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Indie Hackers

#226 – How to Be Your Own VC with James Layfield of Clearfind

Sep 15th — Today I'm talking to James Layfield (@layfield) a founder who put $3M of his own money into his company Clearfind. I want to find out how he pulled that off and how he's outsmarting the what he calls the "rigged-game" of Venture Capital. Check out Clearfind: https://home.clearfind.com/ Follow James on Twitter: https://twitter.com/layfield

Indie Bites

Bootstrapping to over $250k MRR - Baird Hall, Churnkey

Sep 15th — Baird is a 4x SaaS founder based in Charleston, SC. His background is in sales, marketing, and support. He bootstrapped and grew two SaaS companies to over $1M in ARR. When he isn't working on Churnkey's sales and marketing, he is on the water with his wife and daughter. What we covered in this episode: The big challenges faced when bootstrapping Did Baird always want to bootstrap Why leave a job to start a company Did he ever get funding from utalk How did Waave come about? How to avoid quitting when times get tough Getting early customers in for Waave What was different when they launched Zubtitle (108k MRR) Why they started a new business completely Why churn is such a difficult problem to solve Is it harder or easier to do B2C vs B2B How to manage context switching How to make time to run 3 huge businesses at once Recommendations Book: Range by David Epstien Podcast: Indie Hackers Indie Hacker: Nathan Barry Follow Baird Twitter Churnkey Follow Me Twitter Indie Bites Twitter Personal Website Buy A Wallet Sponsor - Upvoty Do you want to build the best product possible? Then listening to user feedback is one of the best ways to do so. Because by listening to the problems of your users, you can build a real problem-solver that they'll love. Upvoty is a user feedback tool that gives your user's a voice and makes it really easy at the same time for you to prioritize what to build next. By installing Upvoty's feedback boards, you'll have all of your user feedback in one central place and it will really help you connect with your customers and understand their needs. On top of that, you can close the feedback loop by setting up your Changelog and Product Roadmap. Your users will be actively involved in building new features and will love you for that. Try Upvoty 14-days for free and with the code 'INDIEBITES' you'll get a 10% discount on any of their plans. Sign up here.

Software Social

A Tour Through Struggle: Cam Sloan, Founder of Hotscotch Product Tours

Sep 14th — Send Cam some love and support! https://twitter.com/SloanCam Check out Hopscotch: https://hopscotch.club/ Michele Hansen 0:01 This episode of Software Social is brought to you by Reform. As a business owner, you need forms all the time for lead capture, user feedback, SaaS onboarding, job applications, early access signups, and many other types of forms. Here's how Reform is different: - Your brand shines through, not Reform's - It's accessible out-of-the-box ... And there are no silly design gimmicks, like frustrating customers by only showing one question at a time Join indie businesses like Fathom Analytics and SavvyCal and try out Reform. Software Social listeners get 1 month for free by going to reform.app/social and using the promo code "social" on checkout. Michele Hansen 0:01 So today, I'm so excited we have a friend joining us, Cam Sloane. Hello, Cam. So we invited you on today because you had tweeted the other day about how you're kind of feeling stuck right now. And we're like, you know what? Maybe we like we can chat about it and help you get unstuck. Cam Sloan 1:17 Yeah, that was, I guess, shout out to Aaron Francis, who kind of like just was like, Hey, bring him on. And, and I was like, Yeah, let's do it. That'd be awesome. And I think that, you know, just speaking that tweet, it really seemed to resonate with a lot of other people, like other founders who are trying to do this. And because I had an outpouring of, you know, comments and support, and DMS, from people I don't know, and people that I do know and invite stuff like this show and stuff to just like, it's amazing, the community that has reached out to kind of say, like, well, all sorts of things I'm sure we'll get into today. So it's been really nice to it's always nice to have that because sometimes you're just going at this and you feel like super alone. So for context, I just feel kind of stuck in like, you know, do I keep going do I switch to something else? Or do I? You know, yeah, like, I've contemplated like just doing contract work. And you know, just make money that way, because it's a bit easier. So all sorts of stuff that is going through my head over the past few months? Because it's just slow, slow going. Colleen Schnettler 2:32 Yeah, Cam to get us started. Could you give us a little background about your product? And how long you've been working on it? Cam Sloan 2:40 Yeah, definitely. That would be helpful for listeners. So yeah, I am working on hopscotch. It's a user onboarding tool, specifically focusing on product tours, and kind of in app messaging and guides to kind of, you know, when a user signs up for your product, sometimes you want to kind of hold their hand a bit to show them what their next step should be, in order to help prevent them from churning by actually showing them to the thing that they want to do. And so yeah, I mean, product tours, to be honest, like, it's not the right fit for every every business. But sometimes, there are really good use cases, like if you have a complex product that has, like you get in like a CRM, or like an analytics tool that has like 10 options on the top menu and 10 on the side, and your users just get dumped, or, you know, Landon, this page with no idea what to do next, then a really good way to show them is to guide them, you know, and kind of say, you know, here's, here's what your next step should be, so that you can see value out of the product. So I've been working on this for, I mean, about a year since the inception of like, actually like the idea, but really kind of steadily since January of this year in 2021. And kind of focusing most of my time on it. Because outside of that I do freelancing contract work for you know, larger companies just doing web development work for them. And that kind of helps me to stay self funded to do my projects like this and, and hopefully grow my own software business. Michele Hansen 4:28 Yeah, so. So I kind of want to propose a structure for this conversation. So I've mentioned a little bit in my book, how the sort of core questions that you're trying to answer when you talk to a customer can also be used when maybe you're helping somebody think through something, which are what are they trying to do overall? Why? What are the steps in that process they're going through what if they already Tried, and where are they stuck? And so I feel like you've kind of you've started to give us a little bit of overview on the what you're trying to do. And why. I'm curious what led you to be interested in building an onboarding tool? Cam Sloan 5:23 Yeah. So the, you know, like, as I don't know, if you did this as well, when you were coming up with, you know, what business to go into you like make a list, you're trying to make a list of ideas, and like, most of them are pretty terrible. And, like, I had maybe 50 ideas. And this was kind of one of them that I didn't really think too much about until I actually I met someone who I, who wanted to hire me to build to work on their software company, and just doing web development for them. And we actually ended up, I didn't work for him, it wasn't the right fit for taking on that contract. But we ended up like really getting along well, kind of both having founder ambitions. And he was almost like, in the position that I'm at right now where he was feeling a bit stuck. And so we ended up saying, Hey, we should like try and work on something together. And, and we were thrown, like, what ideas have you been having, and, and we both checked kind of our lists. And, and this was one of them. So for him, he was actually experiencing, like, the pain point more than I had previously. So really, he was searching around for tools. And like came across intercom product tours and other app cues and realizing like, you know, he's a bootstrap founder cannot justify the price at like, $300 plus a month, and was looking for a tool that was maybe affordable that that could get them up and running. And we kind of ran with that together. In like, just real quick summary. Like he ended up going and building another business. So I kept going on hopscotch. And, yeah, like, as soon as I dove into the problem, like I really enjoyed it, both technically, because like you're you're kind of embedding your yourself into another SAS product by default, like by the definition of what these tools do. And so there's a lot of like, really interesting technical learnings that I've had to had to go through with that, like anytime you're dealing with like widget, embed scripts and other people's code, it's, it's a lot of interesting stuff on the technical side. But then also just realizing like that, there's a lot of interesting stuff in the human and business side of this as well. Like, I started soaking in resources from Samuel Kulik, and like the user less team and, you know, anywhere that I could find people who are talking about onboarding and realizing like how crucial it can be to a business's success. Because, you know, if you can reduce that initial churn in the first month or two, then then it can have a wild impact on the like, lifetime value of customers and how your product retains users. And so it just kept me interested From then on, which is why I didn't like end up going work on something else. After, after he, like my co founder went to do something else. Michele Hansen 8:23 So let's talk a little bit about where you are now. So you launched in April. Is that right? Cam Sloan 8:30 or me? Yeah. So I think so. Time is a blur? Yeah, like I because I've kind of been doing, like, I did a lot of stuff with early access of just onboarding one on one, like people who are signing up for the early access list. And at one point, I kind of let people sign up on their own, which April sounds, it might be even a bit early, it might have been just a couple months ago that I finally made it so that people could self sign up. And so, yeah, I think a lot of the customers I was speaking to back in April, and May and June, like I was kind of doing just they would express interest, find the landing page, and then we would jump on a demo call. And and some of them would, you know, try the product, others would just kind of like ghost off and and so that's kind of where, yeah, like I probably had about 40 conversations, demo calls and stuff. And you know, I'm setting with just a handful of like really just one main customer that is like paying me and has the product installed. And I've like kind of done a white glove service to help them get up and running with it. And then I have a couple like I don't know, like almost just like friends and family supporters or like people who have like paid but not activated. And so I don't like really even count towards the bottom line. They're like There's not a lot that I can gain from, from them, except they're $20 a month. Michele Hansen 10:07 So, what's your revenue out? Right now? If you're comfortable saying that, Cam Sloan 10:11 yeah, I'm at like 150 MRR Michele Hansen 10:14 and what are your expenses to keep it running? Cam Sloan 10:18 A pretty low. Yeah, like, I'm paying like 20 bucks a month for server costs and, and then it's really just a matter of like, I am trying to pay, you know, just paying my rent and stuff out of savings. And like all of that I have, like, the way that I kind of manage my cash flow there is just by doing a certain amount of freelance per year and then saying, I have to make this much. And then that kind of floats me on that side of things. And so yeah, it's it's like really quite inexpensive to keep it operating like this. But I have thought, like, I have quite a bit of cash in the business bank account from doing the contract and freelancing. There's about 100 and 120k. there that is kind of, you know, just setting as runway, but I have also considered like, should I be deploying this more effectively? Like, if I'm ready to work on this business? Like, which, I guess is a big question mark, like, do I keep going or not? But like, do I want to invest more in, I don't know, maybe trying some ads, or trying to hire someone to help with the content and things that I'm not doing. So hopefully, that gives a bit of a picture of the financials and stuff. Colleen Schnettler 11:38 Can we go back to the 40 onboarding calls you did? and talk a little bit more about that? I'm really curious. So you actually got on the phone with 40 people who organically reached out to you? Cam Sloan 11:51 Yeah, I would say, you know, somewhere in that range, because I had about 100 people on my, like, early access list. Well, this was over the course of several months. And so as they were joining, I would kind of do the playbook of like, you know, as soon as they sign up, or maybe a day or two later, sometimes depending how much like I was working on product, or if I was in learning mode at the time, I would, you know, jump onto calls with them, I did come out with like, a really early version of this product and sent it to like a handful of customers, and then you know, got feedback, like, oh, but it doesn't do this. And so I go back to product mode and, and rebuild and say like, here we go. But then, you know, maybe there were other other issues that it wasn't solving, like a huge part of that just felt like, maybe it wasn't a huge pain point. Because I actually went back to a lot of these, like, people and I plan to go back and even speak to, like, send some more follow up emails, because just this week, I sent about five or six of them. So yeah, where I guess I'm, I've been speaking with, you know, quite a few customers that would be requesting these features. And then I would, you know, go off take maybe a week or whatever it took to go and build the smallest version of that come back. And, and sometimes that was not really enough for they would just kind of ghost at that point. And, and just, you know, it. I know, it felt like the right thing to be it felt like the right approach and like learn from the people who are going to be our customers and you know, go build what they asked for. But then, but then didn't really see results from it, I do think still like most of what they requested and was like super reasonable and like did improve the product to where it is. Today, like where I think that people signing up today like have a much more useful product because it can do you know, an example of that would be like segmenting your product tours to only show certain ones to certain demographics of users. Like if you have a new user that is, I don't know, an agency versus a small business owner, they may have more, they might have a better understanding of tooling in general. And so they you would just show a different thing. So you want to do segmenting within the app. And so that was something that I really do feel helped with making the product better, but then yeah, it still didn't like end up driving those conversions in the way that I was hoping for. Michele Hansen 14:29 Yeah. Did any of those people you talked like you said those were onboarding calls so had those people paid for the product? Cam Sloan 14:37 And maybe I just like misspoke. It was more like demo calls I guess of like, you know, just people who had signed up for they would sign up for fill out the Early Access form. Tell me about like their use case. And then I would go and speak with them but you know, to be also just like, I don't know, just Be critical on that point. It's like a lot of these people who are signing up probably, were just following my journey of me building in public on Twitter and like, may not be like the ideal customer profile, either I have found that like, initially I thought hopscotch might be a great use are a great fit for, like, really small companies like originally was targeting like other solo founders, indie hacker types that, like, you know, to get them a tool that they could afford that they could use for doing onboarding, but really, like, you're not feeling the pains yet of having to manually onboard like hundreds of customers at that scale. And so where I'm now more leaning towards is like trying to target more companies that are kind of in the I don't know, maybe like two to three employee to 10 Plus, like 1015 employees, so they still, like feel the pains of like, apt uses too expensive, but they actually have like employees and revenue, and are probably feeling some of the customer, some of the pains of trying to manually onboard so many users. So I think it has, like, these conversations have been helpful to like, guide me slowly to where I need to be. It's, it's just slow moving still. And like, now I don't see as many people filling that pipeline by default, because I'm not really tweeting a lot. And so it's like, Okay, I got to go and like, chase my, you know, hunt my food, for lack of a better term, and like, go and, you know, either do some, you know, founder sales, like going and prospecting and doing cold outreach, or, you know, trying to work the SEO game. And, and this is kind of like, where I fall and get a little bit stuck of like, not knowing the next best steps, because they're, like, so many ways that I could go with this. And none of them show like immediate returns. And so and so I kind of get a little bit deflated, even, like, if you spend a week writing out two or three articles, or, you know, Docs or blog post type things, or like you go and fill out a bunch of Korra answers. And then there's not necessarily going to be immediate returns, these things kind of prove themselves over like 612 months. And and that can just be hard compared to I don't know, I'm sure you both can really have like, you know, going in coding a feature. And then you see that returns, like it works right there. So yeah, it's just, I feel like that's been the tricky part of where I'm at now. Michele Hansen 17:32 Yeah, it can be really hard when you're at the point of making content investments, and you know, that it's gonna take months or years to pay off. But, like, investing in general, like, my head waiting for that payoff, and being patient is so hard. Cam Sloan 17:54 Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I think that's what, like, I noticed yesterday with so many founders resonating on the same points, and some of them getting through to the other side was really inspirational like to read about and hear that, like, yeah, they just, you know, keep, there's like an element of keep plugging away. But there's also like, you can keep plugging away doing the wrong thing, forever. And, and I am like, really trying to like, since day one, I've tried to avoid like sinking many years into a startup that's not going to ever see traction. And I've always been like, at a certain point, I just want to have like a cut off trigger, like wearing like a kill switch, where I'm like, if I'm not making this much MRR that or you know, have this much act like engagement in the product, then like, I should maybe switch to something that is a bit easier to get people activated. I'm still not convinced that that's not true. Like, there's been a lot of encouragement to just keep going. But I do think that this is a bit of a slow moving industry, it may be a bit more of a vitamin versus painkiller type of thing in for some people, or at least that's the way they see it. Because when I reach back out to some of those leads, and asked, you know, how did you end up solving this problem? Like, which competitor? Did you end up going with? They like, so far the answers have been nothing like we are still like just thinking about this problem. And we'd be happy to you know, some of them are like, Yeah, let's do another demo call or let's do another, you know, something like let's talk about it again and reopen the conversation. And that's since April, however many months that is like five months or something like going by without actually moving on the problem. And so that could be just the again, the customer like that type of customer or it could just be the way that people buy in the space. It's a bit of You know, kind of, it's one of those things that's like sitting in the background, we should improve user onboarding, but then a lot of people don't because like, but they don't really realize that there's like this whole element of churn and like, and like, the bottom line is so closely tied to user onboarding, and improving that experience, that there's a disconnect there. So. Michele Hansen 20:25 So let's talk for a second about what is working. I'm really curious about this customer that you have at $99 a month, you said, and I have a couple of questions about them. First of all, is this somebody who knew you from Twitter? Or is this as our friend, Mike buckbee calls and I believe I quoted him on this last week. And Mike, you're getting quoted again this week? stranger money. So good. Cam Sloan 20:54 I think it's like I it stranger money, like I know this person. Yeah. Okay. And I don't remember exactly how they like came into the waiting list, but they did like, stumble on there. But they were really looking for like, yeah, some managed service, kind of white glove service there. So I've been helping a lot to do the implementation and planning there, as well, which is important to know, it's like, not just by my SAS, like, pay me 99 a month, it's like quite a bit of hands on work for for it as well. Colleen Schnettler 21:27 Oh, that's interesting. I Michele Hansen 21:27 noticed. Yeah. And I noticed in the end, all the people kind of chiming in on the thread and offering support and advice and whatnot, that I'm Jesse from bento jumped in. And he made the suggestion, I'm just gonna read it, throw a managed account offering 899 and see how many deals you can close with that I have a feeling many people would rather you do everything for them versus do DIY, at 49 to 99. It was a huge unlock when we were stagnant at bento, so much learning. And I was curious about your thoughts on that? Cam Sloan 22:04 Yeah, I mean, I can see a lot of value in that approach, because you're learning about the problem by actually implementing but you know, trying to solve it for them as almost like putting yourself in the consultants, shoes, I guess, part of like, part of even why I've been, I don't know, like, it's kind of been draining to do that a bit from this other for this customer. But again, I'm only charging 99 a month. And so there's not like the return on on all those hours invested. But it has proven to give me some better learning and understanding of like, how people want to think through this problem, and how to solve it for them. Yeah, and I do think like, yeah, if I'm gonna be justifying outbound sales, if that's like long term approach to this business, then you need to put a higher price point on it, which like kind of goes and partially removes, like, why I started this business in the first place, which is like to make a lower cost solution that like, you know, can be more affordable for people to get into. So yeah, it's been a bit. Like, I like the idea. And then I just don't know that I want to run that kind of business long term of like having to basically do a productized service. Colleen Schnettler 23:29 So what I'm trying to understand with this one client that you have is the time you're spending with them. Is that making it more hands off in the future? Like, are you working on integration pieces that makes them like kind of will streamline it for your future clients? Cam Sloan 23:46 Yeah, like, for us, a lot of this has been for learnings like I kind of agreed to take it on, so that I could, you know, write some better documentation out of it, like, realize what questions they have been having in the process and what we need to do to implement. So it will both be like product improvements that come out of it, you know, like just yeah, tweaks to the product, when I'm implementing for them. But also, oh, what questions Am I asking the client? And and then turning those into like help Docs or articles that maybe can help other people get up and running? Like, what do I need? What information do I need about my customer to like, make a product tour that is going to be effective? Or what do I need to know about my product and the like, audience that I'm serving to, to know if I need to implement a product or not. So I'm taking kind of those notes along the way, using it as a learning opportunity. Hence, not really like charging a premium. I was kind of just like, well, I get to learn a lot from this experience as well. But the I did say like after this initial implementation, I'm handing this back off to you and your team will have to run with it. So it's yeah I'm not like signing on for a forever job at 99 a month. And I Deeley not doing that for each customer. Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 25:08 So does this customer fit into your theory that you need to go after slightly bigger companies? Two to three, what do you say three to 10? employees with pretty significant revenue? Cam Sloan 25:19 Yeah, I would say they operate mostly like with, yeah, contractors and freelancers helping them out, but they are Yeah, kind of in that range of company size. Definitely not the, you know, initial indie hacker audience, which I think Yeah, like, is an easy thing to learn, like we like, like, indie hackers don't have a ton of capital to be throwing at tools, and they would rather go build things themselves or spend like, a week like, making their own solutions. And, and it doesn't, yeah, it's just I think not having the access to the capital is like, is a big challenge there. So yeah, I've definitely learned to like, a bit about Yeah, maybe I should follow this. larger company size, at least, that's kind of where I'm at. Like, I don't know, if I want to, I don't know if maybe that ideal customer is actually a bit bigger than even what I said, maybe it's, you know, 20 plus employees. I've definitely had some companies reach out that were like 500 employees, but they tend to have much larger expectations, like, want to do NPS scores, they want to do surveys through these tools, they want to have the tours, they want to do checklist, like there's a lot of product gap, like there's a lot of big gap in what the product offers now that they kind of want a whole suite, because they're kind of nearing on like, enterprise, or like really like the larger business. So I'm trying to, like fit into this kind of smaller area where people might not have like such high expectations or like needs out of a product. And really, they're just trying to focus on this one part, which is like activation. And they can use another tool if they need to do like, survey and feedback type of stuff. Michele Hansen 27:09 Like our sponsor this month reform, for example. Love it. There we go, Peter, um, I'm interested. So you mentioned you know, you have other customers who are mostly sort of friends and family and like, indie hacker money, and as you've kind of alluded to, basically this sort of irony of, you know, indie hacker world is basically that usually, we're like, we're not very good customers for each other, for the most part. But a very good peer group community. But I'm curious, this 99 a month customer, you did 30 demo calls, you probably learned a lot about what people were trying to solve within onboarding, like what their products were like, and, you know, these things about company size, and the sort of sort of corporate demographic questions basically, but also the activity they're trying to solve and, and how complicated their products are, and and what the, you know, basically, what the cost is to them of having a poorly on boarded user. And so I'm kind of curious, like, Do you notice any differences in the kind of product or those sort of goals or whatnot, that your $99 a month customer is trying to do? That those other customers are not, that might be a clue for you on the sort of customer that you should focus on from a sort of activity based perspective? Cam Sloan 28:55 Yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, yeah, the biggest learning I've had there is, you know, when you go into their product, there are multiple use cases for it, you may sign up for one thing or another, like you're not necessarily doing. It's not like hopscotch where you come in, and the single thing that you would like, use this product towards, but you come in, and there's a suite of products. And so when you have like this complex product that has multiple offerings, then you may want to guide the user to the next step. A good example of this would be like wave accounting software, but they also do so they have like, receipt tracking, they have employee like compensation, and they have invoices and all these things. And maybe you sign up and you only want one of those things like you may not need to know about every single part of that product and you may feel a bit overwhelmed when you come into a dashboard that has like 10 different options. Like completely different use cases. And that's where I'm finding that there's some, some good opportunity there to help, like with a product tour. And so for example, like this customer that I've on boarded, part of what we did is hooking to their onboarding survey to say, like, What are you trying to do with this product, which I think is really helpful for them segmenting what you're going to show them in a tour. And so, you know, if there so it's like an SEO platform, I won't get into too much more, I don't want to like, you know, just yeah, Michele Hansen 30:37 that's fine. Yeah. But it's a it's a, it's a product that has basically multiple, different products within it that somebody has purchased. And maybe they know they need one of those but and they don't know what these other things are, that they're either they are paying for or the company would like them to start paying for. And so the value that you're providing to them in this in this case, is basically helping to introduce the customer to these other products and reduce, reduce sort of overwhelm that the customer might be feeling about coming into a complicated product. And the other the friends and family product, like those ones, were they more like single products without multiple products within them. Cam Sloan 31:26 Yeah, yeah, more like single products, and actually just a quite a slight tweak on on the other one, because like, what users will actually do is come into this product, they'll sign up, and then they are, they may know what they want to do. But because there are so many options, they don't know what the next step would be to get to it. So instead of showing them the other options that they don't need, I'm actually guiding them more towards the one that they signed up and expressed interest for. So if they say like I need, you know, I'm interested in link building, whereas this other person might be interested in local SEO, then you want to guide them to that next part of the product that's going to be relevant to that so that they can take the next steps and see value out of the product there. And then going to your other point of introducing them to the other parts, like that is a great thing to do, like over time as people use like one part of the product, and then they come back to it, you can kind of use progressive disclosure to show things over time, Hey, did you know about this feature, hey, this, like, you know, and kind of like when you have software like figma, that maybe gives you a tip every week or something? And it's just like, Oh, I didn't know I could do that. But like, it kind of does some feature discovery is what it's called. And you can help users discover new features or features that they are not actively using. So So yeah, those are a couple use cases that that customers is using. So Colleen Schnettler 32:52 ultimately, your product is about user retention, that's the value you're providing to your customer. Cam Sloan 32:59 Yeah, I would say, kind of on the activation side, as well, where you're really trying to get them from, like, there's there's a couple elements, you know, but the very first, like the core part of the star is getting them activated and getting them to take that next step once they come into your product that's going to help them to get to the outcome that they want and what and so asking yourself, what is the like, what is the thing that your customer is coming in here to do, and then making sure that you can guide them right to that next step is like, is crucial. And so that that is more in like the activation world, and then retention, it can play a role in as well. But because if you don't activate them, they're not going to stick around as well. But yeah, there are also some other things that you could do like email drip campaigns. And like, yeah, like kind of knowledge draw, like kind of an email campaign that educates your users on how to do what they want to do. Like it makes us really well with that to kind of retain them. Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 34:06 Right. So ultimately, though, when you say activation they've presumably like if I'm a user, I've already signed up for someone service because I wanted so when you sell it to the person I'm you know, assigned up with, you're selling it as we will reduce your churn, because they need to activate because if they don't activate, they're going to churn because they're not going to see value. Okay. Cam Sloan 34:27 Yeah, yeah, yeah. So it's definitely like tied into that, I guess. You know, there are just some tools like I forget as it turnkey, is like one that is like specifically focused on like, the customers who are maybe about to churn out and then keeping them around or giving them offers. So this is like primarily, I guess there because there's a spectrum of like, you know, from activation to like retention that you may find custom like that you want to focus on within that whole experience, but yeah, but Like, it all kind of adds up, it all plays really like, together in, in giving a good experience to users that's gonna keep them around. And yeah, you're right like to really what I want to do is like help help my customers to show the value of the product to keep their customers around and get them, you know, activated and using it, versus maybe getting dropped into a product that is just so overwhelming, like Michelle said earlier where they don't know what the next steps should be. Yeah, I feel like that's, that's pretty much it. Michele Hansen 35:39 So I used to work on a couple of products that had that we actually used hopscotch style tours for. And basically, the reason why we use to hopscotch it was I think we use a survey that then directed them into the proper hopscotch sequence was because the products were incredibly complicated. And we had limited ability to make those products less complicated. So it was a very painful problem for me as a product manager, who was tasked with driving retention metrics, but could not solve the foundational problems. And so we use hopscotch as a way to try to like, basically overcome the fact that the product is complicated. And kind of thinking about that, and thinking about what Colleen just said, of like, you know, what is the pain that you are solving for people, I just pulled up your website, and nudge your users to the aha moment. I like it, it's positive. But if you show that to me, when I was a product manager, you know, five or six years ago, that would not have been the problem I would have expressed to you. Right, like, reduce your churn, like, you know, your product is complicated. Your users don't have to be overwhelmed, like get them through it virt more trial, that type of thing, convert more trials, like what is that goal that someone is trying to drive that relates to what you're solving, or that's reducing churn, increasing activation, like, you know, stop losing users, because they're confused. Like, that's the problem. you're solving that people have value in their products, but because for whatever reason, whether those reasons are in their control or not, the products are complicated. And their users are, you know, their users thought there was value in it, but then they get to it, and they can't get the value back. And so like there's this mismatch, and speak to the pain, I'm not like, I'm not seeing I'm not seeing pain on your landing page. Cam Sloan 38:04 Yeah, I think in that the h1 doesn't fully address it. It's something that Yeah, like, the thread yesterday, and everyone reaching out after like, definitely gave me so many ideas of like, where to go, and what to focus on improving for hopscotch. Like, there's a lot. There's a lot, it's not like, I'm coming here, and like, I'm all out of ideas now. Like, there's nothing more that can be done. Like, there's so much more that could be done to improve the state. And so it's been like, what do I choose from that? But that's a pretty like, yeah, a no brainer, is like the positioning of it, and kind of better. Focusing on the outcomes. I think you're like, absolutely, right there. I have, like, let's see, I, because there were, I don't know, 20 people that sent me, like, it was so great yesterday, like 20 people sent me DMS, and like, had like, great conversations with some other founders. And then and then I had some other people that kind of just commented and offered their suggestions as well. And I've been trying to just, like, go through that and, like make a list of like points of like, what I could explore and take away from that, like so that it's not all just like me airing my grievances and Twitter, which actually like go and take something away from from it. And, you know, there there was, I guess some of the pieces in there include, like, what you just said is like really like, you know, you should be focusing on the outcomes more like and someone suggested like, you know, increased child conversions, improved feature adoption. And so there's more that I could do to like really? Yeah, like reduce churn to make that clear. I think there's a positioning element and and just like communication element that could be improved upon. There's also just like, number of people aren't are not coming through like there's not enough people that are Coming through my site and through the signup flow to even make, like, great. I don't know, decisions based on like data driven decisions, you know, it's if I, if we're picking it into this, like one or two customers kind of thing, it's like you need more people trying this, you need more people activating. And so finding ways that I can do that through, you know, people have given some great recommendations of like, how I can go ahead and like build like a sales campaign, or use AdWords and SEO tactics to kind of like, grow this, I guess a lot of it ends up like there's a ton of things that I have taken from that. From from that thread of like, good ideas, and now it's like deciding which things that I can do. And I think it will come down to like evaluating which are the easy ones that I can like make changes to right now really quickly like this, on a playing with the communication and wording on the on the site. And then some of it will be more like long term investment. Other things might be more immediate, like running some AdWords tests, like $10 a day and just like trying out some different headlines to see what grabs people and then using the learnings from that to maybe further update, like what my content game will be, or what my you know, what my wording on the website should be like, based on what people click on those ads has, like it's been, it's been really nice to get some of that information. And then and then other people even mentioned about the pricing, maybe not being accessible. But again, I have to take that with a grain of salt. But there's, you know, people who are saying the jump from a free tier to $50 a month, and then $100 a month is too large. And so maybe there could be a price in between that, that becomes more accessible if I am trying to target like, smaller businesses as well. And then there's like the other advice, which is go and add a price deer on the other side, that is like $800 a month and you know, do manage services. So that's Yeah, there's just been almost it's been overwhelming, like, get all this new knowledge and information overnight. Michele Hansen 42:25 It totally makes sense that you're, you're you're swimming in ideas right now. And, yeah, I sort of just added one to that pile there. And I always I'm almost reminded of kind of the situation that Coleen was in after she first started doing user interviews where like, there was like, so many ideas coming at her from customers, and she was having so many ideas. And then it was like, where do I go from here? Cam Sloan 43:04 Yeah, I remember hearing like those episodes. And when you did, like the live, you know, customer call, where Michelle interviewed your customer. And and then yeah, a lot of trying to figure out what the next step should be. It does feel a lot like that. Like, there's so many paths to go down. What's the right one? And I think, you know, a big part of it has even just been like, does it make sense to keep going down pass like down these paths at all, or try some, like, again, like, try a whole new thing. And I think that's why I was like, was then maybe am scared to even go forward with some of this stuff is like, does it make sense to keep investing the time in, in what I'm building now? if, you know, is it gonna help me see returns in a year or two years time, versus switching to something else? It seems like a lot of people think that it's definitely a good idea to keep going. And, and so I'm leaning towards that, I still think I want to have like, some kill switch, like, you know, to avoid running three years without any revenue kind of thing. And I need to see some positive signals at some point. But yeah, that's kind of kind of where I'm at. But it has given me a bit more hope of like, this is a normal feeling cam like you are allowed to feel deflated, you're allowed to feel like you don't have like, you don't aren't great at sales and marketing just by default, you know, you have to work towards those and put a lot of work in and so it's okay to feel like this and it's okay to like. Like, it's not just that the product is bad or that the market isn't there. It's just this is a part of the process. So just coming to terms with that. has been really helpful over the past day and gives me a bit more. I don't know, just like, like, a bit more of my like, desire to keep going. Colleen Schnettler 45:13 Alex Hellman has a great article on this. It's about, it's about all of the developers who take his course and how when they get to the marketing course, they all freak out. Because when someone is excellent in their field, starting over is so hard. So there's a lot of things I feel like I heard you say today, and one of them, is it, I wanted to ask you, is it that you just don't want to do marketing? Because you're convinced it's going to fail? Or, I mean, what what is your thought, like, all of this? Or do you feel like you should be making more revenue now and you're frustrated? And that's where this is coming from? Cam Sloan 45:53 I think, you know, I think that it's like it's a mix of like, Yeah, well, the marketing, see fruits at the end of like, of all that investment, because because just you know, going through 4050 calls and and then only coming out with like one customer that I'm basically doing it all for them at the end, like is that the type of business that I want to be growing? Like, do I want to do a sales driven and like hands on business versus something more like, you know, seeing what Peter has done with reform of like, really, people are signing up and get going themselves, maybe you have to have like higher numbers, but like, it's more. I don't know, like, it's, it lends itself better to self signup, and self serve, where you can do a bit more product lead, you still have to do marketing, but like, the way that the business operates, is not like hiring a sales team. It's investing in content and other other parts of the business, which is more maybe the type of business so it's been that like, question mark, about the business in general? Like, is that kind of where I want to go with it? And, yeah, I mean, there are all sorts of fears in there. I think a lot of it is also just a fear of like, yeah, it like, do I know what I'm doing. And I actually, I worked in marketing for five years, believe it or not as, like, scary as like, I worked in music marketing, for concerts, it was a much different thing. And this was like, six or so years ago. And so it's a much different beast, but then SAS marketing. But yeah, like, even with that experience, it's still just scary to go out on your own. And like, I don't know, just feel you feel back at square one again. So yeah. Michele Hansen 47:39 Yeah, I mean, towards us that I think that's a totally normal feeling. And this feeling of like struggling and like, this isn't working. And then also you get some more ideas. And you're like, Okay, wait, where? Where do I go? Like, what do I do next? And, you know, I noticed, like, you posted that thread. And I'm guessing that you woke up that morning, not not feeling so great. Yeah, you're right. And I wonder how you felt waking up this morning. After getting all of that support, Cam Sloan 48:19 today has been much different, like it's been, it's always like, Man, it's so amazing to see that people are gonna be there to lift you up when you're like feeling a bit down, I think. I don't know. I've had I've, like, wrote tweets like that, and then deleted them because like, it's very personal and just like very open and you know, you're like, our potential customers gonna read this think less of me for like, running a business then not knowing what I'm doing. You know, there's all all sorts of like, fear in that. And what I'm realizing is, like, there's been a lot of appreciation for this open approach. So I, I wake up the next day with like, just feeling very grateful to have like that, knowing that maybe I need to, like, yeah, rely on community more and maybe get more involved with like, talking to other founders a bit and ideating with them, because working alone is very challenging to like, be in your own head all the time and see, you know, things moving so slowly. But yeah, at the same time, like the next day, having 100 people reach out and I'll give you like many ideas has been overwhelming at the same time. For like, what to do next. But I guess like the core of what my challenge was, or is is not so much like what to do next, because all of these ideas, I'll put them in a list and work through them one by one. That's the only way to get things done. It's like one thing at a time. But yeah, just like knowing it's more figuring out, like the conviction around like Emma is this the type of business I want to keep working Because in a couple years, the efforts hopefully will, yeah, show fruits for the labor. And then also I keep using that term, which I've never used before. Like, I don't know why everything's bearing fruits today, but but you know, like that kind of thing of just like, really? Like, will this be the business that I want to build? And I'm making sure that I'm doing that. And I think that's been a big part of the fear that I have of, of moving forward. So I don't have an answer to that yet. But I do have a lot of people who have been like really kind of offering advice. And so I think there's still some chewing on this idea to be done. Yeah. Michele Hansen 50:39 And I think that question of, is this the business I want to build? I think that's that's a question that only you can answer. Cam Sloan 50:48 Exactly. Yeah. I've i that is one thing I've noticed, like as much advice as you soak in or people give you, you know, they could all be right, like in their own ways, but then it comes down to like a deeply personal decision on like, what, like how you want to approach things. So T, B, D. Michele Hansen 51:10 I guess that's a good point for us to wrap up today. Cam. Thank you so much for your vulnerability, both here. And on Twitter. You know, I'm reminded of something I heard. Nicole Baldy new co founder of webinar ninja say on her podcast recently, Nicole and Kate can relate, which is true vulnerability is when there is personal risk involved. And I think your tweet and thread about that really shows like there was that risk involved, and you took it and and people jumped in to help. And I think that's what's so amazing about our community. But so I encourage people to follow along with cam. You are at Sloan cam on Twitter. Your product is hopscotch dot club. Thank you so much for coming on cam. Cam Sloan 52:14 Thank you both for having me. It was such a pleasure. I love the podcast. And you know, I'm always listening and tuning in and love following along your stories, because it's really it's encouraging as well to just you know, hear what you're both, you know, working on and so that always helps me feel a little less like it's just me and having, you know, some help on the way. So thanks so much. Michele Hansen 52:39 All right. Well, Colleen, talk to you next week. Colleen Schnettler 52:42 Bye.

