January 9, 2019

I just launched my first side project product! Thank you Indie Hacker for inpsiring me!

I launched my first small side project product. I give full credit to Indie Hackers and Product Hunt for inspiring me to build something. This community is amazing and I am inspired by other Indie Hackers creating things.

Please check out https://letterfromyou.com

Any suggestions and constructive criticisms are welcomed.

  1. 16

    "The price may seem high, but it's been carefully calculated not only to pay above minimum wage to our staff, but also to give 1% of our profits to organizations we love to support."

    Take it off the FAQ right now. Never suggest, that the price "migh be high" for your own product, unless it is a premium. And don't be apologetic about it. Just explain what is INCLUDED in the $15 to justify the price.

    1. 1

      Just took a look at the site, and this seems to have been updated to a much more positive notion that is more confident. Nice work! 🎉 Really cool idea.

    2. 1

      Yeah man this is a cool product and the price is absolutely fine. You don’t need to justify it.

      Great work. This is a good idea executed well.

  2. 4

    Congratulations on launching your product.

    How did you come up with the price point of $15? That seems pretty pricey to me to send a letter, I could send myself a letter for less than $1.

    A stamp costs $.50, an envelope another $.50 and paper maybe $.10, and then the time of writing the letter and mailing it.

    You also suggest a teacher have their students send themselves an letter so that they can reflect back, which is a great idea.

    But I can't imagine a classroom of 30 students paying $450 to mail themselves a letter in the future, when they could write themselves a letter and the teacher could just give it back to them in the future or mail it for $.50.

    1. 1

      How much is your time worth? And how about your penmanship? If this letter takes more than 30 min to write and send with a nice penmanship the price is reasonable. This is a craft item.

      1. 2

        I mean I still have to type up the letter and send it to them, and then they mail me back my own letter.

        I don't care what my own handwriting looks like if I'm sending it to myself.

        1. 5

          I see your point, I probably would think the same, but that is orthogonal to the value provided by the service. Just because you can clean your own kitchen for "free" it does not mean a person charging, say , 20 bucks an hour , is not worthy.

          At the same time I think the founder is doing himself a disservice only presenting the case of writing letters for oneself, what about offering the service of sending the letters to others?, many examples: As a thank you after a job interview, as congrats to parents for a new baby , etc. I suppose it is because there are already companies offering the service and this is his way to niche it down, but in my uninformed opinion it seems too extreme.

    2. 1

      Yeah, pricing was a challenge. I am still learning. It is true—it's pricy. You can also do all this by yourself—which will cost significantly less. The price includes: someone actually writing the letter, us holding the letter in a queue mailbox (which will be little challenging to do it yourself), price of mailing, and getting some profit out of the service. The pricing doesn't really reflect the price of the letter, but investing in self care. I guess that is what I need to be better at selling...

      1. 4

        Don’t take any heed of this. This product just isn’t right for @John_Kirby and that’s absolutely fine. You’ll build something that makes everyone happy so honestly, just forget that.

        There is more to this product than just the practical elements of putting it together. Some people will get that and some won’t... and that’s always going to be a thing for any product and any maker.

        This is great.

      2. 2

        Maybe an infographic or a visual representation of the process that you perform would be valuable in describing the service to the customer.

        1. 1

          I agree with John here. When you explain it, it actually makes me want to use it! And it does justify the price in many ways.

  3. 2

    Congratulations! Launching is soooo stressful. Btw, I saw a similar project on PH recently. Anyway, I like the idea itself and I hope I can soon use your service.

    1. Can I send a letter not to myself but to my friend and with the indication of my return address?

    2. I think it will be much more attractive if you post photos of several examples on the site. I mean, different styles of handwriting: curly, Zaner-Bloser, cursive, etc.

    1. 2

      Thanks! Those are great ideas. You can technically send it to anyone. Also, I love that idea. It will be fun if you can choose different people who will write the letters too. As of now, we have only few who will write the letters.

  4. 2

    Firstly, congrats on shipping your first product. This is a huge achievement. Many talk about doing it, but few have the gumption to actually follow through - so kudos for that!

    There are a ton of little tweaks that you could do on this page however, if I were you - I would be laser focussed on trying to get people to start writing a letter. Once they've started that process they will have started to sink cost into using your product and actually become valuable to you.

    Here are the steps I have to follow before I get to the point of starting to write a letter:

    • Click on Sign Up

    • Enter email address

    • Choose password

    • Confirm password

    • Click Sign Up

    • Wait for Sign Up confirmation email (took 2 mins for mine to arrive)

    • Open Sign Up confirmation email

    • Click on confirmation link

    • Enter email address again

    • Enter password again

    • Submit login

    • Click on Write a letter

    • Click on Start Writing

    I’d urge you to focus on reducing these steps. Do you really need confirmed email addresses at this point? Do you even need authentication? Could you do all this after the first letter is drafted? How can you get users writing letters sooner?

    Let me know what you think. Awesome first release. Looking forward to watching how this develops.

    P.S. I also couldn’t find a way of saving my letter once I’d started. Is it possible to save a draft?

