Being a software developer, I’m chasing the idea to create my own product(s) and business(es) for many years (16 to be precise). When you can code it sounds so easy: “Just create a software product, create a website site for it, start selling – and voila! – you succeeded”.
The reality for tougher than I thought.
In the first place, it turned out the selling process could be a real pain. Well, actually it IS a real pain. Especially if you are an introvert like me. I’m okay to sit at my desktop writing the code but the thought about webinars or exposing myself in any way horrified me. As a result, I missed many opportunities just because of this reason.
The second problem was I lost belief in my product. When I started working on something it looked so brilliant that I imagined lines and hordes of customers willing to buy the product. As I came to the point when I had to show the product and ask people to try it my belief weakened so much that I didn’t trust people even if they said they liked it.
The third problem – with the losing belief I lost interest in the project. Why would I work on it if there are no prospective, no customers, nobody liked it, nobody wanted it (even if I didn’t have any proves of such persuasion)? So it was easy for me to drop because I saw another opportunity and thought that product would be much better. But in practice, it’s never worked.
I learned one super-important thing: every time when I have a feeling that that idea is much better I have to stop myself. Because it’s not. And I was super-successful convincing myself. Now I have to recognize such turmoil and just resist.
Now, I think, it’s the time to think and act in a really adult way – using the methodology proven by several dozens of years, that is:
- Don’t work in a stealth mode, show your work and analyze the feedback
- Make the next feature based on what users want
- Change the concept and/or features if nobody needs them
This sounds pretty easy to implement but I realize there are several pitfalls/problems:
- How to find people that would like to try the product?
- How to get feedback from them?
- How to analyze the feedback without bias?
Those are only questions on the product/customer development. Of course, there are a lot of other questions for making a profitable business:
- How to make people to buy your product instead of competitors’ one?
- How stay with the product if something doesn’t go well?
I created this blog (a diary) that I will look for answers to those and many other questions. I also have to keep my interest and belief in the product and myself. There are several things I’m going to do to overcome three problems I described above:
- To keep the interest:
- rotate more interesting things with less interesting
- rotate hard things to do with easier ones
- make different things, look for new approaches
- always have things ahead (aka plans)
- I love watching how something is growing before my eyes – (for example, I love to read other businesses’ blogs from the beginning, especially in real-time) – the same can be applied to my own business, so I have to record everything related to it.
- To keep the beliefs:
- keep the notes on what’s done, on the progress
- collect all the pieces of the feedback (even negative but focus on the positive)
- talk to as many people as possible
- tell about my progress as much as possible (newsletter, Twitter, blog, IH etc.)
- forget about being shy
Just for fun: some of the projects I’ve done before
There is a pretty decent list of the projects I started in the past. I didn’t include all the projects but there are the most significant ones. So…
- Desktop software for writing a diary of observations for nature lovers
- A software for showing the weather at your place (I got the free Blackberry playbook for this app 🙂
- SaaS application for keeping the inner documentation that can be embedded into any project or SaaS
- A desktop program for learning a foreign language via watching the video with subtitles in the dictation mode
- A CMS for easy creating websites for shareware products
- A community framework services (yes I tried several times)
- Programming courses
- A service for management MongoDB database (visual creating of collections and data)
- Online service for programming problems and solutions (like Stackoverflow but with pairs “problem-solution” only)
- Simple chat-bot to find hiking boots
- Online service to calculate a travel route
- and many others…
There were at least 3 business projects that brought me some money:
- Reselling dog food
- Printing and selling the exam cram books for students
- Framework for easier web apps building
Why I belief everything will go differently this time
Because I will act differently 🙂
There is the most interesting part. I’m going to publish the metrics of my business. I believe it is very useful because:
- we will see immediately if there is any progress or regress
- it may help to understand the reasons and connections between parts of the puzzle called the business
- it’s a lot of fun to see how something is born and growing from nothing 🙂 so…
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|Number of paid users||0|
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|MRR, in $USD||0|In the next post, I will tell you about the idea, what it looks like now and why I think it may be viable. It will be about something else.