Past Month

Indie Bites

Building Copy.ai in Public - Blake Emal (CMO), Copy.ai

Sep 10th — Blake Emal is the CMO at Copy.ai , but it's not been a traditional route into that role. 8 years ago Blake was living in the South of France and when he moved back to the US, he had no idea what he wanted to do. As he spoke French, he landed a gig in the French team of an SEO firm. This was his first foray into marketing and he didn't intend to stay in marketing. Fast forward 7 years of working for agencies, freelancing and in-house, he stumbled across a little tool called Copy.ai . He was quite happy in his current role, but sent the Copy.ai founder a DM on Twitter, asking if he needed any help with marketing. After a few back and forths and a grand total of 3 Zoom calls, Blake became CMO at Copy.ai . In this episode we cover: What is copy.ai and how does it work? What does being a CMO in public mean? Where should founders start with marketing Why you should just "put a camera in front of you" when building Why is building in public so effective? Who is building in public well? How to get good at Twitter? Who is doing Twitter well? Are threads dead? Why do marketers ruin everything? Recommendations Book: Lord of the Flies Podcast: Creator Lab Indie Hacker: Bereket Follow Blake Twitter Luma Follow Me Twitter Indie Bites Twitter Personal Website Buy A Wallet Sponsor Thank you to Dan Rowden for sponsoring this episode with his product, ilo which helps you easily see which kind of tweets get more impressions, likes, profile clicks and more so you can get grow your Twitter audience. Use the code "INDIEBITES27" for 25% off your plan for life. Sign up here.

Indie Hackers

#225 – Growth Tactics, Audience Building, and Brains with Julian Shapiro of Demand Curve

Sep 8th — In this episode I talk to my buddy Julian Shapiro about proven growth tactics for a SaaS he's seen within Demand Curve. I also want to find out what he did to grow his own Twitter audience to over 200k in basically a year. We'll also dig into the details of a side project he and I have been working on. Listen to our new podcast: https://www.brainspodcast.com/ Follow Julian on Twitter: https://twitter.com/julian Check out Demand Curve: https://www.demandcurve.com/ Sign up for Julian's newsletter: https://www.getrevue.co

