Well, #10microproducts10weeks was off to a bad start. Some of you called it, I now concede.
I have learned 4 things from this self-imposed challenge;
- IndieHackers thinks it's a terrible idea.
- Twitter didn't really care.
- Day-jobs make tight personal deadlines impossible.
- I need to change my approach to this whole thing
Let's start from the top
IndieHackers hates it
I made a post on IndieHackers detailing this challenge, really expecting some show of support and perhaps some advice on how to maximise the results of my efforts.
I remember making the post in the evening and starting to see notifications pop up just before bed-time. I didn't log in to check - it was late and I had work the next day - but I felt good knowing that people probably had my back. I decided to check in the next day and get some sleep.
Good call that was, as the next morning I learned that IH actually thought my idea was rather crap. The general consensus was that it's a waste of time to do lots of quick products and see what sticks. They reckoned it's better to instead find a real need and focus on it 100% for a sustained period of time before calling it quits.
This is sound advice, but I feel on closer inspection it might fall flat. This is because finding a real need is not such a simple thing to do.
Pieter Levels, it was mentioned, didn't even complete his challenge because he decided to rather focus on Nomadlist instead, which is true. But he didn't just decide to go with Nomadlist full time and make it work after months of research and doing customer interviews, he had a need he wanted solved and created a quick, crowd-sourced spreadsheet to check if others felt the same. When it blew up in no time, and he realised that he had struck gold. Then he doubled-down.
Pieter himself also recommends the rapid fire approach to finding product market fit in his IndieHackers interview, where he suggests doing lots of different things that you want to see solved for yourself, and seeing what gets traction. And most things won't.
I realise that there is indeed an alternative approach, which is to spend a lot of time trying to do market research and talk to customers and discover their pains, but that suggestion goes against the other commonly-repeated advice of solve your own problems.
I think that's one of the problems in this community of ours - so much advice is conflicting and what led one person to success was considered a bad move and lesson-learned by the next. Lot's of advice is also situational and dependent on other variables. It's all rather confusing. I guess I'll just need to try and see what works for me, I don't have any answers yet.
Another objection from IH was that I was simply chasing money and not trying to do something meaningful. Is trying to make $10 in 10 weeks considered chasing the money? No, this is missing the point.
It's not about making $10, really. Even living in a third-world country as I do, I make way more than that per hour at my day-job. It's about helping someone solve something they need help in such a valuable way that they're willing to pay me for it.
Twitter doesn't care
I also shared my blog post on Twitter and the response was... underwhelming. Part of the problem is, I realise, that my Twitter audience is miniscule. This is a weakness I've been aware of for quite a while now, and I have spent the last two weeks trying to up my Twitter game.
But it also seems that the whole concept of x amount of projects in an x amount of time is a bit stale by now, and that no-one really cares about challenges like this anymore. I get it. There's a lot going on in the indiemaker world these days. And in the world in general, I guess. Hell, the US gov is hinting that they have UFOs. How does one compete with that?
I was planning on making a post about the challenge on Reddit too, but the disappointing response from both IndieHackers and Twitter suggested that this might not play out well. So I took the hint and refrained.
Day-jobs make really tight deadlines impossible
On top of the above-mentioned issues, things at my day-job started heating up and getting really erratic the last two weeks. I had way less time available to work on things on the side than anticipated, and missed my deadline for the first week, by a week.
Once thing I did not initially consider was that those who have done challenges like this in the past, and have had any form of success with them, usually had full-hour days to spend on execution. Not an hour here or there a day, sporadically.
I cannot expect myself to stick to such short deadlines when I have so little control over what may or may not transpire at my place of employment. I have a family that depends on my ability keep us housed and fed, so unfortunately my day-job does get priority over vanity internet experiments when things get rough.
This challenge is dead. Long live this challenge.
Which brings me to the point of this post - this is not working out.
I think I need to take a different approach. I'm removing the constraints and will also be doing it without trying to pretend that someone else cares or will be follow along. I declare this challenge dead.
Don't get me wrong - I still intend to have made at least $10 over the next 2 months or so, but I cannot guaranteed that I'll have the ability to do so on a strict, internet-accountable schedule.
And putting extra pressure on myself by pretending to meet the expectations of a nonexistent audience is pointless. Life(and work) happens, and no one is paying attention anyway. 🤷♂
This is not the end
That being said, a fire has definitely still been lit under my ass when I started this whole shebang. I did actually end up releasing my first info product this week!
This is a need I have had in the past, and something I have seen being an issue for others on Twitter and some maker communities too. There does not seem to be much response to it yet, but it doesn't matter.
I've only now started to learn how to make info products and I hope to get my hands dirty with some more in the future.
Another new goal of mine for the rest of the year(besides making bank with that $10!) is to grow an audience. This would be on both Twitter and this blog. I feel this is an important part of the puzzle as to why some indiemakers make it and some don't.
Having an audience will help with either finding ideas to work on and getting valuable feedback, or by having a receptive group of people to give your product(s) the benefit of the doubt.
Well, that's it folks. Not much more to say at this point. Unit next time!