How I Built This In Public: Khe Hy
Lessons from building RadReads and helping over 40,000 professionals in public
Hello everyone, it’s KP. Welcome to the 6th edition of “How I Built This In Public“, a special series that features top founders and creators who’re boldly building their projects, startups and creative ventures in public. My intention is to ask them a consistent set of simple questions and distill insights and lessons so we can all learn from their experiments.
Without further ado, here’s the full interview. Enjoy :)
“I’m Khe Hy! Founder and CEO of RadReads which provides guides, trainings, and coaching for over 40,000 professionals to help them gain back free time, scale their impact and make their little dent in the universe. I am also the creator of the $10K Work productivity method and teaches the popular cohort-based course Supercharge Your Productivity. ”
1. At what point in your startup journey did you begin your “build in public” journey and why?
I left my Wall Street job without a plan (other than to explore what it meant to lead a well-lived life). I had a small newsletter (36 people on Gmail!) where I shared some links, which eventually turned into a blog. That was nearly 8 years ago.
2. What personal / business benefits do you believe you attracted from building in public?
I’ve built a phenomenal group of Radvocates primarily through writing and social media (Twitter, specifically). On the personal side, every time I visit a new city, half of my meet-ups are with Twitter friends.
On the professional side, I’ve built a course, coaching and consulting business by demonstrating what I’m working on, making Loom videos and constantly interacting with prospects, current and former clients.
3. In the early days, did you have any specific challenges or hesitations on whether you should build in public or not? If so — what were they and how did you overcome them?
My biggest hesitation was sharing revenue numbers. Culturally, I was raised to not talk about money. But money is a big part of building a business and in a sea of “7 figure founders” it’s important to add transparency and show both wins/obstacles.
4. Are there any myths or misconceptions about building in public from before that were debunked by your personal experience?
The biggest myth is that people want you to always know what you’re doing. That’s not how business works. That’s not how life works. On the contrary, when people see you struggle, experiment and take risks – they deepen their respect and appreciation for your product.
5. What are your 3 tips for someone who’s just starting their “build in public” journey?
Just start. You don’t need a logo, special handle or hosting software.
Do it for yourself, meaning that you must enjoy the public part (or else you’ll never stick with it)
Be yourself. Don’t sugarcoat messages and think about what “they want to hear.” Let your personality shine through.
6. In your experience, how did the 80-20 rule play out? What few vital activities of BIP do you believe have resulted in high leverage outcomes for you?
The first was coming up with a “big idea” – an idea that turns into a meme and that others will talk without you fanning the flames. For us, that was $10K Work – which was the result of constant experimentation (in public) of frameworks, principles and graphics.
The other is finding content formats that work. For us, it was the link-blogging plus our original blog post. Down the road, we converted some of the blog posts to video shorts.
7. How much time do you allocate for building in public on a daily/weekly basis?
I don’t really think of it this way. If I have a thought, I share it publicly. (And since I’m constantly thinking about the business, that works)
8. How did you stay motivated in the early days when generally you don’t see quick results or super high engagement as you begin building in public?
Here’s where the joy factor and intrinsic motivation kick in. There’s a study that says that people who are externally motivated tend to give up on projects easily and are more prone to drinking and watching Netflix. Find that internal motivation and you’ll do it for the journey itself.
9. How did you handle copycats while you built in public?
I remind myself “Imitation is is the best form of flattery”
10. Who are 3 people you would recommend for others to follow in the BIP niche?
Other blog posts and Twitter threads where we can learn more about you/your story?
That’s a wrap for now! Hope you enjoyed this piece.
Here are the rest of the interviews in this “How I Built This In Public“ series.
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