Software Social

Just Tell People About The Thing You Made

Sep 7th — Listen to the latest from Michele's podcast book tour! Searching for SaaS: https://searchingforsaas.com/podcast/ep25-local-restaurant-app-to-geocoding-as-a-service-michele-hansen-from-geocodio/ One Knight In Product: https://www.oneknightinproduct.com/michele-hansen/ Indie Hackers: https://www.indiehackers.com/podcast/224-michele-hansen Michele Hansen 0:01 This episode of Software Social is brought to you by Reform. As a business owner, you need forms all the time for lead capture, user feedback, SaaS onboarding, job applications, early access signups, and many other types of forms. Here's how Reform is different: - Your brand shines through, not Reform's - It's accessible out-of-the-box ... And there are no silly design gimmicks, like frustrating customers by only showing one question at a time Join indie businesses like Fathom Analytics and SavvyCal and try out Reform. Software Social listeners get 1 month for free by going to reform.app/social and using the promo code "social" on checkout. Hey, Colleen, Colleen Schnettler 0:51 hey, Michelle. Michele Hansen 0:54 How are you? Colleen Schnettler 0:56 I'm good. I'm good. How about you? Michele Hansen 0:58 How goes week three now of doing Hammerstone and simple file upload. Colleen Schnettler 1:08 It's going well, today, I'm going to dedicate most of the day to simple file uploads. So I'm pretty excited about that. I'm finally back into my theoretical four days client work one day, my own thing and never really works out that way. Because I make myself way too available. But I have a lot of plans. But I do want to talk to you about something. Okay. I am I have not had any new signups in six weeks. Oh, yeah. I mean, I'm not in the pit of despair, because I'm just generally pretty happy about everything else. But I haven't been really on top of I know, six weeks. Right. That's really. I mean, I Michele Hansen 1:54 I hate to say it, but that does give me a little bit of like trough of sorrow vibes. Colleen Schnettler 1:58 Yeah. I mean, I honestly, I hadn't even really noticed, which is a different a different thing. Has anybody been canceled? I don't know. Because I, yeah, so I don't track that as well as I should. And I think with everything that's been going on, I have been so busy that I haven't. Honestly, I've just been letting it run itself. I checked my email every day, but no one ever emails me, which is nice, by the way. So I hadn't checked it in a while a and I checked it in preparation to do this podcast with you. And I was like, Oh, crap. I haven't had a sign up since July. This is September 2. Michele Hansen 2:39 So have I mean, has your revenue gone down? Like? Colleen Schnettler 2:44 No, actually, it hasn't. So I've been pretty consistent. So without doing a full churn analysis, I don't think people are churning. But they're not signing up. Okay, that's not okay. Let me stop. That's not entirely true. People are putting their email address in and then bouncing. So people are still finding my website. But yeah, Michele Hansen 3:12 I feel like it was like the people who are paying you is that mostly people from Heroku? or from your website? Colleen Schnettler 3:19 It's mostly people from Heroku. Michele Hansen 3:21 So are you still getting that like you had this problem where people were like, signing up on Heroku, but then not actually activating it? And like starting to use it, like, Are people still doing that first step on Heroku. Colleen Schnettler 3:37 So people are using it. I actually had one person respond with what he's doing. So that was cool. In terms of like a new signup. So people are using it that sign up on Heroku, which is good. It's just a lack of new signups is really confusing to me. Michele Hansen 3:55 Did you ever get that work done on the homepage like and Roku site like we were talking about the code pen and improving the documentation? And like, did did all that happen? Colleen Schnettler 4:10 So I have a whole list of great things I'm going to do so what I have done this week last week is I actually started writing a piece of I wrote an article right, it didn't take that long. I should have what it doesn't matter what I should have done. I did it. So that's good. So I have seen on Google Analytics said that is getting a decent amount of traffic. Today, literally today. I'm going to get that freakin try it now on the homepage. That is my plan to do that today. Nice. I'm speaking it into existence. The documentation is a whole different animal because I don't think I mean, I really need to redo the documentation. But that's like a whole thing. Like it's not I need to add some things. I think I need to take it in baby steps because I added some things to the tech side that are not reflected in the documentation that are kind of cool. So I think, but of course, instead of just adding that to my existing documentation, which I don't really like the way it presents, like, I just don't like the way it looks. I want to tear that all down and make a new app just for documentation, which I will do someday, but Michele Hansen 5:17 so it kind of sounds like you need to put away your laundry. But you don't want to do that. So instead, you're going to completely build yourself a new closet, but Colleen Schnettler 5:26 my closets gonna be so pretty, and so organized. Michele Hansen 5:33 Yeah, I'm sensing a theme where like, you have a task that you don't want to do, or it seems overwhelming to you or you don't feel like it plays into your strengths. And so your way to do it is to make it something that is one of your strengths, which is actually just throwing more hurdles in front of you actually doing the task. Colleen Schnettler 6:00 Oh, yeah, totally. I mean, that's, like, it's funny, because before we got on this podcast, my plan was still to rewrite the whole documentation and make it its own site, blah, blah, blah. And as soon as I spoke those words to you, as I do, I've really is that really a super high priority, like, the higher priority should be getting the fact that like, I emit events on, you know, successful uploads, that's cool. People can use that. It's literally nowhere in my documentation that I do that. So I'm probably the priority should just be getting it out there with what I have. And then someday, when I have more time, I can rewrite the whole documentation site. Michele Hansen 6:39 This is your problem with the documentation that it's ugly, or that people email you telling you that it's janky. And, like, difficult to use documentation specifically, or is it just an eyesore? It's Colleen Schnettler 6:53 a it's an eyesore. I don't like the way it looks. I don't like the way I navigate with tabs. I don't like the tabs. Like I think you can still find everything no one has emailed me saying I don't understand how to use this. Hold on. Michele Hansen 7:05 I need to like I'm I'm pulling look at it. So now Colleen Schnettler 7:08 Yeah, pull it up. Okay, so if you go to simple file, upload.com, and then click on Doc's documentation, Michele Hansen 7:15 you got that calm, like, Colleen Schnettler 7:17 I know, I win it names. So if you look at it, I was like so I also bought unrelated simple file. Wait, what did I buy? I bought simple image upload calm. Hmm, I haven't done anything with it. I just snagged it. I was like, okay, that seems like what I should have. Okay, so look at this documentation page. Like, I just don't like the way it looks. Michele Hansen 7:40 I mean, it's not the ugliest thing I've ever seen. Like, it's basic, but like, Colleen Schnettler 7:45 it's fine. I mean, Michele Hansen 7:47 it like has a little bit of an old school README file vibe, but totally does. That's not a bad thing. Because that's how documentation was distributed for, like 20 years. And it's still sometimes distributed that way. Yeah. I mean, the other thing is, is like, I think it's okay to like, give yourself that space to be like, you know, like, this is ugly, and I hate it. I'm throw the content in there now. But also, when it comes time to build the documentation, like, there's so many tools for this, like, Don't design your own documentation to you know, like, like, if you're going to build yourself a new closet for all this, like at least buy one from IKEA, and then you just have to assemble it, like, don't go actually go out and buy the two by fours. And you know, like, Colleen Schnettler 8:42 do yeah, you're doing, I don't actually know what tools are out there to build documentation. So what do you guys use? Do you remember? Cuz I know you're right. This has got to be a thing. Like, you're absolutely right. I Michele Hansen 8:57 think I know someone who, like just bought a documentation tool. Colleen Schnettler 9:02 This is interesting. Michele Hansen 9:04 Because, like it definitely I don't I don't remember what the name is of the thing that we use. But we've actually we've actually had people reach out to us saying that they really liked our documentation and wanted to know where we got it from. Like, I think we just got it somewhere. Well, Colleen Schnettler 9:19 this is an interesting thing. I didn't actually I didn't even think about that. But absolutely, you're right, I should there's there's a better way to solve this problem than me. Does that make rewriting this whole thing? So what you're looking at now, the here's the real reason I want to redo it. What you're looking at now comes through the application page, and the application app does not use tailwind. My. My marketing site does use tailwind so that my thought would be to rewrite all of this documentation, put it on the marketing site Michele Hansen 9:52 using tailwind because would you design it yourself with like tailwind elements or would you grab a template from tailwind. Colleen Schnettler 10:01 Oh, totally. I pay for whatever that thing is with tailwind where I can just copy the code and put it on. I bought that. Yeah. Michele Hansen 10:09 But it's worth it. It was totally worth anything is worth it. Totally Great. So yeah, there's I don't know, I don't know, read me.io. Right. Like there's all sorts of, is that what we use? That kind of looks like our docks? Colleen Schnettler 10:23 See, I didn't know that. I Michele Hansen 10:24 don't know. I don't think I'll have to ask Mateus. Right. Colleen Schnettler 10:28 So this is this is a good point, though. I should, because I don't need API documentation too. So I need to think about, yeah, readme.io has a whole documentation tab. Ooh, this looks fun. Oh, all right. I'm totally gonna check this out after the podcast, maybe that is the right answer. Michele Hansen 10:46 I don't know how much it costs. But yeah, Colleen Schnettler 10:49 well, it's gonna be cheaper than five hours of my time. Right. Right. Like, there's no way it cost that money, your Michele Hansen 10:55 time is not free. And this is See See, this is I always say that, like, you know, I studied economics and undergrad. And I'm always like, Oh, you know, it was interesting, but it doesn't really relate. But here is where it does. Because, yeah, opportunity cost is a very real cost. And that is a perfect distillation of it that your time is worth more than spending five hours rolling your own documentation. thing when this is like already a solved problem. Colleen Schnettler 11:31 You're absolutely right. 100% agree with that. You're right. I didn't think about it that way. But that is a true statement. Michele Hansen 11:39 But first, I'd really just like tell people about the stuff you may Colleen Schnettler 11:44 think. Okay, so like, let's get actionable. Because AI, today is my day to work on simple file. So I think the first step, okay, I don't love the documentation I have, but I need to get the information out there. So the first step is just add something that's set like this things that people can use, like these event callbacks, or emitting events, like, that's useful information. So I'm just add it, you know, just adding it'll take all of 15 minutes. And like, I don't want to, you know, Michele Hansen 12:11 I don't want to be like standing on my, like, high horse here that like, you know, oh, we tell users everything we do, because actually, something we were just talking about this week was like, oh, like, we need to, like, send out an email to people and like, tell them about the features we've added because we basically stopped sending product updates, email, like, we never so. And then also like MailChimp shut down their pay as you go at one point. And, and then we're like, migrating and all this stuff. And I think we sent out like one email since then. But like, we were just talking about this the other day, that's like, oh, like we added support for like, geocoding a county, like if you know, you like have like a street address plus, like Montgomery County, Maryland, for example, like in places that like, use the county rather than the city name. We haven't told anyone about it, because we haven't sent any product updates, email, and God knows how long so I'm all this is to say that I am. I also need to take my own advice. And maybe other people too, maybe there's somebody out there, you know, just tell people about the thing you made. The thing you made? Yeah. Just tell them. Don't Don't think about you know, marketing stuff and ads and get all in your head about that. Just tell people. Yeah, even if it's a plain text email, just tell them just Just tell me advice I'm trying to give myself and I'm, I am trying to manifest it into existence that we will do that whole step to send out an email to get people to opt in. And then after that, we send out an email that tells them with the stuff we did, maybe that can be one email. Colleen Schnettler 14:42 Yes. So people tell people got it. I like it. That's good advice, your marketing advice. That's my marketing advice for the day I get to tell people. Yeah, so that's kind of what's up with me. I'm going to try And get those things implemented today. So hopefully that'll move the needle a little bit on signups. It was Yeah, it's definitely been a very trough of sorrow six weeks though I was like, Wow, that's a long time. eek. Michele Hansen 15:13 So I mean, there's the reason why there is that product lifecycle, like chart that has the trough of sorrow on it is because the trough of sorrow is normal. Colleen Schnettler 15:27 is normal. Oh, okay. This will be interesting. Michele Hansen 15:31 Yeah, yeah. There's like this whole image that's like the I didn't know that. Okay. Yeah. No, I when I said trough of sorrow, I was referencing something. Okay. I'll have to, I'll have to find it and send it to you. And also put it in the show notes. So everybody else who's like, What is she talking about? And then like five products, people listening are like, Oh, my God, I know that. I forget where it comes from. I think it might be like, it might have been a business of software talk at one point. That Colleen Schnettler 15:57 Okay, oh, no, Michele Hansen 15:58 I think it might be the constant contact. Founder person. Colleen Schnettler 16:03 Has she interested in her? I don't know. Okay. Michele Hansen 16:07 Yeah, I'm gonna find it. It'll be in the show notes. So listening does not have to, like wonder Colleen Schnettler 16:13 what it was to go dig through the internet to try and find it Michele Hansen 16:16 like normal to have, you know, periods when you're like, Okay, like, nothing happened. I mean, granted, you said that you kind of weren't really doing anything with it. So the fact that your revenue didn't like crater even though you basically didn't touch it for six weeks, like, that's awesome. Colleen Schnettler 16:36 Yeah, that's super awesome. Like, Michele Hansen 16:39 again, you know, to our conversations of like, if you ever wanted to sell this thing, like the fact that you didn't touch it for six weeks, and it kept making money. huge selling point. Colleen Schnettler 16:48 Yeah, yeah, it's super. so far. It's been super low touch, which is awesome. It's so funny, because years and years ago, I used to obsessively read. Do you know, Pat Flynn is smart, passive income guy? No. Okay. He's got this whole empire built about trying to teach people how to build passive income on the internet. Okay. And I used to obsessively read his blog. I mean, we're talking like 10 years ago. And here I am with kind of sort of passive income ish. And that's kind of cool. Yeah, you did anyway. So, yeah. Tell me about how things are going with the book and your podcast tour. Michele Hansen 17:26 Oh, so they're going so I think you had challenged me to be on 10-20 I feel like it was 20. I feel like Colleen Schnettler 17:37 I mean, it's been a while, but I feel like it was more than 10. Michele Hansen 17:41 So okay, so I have been on a couple at this point. So I was working, I was on searching for SaaS with Josh and Nate which sweet By the way, so of like people like our dynamic of like, you know, somebody like who has a SaaS and then somebody who's like trying to start one and like different phases, you would totally love searching for SaaS, because Josh has been running his business for, like, quite a long time, referral rock, has employees like, and then Nate is kind of has like consulting and is trying to figure out a SaaS. So I was on searching for SaaS, they were my first one. Um, and I'm so glad I did one with like, friends, because I was so nervous about the whole like, and I'm promoting a book, but it feels like self promotion, and I just just like is uncomfortable for me. So. So so I'm really glad I did it with them first, and then I recorded another one. That's actually they told me was not going to be out for another three or four months. So we'll hear about that one when it comes out. Is Colleen Schnettler 18:45 that a secret? Michele Hansen 18:47 No. I mean, I just, I'll just tweet about it when it like comes out. But that counts, right? That's two. Yeah. And then I was on one night in product with Jason Knight, which came out a couple like, yeah, a couple days ago. That was super fun. Because that's like a podcast for product people. And we like really like dove deep on some of the different books and the differences and like, my fears around like people using this to like manipulate others was really it was really good. Um, so that's three and then I was on indie hackers, that that just came out. So that was kind of fun. I feel like I feel like I don't know like, I feel like it is like so legit. Like I don't know, it was kind of it was kind of wild. Indie hackers. Yeah. Being on the indie now. Colleen Schnettler 19:46 Did you talk about Geocodio or do you talk about the book or both? Michele Hansen 19:49 we talked about Geocodio a little bit but mostly about the book. Just kind of Geocodio as background. Colleen Schnettler 19:58 Okay. Yeah. Oh yeah, getting on Indie hackers that's basically making it. Like, that's amazing. Michele Hansen 20:05 Yeah. Like, can I be like, starstruck at myself for like, Colleen Schnettler 20:09 yes, you totally can. Like, I just think like, that's like, you know, that's like my life goal. No, that's not really a life goal. But I'm like, someday I will be on indie hackers. Someday Courtland will ask. I know, if I just take a couple more years. No, I love that podcast. I think that's wonderful. And yeah, yeah. Now you're kind of famous like, totally. Once you're an indie hackers, you've made it. Michele Hansen 20:33 I know, you're so funny. So like, I you're talking about this a little bit when when we add Adam on a few weeks ago that like, you know, I for a long time, like, like, so I didn't know that this whole community existed and that I knew about it, but I didn't feel like, feel like I was like, legit enough to like, be there, which was not true and was just my own imposter syndrome speaking. But for years, I had this like, sort of self policy that I would only go to conferences if I was speaking at them, because then people would come up to me and have something to talk about. Otherwise, I would be like standing in the corner, like not talking to anyone and like feeling like super out of it. Um, and so now I'm like, Okay, you know what, like, now if I like, go to something like, I feel like there's a good chance that like, one person, like, knows me, and we'll have something to talk about. Colleen Schnettler 21:29 Yeah. Yeah, that's great. I mean, that's a benefit of sharing your work, I think the way you have been. Yeah, Michele Hansen 21:38 yeah. So um, okay, so wait, so I lost count. Okay, so searching first as you're coming out in a couple of months. And Indie Hackers. Oh, wait, I think I forgot one. No, no, that's four. And then I recorded one yesterday. So that's five and then I am recording another one. today. So Wow, six. And then I'm scheduling another one. like trying to get that one on the calendar. Um, that person is also on pacific time like you and dude, it is so hard for me to schedule things with pacific time. Like, yeah, that nine hour time difference is required at the top planning. So I guess that's that's six I have either recorded or in the hopper. And I think there was more people who reach out to me, but I think they DMed me and I need to like, cuts through the jungle morass that is my DMs. Colleen Schnettler 22:48 That's great. I mean, honestly, 10 would it be spectacular? Colleen said, I have really 20. I know, now that I'm actually thinking through the logistics? That seems like a lot. Let me out of this. That's really great. So my next question would be, have you seen any, any impact yet of being on these podcasts? In terms of sales or community engagement or anything like that? Michele Hansen 23:15 Yeah, I mean, I guess the the biggest bump was definitely product times. Um, like, I think I saw like that day, like, I sold like 20 something. Or like, almost 30 copies, I think out of, I don't know, because I'm probably at like 350 now, or no, actually, it's more than that. Almost 400. So, oh, wait, maybe I'll be at almost 500 soon. That would be fun. Yeah. So So yeah, so there was definitely a little bump out of that. I did look this up for Josh and Nate from Searching for SaaS. And I sold three copies a day that one came out. So they were pretty pumped about that. I mean, I think it's the kind of thing where, like, not everybody, like listens to a podcast on the day. It comes. Yeah. Like, I was, like a regular listener of us. And like, they were like three episodes behind, because, you know, you've listened to it whenever you can. And there's other stuff going on. So in many ways, it's like, it's not really for the immediate hit of that in the same way that say like product time was, Colleen Schnettler 24:27 um, yes, yeah, yeah, long game. Michele Hansen 24:30 The long game there we go. Looking for. Um, so I mean, I guess we'll see. Right, because it's like, this is you know, this is not a like Big Bang. Launch. Right. Like, this is like the the book is hopefully designed or like written in a way, you know, to be a book that people recommend to other people they buy for their team. Like it's not like it's not particularly timely or relevant to like current events? So it's okay, if it doesn't, you know, sell like a bajillion copies in the first two months. Like, that's totally fine. You know, it's funny I was I was, I came across a tweet by our mutual friend, Mike Buckbee this morning, saying that, you know, validation for something is when you're getting stranger money. Like people who don't know you, they're not your friends. They're not the people that follow you. They're just like people who, you know, come across it for a reason. And then they buy it, and they're happy with it. And the book is definitely getting stranger money. So Colleen Schnettler 25:42 wonderful. Michele Hansen 25:43 Yeah. So So I so I think that's kind of a sign that it's, it was like, I mean, it was actually getting that in the presale. So. So I think that's a sign that, you know, things are in the right track, but it's just like, this is gonna be a slow burn. Colleen Schnettler 25:59 Yes. Michele Hansen 26:00 Yeah. So I mean, I'm happy with things, you know, again, like considering that, I think it was like most self published books only sell like 250 copies lifetime. And then most published books sell 300 copies their first year. Um, I've already, like smashed that. So anything on top of that, basically, is gravy. And but again, like those numbers, like are kind of like I look at that I'm like, Yeah, cool. Okay, like, but mostly, it's like, people tweet out, like, somebody tweeted out this morning that, like, they had their first customer interview, and it was delightful. And they learned so much. And like, they had scheduled it for 15 minutes. But at the customer's insistence, it went on for almost an hour. And they learned so much. And it was like, and I was like yes. Okay, like this. Okay, the book did what it was supposed to do like that. Yeah, that is what makes it feel like a success more than Yeah, Colleen Schnettler 26:49 that's anything that's really cool. Well, in the money. I mean, you know, I was thinking about, like, what motivates you Because for me, I want life changing money, you could get life changing money, any, anytime you want it like you You, you could just snap your fingers because you have a successful business. So that's something that I assume does not motivate you, because you kind of already have it. And so you know, when I think about the book, and like how you've been motivated, it really feels like helping people like really literally helping people learn how to be empathetic is what has driven this passion project for you. Michele Hansen 27:27 Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, it's been a very, like, personal sort of mission, because it's not just about talking to customers like, and, and I guess what I mean, so one of them's actually this will be coming out the same day. So I guess I can talk about it. But I was talking about this a lot with Justin Jackson, on on Build Your SaaS about how, like, he was reading the book, and it made him realize like, oh, wow, like, I can actually use this in my personal life too. And like, it's like, not just a business book. And I was, you know, saying to him how, like, I think I've told you how, you know, people don't put be more empathetic on their daily to do lists, but they put, write the landing page, improve the documentation, get more sales, like, stop churn, figure out if people can use the thing I bill, like, that's the stuff that ends up on your to do list, and you can use empathy to solve those problems. And then in the course of doing that, you realize that you can transfer some of these skills to your personal life as well. Then it's like a double win. Colleen Schnettler 28:38 Wow. Yeah. So the other day, my 10 year old asked me what empathy was, and I literally handed him your book. Like, read this book. Michele Hansen 28:48 Let me guys this because this is the question that I get from children and adults, but children generally their first question, why is there a duck on the cover? Colleen Schnettler 28:58 He totally asked that. Yeah. Michele Hansen 29:03 Love it. Love it. Well, you know, you can tell him that he will find out when he gets to let me just flip through it here. I believe it's chapter 34. Um, you know, never accused me of burying the lede here. To get 138 pages, you will discover why there is a duck on the cover. It has been fun talking to you, as always, you too. Colleen Schnettler 29:45 I'll talk to you next week. All right.

