we grew, it became apparent that we needed to diversify our revenue streams. Introducing subscription plans and offering bespoke solutions for businesses looking to scale their social media efforts helped in stabilizing our income.

Marketing played a pivotal role in our scaling efforts. Crafting compelling content, optimizing our SEO efforts, and leveraging social media channels were all part of the game plan. We also invested in paid advertising campaigns, meticulously analyzing the ROI to ensure every dollar spent contributed to our growth. For those looking to start their journey, Inc.’s guide on starting a successful business offers valuable insights.

Automation and efficiency were vital as well. Implementing tools that streamlined our operations allowed us to focus more on strategic growth rather than getting bogged down by everyday tasks. From customer support systems to marketing automation, every aspect of the business was fine-tuned to maximize efficiency.

Scaling up also required a mindset shift. Moving from a scrappy startup mentality to a more structured approach involved setting clear goals, defining key performance indicators (KPIs), and establishing a robust operational framework. It was about building a sustainable business model that could withstand the test of time and competition.

In conclusion, turning Somiibo into a profitable business wasn’t an overnight success. It was a journey filled with learning, adapting, and evolving. As a solopreneur, it was about wearing multiple hats and being agile enough to switch strategies when necessary. By focusing on the core values of delivering value to our users and continually innovating, Somiibo grew from a small startup to a profitable entity, proving that with the right approach, scaling up is not just a dream but an achievable reality.


Follow my journey as a solopreneur, and my evolution from launching Somiibo, a single project, to expanding my empire with multiple innovative projects like Slapform.com, StudyMonkey.ai, and more