Real talk about money from a software engineer and entrepreneur

All About the Benjamins! Black millennial entrepreneurs and their money!

Let’s talk about money.

At Mogul Millennial, we believe that when we avoid the important conversation around money, it becomes a silent tool for oppression for the Black entrepreneurial community. It’s hard to learn about something when you’re discouraged or scared to talk about it, and as a result, cannot really learn in order to grow.

In our new recurring series, All About the Benjamins, we’re challenging Black entrepreneurs to give us the tea on their financial reality—how much money they’re making (or not making), if they are profitable, how they were really able to launch their business, and so much more.

In this edition, we were able to catch up with Kyle Woumn, an engineer for Twilio, and the creator behind the viral platform that provides search results of keywords in Drake’s lyrics, Drakestagram . Outside of all of this, Kyle is also the co-founder of OTT: Over The Top, an event curator company in the Bay area, a freelance software engineer, and the founder of Idea to App Store, a virtual program where he teaches people how to build an app. In our chat with Kyle, we were able to learn more about his Idea to App Store program, how he was able to launch his business, how much it took to launch, and the money tips he has for other entrepreneurs.

Company: Idea to App Store

Industry: Tech; eLearning

Launch date: January 2019

Cost to launch business: Less than $150

What is Idea to App Store?

Idea to App Store is a program where I teach people how to build mobile apps. I’ve had six clients so far that I’m helping in my program, and everyone is pretty far along so far. My ideal customer for the program is someone that has an idea, but they don’t know where to start. They could be technical or nontechnical.

What was the inspiration behind your program?

I get at least 5 inquiries a week from people asking questions about building an app. The reason why I built this company is to put power into the everyday person because app development can be really expensive. The whole idea behind the program is to take people from the ideation stage to having an app in the app store.

What has been a challenge with the launch of your program?

Currently, I’m in my first iteration of the program, and it definitely has had its ups and downs. Learning how to code isn’t that easy, but teaching someone else how to code is even harder because you have to be able to explain things in a way that makes sense to people.

The Past

How much did it cost to launch your program?

Honestly, it didn’t take much at all. I used my camera and started creating videos talking about technology and building mobile apps. I would share the videos to my Instagram and LinkedIn to generate interest. LinkedIn, by the way, is such an untapped market. I posted one of my videos and it quickly got over 10,000 views without any paid advertising.

Looking back, I had got a Google Drive premium account which I think was like $99 a year, but other than that, there were no major startup costs. I also use Zoom for my program to meet with my clients and I pay about $14.95 per month for it. 

What is your pricing model? 

For this first iteration, I had a standard price of $2000 per student. In the beginning, I anticipated that it would be a three-month project for each student but it’s taken a little bit longer than that.

I’m currently in the process of re-evaluating what my pricing model is going to be for the next reiteration, and I’m also thinking about switching up my content process. I have previously recorded videos and I’ve been thinking about packaging those videos and selling those at a price. I’m essentially trying to see how I can optimize my client’s learning, but also be able to optimize for my time. 

Why did you decide to launch your program at $2,000? Why not more or less?

For my freelancing gigs where I’m the one building the app, I charge more than $2000. Since this program just consists of me teaching, guiding, and explaining concepts so people can build their app, I felt at the time that $2000 was a decent price. 

The Present

What are you doing with the money that you’ve made, and how much have you made thus far?

Today I’ve made $8500 and I think it’s not bad at all especially since this is just a side hustle. With the money that I’ve made, I’ve been using an app to help me invest the money. 

Did you met or exceed your revenue goal?

When I first started I wanted to have 10-20 people in my cohort, and a minimum of $20,000 in revenue. However, I’m glad it didn’t work out that way. Instead of 10-20, I only ended up getting 6 people.

The thing I didn’t realize then was that with the information that I was giving, having a smaller cohort to start off with was much better and made more sense.

Looking back, I think the reason I didn’t reach my goal was that many people didn’t really know who I was, and $2000 is a significant amount of money to give if you’re not familiar with the person or company.

Even though I didn’t meet my revenue goal, I decided to focus on the amount of people that I had, work hard on serving them the best I can, and let them be my success story.

The Future

When is the second cohort launching?

It’ll probably be in January 2020. This date will give me time to refine my content, and evaluate how the first program went.

Advice for entrepreneurs

What is one thing that you wish you would have known about the financial side of launching a program like yours, prior to launching it?

The business that I have is a sole proprietorship and the way that it works is that any income I make is added to the revenue when I pay my taxes, but also any business expenses as well. So whether that’s any training that I take to improve my skills, or whether that’s the software that I purchase – all of that is tax-deductible. I think knowing that stuff at the beginning of what’s tax-deductible is valuable to know. The accounting aspect is extremely important and many new business owners fail to take advantage of knowing what can be considered a tax deduction.

photo credit: https://www.instagram.com/seanjonathan/

What money advice would you like give to aspiring entrepreneurs that are looking to launch a similar program? 

I would say the biggest thing that I want to share would be for people to have their business serve them. I just started reading this book called Profit First and it talks about how to keep your business from being a cash eating machine, and how to have your business serve you instead of you serving your business.

I see so many people that have a business, but it’s sucking so much cash out of them and their cash flow negative. Being able to have your business work for you is really important. Also, not being afraid to set aside a certain percentage for you, but at the same time being able to reinvest your money back into your company is crucial.

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Written by Mogul Millennial Staff