Indie Hackers

Deploying Empathy to Build Better Businesses with Michele Hansen of Geocod.io

Sep 1st — My guest today is Michele Hansen (@mjwhansen) and she is here to challenge the stereotype that developers fear talking to customers and are naturally bad at it. We'll also get into specific principles and tactics from her recent book, "Deploy Empathy: A Practical Guide to Interviewing Customers." Read Deploy Empathy: https://deployempathy.com/ Follow Michele on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mjwhansen Check out her podcast: https://softwaresocial.dev/

Software Social

Everything Is Happening

Aug 31st — Michele Hansen 0:00 Hey, welcome back to Software Social. This episode of Software Social is sponsored by Noko. https://nokotime.com/ When you’re bootstrapping on the side, every free moment counts. But do you really know how you’re spending those moments? Which days you're most productive? If your product have time sinks that just don’t pay? Here's one way to find out: Noko is a time tracker designed to help you learn from the time you track. And Noko makes it frictionless to give yourself good data, too — you can even log time directly from your Github commit messages. Try Noko today and save 15% off every plan, forever. Visit Nokotime.com/SocialPod to start making your time work for you. Colleen Schnettler 0:52 Michele, it's so good to talk to you. So I have been following some of the things you've been tweeting about recently, and I saw that you did a Product Hunt launch for the book. Michele Hansen 1:05 Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 1:06 Tell us about that was quite a roller coaster. Yeah, I am fascinated. I want to hear all about it. Michele Hansen 1:14 So um, gosh, I don't even I don't even know where to start. Because it was it was kind of it was kind of a spur of the moment thing. Like I've been planning to do a Product Hunt launch for a long time, but I didn't really know exactly when. And I think it was a we've talked about how my, like, original deadline for the book was before I started Danish language classes, right. I feel like we I don't know. But yeah, okay. So I actually started them last Monday. So you know, even though like, when I finished my MBA, I was like, I am done with school forever, like, never again. And you know, here I am again. Um, so I started Monday of this week. And so the 20th I was like, I saw I was starting, you know, the in a couple of days. And I was like, You know what, I just need to do this. Now I want to get this launch done. Before I'm like thinking about school again, cuz I'm not gonna have as much time. So that's basically like, why I did it on Friday morning. Now, apparently, when you launch on product time, you're supposed to get someone like, well known to basically hunt the product for you and submit it for you. And then I guess it notifies all of that person's followers, and then it helps with your ranking and stuff like that. I did not do that. I just submitted it myself. Colleen Schnettler 2:46 Wait, okay. pause, pause, pause. Okay, so let's back up a little bit. So you were on Friday morning, you woke up and you're like, I should put the book on Product Hunt today? Is that like, what happened? No. No, I Michele Hansen 2:57 needed to send out a newsletter that morning. Because I had I had something I wanted to send out. And I was like, you know, why don't I just throw it up on product time. Like, let's just get that over with and do it and like, so like, I just like wrote up a post, I took a couple of screenshots of like the book and the table of contents. And like, I like put it up, like, apparently people hire like consultants and pay them like 1000s of dollars to try to get a good ranking on on product ton. And they spend all this time recruiting someone to hunt it for them. And like there's this whole, like product launch a Product Hunt launch strategy that I was completely oblivious to. So Colleen Schnettler 3:37 yeah, I've heard that. That's a hole that if you there's like so many articles about how to properly do product on and there's consultants, yes. Okay, so tell us what you did. Yeah, Michele Hansen 3:47 I guess it didn't. I don't know. I it didn't occur to me to research it first. Because I don't know. I just didn't so I just threw it up there. And then I sent it out to the newsletter and was like, hey, like, you know, Product Hunt today. And so it was like going pretty well. Like I sent it out like first thing in the morning European time. And by like lunchtime or so here it had like 30 or 40 upvotes which was like way more than most of the other products on the homepage. And I started being like in the people started being like I can't find your product like I searched for it. It doesn't show up like it's not on the homepage like like she usually like reach out to them or something because something is wrong. And this is somebody on Twitter who jumped in and they're like, Oh, they shadow ban info products, because there's so many of them that they shadow ban them by defaults, if you're submitting it and you're not like a you know a sort of name brand person submitting it. Colleen Schnettler 4:47 What is shadow ban mean? Michele Hansen 4:48 Oh, so shot. Shadow banning is when you post it and it looks normal to you and you can send people the link, but it doesn't show up on the homepage and it doesn't show up in search. Colleen Schnettler 5:00 Oh, wow. Michele Hansen 5:01 So basically you don't know you're banned from the homepage. So, so weird, but I guess there's like so many that I currently the logic is that there's so many info products that like, they basically want to cut down on the number of them going to the front page of product on. So and then I kind of like started tweeting about this and I'm not really sure what happened. But I like reached out to their support on their website and on Twitter. And then I think some other people also backchannel that to community people at Product Hunt. And then yeah, it was on the the front page. Like it just appeared at number four. And it was like, Oh, this is kind of fun. Like, we went from being like, completely invisible and thinking this was a huge waste of time. to like, now it's ranked number four. That's pretty amazing. And I just woke up and did this this morning. Like, this is fun. And that's all and then it kind of just kept going. Wonderful. Yeah. And I was actually I was getting like, last minute, like, you know, sort of, like, play by play advice from Arvid call in my DMS. I'm like, okay, like, here's what you do, like, make sure you reply to everybody, like, you know, all this stuff. And I was like, okay, okay, okay. Like, I was like, such like totally green at this. Um, and, yeah, it was it was wild. And then it ended up going up to number one. And oh, that's exciting day. And I just checked it a 512 up votes. Colleen Schnettler 6:36 That's amazing. Wild. Michele Hansen 6:40 Super wild. I've never really done a, like a Product Hunt launch. Like, we I mean, we didn't launch geocoder one Product Hunt. Like we actually launched before Product Hunt had their show h n launch, which when geocoder launched a show h n launch was like, what a Product Hunt launches now. I guess. Yeah. It was so funny. I remember coming across it in our refers for geocoder to and I was like, What is this product on thing and like, signed up? Um, so yeah, anyway, so that was, that was pretty crazy. Um, that's Colleen Schnettler 7:20 really cool. Yeah, it Michele Hansen 7:21 was it the whole thing about it, like, not showing up and like what was wrong and like, all these people kind of like rallying around it too. And like so many people tweeting out the the posts and commenting and like, I just felt like I was collectively being lifted up by people all over the world simultaneously. And it was, it was lovely. It was pretty, it was pretty surreal. It was it is Colleen Schnettler 7:49 as bad. It's awesome. So have you seen the Product Hunt success? increase the number of sales of the book? Michele Hansen 8:00 Yeah, so I actually did get a little bit of a nice little bump out of it. So I learned later that the benefit of being number one on product one is not only are you number one that day, but you're also number one in the newsletter. And so you get another bump after that. Okay, cool. And so if I just pull up the numbers really quick. So the the total have sold 344 individual copies, which excludes a bulk portfolio wide purchase that a fund made. So okay, so it's been 180 on Amazon 160 PDF copies total, including the pre order. And then for audio book only pre sell copy, so 344 total. And so of all of that, so 23 of those PDF copies are from since the Product Hunt, launch, and then 59 print copies since the product launch. Colleen Schnettler 9:11 Wow. Yeah, Michele Hansen 9:12 so it's a pretty good bump. Colleen Schnettler 9:14 Yeah, that's great. Yeah. So how are you feeling about the whole feeling good, like Michele Hansen 9:18 I'm starting to come across like podcasts of people talking about it or blog post they wrote about it, or people tweeting out like, I'm reading the book, I'm ready to do a practice interview, like who wants to pair up with me like, all that kind of stuff. But just that just gives me warm fuzzies when when I come across that kind of thing, and Colleen Schnettler 9:42 I love it. Michele Hansen 9:43 Like for so many years, I you know, I tried to write blog posts, and most of the time they would just like land with a thought like there was a couple that did okay, but most of time I would like I would fuss over them and have friends edit them and like, then they would just go nowhere. And so it's still like kind of bewildering and surreal to have people like, be excited about something that I wrote because I'm so used to just like being nothing. Um, so all of this is just this really delightfully surreal. Colleen Schnettler 10:27 I love that. Do you think it's better, you didn't actually know you were doing Product Hunt wrong, because you would have not launched it, if you had realized how some people do it. Michele Hansen 10:37 I think it might have been sort of intimidating to look at. It's like, oh, like, shoot, like, people hire consultants for this. And like, there's, they're like, producing videos for it. Like they have, like, this whole, like, strategy around it, like, but I think it also goes to show like, you know, I mean, the, the real power of building in public or writing in public, and, you know, like, the people in the community were part of this from the very beginning. And, you know, so No, I did not pay a consultant 20 $500 to get to the top of product and like, the book got there, because everyone's been a part of this process. And contributing to it from the very beginning. It was on the strength of community. It's, there's, it's pretty, it's funny, I've had people like DM me now. Like, oh, like, what's your advice for getting to the top of product? And I'm like to Don't ask me. Like, dude, like, don't do what I did. Like that was apparently wrong. Yeah, I mean, I'm sure there's people who have written guides about this, and everything. Colleen Schnettler 12:04 Oh, yeah. They're all over the I like someone recommended Product Hunt to me once. And I was like, Oh, okay. And I don't use Product Hunt. Like, I don't even think I'm on it. And so I googled it. And it was like, Oh, my gosh, there's so much information, how to do a Product Hunt, it needs to be Tuesday at 4pm. Because that is the optimal time. Like, it was a whole thing. And I was like, so this is so wonderful that it's worked out for you. And I also saw you are going to start your private podcast. Michele Hansen 12:30 Oh, yeah. The first chapter already went out. Colleen Schnettler 12:35 Sweet. Yeah, Michele Hansen 12:36 I think I'm gonna roll them up like so I was kind of trying to like couple weeks ago, we're talking like, should we do one chapter a week or like, do like two different drops a week because there's 50 chapters in the book. And so we did that, then it would take a whole year to get that book, which seems very long time, it's very long. So it seems excessive. So this week, I dropped the the title and the chapter one as two separate episodes on the same day. But I think for next week, what I'm going to do is I've rolled up several chapters, and basically all drop, do one like episode a week, that is multiple chapters, with a goal of that episode being 15 to like 25 minutes. So it might be like chapters 234. And then the next one might be chapter five, and six, depending on how long those chapters are, because some of the chapters are pretty short. So Colleen Schnettler 13:37 yeah, that makes sense. And try to make it like Michele Hansen 13:39 normal. Normal podcast length, but more on like, walk the dog a little bit longer length rather than run three miles. Length if you run at my speed, which is not fast, depending on Yeah, so uh, yeah. So yeah, I think I'm gonna do that. So then it'll go a bit faster. But I don't want I mean, I don't want to like drag the whole thing and I already recorded like 18 chapters, I think. Wow. Yeah. So I'm going to do another recording day in a couple couple weeks. Maybe next week. Maybe I should do another one. I like surrounded my desk and pillows and like put a blanket gonna ask on my Yeah, I totally did a pillow for it. The NPR pillow for it. Yeah. of like, just surrounding my desk and pillows to improve the sound quality. And yeah, putting a blanket over my desk. So I feel like it should, you know, it should it should sound good. I don't want it to sound you know, homegrown and, or Yeah, you know, like I want it to sound Good question like people should pay for it. Yeah. So Colleen Schnettler 15:04 yeah, totally. That makes sense. Yeah, it's well, that's really exciting. Um, you've had a really exciting couple weeks, Michele Hansen 15:10 I've been talking to you a couple of weeks, and you have been doing seriously exciting, as we talked about a couple weeks ago. So you are now my cool kid friend, I moved to California and joined a startup. And totally, Colleen Schnettler 15:21 it was crazy. I can't even tell you like, everything just went crazy. But it is super exciting. And I think something that has not been well communicated is we are basically being funded because we are being paid to me really, to build out this product. And so and we get to keep the IP. So this is really exciting for me. I can't think of what else I would rather do with my life. Besides, you know, normal life stuff with do with my career, then build a business with people I like, like, that's my whole life goal right there. Michele Hansen 15:57 That sounds amazing. Colleen Schnettler 15:59 It is. Yeah. So I'm super pumped. It is a lot of stuff of new stuff. But it's a really cool opportunity. The guys that I'm partnering with are great. I've known them for years. And I finally get co founders, which I'm super happy about because doing it alone is lonely. Michele Hansen 16:17 So I feel like we should back up. Yeah, that's a very basic question. So So a couple of months ago, you took a job? Do you? Do you still have that job? Colleen Schnettler 16:33 I do not. Okay. Michele Hansen 16:35 So this is what we were talking about in decisions dishes and was should you? So you have you have that had that job? And then should you continue doing simple file upload? And how does this whole Hammerstone thing fit into it? And one of those options there we did not talk about was like, quit the full time job and like go whole hog and jump in headfirst on Hammerstone. So let's like, Colleen Schnettler 17:07 yeah, it was, I mean, I just everything went a little bit crazy. I announced that I took that job. And maybe part of this is building in public. or part of this is just the market right now. And I am not kidding you. Within a week I had three other people offering me jobs. Like they're like, Oh, I didn't know you were taking a job. So everything got a little crazy. When I took that job, I had every intention of being with that company for years. It was a great company. I love the people. I love their mission. But this opportunity came up to do really exciting work as part of this startup. And I had to choose because there was no way this startup stuff is full time. I mean, there's no way I could do both. So I unfortunately had to quit the job I had for what a month, maybe two months, and go all in with the startup. So it's very exciting. But it was a lot of stuff. Michele Hansen 18:04 Yeah, I mean, that must have been so much to go through in such a short amount of time. And then you're I mean, you're a very you're he You're a very reliable person who can be taken at their word and sticks to it. And yeah, for you to walk away from something after a month. I imagine that was very difficult for you. And also that shows just how excited you are about Hammerstone. Colleen Schnettler 18:42 Yeah, and I think it was really hard. It was a really hard conversation to have with my boss, who was super amazing and gracious. But it was just an opportunity. I couldn't turn down. It was so I mean, and it's high risk, high reward, right like this could burn out. And I could just be back in regular consulting land. But you know, when you're basically offered to be funded for something, but like, I don't know, that's literally what I want to do. So I couldn't turn it down. Yes, it was really hard, Michelle, because I think especially with what I do, like my business is built on relationships. And my reputation is the most important thing I have in this business as a software developer. And so I absolutely need to be very careful of that and how I handle these kinds of situations. And so that's why it was so hard to make this decision. But ultimately, the opportunities with Hammerstone are just and the problem space is really exciting. From a developer perspective, like the problem space we're working on. It's really cool. It's just really intellectually intriguing. So that coupled with like the equity it was, yeah, I mean, it was hard decision, but I think I made the right one. If I'm crying on the podcast in six months, it means I did it. Just kidding. As a joke. I made a terrible mistake. know if I made a mistake or not. But I got to go all in like, I'm in a position where I can go all in. Because you know, we have health really because we have health coverage through my spouse's job. So, man, it was tough though, because I took the full time job with every plan to stay there for years, and this opportunity came up and it was just like, I cannot This is literally what I want to do is build businesses with my friends, period. Unknown Speaker 20:25 Yeah. So Michele Hansen 20:27 yeah, so there's two things I want to dive into there. The first is, yeah, like, what's so exciting about it? And what Hammerstone? Like, does and what you're gonna be doing for it? And then the second one, and I think I want to start there is is the funding side just to sort of, sort of distill that a little bit? So if I understand correctly, so there's the Hammerstone team, which is you, Aaron and Shawn, right? Correct. Correct. And then hit Hammerstone has a client that themselves has a client, then that that second level clients is paying your clients for Hammerstone, to build their thing into client number one's app? And then you get to keep the IP from that, is that? Right? That's, Colleen Schnettler 21:38 that's, that's kind of right. Yeah, that's kind of right. So basically, you Michele Hansen 21:43 know, if I dive I follow that fully, but okay. Colleen Schnettler 21:47 So I think, yeah, so basically, we have a client, that's a pretty big client, and then there's a middle layer, and then there's, well, really, there's the client, then there's Hammerstone, then there's me. So we're still we were separated as three layers. And so now I'm joining Hammerstone. So it's actually there's one less layer in there. So it's just, it's just the client to Hammerstone. And so the client has agreed to basically fund the development of this piece of software, the software is a query builder. And that sounds so exciting. Like when I say Query Builder, people are like, what I don't get the big deal. But the nuance and like, the power of what we're doing with this query builder is really cool. It's just, it's such a constant problem, like everyone I have ever worked for basic, smart queries are really tough, you're usually putting scopes on the model, and you're trying to chain those scopes together, oh, here, they want this here, they want this. So we're basically trying to extrapolate all of that away, pull all of that out of your model, and allow you to define these queries in a filter. And we're going to provide both the front end and the back end interface. And it's, I mean, again, we need to work on messaging because no one is excited when I tell them what it is. But once you see it in practice, you're like, Oh, this is amazing. So Michele Hansen 23:12 that's kind of the product. Can we back up for a hot second? And I want you to assume that I don't know anything about web development. Colleen, okay. Yeah, what's the Query Builder? Colleen Schnettler 23:27 So, Michelle, what is your favorite online shop? store to buy clothes or shoes or whatever you're into? Michele Hansen 23:34 j crew. Colleen Schnettler 23:36 Okay, so if you want to go to the J crew website, and you want a V neck sweater in orange in stock in your size available at your store, tall order, that's a query. Okay, right. I mean, a lot of places kit. That's like a search, which is funny. Yes. Which is funny, because that's how I described it to my husband. I was like, show me the Nike website. And let me show you how we're gonna make Nike better, because that's his favorite shop. Got it. Okay. Um, so, you know, traditional, I don't want to get to it's like a search. Michele Hansen 24:10 So are you like competing with like, like, algolia or Colleen Schnettler 24:15 so it's actually no, because we're, it's actually how you build up. So we actually build up the SQL, so you'd still use a like, you could still use like, this client is using Postgres timescale dB. So you could still use a different service for for your database, but we're actually building up this performance sequel in so it's at the model layer, but it extrapolates the the querying the scoping, we call it scoping and rails, I don't know what people call it another languages out of the models, so it like extrapolates all of that away. So it but it builds it The cool thing is like it provides both the front end component and the back end component. So ideally, it will be a drop in piece of software, but you as a developer Like, okay, so I have a client, they do real estate, right. And so they have this huge problem with search because people want this super specific things that they want to search. And this is a constant problem. tuning the searches to be exactly what people want to find. But for example, they don't want you to be able to search based on I don't know, like what on who the agent is, let's say that's just an example. So this query builder is actually a drop in software component that I can put in the app. But I as the developer, when I integrate it can also say, Do not let them search by listing agent only allow them to search by this, this and this. So it gives, it's just really powerful. And where it really shines is like in relationship building, because that is always a problem, right? When you have to reach through all these tables. And then if you have these huge SQL tables, like trying to join these tables is a problem. So we're trying to fix all those problems. It's a really interesting problem space for me, because our client is like big data. And not I haven't worked with like super billions and billions of records. So I haven't worked with that kind of big data before. So it's gonna be really exciting. Michele Hansen 26:06 You're really excited about this. Colleen Schnettler 26:09 I know this is like, honestly, this is what it came down to with, like jabber, jabber about SQL. But I think when it came down to making this decision, which was super hard, because my job was so wonderful. It came down to this is literally what's gonna what's hap what happened. So the Hammerstone guys, were gonna hire someone to take over for me. And then I just couldn't let it go. I was like, Oh, well, can I like I just because the, to me, the problem space is fascinating. They were like, they were going to hire someone. And they're like, Well, you know, you could mentor him or whatever. And I was like, yeah, and then we should redesign it to do this. And we should redesign it to do this, and I just wouldn't let it go. And I think to me, that was a indication that the problem space was so fascinating for me, and I just really, really want to solve the problem. You know, when you get a problem in your head like that, and you're like, this is amazing. I must spend Well, yeah, of course you do you. This is like I'm speaking Michelle. Right. Michele Hansen 27:04 Yeah, I know a little bit about what it is like to Colleen Schnettler 27:08 to become obsessed with some Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So it's a huge change. Who knows if I made the right decision, but I made the decision that that I think is the right decision. I guess that's all that matters. But it's been a it's been a roller coaster of what? A couple three weeks here. Michele Hansen 27:26 So yeah, so what does this mean for a simple file upload? Colleen Schnettler 27:30 So simple, but it's still rockin and rollin? I think. So although i've you know, I'm working full time for these new guys, but it's gonna be kind of the same dear deal, wolf were full time is 32 hours per week. So I should still have that extra day per week to work on simple file upload. And I'll be honest, like now that I'm settled, I feel like a lot of energy for simple file upload. Like I feel I actually wrote a piece of content finally didn't take that long. I know, right. But um, I feel good about it, it's still not going to be super fast. But I feel good about putting energy into it and putting time into it and making it you know, keeping it where it was going to be, which was, you know, eight to 10 hours a week. Michele Hansen 28:16 Do you feel less pressure with simple file upload? No. Colleen Schnettler 28:21 Yeah, I do. I think I mean, if I had not that I would want to pick one to succeed. But I am super pumped to have co founders. I mean, I'm super pumped. The Hammerstone team is so great, because I'm going to do the real stuff. Aaron is like a layer of Bal Laravel. Laravel. Michele Hansen 28:40 Yeah. superstar, right. Yeah, he's like, really light stuff. People are like, super Hammerstone Yeah, okay. Okay. I thought but yeah. Colleen Schnettler 28:51 Okay. Yeah. So he, so he's kind of, you know, doing great things in the Laravel. World, he did torchlight. And he's trying to do some other things just to get our reputation out there as like a company that makes really quality software components. And then we have Shawn, who's our front end guy. And Sean also has a lot more experience from a marketing and success standpoint, if you will, because Shawn, in the past, has had a product that has been his only, you know, has supported his family. And so he's been there so he can actually see past that, which is really an interesting perspective. Aaron, and I is relatively, you know, we both have mildly successful products, but like, we're both kind of new to this. And so we're approaching it in different ways. So Shawn is like Yeah, sure. I think we can get to, you know, 200k or whatever. How do you get past your network? And Aaron and I don't have never gotten to 200k with a product so we can't even conceptualize that. Right. So I think we're gonna be a really good team. Michele Hansen 29:50 You I feel like what I'm hearing is like you sound really fulfilled by this hair. We're stone work. And I think for a long time, simple file upload came out of that desire to be fulfilled where client work was, like paying the bills, but not necessarily super soul nourishing for you. And then you took the job. And it was, you know, it was you had all intentions of staying there. And making that work and, and everything else. But it did not feel like a calling for you. Which, you know, for the vast majority of people, their day job is not their calling, or something that's fulfilling, and that's perfectly fine. Um, but I feel and then it shifted that that simple file upload was then like your source of like, personal fulfillment. But I feel like now I'm hearing you sound super fulfilled by the Hammerstone work. And that kind of takes some of the financial and emotional pressure off of the work that you do with simple file upload. Colleen Schnettler 31:07 Yeah, I think that's an accurate assessment, I think, yeah, simple file upload definitely fulfill that need when I was working clients. Yeah, I think I think you're right, like, it's really exciting to see where this is gonna go. Michele Hansen 31:21 And I'm super pumped you because we don't do side projects just for the money. Right? Like, you know, very often they come out of that, like, it's certainly, you know, I've talked a lot about how do cardio certainly did. But then we've also talked about how, you know, the book for me was like, you know, it was not for money. And it was not because it was a good decision with my time it was because I enjoyed it. And I needed it myself. And I think sometimes that's a really good space for side projects to be in where sometimes you just need an outlet for fun. And, gosh, I guess given this last year, when you're stuck in your house, and you can't really go do a lot of fun outside your house, like, you know, side projects can fill that need, you know, in the same way that we talked about, you know, when you're interviewing someone looking for the, the functional purpose of why they bought something, but then also the emotional and social purposes. And, and I guess I you know, in for me coming off of everything with with Product Hunt, and all of that community support, like I'm really thinking about those social and emotional components of launching things. And I hear you talking about Hammerstone. And I hear that fulfillment, and I think you have said maybe three times in the last half hour, how excited you are to finally have co founders like that loneliness and struggle and having to figure everything out on your own has been a running theme for you with simple fileupload. Colleen Schnettler 33:08 Yes, so I've basically figured out the rest of my life, because I'm now I'm wise. So I'm going to tell you, by my life, I mean your life to Okay, so you're absolutely right. Like, I kind of came to this realization. So this was a hard decision like agonizing, actually. And when it came down to it, when you're financially stable enough that you can make these kinds of decisions. As I think I said earlier, running a business with my friends, literally, if I could do that the rest of my career I'm in. So I think I've mentioned before, that when we started this podcast, I said, Michelle is gonna write a book, and I'm gonna launch a product and you were like, man, it is never gonna happen. Michele Hansen 33:48 Okay, so now you are actually like a clip of that, like, do we have a recording of that somewhere? Or is that I don't like the two of us talking about it. And like, I don't know. Colleen Schnettler 33:57 I know, like, I would love to go back. I've actually started listening to some of our all of our podcasts, which is amazing, by the way, kind of go back and listen to them, but I haven't come across it yet. But so Hammerstone is hopefully going to make me a ton of money. It's gonna be super fun. We'll do it for five years ish. And then you and I are going to start a business where we help people, women specifically start their own businesses. Oh, yeah. So you and I are definitely gonna start a business someday. It's like five to 10 years in the future. And it's gonna be an altruistic business. And we're gonna figure that out. But that is my life plan for us. You're welcome. For my life plan. Unknown Speaker 34:38 You know, I feel like I'm here. Michele Hansen 34:40 I feel like you like it. You like kind of dropped the idea of like software Social Fund, like a couple of months ago, like casually, and yeah, um, you know, something that I'm really intrigued by. So there's this guy Nick ramza in Maine who runs a nonprofit called Tor. labs, where he teaches people in rural Maine, how to have an online business. And it's a nonprofits. And these people are like making real money, real jobs, like, huge impact in their own lives. Actually, I've been meaning to have phone call with him. Hi, Nick. Um, so I mean, that's that's kind of the thing I feel like I think about, I don't think I would limit it to just women. Um, no, like, doesn't have to be evil. Yeah, yeah. But, um, but I love that if like doing an incubator, as a, like, a nonprofit or a, like, some sort of public benefit instead. But, but then of course, then you have to deal with like donor fundraising, and you still have to deal with investors, it's just donors and like, this, this is not happening anytime soon, because Colleen Schnettler 36:01 they do not think about this. We're not doing these Michele Hansen 36:06 years. Also, don't tempt us and send us offers to fund it either. Just like just not just know applications and just like, just just forget we, but Colleen Schnettler 36:18 okay, I just wanted to get that on record. Because I see that as our future. Like, that's what I are apparently very Michele Hansen 36:24 good at predicting the future. So like, when you say go buy here stocks and bet on some sports games, and heck, yeah, Colleen Schnettler 36:32 sure, sure. Unknown Speaker 36:35 So, anyway, well, that's fine. We're gonna wrap Michele Hansen 36:38 up today with the conclusion that Colleen is apparently Nostradamus and things are things are. Things are happening in a way that I feel like all of it, you know, they say that there's times when nothing happens, and then there's times when everything happens. And I feel like both of us are in this time where everything happens. Like in the past month, I have launched a book and it is number one on product time and you have actually taken one job and quit it and then taken another job that you are super pumped about everything is happening and who knows what's going to happen in the future.

