I’m Joining Hopin Full-Time as Cofounder

I’m Joining Hopin Full-Time as Cofounder

It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on what I’m doing. It still shocks me that it’s been over two and a half years since I quit my job in March 2017.

Since then, I’ve been experimenting with multiple ways to generate income, including publishing a book, launching a paid community business, consulting, freelancing in almost every form of writing you can think of (blogging, ghostwriting, copywriting, technical writing), building a mobile app company, writing on Medium, growing Entrepreneur’s Handbook, creating online courses, and coaching. 

Several things definitely tanked and failed, other projects gained traction. Within a year, I was blessed enough to surpass the salary I was making at my full-time agency job in Northern Virginia.

The fun doubled when my wife became a travel nurse and we traveled the USA, moving to a new city every three months. We hit beautiful cities like Phoenix, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, and others. I loved it. We met great people.

Serious changes happened in 2019. In January, we bought a house in Richmond, Virginia and quit traveling. The following month in February, we welcomed our first baby into the world. Little Brooklyn (Hit up my insta for pics).

Just like that. Life changed forever. But I was still doing my own thing as an independent writer and entrepreneur. 

In fact, my best months of income happened in the months directly following my daughter’s birth. March, April, and May of this year (2019) were triple and quadruple what I used to make as an employee. I had expected the opposite to happen. I thought my productivity time would evaporate with a newborn — and it does, no question — but somehow, you start doing more of what matters when your time is more constrained.

Ever since I quit my job and started working for myself, I doubted two things: that I would ever work for someone else again and that I would ever go “all-in” on one venture. 

The latter has been the key to my financial independence: multiple income streams. You have to de-risk the single income stream — if one goes away, it’s not a huge hit and you have other streams to ramp up or launch.

If I’m honest, the real reason is I never thought I’d find that “one thing” that was worth the opportunity cost of giving up all the other income streams, the diverse industry experiences, the variety of work, and the self-reliance. I’m a restless person; I’m one of those people who can juggle a thousand different things and organize them so that I can work on the one that interests me the most on any given day.

Well, that’s changing too.

One day, I interviewed the founder of the largest online slack community for marketers and the interview was apparently going really well because the founder said I was different from most of the people who interview him.

“I want to help you,” he said. “Tell me how I can help you.”

I mentioned a couple of the things, including Party Qs, my conversation starter app. 

As I was talking, my inbox started to fill up with new emails with the subject line “Intro.”

The founder was shooting off introductions to people in his network doing similar initiatives. “Have a talk with so-and-so,” he said. “Tell them I said it was worth their time.”

One of the people was an indiehacker named Johnny Boufarhat who was building a video product called Hopin.

He had built a platform that lets organizers host online events that essentially mirror physical in-person events — keeping the benefits while removing the barriers. 

He showed me the platform in beta. Hopin combined webinars with a “chat roulette” style of networking one-on-one. It intrigued me as a good idea but I thought little of it at the time.

Over the next few months, Johnny and I stayed in touch as founders and as friends. We jumped on video calls and gave each other feedback on our latest projects and progress. These calls happened once a month, then every few weeks, then every week. Until it became every other day. 

One day, Johnny asked me, “Dave, what do you see yourself doing in the future?” 

“More of the same, just greater,” I gave my pre-packaged answer that I gave everyone. “I’m waiting for that one thing that I can jump into with two feet.” 

He nodded and we kept talking. Things carried on normally for the next few weeks. Until—

On September 1, 2019, I signed a cofounder’s pledge to join Hopin full-time as a cofounder, to launch the company to the public and head up marketing, content, sales, and business development.

It’s a decision I never saw coming and it’s certainly a risk, but the reasons and opportunity make too much sense to me. Hopin has grown into a platform for hosting and attending live online events with superpowers. You can watch a keynote or fireside chat on the Hopin Stage, you can network one-on-one and make connections, and the newest capability that no other software currently offers is Sessions. You can create virtual roundtables in your event for up to ten attendees to gather around and discuss topics, similar to how breakout sessions work at physical events. Attendees can also create their own sessions within a Hopin event.

On a macro-level, I’ve thought through the reasons why this venture is the one. It’s a big commitment—at least four years—but it’s the right one for me.

  1. The business events industry is a trillion dollar industry and growing. People are craving community and real connection (beyond social media) more and more.

  2. Physical events have an enormous carbon footprint. They waste food and water and cause chronic environmental damage.

  3. Almost every media publication makes a substantial portion of their annual revenue from events and conferences. Hopin widens that revenue channel to people who can’t travel to the event but still want the valuable content and connections — which they can get live on Hopin.

  4. Universities are shifting education more and more online and need better tools than Zoom for online webinars and classroom interaction.

  5. Remote work is increasing. Getting distributed teams together in one place is an extraordinary expense and logistical nightmare. Hopin gets everyone together and makes inter-company communication and connection more meaningful than Zoom or GoToMeeting, without the need to purchase airfare or book hotels.

  6. Mark Zuckerberg said “the future is private” at Facebook’s annual conference and Facebook has been pushing Groups more and more in the newsfeed. These online communities need smart ways to enhance engagement between their members. Hopin supplies a compelling solution for getting to know people face-to-face who you wouldn’t normally get to meet.

  7. Awesome meetups are geographically limited to cities. Hopin removes that limitation.

  8. The big one: Anyone can make a healthy living off of Hopin. By creating, launching, and hosting events on Hopin, anyone can generate meaningful income by selling tickets to their amazing events. For example, if you host an event with $50 tickets, and 100 people attend, that’s $5,000 from one event! Do that once a month and you’re making a respectable $60k annual income.

Looking back, my career came to a fork in the road: one path was consistent, rising income doing dozens of entrepreneurial projects and working with great clients, the other was taking a risk and making a big bet that has the potential to significantly pay off.

I chose the latter.

I’m going back to full-time work and I couldn’t be more pumped. 

I’m still going to be writing on Medium and growing Entrepreneur’s Handbook and Party Qs, but the bulk of my focus will be on growing Hopin.

If you’re still reading this, I’m grateful you’ve walked with me through the past few years of micro-entrepreneurship — small projects and business experiments and income streams—and now I’m excited to continue with you through this next chapter of macro-entrepreneurship — raising money, launching a company, and shooting for billions.

More updates to come. 

Thanks for reading. 

Also, if you’re interested in seeing Hopin in action, I’d love to give you a demo. Shoot me an email and I’ll give you a quick demo.

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