How a super nerdy developer plans to build his own product … while trying to avoid a fiasco!

Hi, It’s Ivan. This blog is a place for me to share my experience of launching products/services, right from the first day itself!

Let’s start with the first one that I have right now.

My product is a web application called License Bridge. What it does is that it helps WordPress developers to sell plugins as a service.

In the coming articles, I will explain more about the inner workings of the web app itself. This story will be about my plan on launching License Bridge and gaining new clients.

This is my journey.

I have been a software engineer for more than fifteen years now.

I started as a young man without much knowledge and experience and over the years, I grew to be a senior developer with more interest in the field and also being able to handle bigger tasks.

One thing I can tell you is that this is a never-ending process if you want to be successful in anything that you do.

Every man has a dream. My dream is to build my own startup.

In today’s post, I’ll first be going through the main habits that I have to ensure that I start off this journey on the right foot!

Getting up at 5:30 a.m. every single day

I came across a YouTube video that really made an impression on me. It was talking about how the action of waking up early can be a life-changing decision for you.

I was intrigued right away.

I continuously dug for personal videos of people who had documented their own experiences of waking up early in the morning every single day, and some of them claimed that it had a massive impact on their productivity levels and their quality of life in general. They finally discovered that one all-powerful way for them to find those extra hours in every single day to finish all of the tasks that they have had to postpone so far.

Mornings can be the best part of the day

One young woman recorded her experience with waking up early but she found that this was not doable for her. She often goes to bed later than most people, which meant getting up early was very hard for her unless she sacrificed the quality of her sleep.

Even with her inconsistency, she managed to complete lots of tasks that she didn’t manage to before this, all in the first week itself. Discipline and going to bed at the same time every night was the key to making waking up early a huge success.

My initial conclusion was that this was not every person’s cup of tea. Some people may enjoy waking up early and the benefits that come with the change in routine, while others can find it really boring and not motivational at all. This has nothing to do with being or not being a morning person, but more to your levels of persistence and your motivation to reach your goals.

For years I had that itch to be an indie hacker. To own my small side project which would provide me the freedom and money that I craved. That was the one thing that motivated me to push my limits.

I have to admit. I am not a morning person. I’ve always had a hard time getting up early but I knew how persistent and motivated I could be when I really wanted something.

So, I said to myself, “This could be the missing ingredient to my future success. Let’s try it out and see what happens”. This was in late October, so it was close to three and a half months of me getting up at around 5:30 a.m. from Monday to Friday. For the first few days of this experiment, I had a few crises after lunch and my productivity dropped closer towards the end of the working day. But it was a short-term energy dip. Perhaps my body was getting used to the change in sleeping/waking time. After a few more days, I had more energy than I ever had before!.

Below is a rough sketch of how my daily routine looks like:

  • The clock starts ringing at 5:20 a.m.
  • I get up between 5:30 a.m. and 5:40 a.m.
  • Three times per week, I do some exercises. This makes me less tired and gives me more energy to conquer the day.
  • A quick shower after my exercise
  • Reading a book for 45 minutes
  • Go to the office to work on my side project for 2 hours
  • Daily job from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

This is something I could change or modify depending on the phase I am in my side project, and how I felt at that particular time. As I mentioned, the morning exercises and early morning showers made a huge difference. I felt less stressed and tired when I did those exercises and had a quick shower.

Morning exercise gives me energy boost for the day

You have to enjoy the journey and have a goal in mind when doing this. If you feel more stressed and anxious, try changing your routine and find what works best for you.

Journaling to achieve more and be organized with your life
When New Year arrives, most people get excited with their New Year’s resolutions and their life goals. We look back and review how much we’ve accomplished in that year. But the harsh reality to most is that they never really achieved most of the plans and goals that they planned earlier in the year. Sometimes, more important stuff got in the way. Most of the time, it was just a lack of focus and intentional procrastination. As we procrastinate day by day, time is ticking, and hola, another year has passed and our goals are not any closer to completion.

How do we solve this?

Journaling.

Journaling can help us to be more organized and more focused. It’ll also encourage us to look back and review our progress from time to time.

What bullet journaling is all about?

Even the famous entrepreneur Richard Branson devoted his success to the habit of journaling his ideas and plans in a notebook.

He once said: “I can’t tell you where I’d be if I hadn’t had a pen on hand to write down my ideas (or more importantly, other people’s) as soon as they came to me.”

