Nick is a 24-year-old entrepreneur from Boston who quit his $130,000/year job to create an app that connects bars with musicians. He launched the app in the App Store and used cold-calls to grow the business and is now raising $150,000. His co-founder is Josh McAloon and Tom Hamilton from Aerosmith as an advisor. Nick is responsible for strategizing how to grow and be successful, as well as updating the app with new features.
Nick, a 24-year-old businessman, quit his $130,000-per-year job to start an app that links bars with bands. After a few months, he put the app on the App Store after developing it. He has been able to expand the firm and is now raising $150,000 through cold calls. Learn from his accomplishments and errors!
Canary App: Simplifying Live Music Booking for Venues and Performers
I’m a 24 year old Bostonian entrepreneur by the name of Nick. My two hobbies are inventing interesting things and helping people, and I get to combine them both with my business Canary, where we’re revolutionizing the way venues book live music. I recently left my $130,000 job to devote all of my attention to Canary.
Canary is a smartphone application that artists and venues use to schedule performances. We believe in connecting the music scene, thus that’s why we’re doing whatever we are. We think that live music booking should be simple and that venues and performers can concentrate on what important to them. By developing an intuitive, attractively designed software, we help our users do that. As a venue, you can easily identify fresh personnel to hire while managing all scheduling and communication. As a musician, you can look through available gigs and make a profile to promote your brand to venues using the app.
It’s my responsibility as co-founder and CEO to plan how we will expand and succeed. Since I’m also a software engineer, I’m constantly adding new features to the app for our users. Josh McAloon, one of my co-founders, oversees the venue selection process.
Tom Hamilton from Aerosmith joined us as a consultant as well. He brings a ton of expertise and industry understanding, so that’s a tremendous gain for us.
I’ve always enjoyed making and fixing things. It began when I was 16 years old. I fixed more than one hundred phones by repairing shattered iPhone screens in my neighborhood. I made a few thousand dollars from that and developed a deep love for business.
While attending Bryant University for my undergraduate studies, I also launched a few other businesses, such as the Charging Chair, a beach chair that charges smartphones (seen below), and DirtByMail (a website where you can secretly mail a bag of dirt to a scumbag). Those business ventures were really beneficial because I gained knowledge of various business aspects, including manufacturing for the Charging Chair and legal matters for DirtByMail.
I had a love affair with technology during college. So much so that I learned how to code on my own. I was able to land a position as a software developer at Wayfair in Boston because to it. Ryan Dolan, a good friend and the bar’s manager, brought up the difficulties in securing live music when I was there. We discussed the concept and came to the conclusion that it would be enjoyable to work on. I was particularly eager to join since I wanted to apply my technical expertise to some practical tasks. Our intention was to create an app that would enable the bar management to announce events. Early in 2018, I created an MVP (which was quite awful), and we improved it.
In Worcester, Massachusetts, Ryan and I really won a regional startup competition for Canary, where we received a year’s worth of free office space. You can see Ryan and I, who are representing the Canary brand with pride, in front of our first office.
Ryan came to the conclusion that he did not want to quit his day job in order to devote all of his time to Canary as it grew and as things became more serious. In fact, he made the decision to fully abandon the project, which is when I started hunting for a replacement co-founder and came across Josh.
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Wayfair had a significant influence on my learning to code as well. I had progressed as far as I could have on my own, but because to Wayfair, I was able to advance. There were a few occasions when I doubted my ability to solve a problem, but luckily Wayfair showed me that you can always find a solution to a technological issue.
I was finally able to submit the app to the app store after a few months. View the image below to discover how Canary has changed through time and how it continues to do so.
I had to learn how to write in Swift, Apple’s proprietary programming language, because the current version is a native app. The finest instructor is Let’s Build That App’s Brian Voong. On his website, you may purchase a lesson to help him out while also watching him teach for free on YouTube. I watched all of his YouTube videos and enrolled in his website’s Instagram program, where he teaches you how to create Instagram. He is the reason why Canary is the way she is today. It took me a month to complete the iOS app.
We engaged an Indian team to develop the native Android version. I advertised a project on Upwork, including the requirements and our spending limit. I chose the company we’ve been working with after conducting a dozen interviews with engineers. We spent $3,500 to have the foreign team precisely duplicate our iOS, as opposed to my spending a few months learning to develop a native Android app from the ground up using Kotlin. Once a week, I spoke with them on Skype to see app demonstrations and offer advice. It has been a really successful experience.
Now that we’re working on a separate online application, our venues will be able to log in to their dashboards and control everything from their computers (or, if they want, through our mobile apps). We believe that the addition of the web app will lessen any friction because venue owners often are older and have a strong understanding of managing computers rather than applications. Utilizing React and our current Firebase and NodeJS backend, we built this web application.
