My Startup Journey #10: Official launch, the daily grind and loving the process
I stopped doing these Journey updates a few months ago. I don’t know why, they are great for keeping myself accountable. When I know I need to write this at the end of each day, I am striving to do a lot during the day. I need to have something to write about after all, no one wants to write: I was lazy see ya tomorrow 😀
Also this is a great way to get the creative juices flowing, it’s a conversational type of article with no clear agenda actually, but I don’t care, I’m sharing the journey. Here we go.
The LifeHQ official launch was one month ago, at the end of April. Nothing major happened on that day, I just notified whoever I could. My email list subscribers, blog readers and shared it on social media. After a few weeks I got featured in a local IT website and I also launched on ProductHunt yesterday.
I know everyone likes numbers so here we go, I had 30 new subscribers since May 1st and I have two paying users. My total users are around 200, not all are active of course. Really active are just a few.
Someone said, the real work happens after you launch and this is very true. Now is the period of The Grind as they like to say. It is not that bad actually, the hardest part about The Grind is the unknown. I have no idea if what I’m writing about here will work, I have no idea if my landing page will convert, I have no idea if people will find LifeHQ valuable. The hardest part are these unknowns, I’m just throwing stuff out there.
Doing what I can
But the key to success in anything is taking control over the things I can influence. Those are my time and effort. So far I have only 3 areas I can focus my time and effort: Product Development, Business Development and Marketing. Ideally I want to move forward on all three every day.
Making LifeHQ better, I already added a whole new module after launching, the weekly planner. Now I want to link an article about that here but I’m seeing that I didn’t write one. (Another benefit of these Journey articles).
The product must keep getting better over time, some could say I should focus solely on getting new users in. They could be correct if my main goal was to increase revenue. However developing the product is the most satisfying activity to me from these three so it is important. Being happy and satisfied with your work spills over in so many positive ways. It takes a certain positive vibe and enthusiasm to come up with good catch phrases that resonate with people and to convince them to try my product.
This area is the ground work on promotion. Personally contacting people I know or I’m familiar with from facebook groups, subredits, blogs etc to try LifeHQ. Contacting influencers to ask them to share LifeHQ with their audience. Writing guest articles, getting interviews done etc. Also very important is doing interviews with early satisfied users and finding commonalities between them.
This is the essential work that must get done in the early stages before throwing money on ads. Here we gather feedback on why our app is good or isn’t good. Also a great way to write your landing page copy, use the words actual customers are using to compliment your app and express the benefits it provides them.
Writing this blog and guest articles is one of the purest forms of marketing. And these articles are much more relevant than an instagram or facebook post. The role of marketing becomes even more important after I find the real message and approach I need to take with presenting LifeHQ to my ideal customers. That will be a result of the Biz Dev section before. So with marketing on a limited budget as me, I like to focus on writing evergreen content, getting guest articles and interviews.
There are so many small wins
Once you’re in the game, do an interview here, get featured there, have a new sign-up, you start noticing so many small wins, they don’t have to mean more money. Also once you start being active in the right communities people start contacting you. It is actually rare to ship something out into the world. There are so many lurkers and wannabes and people just participating in discussions but taking no action. So naturally when you show up with a ready app, you are already ahead of 90% of people, even if the app sucks.
In fact I just recommended to some guy that is stuck overthinking and not building anything. I said just build something within a month and actually ship it. Buy the proper domain and host it properly and set up payment and everything. Then let it bomb, it can be a complete failure, it doesn’t matter.
Big weight will get lifted of your shoulders knowing it’s no big deal (no one actually cares) for a project to tail. Heck can you count how many failed projects Microsoft has had or how many services Google killed, (ahem Google+, Google Reader).
Ok enough ranting for today. Read ya tomorrow.