The Indie Hackers Podcast July 19, 2019

Quick Chat with Pat Walls of Starter Story

Episode #102

Pat Walls (@thepatwalls) joined the podcast to talk about quitting his job and going full-time on his bootstrapped business (Starter Story), how he launched a second business (Pigeon) and found his first 10 paying customers in under a month, and his strategies for juggling multiple projects at the same time.

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    Nobody talks about direct outreach -- cold-outreach is hard, rejection-prone, and goes by another name at first -- spam -- but, as soon as you follow up and show up as a real person, it's not spam, it's legitimate business. So, spam first. Follow up second. Sell third. Easy as 1., 2., 3., -- good interview. Thanks Pat for all the questions you asked as well.

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      Well said!
      @patwalls & @csallen Nice chat. :) Thanks.

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      Thanks Brian!

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      Very interesting point man :)

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    My Main Takeaways:

    • Solve your own problem: Pat came up with the idea for his product by solving his own problem of needing to automate sending emails.
    • Put yourself out there: Don’t build in silence. Blog, Tweet, Share your progress with others as it may help improve your product.
    • It’s easier to find your first paid sponsors, than it is to find your first paid customers in a SaaS company.
    • Don’t be in a rush to quit your job: Pat realises that he quit his job a bit early, as he could have continued working for a few more months.
    • Avoid the temptation of chasing money: Courtland was offered a lot of money to build the IndieHackers forum software for another person’s website, but he declined because it would take time away from building IndieHackers.
    • Advice for coming up with a good idea: If you are finding it hard to come up with a good idea, just start a crappy idea, and in the process of building that crappy idea, you will encounter many of the challenges that come with starting a business. These challenges will present you with many more ideas of things to build, which you can then proceed to build.
    • If you have something that works, focus on it: Don’t go and start something else while your current project is growing and working.
    • Start by doing direct outreach/sales: For a service product, increase your prices, and start doing direct sales. You will also learn a lot by talking to people.
    • Advice for beginners: Start something, even if it’s “stupid”. Also start documenting and sharing your progress.
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    Hey @patwalls, where can I read/watch more about the technology you use to underpin Starter Story - from the interview input end, through the way all the fields connect together, profiles etc?

    I'm not thinking of building anything competitive. Just think it's an interesting platform.

    Thanks :-)

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      It’s all custom built on Rails and Google Docs. And obviously Pigeon.

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    What was that Pidgeon thing that got mentioned for managing content and email? I want to tell a friend about it

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    Hi Pat, nice idea and website. I am wondering why you did not decide to offer any freemium or freetrial for the audio/podcast version of the interviews. Would not that make it easier for you to get more paying visitors?

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      I can't right now due this Google API audit thing :(

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/02/11/google_gmail_developer/

      Once I get past that I hope to have a free trial.

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        Hi @patwalls
        Have you thought about just using the "Sensitive Scope" and not the "Restricted Scope" API calls. I've got GStep.io approved as an gmail add-on without needing an audit by doing this. I only do email sequencing, but I now have a live version people can use.

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          Super cool of you to reach out despite being in the same domain. :) @dougo_chris

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          Interesting. I'd be curious to learn more. Can I DM/email you?

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            Happy to help @dougo_chris on twitter

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