Ten Minutes to 10K

11 Aug 2018

Developing a product and hoping it sticks isn't a strategy. There is a better way ( I think ).

Each podcast is about 10 minutes as I track my way through my year of hustle; my journey to my first $10k in product revenue.

Episode 1

Listen to how I got to here, built products that nobody used or wanted, and bashed my head against the wall.

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On this episode of ten minutes to ten k, talk about how i got to hear and, well, i wanted to start this podcast. So i'm a software engineer by trade went to college and have a degree in computer science i have been programing for about seven years or so so it's a you know i've reached money ten thousand our point and pretty good at it learning new skills like software engineering management that sort of stuff but i want more and during my consulting days i would split my time between consulting at a decent rate roughly seventy five, two hundred bucks an hour kind of trying to buy my time and then i would work the rest of the time on crazy product ideas i built a ap that told you when you should buy gas be son oil future prices that i got from government database and all the stuff like just crazy things that i i just pulled out of my ass really you know there's just all these things and you know i stumbled upon a few things i wrote android app that had documentation for node programming language app took off i mean i think it has five to ten thousand downloads it's broken and for some reason i just i won't pick that up and i and i don't know why i really need to do that because i have some awesome ideas for it so just been working on these ideas kind of mindlessly i moved out to san francisco about three years ago and i thought all this would just change i thought i would come here and meet people and be inspired and and go to meet ups and meet founders and meet invest astors and like it would work just like like in the movies they're in the books where you just come up with an amazing idea and you build it and people fucking love it and guess what like inning those homers out of the park is just nuts i mean even mark zuckerberg tested well, i don't want to dive too much enough but yeah like even he started small so when i got here i started going tio lean startups movement read the book went to this lean startup circle for a couple months on we would just we would split up into groups and talk about topics and like i started to think everyone there was just had no idea what they were doing like some people had successful businesses and stuff and it was fun to learn from their experience but other people who are trying to get started or just like it was just like they're bashing their head against the wall at least that's what i thought and i felt like that's what i was doing so it made me very discouraged and very burnt out on on things, you know, kind of fast forward a little bit i continued working my full time job and drew inspiration from there you know, i started reading about be toby sales and all this sort of stuff and and still i like, i just started, i just couldn't stop myself from building products without seeing if anybody wanted the damn thing. Before i built it, i started building this thing called ssl pager, based on one event where are one of our ssl certificates at work went expired, like early in the morning. It was like on club front, it was just we forgot and lesson learned. But, you know, like we said, a calendar reminder and and as a product idea, i scribbled down like something they could monitor. Listen, it could still be a good idea. It could still have potential, but i never, never actually validated that kind of fast forward a little bit. In the last month, i've started talking with my friend brian again, specifically about this idea, and he kind of poked and prodded a little bit, and one thing he did. We did ah, coaching session together and really just help me realized that this wasn't the best way to be spending my time, especially given that i hadn't i researched or anything. So that's, really. And kind of coincidentally, something that i had signed up for. Probably a year prior was the thirty by five hundred program. By amy hoi and alex hellman. Roughly. I mean, i've heard it about this product for a couple years. Now. I've heard of amy probably back in twenty thirteen, twenty fourteen. So i had known of this thing for a long time. And i never knew really what it was, and i really started digging, and i read and watched everything i possibly can about the thirty maybe not everything, but as much as i could find right now, but for the thirty by five hundred course, so anything that they've given away for free blawg post videos, the students who have written posts and tutorials and videos about the topic. And, you know, what i've learned is that i have been doing customer development and and the lean startup and it's, just not the right framework for coming up with ideas and seeing if there's a viable business product. So that's, really, when i started digging back through the stuff that i do have cooking because the thirty by five hundred really recommends that you find an audience, and really what i found is amy hoy's year of hustle, cici, which was like a long pdf of, like a multi step process for getting to ten k of product sales, and this is kind of your first product that you've ever sold on and that's kind of really the inspiration for this podcasts. I want to do roughly ten minute episodes to get to ten k s, so this is kind of documenting my journey through that process? Yeah, what i haven't found is documented of this kind of transformation of what i'm calling bashing my head against the wall on building a products, never launching them, launching them, nobody shows up, and that is kind of the pain point. I'm sorry, that isn't kind of. That is the pain point of thirty, five hundred trying to solve. So my plan is to keep digging on my current audience. My vlog. I have a subscriber lists of about two hundred people, two hundred ten, i think, and they're all signed up. Thehe node, post grass, which sari via the category note post grass and i never thought that this was could turn into anything. I was just writing blogged persons of so it's kind of fortunate, that, eh, i have this in my back pocket the whole time, it's. Funny, because a lot of the times, i would downplay that this is potentially a thing that could actually work and be a really viable thing. And and now it is as i explore this method. So you have to do with this episode. Just wanted to kind of intro with this. Siri's is this's, my first podcast, so it's going to be very raw. Don't plan on doing much editing, because i don't have much time. But in the next episode, what i'm going to talk about is kind of the sale safari, plus thie audience discovery, and how the last, like three or four weeks have been so. Stay tuned, and i'll see you next time on ten minutes to ten k.