Run With It

A Short Message From Us

Aug 26th — For the next few weeks, you won't see new episodes because we're taking a short break. We'll be back October 1st. In the meantime, listen back to our catalog of 100 past episodes.

Indie Hackers

#223 – How to Master Passive Growth with Rob Fitzpatrick of Write Useful Books

Aug 25th — In this episode I catch up with Rob Fitzpatrick (@robfitz) about his new book, <em>Write Useful Books. </em>We'll talk about how he approaches book-writing like product development and why the sales graphs for his books look more like a hockey stick instead of shark fin. Follow Rob on Twitter: https://twitter.com/robfitz Read <em>The Mom Test</em>: http://momtestbook.com/ Read <em>Write Useful Books</em>: https://writeusefulbooks.com/

Software Social

Struggle and Sponsors: A Conversation with Adam Hill, Creator of Django Unicorn

Aug 24th — Check out Django Unicorn! https://www.django-unicorn.com/ Follow Adam on Twitter: https://twitter.com/adamghill

Earlier

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Chris and Eathan Get Personal

Aug 19th — In this episode Chris and Eathan get personal about what's going on in their family lives, their business lives, and their podcast lives.

Indie Hackers

#222 – A Model with Built-in Virality with Valentin Hinov of Thankbox

Aug 18th — In this episode I talk to Indie Hacker Valentin Hinov (@ValCanBuild). He is someone caught the pandemic wave in the best way possible. He came up with an idea that not only helps teams feel more connected but also removed a huge pain for team managers. I'll ask him how he built it and how the model for the product has a built-in growth mechanism. Send a Thankbox: https://www.thankbox.com/ Follow Val on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ValCanBuild Read Val's journey: ValCanBuild.tech

Startup to Last

The final episode

Aug 17th — This is our last episode. Thanks to everyone who has listened and supported us over the last couple years. We're going to miss you 😢 Topics in this episode: Rick accepted a new job. What does that mean for LegUp Health? Rick finished migrating his help site to Webflow. Rick notified his free users that the free service is shutting down. Tyler talks about compounding and what it means for thinking about the future. We discuss how it might be harder to start a company these days because there are so many success stories that are hard to live up to. We discuss Datafetcher.com as a nice no-code tool. We discuss the build vs. buy tradeoffs.

Software Social

Decisions, Decisions Part 2: Colleen Takes the Plunge

Aug 17th — Check out Hammerstone! http://hammerstone.dev/ Michele Hansen 0:00 Michele Hansen 0:00 Hey, welcome back to Software Social. This episode of Software Social is sponsored by Noko. https://nokotime.com/ When you’re bootstrapping on the side, every free moment counts. But do you really know how you’re <em>spending</em> those moments? Which days you're most productive? If your product have time sinks that just don’t pay? Here's one way to find out: Noko is a time tracker designed to help you learn from the time you track. And Noko makes it frictionless to give yourself good data, too — you can even log time directly from your Github commit messages. Try Noko today and save 15% off every plan, forever. Visit Nokotime.com/ <em>SocialPod</em> <em> </em>to start making your time work for you. Hey, everyone. So you may remember a couple of weeks ago, Colleen was facing a big decision about whether she should join an exciting project that some of her friends had started. So I'm here to tell you today that Colleen did decide to join that project. And we thought that you should hear about it from her and the team she's joining. So she is joining Hammerstone with our friends, Aaron and Sean. And you may remember Shawn from our episode a few months ago, where he was helping me learn how to market a book. So we thought we would let you listen to the episode that Colleen did on the Hammerstone podcast recently, where she's talking about joining the team. And after you listen, make sure to go subscribe to the Hammerstone podcast to get more updates about that really exciting project. Unknown Speaker 1:54 All right, we are recording. And we have three people here with us today. So the third person you want to introduce yourself. Colleen Schnettler 2:03 Hello, everyone. My name is Colleen and I have been working for Shawn and Aaron for about six months now. And this is my debut appearance on the Hammerstone podcast. Unknown Speaker 2:14 Welcome to the show. Thanks. So Colleen has been working, she said for us. But now Colleen is working with us. Colleen is a part of the Hammerstone team now. She's the third partner. Colleen Schnettler 2:29 Yes, I am super pumped. Super excited to join the team. Unknown Speaker 2:34 Yeah, so I guess we've been talking about this client for like, a year or more. And we've mentioned Colleen several times, I don't think it's been a secret. And she's the one that's been doing. She's the one that's been doing the rails side of the Refine product. And so, Shawn and Colleen have been working on this client for a long time. And the client has kind of been like, hey, what if we just keep doing this for a long, long time, we're like, great, we, that sounds good to us. And so Colleen is gonna continue working. But this client for they just, they just love Colleen, they just can't, they can't get enough of you. So, yeah, she's coming on as a partner and Hammerstone and she's gonna own the rails side of things. And I own the Laravel side of things. And Sean owns basically everything else. Kind of kind of a huge change, you know, in a whirlwind the past couple of weeks, but welcome. Colleen Schnettler 3:41 Thanks. Unknown Speaker 3:43 Yes, super cool. So speaking of owning all the other things, actually, can you guys hear me the sound just cut out weirdly for a second? We're good. You're okay. Yep. Yeah, so we, since there's three of us now, Aaron, and I have been, as I put it on the call with the lawyer yesterday, just yoloing it for the last year with our sort of like, operating agreement. So we got to hammer that out, you know, and actually do that properly given there's three of us, and that's an extra level of complication. So, the, the thing that we talked about with the lawyer, which I wanted to bring up with you guys was so first of all, I brought on my lawyer, Dalia who's awesome, and the best lawyer that I know. And I was like, Oh, yeah, I definitely want dahlias represent Hammerstone that Dalia immediately brought up that it's a conflict of interest of her because she's representing me. I'm planning for aliens. And I was like, Oh, well, I'll just find another lawyer for planning for aliens. And that's when I realized like last night, I was like, do I want to do that? Like it's, I want Dalia to represent Hammerstone but I also like kind of still want to have Dalia around for other shit for me. So I think that she had mentioned this as a possibility where like, she could represent us both. And then if there's a conflict of interest step aside, and it would go to me by default, I think is what she said. And then Hammerstone would have to find another lawyer. How does that sound to you guys? Colleen Schnettler 5:18 Yeah, so what I took from that conversation was exactly that, like, she can represent you, she can represent Hammerstone. But if the three of us as Hammerstone have a problem, she would then have to step back and then all of us would, like, if we're at the point where we all need our own attorneys, like something has gone terribly wrong, right? Like, we're probably just gonna want to Anyway, when we're talking about attorneys, that's all we're talking about is these horrible situations, right. So that is what we're talking about right now is a horrible situation that, you know, potentially could happen in the future. Get it? I'm not putting anything out of possibility. Like, I'm fine with that. I don't know, she had said something about how someone has to wait, like waive the conflict of interest. So you can ask her what that means. But I mean, I have no issues with this, because I just, I know, no one ever sees themselves in these situations, but I just cannot imagine a situation where that would happen. And if it did, then, I mean, you're so far gone by that point that, you know, I'm okay. Unknown Speaker 6:29 Yeah, I think I think I understand the same thing. So she'll represent planning for aliens, which is your holding Corporation. Shawn, shall represent planning for aliens shall represent Hammerstone. And should, Shawn Colleen and Aaron ever need representation against each other not as Hammerstone against each other as individuals, then that's when we have to say conflict of interest, or, you know, Colleen, and I get our own lawyers or whatever. Does that seem right? That's exactly it. Yeah. Yep. I'm on board with that. That's fine. Colleen Schnettler 7:02 Yeah, I'm totally fine. Unknown Speaker 7:03 She'll give us whatever papers to sign about that. And then Alright, cool. Colleen Schnettler 7:07 Sure. What I didn't understand from that call was the accountant thing. At the election, yeah, way into some tax law with a vesting schedule. For me, and that was kind of Whoosh. So Unknown Speaker 7:24 So you got to talk to our accountant, like, so this is what we're talking about. We have our accountant, you could you could have your own, or you just use Aaron, I'm like, pushing, we just use the one accountant for all the stuff. I mean, it's not. He's an accountant. So I don't know if there's like, there's not like a conflict of interest, right? He's just gonna tell you like, what's the optimal thing to do? Colleen Schnettler 7:43 Right? This is how you should structure it. Yeah. Unknown Speaker 7:46 Yeah. And, and my understanding, I never thought about this before, I guess, because it's gonna be like a taxable event, that you could decide, take the taxes now or take the taxes later. And I think that'll probably all depend on your whole personal, you know, finance situation plus, like, what you think's gonna happen with Hammerstone, etc. So, Colleen Schnettler 8:06 right, so you guys have a Hammerstone accountant, who is also Aaron's personal accountant. It's my it's my personal accountant, but his name is Aaron is Aaron. Oh, hence. Yeah. Okay, so Shawn, you have an accountant named Aaron, who has been doing Hammerstone taxes and your personal taxes Unknown Speaker 8:30 and planning for aliens. Correct. And he's gone. Hammerstone he hasn't done Hammerstone taxes yet. We just had no money last year. So we just write ourselves Colleen Schnettler 8:39 and then Aaron, not you Aaron not accounting there. You then have your own accountant for your own stuff for your LSI Unknown Speaker 8:47 I Aaron am an account I forgot. Yeah, yeah. So it makes it worse. I'm a CPA, however, I'm not our CPA, and I'm not my own CPA. I have my own personal accountant. For Jennifer's and my taxes. And I have a I have an LLC called bits and things. And so she does, she does bits and things she does our personal stuff. She does. And I've recently switched because my old one was terrible. So yes, I have my own personal one as well. Colleen Schnettler 9:15 Okay, because I have an accountant, but I'm not totally crazy about him. So I don't know if it's easier to just switch like we're, I'm cool with that. We can talk about that more. But yeah, okay. Unknown Speaker 9:26 I think I felt like the advantage for me if having Aaron jado match to [email protected] do my personal and LLC or an S corp actually needs the one that set that all up is that he knows like how to optimize both and they both writer and they both come into play and otherwise there's going to be a communication point between the two of you have two separate accountants or find like DIY, my personal account my personal taxes. So just for him to optimize things and be more, you know, fluid in that. It was easier to just have him do it. And then like as far as my recommendation of Aaron, like, I feel like I have a lot less problems with there. And then anybody else that I've ever talked to about their accountants and like I have, he saved me automatically a lot of money the first year that I hired him, and I have not been audited. I was audited prior to this prior to hiring him, and hadn't been audited said so. Anyway, that's, that's my pitch there. Colleen Schnettler 10:28 Yeah, not a pitch. It's really up to you. Yeah. But just not to get like two businesses. So like, my first accountant, had all these like, cool. I don't know if they're cool ideas, but he had a lot of ideas about how I should structure my LLC for like tax benefits. And then his wife died. And he retired and it was kind of dramatic. And then my new accountant who I've had for two years now, he's just not into that stuff. Like he doesn't provide recommendations. He like, I think he just puts everything in TurboTax and tells me what I owe. That's why old accountant Yeah, exactly. Nice guy. But I'm like, I can literally do that myself, like you are, you aren't advising me on like, structure anything. So I'm open to trying something new. Unknown Speaker 11:07 Yeah, so with Aaron, I do have to, like, I gotta push a little, like, if I do nothing, he'll just do what he's got sort of squared away from me. And I think he makes by default, good choices. And he's not just doing plug it into TurboTax stuff. Like he's thinking through all the various implications. And if he thinks there's something we need to talk about, then he'll generally bring it up with me. But like, I do have to, like, I wish he would provide me with like, a prompt of like, here are all the things that you should tell me, because these are the things that are gonna like impact, you know, the taxes or whatever. But I've had to kind of come up with my own list. Well, that sucks. But generally, if I'm doing something that's potentially having a tax implication, yeah, I mean, I've reached out to him, like we sold our house, I have this money sitting around from selling the house and like, what do I What do I need to do with this? etc? He's good at all that stuff? Yeah. Very cool. I still feel like space in our in our community for like, a really good accountant that like, actually does their job, like high level high touch could charge probably twice as much, you know, as mine does. And like they would be so busy. It would be ridiculous. Unknown Speaker 12:16 I agree. I think any any accountant that wants to book using savvy cow, I think you'd have a million customers. bootstrap customers, right? Oh, you you savvy Cal. You're not you're five years old. Colleen, is this accountant, the one that sent you like a 40? page? Yeah, organizer right here. Fill out all of your documents. And I said, you should just tell him No, I'm not going to do that. Is that this one? Colleen Schnettler 12:42 That's the that's the one. Yeah, I was like, What am I paying you for? Like, and again, he's a nice guy. But it was just like, like, I pay you. So I don't have to fill out the 40 page document. Like I might as well just do it in TurboTax. If this is what we're doing, yeah, yeah. So Unknown Speaker 12:59 yeah. Any other accounting lawyering? So one sided? One thing? Yeah, the one thing that the lawyer was saying we need to talk to the accountant about is the 83 b election, which I think determines when the taxable event, like when you recognize the taxes of your new part of Hammerstone. So I think, you know, just for context, that's what she was talking about. But I don't know too much else about that. The other thing she mentioned, which I thought was interesting, is his colleagues portion of the company coming from Sean's and my portion, or is the company somehow magically expanding to have more shares? And that's something we'll need to figure out because I have no clue. I think that's also a tax base decision, basically. I think it is. Unknown Speaker 13:52 Yeah, but yeah, we're gonna have to explore all that cuz I totally get it either. Yeah, even though there was another Oh, go ahead. Colleen Schnettler 14:00 I was gonna say even stuff, like invoicing. Like we invoice the customer, the client? Do I invoice you guys? Ask us guys, US people, US people? Or do I from my LLC? Or do I take a distribution? Like how you Unknown Speaker 14:14 just did you just destroyed our bank account to yourself? Yeah. So we'll just invoice Amazon, you can just pay yourself? Unknown Speaker 14:22 Yeah, I think that's right. But I don't know, actually, we need to check because I don't know if, you know, Colleen takes that as an owner distribution. That doesn't. That doesn't offset our revenue. So like if Hammerstone makes, you know, let's say Hammerstone makes $10,000 but actually 9500 Oh, call is a good point. We need to recognize that as an expense otherwise, hammer stones pay $1,000 Yeah, so not an owner. Just contribution. No, we shouldn't do it that way. That's right. So let's not do accounting live on air because this is something that's definitely definitely one we'll need to get sorted. I don't think anything changes. You've been invoicing us, and we've been paying you and I don't think anything changes but wanting to double check that. Yeah, fun stuff. Colleen Schnettler 15:25 I know. It is like surprising. I'm sure we will be happy. We hashed all this out. But like at this point in the business, it feels frustrating, right? Because it feels like it's slowing us down. We have to have meetings, we haven't talked out lawyer to like, Oh my gosh, can we just do our work? Like, I Unknown Speaker 15:40 don't want to write tests. I just want to write the products like, this is this is the testing of business. You have to do all this stuff you don't want to do. Yeah, that's funny, though. Unknown Speaker 15:50 I don't mind it at all feels absolutely necessary. Really great. Yeah. That's wonderful. Oh, that gets a job that we have to do. I mean, got to do it. Colleen Schnettler 15:59 That's interesting. Yeah, I just I don't know. I'm just like, let's just skip all this. It's fine. But it's good to do it. You're absolutely right. Unknown Speaker 16:07 That's why we have you, Sean. So I think, you know, we have all this context. And this is actually a podcast, not just a Hangout. So I think it would be interesting to talk just quickly about how the three of us like how we ended up here. Because like Sean said, he and I have just been yoloing it and just like, yeah, we own 50% of the company. Let's shake hands. And that's because Shawn and I didn't just meet on the internet yesterday. And you know, bringing in a third partner is a big deal. But we didn't just, you know, meet Colleen off the street. So, Shawn, do you want to talk about how you and I met? And how long ago that was? Unknown Speaker 16:52 Yes. Before Isaac was born, so probably eight years ago. And I was I just quit my job to start writing sketchy CSS and I went to the bacon biz conference, right? Is that what it's called? bacon bits. Yeah, yeah. Amy hoy. And yeah, anyway, now pixelmon. The other thing. The first one, actually, right. wasn't the first one. Yeah. So yeah. And you shared a room with Josh Pigford on that. Unknown Speaker 17:18 Yeah, I did I share it with Josh Pigford. Because the way that I knew Josh Pigford was cuz I shared a room with him at micro comp. He was on. So micro comp and bacon bids were the same year that year, and he had posted on the micro comp thing like, Hey, does anybody want to share room I'm normal. That's like, I doubt you're normal. But I'll look you up. And I looked him up. And we had like a zoom call. And I was like, Yeah, sure. I don't have any friends there. And I need like, you know, when you when you go into a conference, and you don't know anyone, and it's terrifying and like you're in high school with no friends. That's how I felt. So I was like, Yes, I'll share a room with this guy. And then he went to bacon business. So we shared a room again. It's so funny that you remember that? Unknown Speaker 18:06 Yeah, I met you. I met buckbee. I met Barry. Hmm, I think there was there Pete was there. I was not there. No, no, no, Pete wasn't there. He wasn't there. He wasn't. No, no, I didn't meet Pete in real life for a few years. Oh, wow. Yeah. But Pete was working on his stripe book around that time. And then and then Andrew had. So Andrew had a company called churn buster, Andrew Culver, a mutual friend of ours. So he had this company called churn Buster and turn Buster had a HipChat support channel, which he just had it so he would invite people to hang out with him in there. And then every now and then, is it chat customers or be his churn Buster customers would pop in and ask questions. And we'd be like, well, Andrew is not here. But like, have you tried blah, blah, blah. troubleshoot the problem? Unknown Speaker 18:58 It was such a scam. We did all this support for him. Unknown Speaker 19:02 Yeah. And there was also briefly, same in that same HipChat room, there was Patrick Collison a like yeah, that's right. It was in the HipChat room with us. forgot about that. Yeah. We've had people graduate out of Yeah. Yeah, but that's what we all met was that room like buckbee invited us from that conference. And then we started hanging out together there and then meet in real life every now and then, you know, it's making this conferences etc. So we just have this little community which has been growing and changing over the years. Now, it's a Slack channel. It's not Andrews. How to intercept or gel anymore. Unknown Speaker 19:47 Yeah, eight years ago, and then Colleen, you met Andrew first. Is that right? Are you met Michelle? Colleen Schnettler 19:54 Andrew? No, I met Andrew first Sean actually. Put Michelle and I Touch I believe. So I met Andrew, I was going to the Ruby on Rails meetups in Virginia Beach. And there were like three people that attended these meetups like it was not. They were not well attended. But Andrew came to speak at one. And this was maybe four or five years ago, I don't remember. Andrew came to speak at one. And afterwards, we all went out to get drinks all four of us, because he and one of our mutual friends knew each other really well. And so Andrew told me so this is like back when I'm in my just want to launch a product phase kind of that, you know, in the beginning when you like have that really strong desire, but you're aimless because you don't have any contact salutely Yes, yeah, that's back in those days. So Andrew and I were talking about business ideas. So he told me about the slack group. So then I joined the slack group. And then I started having weekly lunches with the Virginia Beach people. And that's kind of how I got to know everyone. And then I met you guys will show that I had worked on and off together. Occasionally we were on the same contract. But we never really worked together. I feel like we were always we didn't really know each other, even though we kind of worked together. And then I met you two, what, two years ago, in real life. I think it was two years ago in the dc, dc. DC was the first time so before that I had never met Aaron and you were really active Aaron in the Slack channel. So I like didn't even know who you were. And Sean I kind of knew because he was like the React guy that worked on the same contract I worked on, but we've never really worked on together. Yeah. And then I met you guys IRL, as they say, yeah. Unknown Speaker 21:39 And we have another so obviously, we skipped the retreat last year. But we have another in person retreat coming up. Yeah, hopefully. Colleen Schnettler 21:49 Hopefully. Yeah. We'll see. I'm nervous. I'm nervous about it. Yeah, same. I will say though, good. Unknown Speaker 21:59 Saying that I feel nervous about it, too. I wasn't even thinking about it. But until recently, when all the sudden I've had to start having new, like, bubble conversations with my parents about like, Who's gonna watch Isaac if like, he has an outbreak in his class? And like, should we do the after school care for him where you guys want to commit to it? So he's not like with all these other kids? And I'm like, Oh, no, this is a retreat even gonna happen? Colleen Schnettler 22:22 Yeah, I hope so. We'll see. But I would say like going back to the three of us working together, we never really got to know each other. Well, I would say until we started working together recently, about, what, eight months ago now. I mean, I think that I don't think I any of us, and I can just speak for myself, you guys would not have invited me in to this company eight months ago, right? Like, we didn't have that relationship. I mean, we had no context on each other, we had never worked together. So I think like us forming a partnership has really grown over that working together almost every day, you know, over the extended period of time. Definitely. Unknown Speaker 23:00 Yep. I would absolutely agree. Yeah, I think. So. I think, just from my perspective, like the thing, the problem that we're working on, and maybe we should describe it, because I don't know that everyone has listened from Episode One, which you should. So the thing that we're doing is, it's like a visual Query Builder. So you know, when you go to, let's use ecommerce, because that's an easy example, when you go to an e commerce website, and you're like, I want shoes that are Nikes, in size 11, or 12, and are black and are under $100, and ship in two days. So like, you can build up your, you know, your perfect filter, just kind of like on the fly. We're building that as a component. So you can just drop it in to your Rails application, or you can just drop it into your Laravel application. And then the application developer can say, here are all the conditions that I want to offer my users, I want to offer them shoe size, and shoe color and price. And then Hammerstone, y'all figure out how do you show that on the front end? How do you do validation? How do you apply that to the database? How do you store that so that they can like, you know, generate a report and send it later. So that's like, that's the product we're building. And it's called refine, and that's what we've been working on for a long time. And I think, from my perspective, one of the reasons that I was like, Yes, we absolutely have to have Colleen is because you've spent like eight months or a year getting your head around this problem, which it takes that long, and I think you have an extremely good grasp on the problem space and it's like a very complicated problem. And you've got, like, you've got ideas on how to make it How to make it successful in the rails world, which I don't have, I don't have the context, I don't have the knowledge, I don't have the experience. And so somebody that has the whole problem set loaded into their mind and is really excited about it and wants to make it a Rails thing. I was like, Yes, let's do it. Bring her on. Absolutely. Unknown Speaker 25:23 Yeah, I think it makes sense. Because it makes sense. If we're, if we're just doing like a really small, like little project, that's gonna make a couple 1000 bucks a month. First of all, Aaron, you should just launch that without me. And then, but we're not like I think we have, I have at least a larger sort of thesis in mind for building a lot of different types of components like this. And we realized that like, we can build front ends that are compatible with different back ends, and we could build a Rails version level version of Python version, like, there's a choice for how we could like, expand our market, we could do, we could go down that route. There's other ways to do it. But like, that was a possibility. And here we are, we were presented with the opportunity to build a Rails version paid for by a client. And now we can have somebody take over that piece and own that, that's a no brainer for me. So it kind of commits us to the strategy of like, we're going for two different markets. And that's how we're going to, you know, like, increase our market size. But I also think that makes sense, long term. And it makes sense that Coleen run the run the rail side. Colleen Schnettler 26:38 I think so I have listened to your podcast, I think you guys are really, like, I feel like your excitement, I don't know, I know, you can kind of see the potential. But literally everyone I have ever worked for could use this query builder. So it's just I mean, when you describe it, Aaron, I think it's hard to describe it. Because someone asked me, he was like, What is this thing you guys are building that you're so excited about. And I was like, I don't know how to describe it concisely. But the power like when you guys first, when we first talked about this, I literally thought it was just going to be, you know, a couple scopes, right? Like, you're just like, Oh, I'm going to scope the model, and I'm going to send you the string. And you're just going to scope the model on it. And that's not what it is at. All right. So I just think, I think we can grow this business with just this product to, you know, larger than any of us have done before, like, This product is really spectacular. I mean, it's just so cool. And I think it'll be cool to like, approach it on different fronts, it'll be really interesting to see how it does in Rails versus, you know, Laravel, and just kind of see the growth trajectory. And both of those ecosystems. Yeah, it's gonna be cool. Unknown Speaker 27:47 Yeah. To get there, though, like, there's, there's some problems. You know, like, it's not, like, Yes, I definitely could, every entrepreneur could see how their product could be used everywhere. Like, that's 100% true of every entrepreneur who creates a product, like everybody should use this. But like, I think that for us, there's the obvious, like, low hanging fruit of, we're gonna get some sales from on the site, like you and Aaron are basically gonna do like dev rel, you're going to do like a little bit of content marketing, you're going to be building up the those relationships, and we'll get a few sprinkles of sales there. And those are going to be people that are going to buy it like because they're like, Oh, yeah, I was gonna build this, but instead, I'm going to buy it right. So they're already at that build versus buy decision point, then, and they already know, like, they need the thing. They already know, they need a query builder that they probably already, like, use that word or phrase even. So they're pretty far along in the process. In order for us to get out further and deeper into the market. That's where we have to start doing some convincing or pointing out to people that like, Look, you can, you could drop this into your product. Now you don't even see the need for it. But like, I could we then show can show the need for it. And I think that's a that's like another harder problem. So there's like, how far can we get on people that are going to make build versus buy decision? And how, how can we figure out systems to get in front of them right then? And then what's the next step, the next layer, like pulling in these other people that like you could add this into your app now. And it solves pains You didn't even know you had kind of situation, which is a lot harder. That's like a lot harder. A thing is possible. I mean, I've already had conversations with somebody who's interested, like they're just what are you doing? And I explained it to them. And then I explained it in the context of their app. And they were like, Oh, I need it. Right. So I know it's possible. But it's very hard. Which that's gonna be my job. Yeah, seriously. Unknown Speaker 29:48 Yeah. And I think like, Colleen, you've worked on a bunch of different clients. So you're not just looking out and being like, oh, the world needs this. You're looking back on your clients and being like, no, the people That I did work for in the app, they need this. Is that right? Colleen Schnettler 30:04 Yes. Yeah. And since they're my clients like I would, I mean, that's the nice thing about consultants. Right? I'd be like, you all need to buy this immediately. And they would. But yeah, to Shawn's point we how do we expand past our existing networks? Right? Like, that's basically, you know, we have we have pretty good networks of people in our community, people in the indie SAS community. How do you expand beyond that? Unknown Speaker 30:31 Huh? Yeah, exactly. That's, that's the hard part. But if we do that, then we definitely have a business. But that's like one of these things that we have to that's, that's the hard part. Yeah. My my movies a couple Unknown Speaker 30:44 years, my move so far has not been expanding beyond my personal network, it's been expanding my personal network. So like I'm trying right now, to gather up more and more Laravel like connections and eyeballs. And the way I've been doing that, as you know, putting out either open source projects, or blog posts or torchlight is another great example, something that something that's not gonna make us rich, you know, independently, but is getting a lot of traction within Laravel the ecosystem of people saying like, Oh, this is really cool, let me you know, follow the story, follow this guy who's doing it or sign up and use it myself. And so that's been my move so far. But obviously, that only scales, that only scale so far, but it's definitely like, it's definitely step one, I mean, might as well start with the inner circle. So Unknown Speaker 31:45 I think there's been me is another benefit of having Colleen was, like, takes it I was gonna have to do what Colleen is doing now, like on the rail side, like what you're doing in Laravel, I was gonna have to do that. And I am a Rails developer, but it's, I'm not as well connected in that community. And it's a bit of a stretch, I could get there. But like the learning curve was going to be large. I was trying to figure out ways to like hire contractors to like, kind of get me there and like, So this takes that off my plate entirely. And then like, focus on the hard problem. Which is like where I've been, I have gotten to the point where I have a business that is selling products, paying my bills, doing what you're talking about Aaron doing the devil stuff. And like having doing content marketing and that sort of thing. I've been there getting past that is a whole other thing that I want to figure out and do. And that's, like, that's the goal for me at least. Unknown Speaker 32:43 Well, I've never gotten to the point where I have a business paying my bills, like a product paying my bills. So I'm glad we have you beyond that, because you've been there I have not calling you haven't either, right? You have simple file upload, but it doesn't pay bills. And so to have your mind working on that issue, well, Colleen and I are doing other stuff, I think I think it's gonna work out quite just know Unknown Speaker 33:10 for everyone. Like, I could just get you guys ahead of you and tell you how you're gonna feel a year from now. You're gonna be like, how do I make more money than this? I'm like, right on the cusp of like a real business. What do I do? Yeah. It's just the next step. Yeah. Well, hopefully you've got it all sorted out by then. Yeah, we'll have it all figured out. Yeah, perfect. I'll just have buckbee tell me what to do. Seriously, Colleen Schnettler 33:35 that usually works. Yeah, that does usually work. Alright, what else? Nobody, nobody, nobody. I'm good. Unknown Speaker 33:51 So we're gonna do, we're gonna do three people from now on, right? calling your game to join all of Yeah, yeah. Hope, right. That's great. Some, some weeks you and I can just talk technical the whole time. I think that's gonna be one of the fun things is, like, I've already picked up a lot of good stuff for the lair Val product from, like working with you. And I think that is going to expand beyond just the Refine, like, refine is the name of our product just beyond refine, into other, like, either open source packages or other products be like, hey, what? what exists in Laravel that doesn't exist in rails and vice versa. I think that'll be a fun, like cross pollination opportunity, either for content or for products. But I'm thinking right now, especially for content. Yeah. So, all right, well, so we just call it there. Colleen Schnettler 34:57 Sounds good. All right. Michele Hansen 35:00 Michelle again. That's all for software social for this week. You can go to Hammerstone dot dev to learn more about that project and listen to their past episodes. We'll talk to you next week. Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Indie Hackers