    1. 1

      Updated some UX—and eliminated a lot of unnecessary steps. Seriously, thank you for such amazing tip @hgld

      1. 1

        Nice! Think you’ll get a lot more traction and feedback from this. BTW, make sure you test the usability for mobile devices. There was some funky stuff happening around the email address field when I tried this on my iPhone 8+.

        1. 1

          Yeah, I didn't have time to fix all the mobile views yet. I actually build this web app so I can practice building an iPhone app. Seriously, your inputs were my favs. Thanks for your time to giving me good feedbacks.

          1. 1

            You’re welcome. It’s so good seeing you doing such fast turn arounds between releases. One of my fav things about IH projects is how highly motivated the folks are behind them. Do keep us posted on your journey.

    2. 1

      I am going to listen to your suggestion in my next iteration.

      • Write

      • Pay

      • Send

      • Done

      While giving them option to save their draft.

      You totally made me rethink the whole UX. You rock. @hgld

    3. 1

      @hgld wow. This is awesome. This is why I love IH so much. Thank you so much for your input. I thought about eliminating the confirmation process. I agree I think I am going to eliminate some of these steps.

      Yes, users are able to save a draft—I just have to build that feature now. I was just pushing myself to launch it.

      Thank you so much for your time and writing amazing feedback. So helpful!

      1. 2

        Good to hear! Yeah - I'd think the draft feature will be fairly important in your backlog for the next release. I'd be a bit miffed to write out a letter and then feel compelled to purchase in search of the save draft feature ;-)

        I'd be as ruthless as you can with optimising those early steps. Could even be:

        • Click on Start Writing

        • Done

        Everything else can be followed up later - could even capture email address as part of the letter writing process so you can circle back if that user drops out of the funnel.

        1. 1

          This sounds so much more simple... why do I cloud myself with all those steps. This sounds so obvious, but couldn't see it while I was developing. THANKS. I love it.

  5. 2

    It's worth to mention what specific advice and tips you are looking for, otherwise you might get advice you don't need, already looked into or tried, etc.

    That being said: first thing looking at your homepage, I have no idea what this is about. One heading at the top can help with this.

    I otherwise dig the visual design of this, clean, friendly, nice colours.

    1. 2

      I guess advice on messaging, the product, how can I improve to make the message more clear, etc. Your advice was great.

    2. 1

      Exactly what @eelcoj said, maybe add how it works to the homepage too?

      1. 2

        copywriting is definitely what I am NOT good at... These are awesome feedbacks. It's a simple service. People write a letter to themselves with the app. We mail them handwritten letter in the future.

  6. 1

    Funny I was just looking for something like this the other day... but to write a letter to myself 10 years from now.

    A couple of concerns and I don’t mean to discourage because it’s awesome that you launched! Congrats! I say this more so to help refine the offering:

    • How do I know that you will be around in a week, in a month? Do you have stats on the # of letters sent to date to build that confidence?

    • You recommend 3, 6, 12 months. Would it help you if you limited the time gap and would it help your user to offer a back up service, say via email?

    • Letters are really personal. I don’t mind sharing it with someone if they offer a pep talk or advice in return, like those “Ask Aunt Annie” columns in the newspaper.

    All in all, neat little service. And looking forward to seeing an update in the future!

  7. 1

    This is a really cool idea.

    One piece of advice that occurs to me (and though I've been lurking around IH for a while now this is, I think, my very first comment, so take my opinions with a hefty dose of salt) is the following: the landing page conveys most of the info I need, but I feel like I'd have an easier time getting started if there were some more obvious prompts -- say, ideas or templates for what one should write about, or questions like the Day One journalling app uses.

    1. 1

      Thanks! Brilliant advice. I think I will work on some templates. You got me thinking!

  8. 1

    Love the concept, I can see a lot of potential here, but echo some of what other folks have said.

    I can't really tell who the target audience is, I can think of various reasons to use the product but nothing really says "you gotta get/do this in order to get x benefit/result".

    Can't help but think conversion would be better if you spoke to some reasons or audiences specifically.

  9. 1

    Pretty cool! Congrats - I wonder what moment in a user's life would really trigger a purchase

  10. 1

    Great idea and a beautiful site!

    I wasn't clear on why I would use this until I read the 'How it Works' page, I'd consider putting some of that section on the front page - even if it's just the 'Write a letter to your future self to cultivate gratitude, self-awareness, and growth.' text

    1. 1

      I think others felt the same way—def going to work on this today! How it works on the front page.

  11. 1

    Interesting idea. Landing on the home page I had no idea why I'd want to use this service. Clicking on into the small "see how it works" text explained it. I'd combine these two pages into a single page. Make sure you explain why this exists, what I can do with it, why I (or, rather, your target audience) would need and and a very clear next step on what to do.

    Perhaps if there is a clear use case for counselors, you could reach out to them. Maybe even a landing page to onboard counselors to use their clients. Something that speaks directly to them.

    1. 1

      That's a great idea. Targeting the counselors with a dedicated landing page, etc.

  12. 1

    What does it do?

    1. 1

      Humm, I need to be better at wording and marketing. How can I change the wording on the homepage to deliver the message better...