Turning Down $7k for a Side Project I Announced Two Weeks Ago I was Shutting Down

That’s a lot of flip flops 🤣 (#)

About two weeks ago I announced I was shutting down LearnGPT. After the announcement, I received a lot of interest from people interested in taking it over, so I decided to try to sell it instead of shutting it down. I wound up receiving two offers, one for $6.5k and one for $7k, and the person who made the lower offer later said they’d be willing to offer more, so figure I might have gotten $8k-$9k after some negotiation. But, after a lot of deliberation, I turned down both offers.

The problem with LearnGPT

At the beginning of the year I finally went full time on my SaaS business, Preceden. I also had recently launched LearnGPT, a site for browsing, sharing, and discussing interesting ChatGPT prompts. But after a few weeks of working on it, I found myself not interested in working on it anymore for a variety of reasons:

  • I had 2 contractors working on it (one adding content to the site, one marketing it) and their combined burn rate was several thousand dollars a month. Not the end of the world, but…
  • The clearest path to making money from LearnGPT was to create and sell an info product, something I had zero interest in writing or hiring someone to write
  • LearnGPT was consuming a lot of headspace and time, and I was losing a lot of sleep trying to figure out what to do with it
  • I wasn’t terribly excited about my short term plans for it (adding a News and Apps section), which would wind up making it very similar to /r/ChatGPT.
  • I have a lot of plans for Preceden, and every minute I spent working on LearnGPT would take me away from that, the thing that’s actually making money and supporting my family right now.
  • It started to feel like a job and I started to resent it for that reason (remember, I just left my contracting job).

I also just had a friend who sold his SaaS business and he estimated it took him about 150 hours to go through the whole process. I didn’t want to spend a bunch of time trying to sell a pre-revenue site, which is why I elected to just shut it down, but after the acquisition interest started coming in, I decided to try to sell it quickly and then switch back to focusing on Preceden.

But, in the end, I decided not to sell, despite the two decent offers.

Why not sell?

One path I hadn’t fully considered was the possibility of pivoting LearnGPT into something that would excite me enough to continue working on. I was so stuck on this idea of needing to create an info product to monetize the site that I didn’t consider my other options. The reality is I had (and have) a lot of options:

  • What if I lowered its burn rate? It might mean less marketing efforts, but it would reduce the pressure on me to monetize the site, allowing me to work on it for fun instead of treating it as a new business that I had to monetize.
  • What if I just worked on it when it excited me enough to work on it (vs blocking time off on my calendar to devote to it)?
  • Is there a path to building a product here (which is what I really enjoy doing)?
  • Can I change to the focus away from ChatGPT examples toward something that’s going to be interesting and motivating for me to work on long term?

Thankfully, after a lot of brainstorming and mulling over my options, I’ve arrived at a tentative vision for the site that does excite me, but it’s going to require a lot of changes.

Later today I’m going to make the first of those changes: changing LearnGPT’s name.

More on that in my next post :).

One thought on “Turning Down $7k for a Side Project I Announced Two Weeks Ago I was Shutting Down

  1. LearnGPT is now EmergentMind – Matt Mazur

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