Simplifying Live Music Scheduling
We’re still working out what works best, to be really honest. Right now, my co-founder and I travel to venues. When we arrive, we approach the bar manager, who is often in charge of scheduling live music, and we make a request to talk with them. We inquire as to how they now handle live music booking before demonstrating Canary’s capabilities. It becomes one of those things that is an easy option because the majority of bar owners are seeking for a simpler approach to schedule live music. They first struggled with the decision to use Canary. The primary cause was that our technology lacked all the functions they required. Canary is now more adaptable, and we’ve simplified the venue onboarding process, which was the largest bottleneck.
In the beginning, I would call venues and attempt to sell Canary to them over the phone. Once I had the live music booker’s attention, I would simply begin pitching them by listing all the features we have and how they will save time. That was a total failure. On the phone, it’s so simple for someone to declare they’re not interested and hang up. Given how frequently I was rejected in the beginning, I honestly became fairly demoralized. We had better success after switching from phone to in-person techniques. It was fantastic to attract users and begin accepting concert bookings.
We are also altering the way we do in-person sales. People purchase why you’re selling, not what you’re selling, according to Simon Sinek, who speaks on how leaders inspire action. It’s more crucial to discuss your beliefs than a list of characteristics. Here’s the distinction:
“What we’re selling” strategy: To make scheduling live music easier, we created an app. With just a few clicks, you can quickly book your current musicians, identify new talent to hire, manage scheduling and communication, and book new talent. You want to test it?
“Why we’re selling” strategy: We really think that Boston’s music scene should be connected in everything we do. We think it should be simple to schedule live music and that you should concentrate on what is important to you. We achieve this by developing an intuitive, attractively designed app. As a venue, you can easily identify new talent to employ, book your current talent with a few clicks, and manage all scheduling and communication. You want to test it?
See the distinction? The second strategy is more emotionally compelling and is simpler to accept. It’s simply a stronger pitch.
We just asked ourselves, “Where are musicians hanging out online,” to get musicians on. They mostly advertise their music on Facebook and look for gigs on Craiglist. We use the “why we’re selling” method when posting there, changing a few phrases to apply to the musician. Since it is free to them and only benefits them, musicians are generally open to it.
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Learning from Mistakes: The Upside of Entrepreneurial Missteps
One of the most difficult and time-consuming activities to date is raising money. We began our fundraising efforts in September 2018 and have raised $150,000. The fact that Canary is still under-producing for Josh and I to support ourselves adds to the strain. Since I don’t have any other sources of income, I’m currently depleting my savings to be able to do this full-time. I’ll feel a tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders after we finish this round since I’ll be able to earn some money, no matter how little. The main benefit of raising money is that it gives us breathing room to operate for the following 12 to 14 months. That creates a different issue in terms of actually locating investors and raising capital. The best way to meet investors is. Shapr is where I met the majority of our investors. In a nutshell, Shapr is Tinder for networking. Shapr can assist you whether you’re trying to network locally, recruit an engineer, or meet investors.
Dealing with rejection is another difficulty I have personally encountered, which I referred to previously. I’ve never received sales training and I had no prior work experience before Canary. Imagine the rude awakening I had when the first dozen venues informed me that they were not interested. It was challenging at first, but I’m getting better at having thicker skin. Although there is no simple way to become accustomed to rejection, being able to modify my expectations has helped to lessen the hurt.
The main drawback is the resistance to change among bar owners. Before bar owners feel secure enough to try Canary and trust us, it takes several meetings. Offering financial incentives to venues is one method to address this issue. Giving a venue $1,000 in Canary booking credit, for instance, gives them additional assurance. We will have the resources after our fundraising round is through to provide incentives like these.
Early on in the app’s development, I made a few technical errors. While creating a web application is fantastic, it was done incorrectly. It was a pain to try to update the code since I didn’t develop a codebase with reusable code. I should have utilized React as well, but I mostly used PHP and jQuery. That simply meant that I had to write a lot of code to accomplish anything, no matter how simple. With React and Swift/Kotlin, you can accomplish so much more with a little less code.
We haven’t always approached marketing the proper way, but we also lacked prior expertise in selling a product like this. Although I wouldn’t call them blunders, there was just a learning curve that required some time to understand. It was just a matter of being conscious of how we were performing and always improving it; there was no simple method to learn how to market.
I would make little changes. The errors we have made thus far have strengthened our team and improved Canary.
Maximizing Productivity with a Successful Morning Routine
My everyday morning ritual, which I would suggest attempting, at least for a couple of weeks:
To start my day off right, I wake up at 6:30 AM.
I use meditation to decompress, lower tension, and sharpen my attention.
30-45 minutes of exercise followed by a shower.
After breakfast, go to work.
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