#221 – How an indie hacker is competing with Buffer with Samy Dindane of Hypefury

Aug 11th — In this episode I catch up with Samy Dindane (@SamyDindane), the creator of Twitter growth tool Hypefury. I'll ask him how he found his co-founder from an Indie Hackers post, how he grew Hypefury past $20K MRR, and why indie hackers don't have to solve a completely unique problem to be successful. Hypefury Twitter: https://twitter.com/hypefury Hypefury Podcast: https://hypefury.com/podcast/

Startup to Last

Sustainability starts with planning

Aug 10th — Topics this week: Rick is canceling his CRM subscription. Tyler is considering where his newsletter fits into his overall plan. Based on our conversation last week, Rick has new clarity around the future of LegUp Health. Tyler explains how LACRM came up with their long-term product roadmap. Rick is going through continuing education. We discuss some touchy feely things related to the passage of time.

Software Social

Breaking 200

Aug 10th — Michele and Colleen discuss Michele surpassing the 200 mark for books sold and how Colleen is in a bit of a rut on her product.

Startup to Last

What to cut and what to keep

Aug 5th — Topics from this episode: Less Annoying CRM is back to remote-first because of the new wave of the virus. LACRM had a new developer start this week. Rick is thinking about how to simplify his business. Specifically, what can he cut? We discuss what it means to be a calm company. Or is that even the goal?

Run With It

Landfill Mining with Aaron Nesser

Aug 5th — If you like the show, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts ! Nuggets: Currently there is more aluminum stored in landfills than in the mineral where aluminum is sourced in nature. Not all landfills are created equal. Landfills near industrial areas contain more metals like steel, aluminum, and iron. Jevons Paradox could be leveraged: The paradox occurs when technological progress or government policy increases the efficiency with which a resource is used, but the rate of consumption of that resource rises due to increasing demand. Action Steps: Find ways to intercept potentially valuable materials before they end up in the landfill. "Bank" salvaged material for future use Reach out to explore partnerships with existing companies like Terracycle Links: https://www.algiknit.com/ https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/ <em>Aaron Nesser is the founder of AlgiKnit, which creates eco-conscious, renewable yarns for the circular economy. </em> Love a part of the show? Did we get something completely wrong? Let us know at [email protected]

Indie Bites

Founder Hot Seat - Overcoming mental health challenges [Bonus]

Aug 5th — Listen to the full conversation here on Stefan's podcast. This is about 17 minutes of a recording with my friend Stefan on his Founder Hot Seat podcast , which is a show that explores the real challenges that founders have in their business and how to overcome them. I've had a ton of messages from people after listening to my previous bonus episode where I explained some of the challenges I've had with mental health over the past few months, and this episode was super helpful for me to navigate some of those challenges and set a path forward. From Stefan This episode is a twist on the normal format. James has publicly shared the challenges he's been going through with his mental health. We explore the journey James has been on over the past year, including when things began to change, what that felt like on a day-to-day basis, how James has worked on his recovery and how he plans to move forward. Follow Stefan Twitter Talk To Stefan Follow Me Twitter Indie Bites Twitter Personal Website Buy A Wallet

Indie Hackers

#220 – Be Brave, Not Cool, with Michael Seibel of Y Combinator

Aug 4th — Michael Seibel (@mwseibel) and I discuss the secret sauce of what goes on inside Y Combinator and how indie hackers can create it for themselves. And because Michael sees nearly 2,000 startups a year--we'll find out the difference between companies that make it and companies that don't. Follow Michael on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mwseibel Read startup advice on the YC Startup Library: https://www.startupschool.org/ Apply for a YC batch: https://www.ycombinator.com/apply