Episode 2 - The Last 5 weeks. Am I working on the right thing?

Listen to episode 2 where I talk about the 30x500 method, cheating at online business, and the new struggles for me as I build my first product.

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On this episode of ten minutes to ten k, going to talk about what happened about four, six, four to six weeks ago. It's. Really, when i doug, back into the thirty by five hundred project home last episode, kind of left off getting those e mails, talking with friends about maybe trying the program, talking with closer family members about spending sort of money on the program. And what i discovered was that i just wasn't ready for that yet. There's. A smaller version of it, which is called. The year of hustle, it's. Essentially the same process. But really, and a much lower scale. And i think i talked about this last episode. Essentially, walking through the year of hustle, or the thirty by five hundred is. Looking at an audience and specifically with the you're a puzzle, you want to choose an audience you're already a part of, well, i've been a developer for almost ten years, and i know the audience well. Many friends, colleagues in the audience, i you have a mailing list of about two hundred ten, two hundred thirteen people that have signed up for. Or have interest in no js and post rescue a, which is a sql database home? And so i really started digging into what does this audience need in some of the like the last two years, i've kind of had and growing this mailing lists and ipad decent interactions with these people. And they're all building bigger aps, like they're not just building self contained note and post gross apse like that could be a thing. But it's, not really a thing that people are doing. People are building web applications, they're building. Some hardware solutions, but mostly web applications. So my next step really, is what other micro niches, of course, like we're talking and there's like roughly twenty million developers who we're not talking like a small amount of people, even when we go down to the micronesia. So let's, say there's, a million job, a script, developers that there's probably more there's. Probably, you know, maybe fifty thousand people that use note and post grass there's, maybe two hundred thousand people who use express js and then the intersection there. So like there's, certainly an overlap of a lot of people who would be very interested in a node, post press express take thing. And in a lot of people who are agnostic, too, maybe the database or the http application layer whatnot. So just the idea of going deep on these types of topics with interest interest them. So for the past four weeks have been doing what's called sales safari in thes different niches. I still i'm pretty confident of the pains in post gress. I'm pretty confident, well comfortable in the pains with node and post cress i am. Halfway through express, i have a good idea of what people struggle with in terms of, like the errors and what they actually asked help. So i know, like what topics to addresses, eh? Go through. I want to build a functional app. I already have some of these pieces in place for kind of the base layer, and how i recommend to not use an or that's the topic of itself. So there's, all these spots where i'm going to go really deep on on the product, in that, and been battling, because in a way, i'm kind of validating my idea. And i that's, not the way you're supposed to think about it through the thirty, by five hundred, you're supposed to watch and observe and see what the problems are the people struggle with. It's. Interesting, because i have to, like finding all of those airs and things that people want and struggle with. It still doesn't laced together into on application. So i guess i'm just doing the application as a story to show and demonstrate these different problems and how they can be solved. So still, working through internal struggles and having doubts. And is this the right thing to focus on? About four weeks ago, i also got fed up with my email provider and it was open source solution, and i was so seeing myself and i just did upgrade. It crashed, so i was very upset. Finally, i started paying for an e mail service provider. I went with convert kit. It seemed to match my interests and catered to what i am. I mean, i'm a blogger, who's trying to sell products it's pretty, pretty simple, but then it has the power to be is much marketing automation as you can throw at it really, as far as i can tell anyway, so i've known about anything berry and convert kit for a while now, but really started to dig deeper into his stuff and with convert kit, you sign up and you go to the tutorial, and then you get a t shirt and i got one that said, teach everything you know, and i thought that was really cool, and i didn't. It took a while for it to sink in, maybe the last two weeks and the thought i've been having is, why am i so afraid to share everything i know, even some of my blood post that have been collecting emails and stuff? It's. Still not everything. I know. If i give away what i considering secrets, what will people really pay for? And i think, that's, the internal struggle i've been having is like, how deep do i go until i wrap it in a product container and say, okay, now, the now the containers, what you buy to get more. And i think the product is more about the benefits you get us buying it as a whole because if i haven't talked about it already, another part of the process with the thirty by five hundred is what are called e bombs, educational bombs where you go really deep on a topic and have it then point two year landing or sales page for your product, and collect email or collecting mountains directly on them block post. You can probably set it up, by the way. So, like for me, i would go really deep on let's say, post press connection pooling and note and, like, teach everything i know down toe like you know, how the tcp handshake goes, how keep alive and i like how it persists, the connection, how