Building and creating: a challenge
As the new year started, I realised I’d spent quite a bit of time working on side projects last year but didn’t write or share anything as I’d aimed to back in February 2019. There are plenty of reasons for this, but they all sound like excuses when they’re written down!
Being a bit frustrated about my failure to share what I’m working on, and spending a bit of time over the past few weeks reading the timeline and story of Nathan Barry’s Web App Challenge, I’ve been inspired to start my own challenge: to create and launch a product by the end of 2020 that can support me financially.
I’m committed to regular blog posts about the fun and the difficulty of completing the challenge; mostly to make sure I keep myself accountable, and to hopefully inspire someone else in the future, just like Nathan did for me.
A cycle that goes nowhere
After a bit of retrospection on what happened in 2019, I realised a few things:
- my happiness and satisfaction are increased while I'm creating: designing, writing, coding, acting
- Ideas are not a problem, I’ve got lots of them; I just haven’t committed to any of the bigger ones yet
- I can easily fall into analysis paralysis and get only so far through a side project before moving on to something else
- Negative self-talk often stops me in my tracks, especially when it comes to writing about what I’ve been doing
When I put them all together, they make for a frustrating cycle where I self-sabotage efforts to get projects completed or sometimes just off the ground.
I’ve followed Nathan’s blog for years, and always wondered about his web app challenge; how much his writing helped him stick with it, and build it in to the massive success it is today.
Congratulations, you’re now my accountability buddy
I’m sure you’ve heard that accountability can make a big impact on someone's likelihood of completing a project.
The American Society of Training and Development found that people are 65 percent likely to meet a goal after committing to another person. Their chances of success increase to 95 percent when they build in ongoing meetings with their partners to check in on their progress. An Accountability Partner Makes You Vastly More Likely to Succeed
Rather than just picking one person, I figure putting regular posts up here on the blog will keep me on track to achieving my goals.
I’m aiming to write a post a week to track my progress, and also share my learning along the way.
To give this a bit more definition, the challenge is to design, build, launch, market, and grow an online product to $10,000 (~£7600 at current rates) revenue a month by January 2021.
I know that Nathan originally said he wanted $5000 recurring revenue per month, and gave himself only 6 months to achieve it, but we have a few differences:
- He was aiming for MRR (monthly recurring revenue) from a subscription business - I’m not aiming to make a subscription business at this time.
- He was creating a B2B (Business to Business) SaaS (Software as a Service) business, and my intention is to create a product that is consumer facing, where my experience will be of use - I believe that SaaS businesses are much harder to get initial traction (they do have massive upsides if successful tho).
For a consumer product, I know that $10k a month isn’t a huge scary target (although starting from zero it seems it!), but I have a few constraints I’m aware of:
- I only have 8-10 hours per week to work on this for the forseeable future. This doesn’t sound like much, but I designed and built the first version of BorrowMyDoggy in two months with a similar amount of available time.
- I want to keep any investment of cash in the project to a minimum. I would like to see what is possible on a minimal budget, so will be doing pretty much all the work myself.
And the product will be…
The product I’m going to work on is based on an idea I had back in 2007.
Back then I built a couple of prototypes, but didn’t have the technical or product experience to make it a reality.
Thirteen years, and many more experiences later, I’ve been fortunate to be exposed to enough information that I understand more of what is needed to be successful.
It’s not an original idea (well, it was in 2007), but there have been a couple of successes in the market, so I believe my take on it stands a decent chance.
I don’t want to reveal exactly what I’m building till I'm a bit further down the line, but stay posted (and you can subscribe to the newsletter below if you want to hear first).