Software Social

Decisions, Decisions

Aug 3rd — Buy Michele's book! deployempathy.com Michele Hansen 0:00 Hey, welcome back to Software Social. This episode of Software Social is sponsored by Noko . When you're bootstrapping on the side, every free moment counts. But do you really know how you're spending those moments? Which days you're most productive? If your product has time sings that just don't pay. Here's one way to find out. Noko is a time tracker designed to help you learn from the time you track. And Noko makes it frictionless to give yourself good data to you can even log time directly from your GitHub commit messages. Try Noko today and save 15% off every plan forever. Visit NokoTime.com/SocialPod to start making your time work for you. Colleen Schnettler 0:50 So Michele, I went to purchase your book yesterday on Amazon. And I saw that it is the number one new release in business books. Michele Hansen 1:04 Is this research and development. But yes. And I The crazy thing is is you were the first person to notice like I didn't know that until you tweeted. Colleen Schnettler 1:15 Yes, that makes me so happy. So I was gonna text you but like my number one Google searches What time is it in Denmark? It was like 4am or something. So I was like, Okay, I'll just tweet about it. And she'll see it when she wakes up. Michele Hansen 1:29 Thanks. I remember seeing that. And I was like, oh my god. Um, yeah, that was really, really, really unexpected. It's been, it's been such a week. Colleen Schnettler 1:42 Yeah. So how many copies Have you sold? Okay, so Michele Hansen 1:46 on Amazon, including paperback and Kindle 47. And then I also closed the pre sale on Monday. And so that was 127 copies there. Wow. Colleen Schnettler 2:07 Yeah, that's a lot. Michele Hansen 2:09 Yeah. So yeah, like over 150. which feels, which feels pretty good. Colleen Schnettler 2:16 Um, and, Michele Hansen 2:20 but, yeah, I mean, and it's kind of fun seeing the orders from around the world, like, you know, like us, Germany, Japan, UK, Canada, Australia. Like, I mean, I know, there's a lot of places where Amazon isn't. And I don't have that data for the PDF version out in Brazil, too. But, you know, I mean, this. I feel like this whole book was, like people from around the world, most of whom I have never met and had never met before. were part of making this book happen of encouraging it and sharing the newsletters and replying to them and sharing their own stories with me about their experiences with talking to customers and what they've struggled with and what's worked for them. And I'm just, I'm just so moved. Like, it's just, yeah, it's been. It's been quite a week. Colleen Schnettler 3:21 Yeah, that's wonderful. I'm so happy for you. And I'm happy the launch has gone so well. Michele Hansen 3:27 Yeah, and I think it's not like a like a sort of a big bang launch. here because it is kind of summer and you know, things are moving a little slowly. And also doesn't, doesn't have to be it'd be a huge thing. But so right now, kind of focusing on trying to get reviews of the book on Amazon before I tried to do a Product Hunt launch. I think that's kind of like, I feel like good right now with like launching it with the people who have been along for the journey and supporting it. And, you know, someone actually sent me some like, little, like, formatting quirks they noticed in their version. And so I kind of want to get those ironed out. Before you know, bring the book to people who may not be so understanding of, you know, yeah, seeing that. Some stray formatting or whatnot. Um, yeah. Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 4:27 Does Amazon have analytics built in to their book publishing platform? Because you mentioned you could see where people were coming from? Michele Hansen 4:34 Yeah, actually, I can pull it up right now. So the whole that the KDP or Kindle Direct Publishing is what they call it. They have this little dashboard, so I can see that. Um, so yeah, there's been orders from US, UK, Germany, Japan, and Canada, and Brazil. And it tells me like, what day they're ordered on and then also the Kindle reading percentage. Which I guess they use to determine the quality of the book. So like when you did on a Kindle, Amazon is kind of creepily like tracking that and basically, you know, but like, basically people buy this book, and then they read 10 pages of it, and then they don't ever open it again. Amazon takes that as a signal about the quality of the book. Oh, yeah, I mean, so maybe like, people buy it just to like, have it just in case. But so but it can show me for example, that super creeped out by that, Colleen Schnettler 5:31 by the way, like gender weird. And Michele Hansen 5:35 65 pages have been read. Total. And then I think it can also show me like the there's been 24 pages read today. Colleen Schnettler 5:47 So Wow, that's wild. I didn't know that. Michele Hansen 5:51 I feel a little so. Colleen Schnettler 5:52 Yeah, a little bit. So tell me about the feedback you've been getting from people have a lot of people have been reaching out to you to tell you, you know, give you feedback on their experiences with the book. Michele Hansen 6:01 Yeah, people have been so nice. Um, as I mentioned, a bunch of people were posting reviews, but I feel like you need more before I launch it on product times are kind of go on some big podcasts to promote it. Because like those people, they don't know me, they haven't been listening. They haven't been following along. Like, why the, you know, why the heck should they care who I am and what I wrote about, right. So, um, so yeah, people have been just so generous with their time and their energy of helping to get the word out about the book. And any, I've gotten nice emails from people, it's actually been kind of funny to get texts from my friends about it, because I haven't really talked about it much with like, my friends and family because it's not relevant to most of them. Like, I feel like, you know, I feel like I describe it. And I'm like, well, it's like, super nice. It's like how to, like, create software products and sell them and stuff like that. And Mathias is always like, no, everybody should have this book. It's so relevant. Everyone, like, you know, I there's like this little like group of like real estate agents in Canada who are really excited about it, for example. Um, and, um, but so like, even just getting texts from friends of mine, who I haven't really talked to about, it has been such a nice surprise, like, one of my friends sent me a picture of her two year old son flipping through it when it arrived. And apparently, he loves the duck on the cover. Totally warms my heart. But actually, oh, negative, um, there was somebody who tweeted something negative at me, like, what was it? They're like, like my first tweet, where I like tweeted out about how it was available on Amazon, this person that doesn't follow me, and I don't follow and tweeted that. They replied to me, and they said, aka manipulation for Dummies. And I like looked at it. I was like, really? Like, you come to like, somebody's like celebration of this, and you show up with negativity like that. And then I thought they made the wise decision and deleted it. So. Okay, um, yeah, it was like a little is a little weird. And I mean, it hasn't weighed on me too much. And I think it is a concern of mine. I have right that like, people will manipulate people with this. But I think like people who are manipulative, like, they have long figured out all of this and more, and they don't need an instruction manual. Like those people intuitively understand how to manipulate people and use it for their evil and they don't need instructions. So So mostly people have been, have been positive. And it's, yeah, it's, it's honestly gone. So much better than I ever could have hoped. And, really, it really never would have come to fruition. Never mind been like this, had I not done it in public and had it not started out, you know, as just a humble little newsletter. And, you know, I think if I had done the image I had in my head of what a writer does, which is sort of disappear into a cave for a year and not speak to anyone or, you know, like, see sunlight for that period of time. And then emerge with this, you know, glowing tablets of wisdom or whatever, like, I never would have published it. And I also don't think it would be getting received like this. And so I'm just, I feel like I keep repeating myself, but I'm just so grateful for how supportive people have been and how so many people around the world have contributed to this. Whether it was you know, leaving anonymous comments on those early drafts on help this book or You know, tweeting support or reading rough drafts, like, you know, reading reading copies of it, like writing reviews, like just all of that is just, it's it's really deeply moving. To me. That's wonderful. And your support to Coleen? Colleen Schnettler 10:20 I'm taking full credit. I've taken credit. I feel like this was my idea. I feel like when we started this podcast, I said, let me tell you how this is gonna end. Michelle's gonna write a book and I'm gonna launch a product. And here we are, we went to podcasting. Michele Hansen 10:34 Anyway, so speaking of that, I have to mention that today is the one year anniversary of our first episode. Colleen Schnettler 10:45 Oh my goodness, can you believe it's been a year? Michele Hansen 10:47 I can't. I cannot Colleen Schnettler 10:50 unrelated to this where we like recap everything that is so Michele Hansen 10:59 I just can't believe it. I mean, it's, it feels like so long ago that we started with also doesn't feel like that long ago. Colleen Schnettler 11:16 Yeah, it doesn't feel like a year to me. I was kind of surprised when you mentioned that. I mean, we've come so far. I think we talked about it a little bit last week or the week before when I was kind of bemoaning how I feel like I'm moving really slowly. Um, but if you look at what you've accomplished over a year, like it's, it's really been significant. Michele Hansen 11:39 Yeah, and I mean, you know, talking about the book too, like Patrick McKenzie is talking about friend catchers of like, things that you do that, you know, get you get you friends, basically. And I feel like this podcast has been such an amazing friend Catcher in a year that has otherwise been quite lonely and difficult with the pandemic, to have this going on to not only like, sort of force us to keep talking to each other were like, just for like, we used to be basically neighbors and meet up at a local coffee shop. And then now we have a nine hour time difference between us like, we would not be talking this much like an actually talking and not just like texting had, like if we didn't have this podcast, and I'm grateful for that. And and I'm also so grateful for everyone who has kind of jumped on to this like weird little project of ours and and want to be a part of it. Yeah, yeah. Colleen Schnettler 12:42 It's cool. It's cool. Speaking of, I don't I haven't heard that term friend catcher's, but it made me think of something I wanted to talk to you about. So I have some friends who have a business, and I've been consulting for them for about six months. And yesterday, they offered to bring me in as a full partner. Oh, and I don't know what to do. I mean, I do know what I want to do. But it's it's like a lot. And I think that these kinds of opportunities. I knew these guys be independent of the podcast, but I definitely think like expanding my reach has helped bring more of these kinds of opportunities to my doorstep, which is really cool. Michele Hansen 13:24 Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 13:25 Yes. So so I don't know. So that's something I'm considering. If I go in with them, there'd be three of us, it'd be a company of three founders. They don't actually have a launched product yet. But they have they own the IP of something. They built at work that they want to spin off and turn into its own product. Michele Hansen 13:44 Is this like, an open source? Like, I know you're involved with a couple of things? I think I might know which one this is. But they have some like open source stuff going on? Is it that one? Colleen Schnettler 13:56 Yeah, it's that one? Michele Hansen 13:57 Ah, sorry. Oh, a little bit cryptic here. Colleen Schnettler 14:01 I don't know if I'm gonna say yes. So I don't want to. I don't want to like, name them yet. But um, it's a really cool opportunity. I am really, I think their product is spec. They're not it's not a product yet. But I think their IP is spectacular. And it's making waves to like, yeah, yeah, people are excited about it. What they're doing is really cool. And I love the idea of, as we've talked about, like going in with, with people, and I know these guys really well. So it's not like random people that I'd be starting a company with. Yeah, I love going in with people that are unknown quantity. So that's exciting. So Michele Hansen 14:41 like, just sort of, like recap. So I mean, so so when we started this podcast, right, like you were working full time as a, you know, software consultants, and had clients and you wanted to start a SAS and then you sort of finally picked something and started launching that in September of last year, and then bi, which is simple file upload. And then by December, you had something that was logical, you got into the Roku marketplace, it went public and you're allowed to start charging for it in February, you've gotten to this about 1000. Mr. Mark at this point, now you've kind of switch gears a little bit, you're still doing that you recently took a full time job that you're working Monday through Thursday, to lower some of that stress of having clients and and have work be a little more predictable and give you that space to also to still work on your SAS but not have it have that pressure of bringing in your full time income. And so you can kind of just just like a little. So how would being a partner in this project change that? Like, what would things look like on a practical level? Colleen Schnettler 15:54 I think practically, I don't know. So those are the details I'm trying to work out right now. Like, what would that look like? What would my involvement be? with them and selling their product? I think part of the reason is so so I built as, as a consultant for them, I built out a Rails or Ruby on Rails version of this product. So they kind of the reason they're asking me is because the bulls evangelist or the person who sells it to the rails community, essentially, because they cover a different a different back end community with their expertise. So I think that is a big concern is can I do all the things? I mean, that's, that's what I have to figure out. And I know we talk a lot on this podcast about trying to balance all the things. I want to do all the things. I need to figure out if I can do all the things and I can take advantage of this opportunity. Michele Hansen 16:52 Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 16:53 Oh, it's interesting, because as when when we try to grow like this, we always say, oh, I'll just hire someone, it is really hard to just hire someone. I think to find good developers, when I can think of the contract developers I know that I would hire to work on simple file upload, I think of two people that I have worked with before. And both of those people are incredibly busy. You know, like, I think when it's when it's your product, because theoretically, I could hire more help on simple file upload. And then I could try this other role with these guys on their product. But I'm hiring someone. It's not easy, like it's not, you know, I think everyone who's tried to do this can attest to that, especially good contract developers. Michele Hansen 17:41 So I want to run through some hypotheticals with you, and you tell me how you're feeling about them. Okay. Number one, is, you have this this this job you're working on Monday through Friday. And then on nights, you work on tipo, file upload, and then on Fridays, you work on this other thing. Let's just picture that in our heads for a moment. How do you feel about that? Colleen Schnettler 18:12 I don't feel good about that. Okay. And I think I think part of the background for folks that, you know, I don't know why you would know my life story. So I taught myself to code while I was working full time and had kids. And that was freaking exhausting. Like for, I don't know, two years, every sit if you go back in my Twitter history, like I used to do that 100 days of code thing, like, maybe not two years, but like, at least a year. I mean, every single night, I would listen to the code newbies podcast while I did the dishes, so I'd get pumped up about learning to code. And then I go every night and I was exhausted. And it worked out great for me, like, you know, I am exactly where I wanted to be when I did that. But that was really exhausting. And I'm in this really comfortable place now. And I want to be successful in my SAS. That's important to me. But I don't want to do that again. Yeah, I mean, it's just not not where I am right now in my life. Like, I don't want to be a slacker, but I also don't want to work 12 hours a day. Michele Hansen 19:15 Yeah. Understandably. I mean, you you did that like, and you know how hard it is. And it makes sense that you would not want to go back to that. Yeah. Okay. Here's another hypothetical. You keep the the nine to five Monday to Thursday job. You list simple file upload on micro acquire and it fetches one of those insane multiples that people are getting for stuff making $1,000 a month I require right now. And then you work on this other thing on Fridays? Colleen Schnettler 19:52 Yeah, so I thought about that. I feel like simple file upload though, is going to be so successful because I feel Like, I don't know. So I don't want to do that. The thing is, I don't want to do anything. I don't want to take on too many things that I do them all poorly, right? That's important. And I keep thinking, like the people who get what they want, are really good at focusing and not getting distracted. The people who spread themselves too thin no one wins. Michele Hansen 20:18 I mean, it's one who runs a company has a podcast and just wrote a book. I beg to disagree. Colleen Schnettler 20:25 You did them all spectacular. I don't know about that. But you know. So I think that I, so I thought about selling simple file upload, but it's almost feature complete, it's pretty much feature complete, and it just makes me money. If I don't touch it, it's just, it's just growing. Like, it's like magic unicorn over there. Michele Hansen 20:48 I mean, we just described a like cash throwing asset that doesn't need a ton of work on it that people would want to buy. Colleen Schnettler 20:57 Well, that's true. I mean, you could say that's why someone would buy it, because it literally, but I could also I mean, it's, I could just leave it my thought. Okay, so my thought is, what if I just leave it? Like, it doesn't need, we've talked about a lot of things like, my sister is working on some marketing plans for it, get it feature complete, there's like one or two things I need to add. I could just let it make me money, right. I mean, it's just or, or I turned down this other opportunity. And I go all in, not all in I mean, I continue with plan a plan A, which is focus on simple file, upload and see if I can grow it faster, while having that comfort and security of the full time job. Michele Hansen 21:45 I don't know. Okay, before we sort of move into that, let's just run through the last hypothetical that I thought of, and there's probably more, but we'll just stick it out with this one. You keep going with the nine to five, Monday through Thursday job. You work on simple file upload on Fridays, and you turn down this offer to work with these people who you think are working on. Okay, I'm not going to bias your, your. Colleen Schnettler 22:16 Um, so that's a good option, too. I feel like Okay, so let's let me take a step back and acknowledge the incredible, amazing position I'm in where I'm like, Oh, I have all these amazing opportunities. I don't know which one to take. So that's pretty spectacular. So I'm pretty happy about all of my choices. I don't think I can make a wrong choice here. I want to go in with these guys. Because I want co founders, I've always wanted co founders. I know it's hard it can it can bring conflict, and it's harder, but it's I think will be way more fun. And I think their product is really cool. I think it might be cooler than my product specials. So Michele Hansen 22:57 how does the thought of not working on that and walking away from it feel? Colleen Schnettler 23:03 I think I'll regret it. Because I think when they start selling their product, they're gonna be millionaires. Like no joke. I mean, I think I don't think it'd be bad though. Like, I don't think it's a bad choice to walk away. If I walk away, then they'll just keep keep on keep on in and I can, you know, cheer them on from the sidelines. And we could always decide later, you know, they don't haven't even launched their product yet. Like, just so you know, so we can always decide later, maybe in six months, I have more time. And they're like, Oh, we really need a salesperson. Now, if I come in later, they're not going to offer me a full third. I'm sure they'll be like, we'll give you x amount. But I don't think I'm shutting the door completely on that opportunity if I don't take it right now. Michele Hansen 23:47 So they're offering you a full third. Yeah, Colleen Schnettler 23:51 that is Michele Hansen 23:53 interesting. Um, you know, to the the, I feel like that sort of brings us back to the option of, you know, you have a full time job, which is paying you then you have this SAS that basically doesn't need any work from you, where you casually make $12,000 a year, like without doing a whole lot like no big deal. And then you spend your Fridays working on this other thing. And maybe sometimes you have to put in some hours on simple file upload or you've got some help from contractors. How does that option feel? Colleen Schnettler 24:27 That actually feels good to me. I mean, I, you know, I just, I want to make sure I'm putting good products out there in the world. So that is important to me to make sure that if I do something like that, that simple file upload is not getting the shaft because I feel that's my thing. And I feel very, very strongly about giving that product the time and attention it needs. But it is feature complete, almost. And so I could just let it ride, keep doing customer interviews. I mean what if I took the next six months Once you've been telling me to do this forever, instead of like, obsessing over what feature to add, I just talked to people, I just talked to my customers once a week, for six months, and then I have gathered, that doesn't take a ton of my time, couple hours a week, then I have gathered this amazing catalogue of data. And then who knows where everything will, will fall out in a period of time. And then after I've gathered this catalogue of data, I can decide what to do next with it. Michele Hansen 25:28 I mean, I'm an advocate of doing, doing the research and doing the work at the same time. And, and doing, you know, doing the research on an ongoing basis. And, you know, you don't have to wait until you have a pile of data to make decisions. Colleen Schnettler 25:43 I know, but I'm trying, I feel like you're telling me not to not to take on too much stuff. And just be aware of that, like, I feel like, that's the vibe I'm getting from you is you're like, I don't know, make sure you sort this out before you accept it. Michele Hansen 25:55 It seems like it's, it's, it's justifiably important to you to be conscious of your energy and how you're spending your time. And also this sort of like pride in your craft and what you're selling to people and making sure that when you're selling them something, you feel like it's worth that money that they're giving you and you are not content to just collect a check. Colleen Schnettler 26:18 Right. And I have to make sure it's good. Michele Hansen 26:21 And and this is something where it, maybe it is a little bit harder for me to say sort of intrinsically understand this because I have to have multiple things going on. You know, we are we are different people with different neurological systems. And I think you're afraid that if you take on, you know, these three things, that you're not going to be able to give any of them 100%. And, and, and that worries you and and you took this job for your family stability, you know, to as part of being a provider for your family. And it seems like you don't want to stress yourself to the point where your work performance suffers, or your performance on simple file uploads anytime you're so proud of it that you don't want to sell it. Colleen Schnettler 27:20 Yeah, I don't want to sell it because I'm so free, cuz you see the opportunity there too. Michele Hansen 27:25 But the same time, there's opportunity there. And the fact that the foundry really pioneered people like well absolutely buy it. And like it might help if you you know, you, you decided to go, you know, all in so to speak for your side project time on this other thing, and then you were sitting on, you know, I don't know, a casual, you know, $20,000 or whatever. Um, or more Actually, that's really low multiple, like, probably like 50 or $100,000. I would not be surprised if you fetch that. Gosh, seriously, like I've seen stuff like, what's our episode last week or a couple weeks ago about multiples? They're, like, absolutely bonkers multiples going for these, like sort of low MRR? sasses, like, under like, 10,000 a month, like even under 1000 a month. Like, like, I thought I saw one that was like 24 times revenue, which is Colleen Schnettler 28:19 wow, like, That's crazy. Yeah. Michele Hansen 28:23 Now, if you're making 500 a month, like, but still that's like, that's a huge premium. Colleen Schnettler 28:29 That's a huge Yeah, I don't know, I think you're right about, I think you're absolutely right about. I don't want to sell it because I feel very, I mean, it's my you know, it's my baby, like, I feel very invested in it. I'm excited. It feels like I finally finally, after you and I have been talking for years about my ideas, I found something that's working. So I then with me, their product is really cool. But they don't I think their products gonna work. I mean, it's pretty well validated because people have paid them to build it and let them keep the IP, but at the same time, they aren't actually selling anything yet. So they really haven't seen. Although I think you're absolutely right. It's going to be a, you know, a home run success. My thing is already working. So, you know, I'm hesitant to sell something that's working if I could just let it chill and get to it when I have time. Michele Hansen 29:31 You know, I remember I felt that way about when we were talking about God Oh, at first because we had this mobile app that was like working we had ad revenue like it was it was making us money and, um, and we desperately like, needed that money. And, and then it kind of came up that we you know, we need a geocoding for it to keep it going. And it was like she you know, should we put the time into it to make that into a product? Or should we focus on the thing that's already making money and just like, let it be just sort of something internal. And I remember having a lot of discussions with Mateus about that. And I remember I was on the side of, let's do the thing that's already making money. Because we know that's working. And, you know, lo and behold that app, I think it may be grossed $10,000, in its two or three years of existence. And, you know, God makes more than a day. So, like, Colleen Schnettler 30:35 it's, you know, these Michele Hansen 30:37 things are really hard to predict. Yeah, you know, you were saying of like, I think you're trying to tell me to do this. I'm not trying to tell you to do anything. I'm not here to tell you what to do. I'm here to help you think, Colleen Schnettler 30:50 think and Michele Hansen 30:53 I can't tell you what is going to be the right decision for you. I can't tell you what's going to leave you with the fewest regrets. Um, you know, there's this other option where like, you know, these guys, maybe it's worth saying to them, like, hey, like, I love to come on is as a full partner. Like, if you're okay with me, you know, splitting my time between this and simple file upload for a while, like, I'm not ready to decide on what I want to do a simple file upload. Colleen Schnettler 31:27 And, Michele Hansen 31:29 you know, because the thing about getting on something that you think is a rocket ship, like, there's no guarantees and like, rockets explode all the time. Like, yeah, they do. Yeah, like, and if you like, you know, and if you got, like, Unknown Speaker 31:44 you know, I don't know, Michele Hansen 31:47 little like propeller planes that next there that you know, is going to get you from A to B, like might not get you to the moon, but it's you know, going to get you a hop, skip and a jump away to where you want to be like, sometimes that's a little safer, you know? Yeah. And I mean, I think if you were saying I'm going to quit my job and simply file upload and work on this other thing, I would be like, Unknown Speaker 32:10 okay, let's, let's take a breath. Unknown Speaker 32:13 Um, Unknown Speaker 32:15 maybe you don't have to decide, Unknown Speaker 32:17 right? Yeah, Colleen Schnettler 32:19 yeah, I think more conversations. I think that's the right answer. I think I need to think a little bit. I liked your hypothetical. What does that look like? Michele Hansen 32:27 Yeah, just sort of went through it. Like, what are all different permutations? Colleen Schnettler 32:31 Yeah. Cool. All right. Well, tune in next week to find out what kylene has decided to do with her life again. Alright, so on that note, let's wrap up this week's episode of the software social podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in. If you enjoyed the show, please leave us a review on iTunes and we'd love to hear from you on Twitter. Michele Hansen 32:57 And thank you so much for listening. Whether this is your first episode you're listening to or You have been listening since the beginning. It really means a lot to both of us. And I keep wishing we could have like software, social con or something. We're just like, get together and hang out. Because I feel like that would be really fun. So yeah, thank you for listening. Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Run With It

A Run With It Listener Puts Chris and Eathan to the Test with Janne Tamminen

Jul 29th — If you like the show, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts ! Action Steps: Investigate current revenue split for concert venues Search for the managers/decision-makers of concerts at large venues Contact them via a cold call, email, or LinkedIn message Offer to run a trial event which you can help them presell a live stream of their upcoming concert If enough fans buy in, then produce the first event (keep a production budget of under $10K) Ask the venue to keep your equipment installed and sign them on as a partner Find more partners and offer a subscription service to fans You could offer a number of credits per month that could be used for various concerts <em>Janne Tamminen is the co-founder of Howl Live, a</em> cutting edge live concert streaming platform built for the music industry.

Indie Hackers

#219 – How to Make Your Business Model a Win-Win-Win - with Dan Shipper and Nathan Baschez of Every

Jul 28th — My guests today have a really exciting business model and strategy that I want to dig into. Dan Shipper (@danshipper) and Nathan Baschez (@nbashaw) are the founders of Every, a bundle of business focused newsletters. By structuring Every as a "collective," the writers are happier, the readers are getting better content, and Every is profitable. I want to find out how they get readers, how they get writers, and how "bundling" can be strategic for indie hackers. Subscribe to Every: https://every.to/ Follow Nathan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nbashaw Follow Dan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/danshipper

Software Social

It's Happening!