many there are concurrency, parral, maybe some benchmarking like all this stuff, like, i can go really deep and those that all that information doesn't necessarily have to go into my product. It could could be pulling from the content i'm writing as i'm going along, it doesn't doesn't really matter, it's like boom. Now i have the super long till article about post press connections and it's like anyone searching for that was goingto find it first on google or packer news or whatever. Like someone's. Like, i can't wait to try this because i feel like hacker news really like specific things. It's. One thing like, oh, no jazz tutorial is like, oh, that's, cool, like, great, you didn't go deep. I know how to write java script. I know howto require a module, big wolf like boom. Look at this crazy like. You know, a thousand word example and code and run a bles stuff of this very interesting topic. And look, there is a product coming out. Oh, i want to sign up to know more about that boom. Get people on the list anyways, see, i stumbled upon podcast with courtland, alan and nathan berry on the indie hackers podcast, and a key element that i pulled out here was like a a five minute segment. Iss audience building tips and number one is create ta tete sur, teach everything you know, create every day and show your work. So teaching everything you know, kind of touched on that, like, just go deep like, don't be afraid. Don't don't worry about holding back. Don't hold back. Create every day. That is keeping fresh like you can't just keep teaching the same thing over and over again. You have to keep doing things like so i'm teaching all this knowledge and it's like it's all stuff that i've used and skills that i learned to grow my career to where it is like this can't be the end all be all so i still need to keep growing and and eventually these import products will amount to building a company or proud like a a different type of product i'm going from them showing my work is really like don't be afraid to show that the dirty details this is what this podcast is kind of about like you're getting the real deal of my thoughts and stuff as i go along in this process to the link there is nathan berry dot com slash building an audience a link it in the show nuts going back tio launching a product with my existing audience that have been building for two years i have two hundred dish subscribers not a lot but i know that they're very interested in this topic. So nathan berry teo product a challenge a long time ago long time ago in internet time and people accuse him for cheating because he used an audience that he already had? Well, you should use every advantage you have to building a product your business like do something you're interested in do something that you have contact with people already you probably already have an audience and not even know it maybe you don't have an email list, but that's okay, like, if you go to a meet up group with twenty five people who all share the same interest that's an audience, i bet you could collect their e mail addresses because you could have something that they're interested in, like had been working on this block posts, and i'd love to send it out to you. Um, can i get your e mail like boom like, yeah, it may not be like official, but like you can start communicating so, like, you should really just use any advantage you really have, and i made up a lot of b s excuses on this. I mean, i've tried to do info products where i didn't have expertise, like setting upward press and like, i'm not a wordpress expert, i like it and i use it for certain things, but i'm it's not something i work in every day. I tried tio build info product for mah dick, the email software used before it crashed, but i didn't have expertise in it and i was a marketing nube and still am and it's not my expertise and it's hard for me to be confident and keep going on that sort of stuff. So i wanted to talk about current struggles and to wrap this episode of nobody's, forcing me to do this and it's the first time in my life where no one's really forcing me went to school. And to college professors and teachers, i'll force you to do things. Parents forced you to get good grades. Yeah, someone is putting pressure on you, teo, teo, produce and do things likewise, in a full time job and even back with clients, people are forcing me, you know, contractually or our expectations, or if i want my paycheck, like i have to perform and do things. So motivation kind of comes. Best word i can think of is naturally, no one's forcing me tio, build a product and better myself, and potentially make money. So, like it's. Easy to talk myself out of it or not, do that. So that leads me to the next thing is like, i've never built a product before, i've always worked service jobs, i've always had requirements and me fulfilling those requirements. I worked in fast food, you take the order, you make the order, you send it out, i worked in consulting, you defined the project. Usually the customer already has a good idea of what they want, you kind of scope it, agree to it and it work on it. Likewise, in my current job we work in sprints, we have mandates from the company we build features, we iterated on things, we define things into tickets, that a very to find requirements and i iterated on them. So first time i'm working on something where i define the requirements based on observation from my audience, so my confidence in are these observations good is not there, i don't have. I'm not well tuned to this yet this is my first attempt, so it can be a little frightening and i don't know if i'm doing it right or wrong, i will just have to, you see. And selling a product is a little different than the service, because i feel like the feedback loop is different. Grant. I haven't actually experienced that or not. But it feels so distant that it's, just tough and frightening. So that's, really what's going on on the next ten minutes to ten k episode, i hope to talk to you about putting up my landing page and launching it. State in.