Ken Proctor recently congratulated us on our 5-year anniversary…which made us realize, yes, Happy Grasshopper is five years old! High five for letting us know, Ken!
As I look back over our travels together, there are several high points that stand out. Each one, a critical moment that gave us the boost we needed; and each one connected to the people who’ve joined Celeste and me on this crazy mission to create conversations for salespeople.
Now, for total clarity, we didn’t always know what Happy Grasshopper would become. After all, we launched as an experiment. At the start, we simply wanted to find out if there was a market of people who needed help with their email. To figure this out, Celeste built this web page (hard to call it a site, really) and named it Happy Grasshopper:
Thanks to this web page and an early fan, Chris Tapken, a real estate coach who told a bunch of agents they should use us, we signed up our first 40 customers. That was our first milestone, and we sent our first messages for them in November of 2010.
A few months later, one of my future best buddies called our office, but I had no idea who he was at the time.
“Hello,” said a baritone voice on the other side of the country. “This is Ben Kinney.”
“Uh, hi Ben,” I said, feeling certain that he expected me to know him, “How can I help you?”
“Well, I’ve been using your stuff and I like it,” he said.
“So, here’s the thing,” he continued. “I want to tell some people about you, but I need to know you can handle some new business.”
A few weeks later, Ben mentioned us on an IMSD (Internet Marketing Specialist Designation) webinar and I’ll never forget the look on Celeste’s face. She sat up at her desk and said, “Dan, I think our site is being hacked. Traffic is waaay up.”
Ben single-handedly dragged us from fewer than 100 clients to several hundred in a short period, and in all the time that I’ve known him, he still won’t even let me buy him a cup of coffee.
Ben, if you’re reading this, I owe you a car. Seriously.
It was around this time that Celeste started blogging on ActiveRain, and we discovered what a great platform that was for a brand that likes to tell stories. It was the springboard that furthered our growth, and allowed us to learn so much about what busy real estate agents really need. We’ll always be grateful for the wonderful community we joined there and the leadership shown to us by Bob Stewart and Lauren Bernstein.
Celeste and I were feeling the strain. She was designing and coding everything. I was writing my butt off, and both of us were somehow manning support. We needed a superhero to join our team…and we found him in Russell Fama. Right from the start, he made a big difference. I think it was his second day when I heard him say “Have a happy day!” as he hung up the phone. #legend #weloveFAMA
With rockstar support on board, Celeste and I could stretch our wings a little bit, and we traveled west for our first Inman Connect. We stood by our tiny table in Startup Alley and marveled at the spectacle of Connect. Smart people asked smart questions and forced us to defend our project.
It was a great growth experience, and also the first time we met Chris Smith and Katie Lance.
I remember sitting in on a session in the Main Hall, where they held the audience in the palms of their hands. They were smart, direct, and I instantly wanted to get to know them.
A few months later, Chris Smith and Jimmy Mackin would launch a Facebook group called ‘What Should I Spend My Money On?’, and we would hit another milestone when Victoria Jacobs posted this:
We love you, Victoria! Your post lead to hundreds of new people deciding to give us a try and it was a delight to meet you personally when I visited Toronto to speak at Agent Reboot.
Happy Grasshopper now had a bunch of users, and because they liked the replies our messages got from their sphere and past clients, our users started sending our messages to everybody in their database. And we realized we had a big problem. Even though we had been totally clear that our content was intended only for people you already knew, hundreds of agents were sending it to their new leads as well.
We doubled down on reinforcing who should receive an HG Keep in Touch message, but also realized that our clients really wanted content for lead conversion and recruitment. So, we set about solving that problem.
In 2013, we introduced Position-Me for lead conversion and HG-Recruits for, um, recruitment, and it totally changed our company. Our already fast growth skyrocketed, and we quickly hired 21 more people and grew out of our office space.
Today, we’re still hiring like mad and are very excited about what’s to come. In the coming months, we expect to realize more and greater milestones as our platform and staff are better equipped than ever to fulfill our mission. Thank you so much for your trust, faith and friendship as we push towards a brighter future.
It is with that thankfulness in mind that we’re running a very special contest with our friends over at ActiveRain. We’re encouraging all of our readers to join ActiveRain (If you’re not already a user), and write a blog telling us 5 things you’re thankful for. The winner will receive $1500 to give to their charity of choice – pretty neat huh?!