At the beginning of the year, one of my team members shared the Bullet Journal explanation video with me. I’ve never heard of the Bullet Journal before. It was, however, something that I was keen to try out as I’ve been trying to inculcate the habit of journaling to no avail.

After one whole week of writing down my thoughts and tasks, I realized it was hard for me to find some ideas from the previous week that I needed. When I needed something from the last month, or from the past few months, it could be even harder, if not impossible. Ideas and plans will be buried in the many pages and I will not be able to categorize, filter or search through them without going through all the pages one-by-one

What I needed was a way to organize my journaling. The Bullet Journaling method is a methodology which helps to keep your journaling organized as your ideas are grouped together by categories, and what I like the most about this method is that I can easily go back to the previous week or month to review my tasks and plans.

Someone else’s bujo journal.

The power of the Bullet Journaling method lies in its simplicity and flexibility. Every person can personalize it for their own needs.

To learn more about Bullet Journaling, head on to the website: bulletjournal.com

Join a tribe of Indie Hackers

I started this journey alone. This was not my first attempt. I had many ideas before this that I had built with my companions, but none of them ever got finished or completed.

Humans are social in nature. We were not made to function alone, and we need support when things are not going as planned. For that reason itself, joining a group of people with the same interest and life goals can be very helpful.

Indie Hackers reviewing landing page

Indie Hackers is more of a community than an ordinary forum. That is a place where product builders can come and meet to learn and support each other. You can also ask for help or advice from those who are ahead of you but most importantly, it is to help those who are behind you on that same journey of life.

There is always someone who can benefit from your advice and experience. Even if you are just a beginner, and you think there is nothing you can teach someone, you are wrong. Someone can be great at programming but very bad at communication or time management.

There are always some areas which you are good at, and some that are you’re not so good at.

This will still be true even after years and years of constant learning. Sometimes, you will learn from people you never expected to learn from. So open up your mind. Do less talking and listen more.

Delegate tasks

In order to finish building my product and publish it one day, I know I’d have to delegate jobs that I’m not good at.

The first step to effectively delegate is to admit that I’m not good at everything that I do. With that, I’ve identified copywriting and marketing as some of the skills that I’m not particularly good at.

At the same time, I want to build a team. The reason is that I need people who know about the product and have a passion for it. Occasional freelancers are an excellent option but I need someone who can be there to help me when I need them the most. I need people who will like the product and be inspired to work for the betterment of the product that we’re building

For a tiny startup that’s being self-funded by myself, having people who are proficient in many skills are very precious to me.

I started by delegating copywriting tasks and designing logos to freelancers that I hire from freelance platforms such as freelancer.com, Fiverr, Upwork, and other job sites.

In the beginning, it took time for me to properly describe the task, and it also involved a lot of communication to explain what I actually wanted.

It is very easy for misunderstandings to happen if you do not put properly describe the task that you want your freelancers to do. A lot of people will just post to your job offers without reading the post description, especially on freelancer.com.

For that reason, I’d suggest asking them to post a secret word into the proposal. If there is no secret word in the proposal, you’ll know that the person did not read the job description at all.

I’m quite satisfied with the results that the freelancers have produced for me. The logo made fitted my needs and the copy that I’ve used on a landing page beat my copy when I did a split test. I started an ad campaign on Facebook for my landing page and the copy that I had paid for had better click-through rates than the copy that I wrote myself.

In conclusion, I’ve learned that it’s better to hire skilled people and learn from them than to spend time doing something I’m not particularly good at

No matter the outcome, I’ll do my best to enjoy the process and to give myself a chance to grow and learn.

Final words

This is my plan laid out for all to see and I’m not going to quit this time.

In the past, I used to have shiny object syndrome. Whenever I was in the middle of a project and I saw another idea, I would stop whatever I was doing and work on the new idea I just saw.

The cycle just keeps on repeating and in the end, I accomplished nothing.

Sounds familiar, right?

Also, perfectionism was also my enemy.

I always aimed to be perfect.

And truth be told, you will never achieve true perfection.

That’s why I chose to ignore the idea of being perfect that I had in my mind and focused on the all-important 20% of the project that will satisfy 80% of my customer’s needs.

In this blog series, I will share with you the ups and downs that I will face throughout this journey.

I will be transparent with you and discuss the issues that I come across, things I’ve learned and also the amount of money I’ve spent on this project, from the development to the marketing.

I don’t know where the road will take me but I know that the journey there will be sweet!

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