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I collaborated with the founder of this SaaS startup to translate our real-world pains around the Statement of Work and scope creep into a 'letter from the CEO' that accomplishes two disparate but equally important goals: generate commitment from VCs and prospective users alike.

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To borrow from the quote above, Megan Duong was "eating shit." She hadn't even made it to the eye of the storm yet as the founder and CEO of Sweater Story, a creative growth agency.

Sweater Story had no problems landing big-ticket clients for their messaging and branding services. They had a solid network and did amazing work. The problem was everything that happened after they started the job.

Clients suddenly wanted more out of the contract they'd already signed. They didn't give timely responses to review & revision windows, only to request complete do-overs once they finally did. Every project ballooned into something Sweater Story hadn't signed up for.

As hard as she tried, Megan couldn't stop these problems from trickling down to their network of freelance creatives (including myself!). They experienced the pain of scope creep firsthand. Over and over again.

That's when Megan decided to pivot Sweater Story into a tech-driven SaaS company focused on solving problems around the statement of work and scope creep for creative freelancers. She wanted to apply to YCombinator, but needed to nail her positioning. Need a confident—dare I say bold—answer to why do we need to solve scope creep?

She turned to me for guidance on turning her company's vision into a "letter from the CEO" that would generate the right commitment for her brand right now:

  1. Commitment from YCombinator and angel investors who want to solve real business problems
  2. Commitment from creative freelancers who despise scope creep and want to join the waitlist
"Screenshot of Megan's CEO letter"


To start, Megan just had the "eat shit for a while" quote from one of her mentors. She knew she wanted to build off that message but didn't know how to finesse the transition from her own history as CEO of Sweater Story into the problem space for creative freelancers.

We had a hour-long brainstorming session to discuss opportunities and drill into the deepest pain points of scope creep. I joined the startup's product head for another hour session to relate my own pains and workarounds running a creative business—by that point, we had all the messaging we needed.

We decided a "letter from the CEO" format made the most sense given that Megan and her team are currently seeking VC funding and don't yet have a product to showcase using traditional product marketing messages.

I worked closely with Megan to combine our own genuine pains as creative freelancers, define the problem space of the all-important Statement of Work, and create a promise: There's not only a new product waiting for you, but a community of like-minded creative professionals, who are gearing up to—what else?—not eat shit, together.

Grateful to be trusted to help carry a new tech startup into its most important phase: generating commitment at launch, when there's no product to market... yet.

See commitment-generating work in action