Hello ! Who are you and what are you working on?
My name is Tomas Woksepp. I'm from Sweden but has been on the road since 2017. I am working on Venture Cost for many months now, with a few smaller projects in between.
What motivated you to get started with? How did you come up with the idea?
When I started traveling in late 2017 I was afraid of how much it would cost as I had a very strict budget. I kept a Google Sheet of everything I bought to make sure I didn't exceed my budget.
This worked great for a few weeks, but as the expenses started lining up, I had to scroll further and further down to add my new expenses for the day. That's when I made a simple interface with a database to make the process more convenient. It didn't take long before I decided to make this my long term project.
Can you tell us the story of your business from idea to where you are now?
After I decided on executing on this idea I went head first into the project. I knew it was going to be a quite complex app with multi-currencies, different login portals, timezone-related issues. But even though I had all this in mind, I still failed to put every piece together in a way that would make it appealing and useful for other users.
I finished an early version after 2 months that to me was still very useful, but the way I was presenting images, numbers and the community aspect was awful.
I was too blind making the expense tracker perfect, that I completely ignored the most important detail, FEEDBACK. It hurt, but it was true. It's the biggest lesson I've learned along the road.
Fast forward a few months after putting less and less effort into Venture Cost. I decided to give it a proper makeover. 6 months ago I made it look beautiful, more engaging with community functionality and better administration tool for me to be able to manage everything by myself.
What has been your biggest failure or struggle?
My biggest failure was to not ask for feedback earlier. If I did I wouldn't have to completely redo the whole project.
And what has been your biggest achievement or success?
The biggest achievement is definitely that I finished what I started. It was one year since the idea came to mind and I've been struggling with motivation a lot, but I promised myself to not give up.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
At first, I was not very impressed by the number of visitors Venture Cost got in the Product Hunt launch. The numbers clearly showed that Reddit was more powerful, but one huge difference is that the PH hype doesn't die in 1 day like reddit.
It's now 4 days since the launch and the visitor count is still at least doubled.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome? What are your goals for the future?
The goal for the future would be to obviously launch it ? After that's done I have plans on making the app progressive (or make Android/iOS versions) since Venture Cost requires internet right now.
Another thing would be to expend engagement within the budget travel niche. There's a lot of talk about how to travel cheap on reddit, forums and blogs, but there's definitely a lack of price tags. What I call cheap might be expensive for someone else and I want to solve that problem.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
The worst part is over, I'm at the stage where I can improve the current functionality and wait for Venture Cost to grow more and more every day. It doesn't mean I can work less, it's honestly the opposite, but it's definitely more fun now!
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Feedback is extremely helpful. Planning ahead is vital, even if it's not in perfect detail.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Digital Ocean has fantastic VPS hosting, I highly recommend them. I'm not into fancy frameworks, I use basic HTML/CSS/JS with jQuery on top.
Who’s your most inspirational CEO or founder?
Pat Walls seeing his progress through discouraging comments is amazing. It's dark world out there with way too many people doing everything in their power to not let someone be successful, Pat walls in the exact opposite. We need more people like Pat.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
None. I'm not a big reader. Lately I've been listening to podcasts but it's mostly to fill the silence rather than trying to take in advice.
What’s your advice for fellow aspiring entrepreneur who are just starting out?
Don't be a corporation, be a person without the "Founder of" and "CEO" in your Social Media bio (unless you have something to actually back it up and you want to show off)
Make meaningful products that you can realistically expand on, that is also in your interests because you might be stuck with it forever if it gets successful!