PayPress Startup Journey

The PayPress startup journey has had its fair share of ups, downs, redesigns and pivots. Over the last few days, we’re being redesigning our side project PayPress (it’s a PR marketplace).

We didn’t just have one pivot, but quite a few. And, even though we’re launching a little later than expected, I think it’s OK.

Likely, if you go to any startup expert, you’ll hear a lot of generic advice – but this generic advice doesn’t help unless it’s specifically tailored to you. That’s a problem!

Often you may hear something like this: “Build something that people want.”

With PayPress, we know we’re building something that people want. But that’s not the problem – it’s getting our business model right.

So, even if you do build something that people want, and you haven’t nailed your business model, it could complicate things later.

The Original Version of PayPress (Pay Per Publication)

With the first version PayPress, we were going to do pay-per-publication. You could select a news publication that you’d like to be featured on, and pay.

The problem we discovered: People liked the idea, but it was really hard to manage and after getting a lot of feedback – we decided to pivot to a freelancer model.

The Second Version of PayPress (Freelancer Model)

The idea was that you could post a PR task, receive bids from PR agencies and choose the best deal.

This was definitely better than the original idea, but there was a problem with this model. With this type of model, the price tends to keep falling.

Now, if you’re a startup reading this, you might be thinking with a ‘grin on your face’ – “Oh yes! I love it!”

But, if you pause for a second and dig deeper, you’ll discover that there is a high chance the ‘quality of PR’ may suffer. Or in other words “Quality vs. Price.”

Here’s a screenshot of our current landing page that’s about to change.

PayPress MVP

Third Version (Snappr Style)

Here’s the third version of PayPress. It’s still a work in progress (WIP), and we’re in the process of adding in some design.

We need to fix up things like text padding, spacing, color, background images, and pricing. A lot of inspiration came from Snappr, their design, business model structure and the simplicity of their MVP.

There are a few things I like about the Snappr model (besides their sleek vid) …

  1. Price: It’s balanced, neither top price – nor bottom price.
  2. MVP: Snappr is built like a website – which can quickly scale into a platform.
  3. Business Model: Flexibility with different options – cater for different markets.



Idea Validation & Business Model Validation 

Startups often focus on ‘concept validation’ and forget that ‘business model validation’ is equally important.

PayPress is a PR marketplace, and there are so many different ways we can structure the business model.

  • Pay per publication.
  • Post a project.
  • SaaS (monthly subscription).
  • Add in sliders with different pricing tiers.

Key Takeaway

Your business model is really important. Don’t mistake “idea validation” for “business model validation.” They’re different.

Get feedback on your business model, talk to people, meet with industry leaders, analyze and test.

And, there are different ways you can price structure your product. Make sure you have the right one.