Jul 27th — Buy Michele's book! Paperback and Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/173744660X (or search Deploy Empathy on Amazon) PDF/ePub: deployempathy.com/pdf Michele Hansen 0:00 This episode of Software Social is sponsored by Orbit . Orbit is mission control for your community, grow and measure your community across any platform with Orbit . Find out more at orbit.love . Colleen Schnettler 0:14 Good morning, Michele. Hey, Michele Hansen 0:17 Hey, how are you? Colleen Schnettler 0:19 Great. So I hear that you have some new book updates. Michele Hansen 0:24 Yeah. So we finalized the cover this week. And I just saw, like just today just submitted it to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and Ingram Spark, which is another self publishing print on demand platform and filed for the copyright. So things are happening. Colleen Schnettler 0:47 That's exciting. Michele Hansen 0:51 Yeah, you know, I was thinking about our conversation last week, and how you were talking about how you felt like you weren't getting anything getting anything done? And I was like, man, I feel the same way. Colleen Schnettler 1:03 Really? Has it just felt like for weeks, Michele Hansen 1:07 yeah, like, I feel it? Well, you know, it's kind of it's like this weird in between liminal space where like, the copy has basically been final for a month now. And it's just sort of been kind of waiting on other things. And, and then there's also the, there's sort of the fact that it's summer here. And like summer camps aren't really as much of a thing here as they are in the US. Which, you know, I guess if like, most people who work for other people get four weeks of vacation, and they have kids, it's not really a big deal. But if you're self employed, it kind of is sure. Um, and so I, you know, I'm just sort of working at night and whatever. Or maybe I wake up early and get a couple hours in and like, man, I don't I don't know how parents in Europe who are self employed, do it. Like, I really, I really don't know. And like, just for weeks now I've been I mean, like, yeah, like, today's the day, I'm going to start recording the audio book, private podcast, I'm super excited about doing that. Now that the copy is finalized, I'm, like, ready to go. And it just like that time just keeps not happening. And I feel like I'm not making any progress. Um, but this morning, I did submit it and then not now it has to be reviewed. And I wanted to get a proof copy. But I think I might have done something wrong when I configured that option. And it just says your book might be published in 72 hours. Colleen Schnettler 2:44 That's fast. Okay. Michele Hansen 2:45 I haven't even like I wanted to, like, look at it and make sure the, you know, the cover looked right. And like, you know, the pages aren't upside down and whatnot. So okay, so I'm alone? I don't know. So maybe if you search on Amazon next week, you'll actually find it even though I'm not gonna tell anybody. Colleen Schnettler 3:01 But it won't be a physical copy yet. That's just Michele Hansen 3:04 so that'll be that the physical copy? Yeah, who would be a physical copy on Amazon, Amazon printed like, book to Amazon. I know, they could upload a book to Amazon. And then they print it whenever somebody buys it. Really? I know I was going, I was like, they let just anybody do this, like this? Wait, this is so Colleen Schnettler 3:25 easy. This is crazy. I had no idea. So so you submit to them your cover art and your book. And then when someone buys it, they print it on demand? Michele Hansen 3:34 There's some other stuff that happens. But basically, yes, that's cool. So I don't have to like go out and you know, buy, like, basically pay for a printer to print 500 copies or whatever, then mail them out myself, which I think is what you had to do before. Things like kind of KDP or Kindle on demand or Kindle on it was what they call it? Or, you know, sort of like Do you remember like cafe press in the 90s? Like, yes, people could make t shirts and then printed it whenever you bought one. It's basically like that for books. And then there's also in Ingram Spark, which is also print on demand. But I guess there's a lot of countries that Amazon doesn't serve. And also, I guess bookstores are more willing to work with Ingram spark than they are with Amazon because they can return books to Ingram spark because Ingram spark distributes a lot of non self published books to I'm learning all about this. So So yeah, so I uploaded it to them, and then they have to review it and like, I guess, make sure it looks good. Before it'll actually, I don't know, I don't know what's gonna happen next. So we're just, we're all going to find out together. I didn't really publish the ebook. I like, you know, Barnes and Noble and whatnot, like ebook platforms. I don't know. We will find out. Colleen Schnettler 4:58 That's exciting. So you are telling me in a matter of maybe five days, maybe less people will be able to purchase a physical copy of your book. I don't know, theoretically, probably, maybe we're gonna find out cheaper than this before. So Michele Hansen 5:15 I, originally I was like trying to give people estimates. And I was like, Yeah, it looks to me, like end of June. And then I just realized, I have no idea what I'm doing. Well, I knew that all along. But I realized that I have no idea what I'm doing. And therefore I should not try to predict what is going to happen next. Because that is just an exercise in folly to try to predict a process that I have no past experience with. Colleen Schnettler 5:41 Sure. So does that mean from you will come out when it comes out? Does that mean from your perspective that it's finished? Like you're done? Unknown Speaker 5:51 Ah, Michele Hansen 5:52 I mean, yeah, like, like yesterday Mateus looks at me, he goes, you know, this is just the beginning. Right? What does that mean? It's like Kunkle in his I Colleen Schnettler 6:01 started, Michele Hansen 6:02 because, I mean, after the book is like officially out, then there's there's the, the audio book to record, right. Like, I'm super excited about doing that as a podcast and recording it myself. You know, because then I can really make sure that the, the tone of voice is coming through and everything. And I just, you know, right. Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 6:25 Can I just say I'm super disappointed when authors don't read their own books. Unknown Speaker 6:30 Yeah, Colleen Schnettler 6:30 yeah. Like, that makes me sad. Like, there's a prominent bootstrapping book, which was great. But it was not read by the author. And I was sad. I don't know why. Like, I understand why people don't want to read their own books. Maybe they don't like to talk that much. Maybe they have an accent. And then yeah, me with it. I don't know. Michele Hansen 6:45 Yeah, exactly. I think people have different reasons for not recording their own book. But I am personally really excited to do it. And to do it as a podcast, too. Because, again, I feel like I never would have gotten the book out had I not written it as a newsletter, because for me, writing an email is a lot lower pressure and stress and just mentally, like cognitively easier than like sitting down staring at a blank cursor or thinking about writing a book. And I feel the same way about recording a podcast. Like it's like, oh, it's just a podcast. And actually, I don't even have to come up with anything to say I just read something like, great, versus the idea of sitting down to record an audio book for a 320 page book that feels daunting. But yeah, a bunch of podcast episodes for each chapter that feels easy. Feels written. They just have to be concatenated. Colleen Schnettler 7:35 Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So how is this been for you? You've been working on this four to six months. Michele Hansen 7:42 Since end of February, middle, middle end of February is when I started the new Okay, Colleen Schnettler 7:47 so four months. So how do you feel to me? Yeah, right. You just knock out a book and four months? Can I just say how ridiculous that is? By the way. That's not normal. Michele Hansen 7:59 I feel like it was all in my head already. I don't really do any original research. Colleen Schnettler 8:04 It's just funny because I feel like the arc of our podcast, like your story, and the arc of our podcast is we're chatting, we're chatting. I'm like, you should write a book. Unknown Speaker 8:12 You're like, Man, Colleen Schnettler 8:13 I'm like, you should write a book. You're like, yeah, and then you wrote it. And it's done. like four months later. It's like, wait, what happens? Michele Hansen 8:21 When I commit to doing something, I do it. And usually very quickly, so but it might take me a while to actually get around to doing it. Colleen Schnettler 8:31 How is this? Ben? Are you excited to have some time back? Do you feel like I mean, has it been quite stressful these past four to five months trying to work your full time job and write this book has been overwhelming. Michele Hansen 8:45 No, it's been fun Colleen Schnettler 8:46 because you love it. You love the material? Fine. Michele Hansen 8:48 Like it's a little it's a little side project. And I need a little side projects. It's, you know, it's, I mean, I guess this podcast started out as a side project. And then this podcast kind of spawned the book. So like, you know, just side projects beget side projects. But no, I mean, it's been good. It's been a really good outlet for me, like most of that newsletter, writing time was actually at night, like, you know, after, put our daughter to bed and just kind of sitting in bed with my laptop and just sort of enjoying writing things out. And as I said, sort of mentally cleaning out my closet and just hauling out all of these things that mentally felt like old pieces of furniture from my head that were collecting dust or, you know, where were things I was referencing often, but didn't really have a good place to send people to. So it was it was a relief in a way to write it. And then I had so much fun interviewing people who read the early drafts. I think a really pivotal moment was when I got it into a draft and then I put it on health this book, which is Rob Fitzpatrick, the author of the mom test his new platform for launching books, and he also wrote a book that sort of goes with the the platform called write helpful books. That is, I think it's coming out now. But I was given a link to that on his help this book. Page. And that helped, that was hugely helpful for me. And then, and then, but actually getting the draft in front of people and then, and then talking to them about how they're using it and, and what kinds of books they find useful. And like, you know, it was just, it was, it was so fun. Like, I love talking to people about talking to people. And that was really fun. And then it was a little frustrating, I think, towards the end, like, I felt like I did a read like a major whole book rewrite of the book every week, in May in June, like, just like, that was probably when I did the most work. Like I was probably like, 7525 book versus giuoco do which was not super great. Um, but that was kind of what what I needed at the time. But yeah, I think I guess from like, now going forward, it's going to be lower lift things, like, promoting it. And yeah, we're podcast podcast. Yeah, the audio book and whatnot. Colleen Schnettler 11:15 Well, that's super exciting. Congratulations. Michele Hansen 11:19 It's not out yet. So I'm not gonna like, Colleen Schnettler 11:21 have you have you sent it out? Or they hatch? I think your chickens have hatched? Yeah, whatever Michele Hansen 11:27 it's for, it's getting reviewed. It's it's things are happening, things are moving, you know. Colleen Schnettler 11:33 So very exciting. Yeah, Michele Hansen 11:35 I think you're a lot more excited than I, Colleen Schnettler 11:38 I'm just really impressed. And to your point, you had this stuff in your head already. So it wasn't like you had to spawn content for the book, you had all the content. But you turned out a book fast like you, when you started doing those newsletters. I mean, you were sending a lot of newsletters. This is a lot of information. Michele Hansen 12:01 When I get really into something I like I go all in to the point where it can be a bit of a firehose, you know, like, so yeah, Marie Marie poulan. and I were talking about this a couple of weeks ago, where like, we sink our teeth into something, and then we just don't give up until we're done. Even if we wanted to. Um, I definitely I definitely feel like this has been an exercise Unknown Speaker 12:34 in that. Colleen Schnettler 12:35 Yeah. Well, I think it's really cool. I think you should be really proud of yourself for all the work you've put in, especially during the summer, that's hard. And you're working, you know, your normal job. And you wrote a book, super cool. Michele Hansen 12:48 You're so supportive, Colleen. Colleen Schnettler 12:51 That's what I'm here for. Michele Hansen 12:53 I need you in my voice. You know, that voice in my head being like, you should be proud of this. You've come a long way, when I'm like, sort of knee deep and like filing copyright applications and stuff like that, and sort of not really able to see over the wall. Colleen Schnettler 13:07 Yeah. Yeah. Michele Hansen 13:10 Should I do a little numbers updates? Well, I don't think I've done one and Colleen Schnettler 13:15 we haven't done one in a while. Go ahead. Michele Hansen 13:18 So as of right now, I have sold 93 copies for the pre order nice. Which by the way, people can pre order the it's the you get the PDF, the notion and Google Drive script templates and access to the private forthcoming private podcast with the audiobook, the boy empathy.com. So 93 people have pre ordered it right now I know a bunch of people have said they want the print copy and like I'm there with you. I don't really buy a lot of ebooks, especially for something I might want to reference later. And I don't seem to be able to do a pre order for the print book. So Oh, but anyway, so 93 people have ordered and so just looking at sort of the overall revenue for that not including expenses or you know, processing fees or whatever. That is $2,697 and I added it up with expenses a couple days ago. And I believe that puts me around sort of 12 $100 in net revenue from that so my Sunday expenses Colleen Schnettler 14:32 that's great for a book you can't that's not even available yet. I mean, I know it's available yeah order but that's pretty impressive considering it's not on Amazon yet. Michele Hansen 14:43 It's kind of I mean, so I've like you know, I've heard about building in public for a long time and of course you know, I'm a big advocate of including your your customers in the in the process, but I've never really like built from scratch in public. And like just kind of outlined every step of what I was doing, you know, the, the highs and the lows. Yeah. And the massive amount of confusion in between. And so it's been a really, really interesting, like, I don't think I would have gotten to this point had I not started it as a newsletter and had that level of just motivation, you know, even from the, you know, the first five people who subscribed and would reply and say, Hey, this was great. Thank you for writing that, like that kept me going. In a way that, that I just would not have, like, actually, I think I started the book, right around the time of when, when that container ship was stuck in the Suez. Colleen Schnettler 15:45 Yes, I remember, Michele Hansen 15:47 little, that little part that nobody had on their 2021 bingo card. Unknown Speaker 15:53 And I was reading a book. Michele Hansen 15:56 Or there's a book I picked up off my shelf that I had been meant to read for years, I finally did, because of that called the box, which is a history of container shipping, which is a really interesting book, by the way. Hey, Peter shipping, revolutionize the world. And it's pretty new to like, since the 60s anyway, okay. Not what this podcast is about. So, but so I opened that book, and like the beginning of the book is The acknowledgments from the author. And it like starts out with the author talking about how lonely the process for writing a book is, and especially on a very niche topic. Yeah. And I think I had had some little like Inklings in my head of like, whether I should write a book at that point. And I remember reading that and being like, Oh, God, like that sounds really awful. Like, and I felt really bad for the author as I was reading this, because you've I've heard writers talk about how lonely of a process it is. And I like, and I think that turned me off from it for such a long time. But then it kind of like, occurred to me later that like, I can write a book, but I can do it my way. I don't have to do it the lonely way. Right. Like I could write it in public, I could include readers in the process and make it a social process from the beginning. So I didn't feel like I was just, you know, closed off in a windowless room for six months, because I think that's why I really never wrote a book before, like I was wanted to, but I was like, I don't think I could deal with that amount of loneliness that writers talk about. So yeah, it's been good. Colleen Schnettler 17:37 That's awesome. Michele Hansen 17:38 How are you doing? Colleen Schnettler 17:39 I'm good. I'm good. Yeah. So in the spirit of our podcast last week, I'm, I took some notes, and I think I'm gonna break it up every week into like, what I did this week, what I'm struggling with and what I want to do next week, to keep myself focused and keep myself moving forward. Okay, my tangent is I listen to a podcast with Angela Duckworth. Do you know who she is? She's okay. So for those who don't know who she is, she's the MacArthur Genius Grant winner. She liked her coined the term grit. So I have this podcast I really like with her. And it's her and Stephen Dubner. And it's called no stupid questions. Anyway, this week, they were talking about the difference between urgency and importance. And they were talking about how, basically, that the summation was people don't do things that they don't consider urgent. So you can have these things on your to do list, like go to the gym, which is important. We all know, that's important. But without a sense of urgency. Like, I have to be at the gym at 6pm for my weightlifting class. Instead of instead of that, instead of being like, I'll go whenever I want. There's no urgency to it. So people just don't go, oh, that explains Michele Hansen 18:55 so much. Colleen Schnettler 18:56 It's so good. Like, I'm gonna send you this episode. It was so good. But yeah, so it was this concept. So I started thinking about it. In terms of my business, because I have all these things that I feel are really important. But I have no urgency behind them, right. There's no timeline for me, I can just sit here and this thing makes me money. And yeah, the ones setting the deadlines, right. And they're fake. I mean, and I'm not really even setting up. I'm like, oh, if I get to it if it's convenient for me today. So I just really liked this whole concept of something being urgent versus important, and how will we'll even do the less important things if we feel that they are urgent. And I say that because I'm now every week until I get to a place that I'm pretty happy with. I'm going to share with you kind of my goals. And so to make them feel a little more urgent, so I feel like I actually will do that. Michele Hansen 19:48 So I like that. Colleen Schnettler 19:51 Yeah, let's try it. It was really good. So one of the things I'm really excited about is this week, I finally got my app on rails 6.1. That's improved. To me, because I was patching in all of the CDN stuff for images because rails 6.0 didn't include that. So basically what happened is I had my app on 6.0, all the stuff was pushed on the rails master to handle CDN. And so I cherry picked it off of rails master onto my stuff, but I incorporated it as a patch to my app, which doesn't make me very happy, because it just feels brittle. So I got up to rails 6.1. So that's like a huge deal. And all of the things I have been telling you, I wanted to do, I wanted to do this first. Like, I feel like this is now going to set the stage for me to actually move forward to do other useful things. So I Michele Hansen 20:42 feel good about that. It sounds like it's gonna help your development velocity, Colleen Schnettler 20:46 it will. And I feel like some of these development blockers are really frustrating for me, like there's a really simple one, which won't take that long to do API access, but I didn't want to, I could have added new features, and then gone back and got it on 6.1. But it's smarter, in my opinion, since I have the time to get it on 6.1 before, you know, adding all the API stuff. So I feel like now that that's done, development stuff will go faster. So I'm pumped about that. And that was something that's like really kind of boring to do. I don't know if boring is the right word. But you know, like, upgrading is always kind of like Michele Hansen 21:26 it's not shiny, right? Like developer happiness and infrastructure stuff. And, like, security kind of falls in this category to have like, stuff that's like really important. But it's not shiny, there's no, you know, revenue number, like floating over your head if you do it, right. It's more of a like, it's more of like a cost thing. It's like last time, you know, lost energy, like, it could be lost revenue, if it's security issues. Like, I think when we went full time actually, like the first thing we prioritized was like, What can we do for infrastructure and developer happiness stuff so that when we are working on stuff, it's more enjoyable to work on, more resilient, less brittle? Colleen Schnettler 22:10 That's exactly that's exactly how I feel about it. So I said, it's transparent to my customers. But it feels really good to me. For exactly those reasons. My development time now going forward will go faster. I won't have to worry about writing something I'm later gonna have to rip out when I upgrade. It's good. So I was pumped about that. Something I'm struggling with this week. This is kind of funny. So you remember like a month ago, I told you, I hired my sister to help me do marketing. That's just been kind of an interesting challenge for us, because neither of us know what to do. And so I'm like trying to do my development stuff. She's asking me questions. I'm like, I don't know. So we're both kind of spinning around. Not quite sure what to do. Hmm. So what we did is we ended up having a call with one of our mutual friends who has his own podcast, his name is Josh Oh, and his podcast is searching for SAS. And he helped us lay out a SEO content, Google Search their Google Search Console strategy. Oh, yeah. So we are kind of excited to go down that path. What I originally had asked her to do was more traditional sales Safari. And it wasn't working. Hmm. Remember how Shawn came on the podcast? And he told us he spent 80 hours like doing sales Safari? Michele Hansen 23:44 Yeah, Colleen Schnettler 23:45 yes. So my sister was trying to do that for my product. And we just weren't really, we just weren't really getting anywhere. It felt like we just weren't getting any useful information. So we are going to starting this week try to tackle this more from a content SEO perspective. Michele Hansen 24:03 Hmm. You feel like the sales Safari kind of approach was? Colleen Schnettler 24:10 I don't know I guess you you kind of already built something that's that's what Josh said. He was like, you're already you're already paying for it. Michele Hansen 24:17 So it seems like you know, I mean, Salesforce is useful at many different stages. But it sounds like you need to get eyebrow eyeballs in front of this thing. And because there are people are willing to pay for it. There's clear there's a need a huge competitors went into the space, which tells you all the more that there's need for this. You just need to tell people you exist. Colleen Schnettler 24:40 Yeah, that was his point as well. And I think that's a better use of our time is to kind of lay out a content strategy. So we're gonna try to do that I'm such a bottleneck in this process, though. It's hard to find developers to write content technical. Here's a business idea. technical content rating is really hard. I have a mutual friend who has a business way more successful than mine. And he hired a technical content agency to write some articles. They're not very good. So I'm just saying, I think that this is like a real bottleneck is like really good technical content. I'm gonna go on a limb here and say, technical content for developers has to be written by developers Michele Hansen 25:27 or by technical writers, I know that we have at least two technical writers who listen to this podcast, okay, reading my book, and like they focus on writing documentation and for develop them to do the whole job. Yeah, to dm Colleen. Colleen. And actually, I mean, they get, you know, a lot of the work, they were telling me that they get frustrated, because, like, in big companies, they get really insulated from the customers, which inhibits their ability to write dry, good documentation. Yeah. Right. Because, you know, as you're talking about the challenges with getting your sister up to speed, like, it makes me wonder, like, has she gotten to sit in on any interviews with customers? Has she gotten to do any? Like? Has she got to hear from the customers directly about what you're solving and why it's important to them? Colleen Schnettler 26:26 No, we haven't done any new customer interviews yet. Michele Hansen 26:30 Get her in those? Yeah, I think that'll really help. And you might still be the person who's kind of guiding, you know, API documentation and whatnot. But if there's a difference between hearing about what something does, from somebody who built it, and hearing about what it does, from somebody who bought it, and is excited about it, Colleen Schnettler 26:53 yeah, those are Michele Hansen 26:54 two really different things. And for marketing, what she needs to communicate is, why you should buy it and why you should be excited about it. And the technical documentation is part of that. But she needs to be able to speak to what will get someone excited about it. Yes. And who better to hear that from than someone who is excited about that themselves, ie, a customer of yours? Colleen Schnettler 27:19 Yeah, we have a whole bunch of new customers. So I think in a couple, probably starting next week, once my life's a little more organized. We're going to start trying to do more customer interviews and get back on that bandwagon because I haven't done any since I did them with you, almost three months ago. So that is definitely a priority to get that to get that going. Yes, so content is challenging, because I would love to just churn out some content. But I am struggling to find the time myself or find people that are making the kind of content that I need. So that is challenging, but I did I don't know if I told you so Drew, who we interviewed together, who was a simple file upload customer is a developer and so I paid him to write a piece for me. Oh, no. I need Yeah, do this. I was like, Drew knows how this works. Maybe he will do? Yeah, so that's it's not Yeah, Michele Hansen 28:18 dude. Like hiring your own customers is really smart. Like, I think we talked about Chris from from webflow, our mutual friend we didn't realize was a mutual friend, a couple months ago. And his first support hire is one of his customers. And it worked out like amazingly well because like the person already understands the product. Yes, he knows how it works. He knows where it might go wrong. Like, that's like that is been in the back of my mind of you know, when we need to hire for something even just you know, for something on a contract. Like, who in our customer base could do that for us? Colleen Schnettler 28:58 Yeah, I thought like, I was so pumped. So I threw you know, he said he could do it. I was like, Yes. I mean, that's the best. That's the best of both worlds. Someone who knows what they're doing as a writer. And as technical it was, it was great. So I haven't actually published it yet. Because see all these other things I've been trying to do with my life. But it's it's a guide on how to use simple file upload with react. And that has been on my to do list for four months. So let me tell you how great it felt to give it to someone who could do it better than me. It felt great. And he just got it done in like three to four days. I was like, Oh, you're you're amazing. So that was really yeah, it felt really good because you know all those things you're supposed to do. They they kind of like weigh on you and your subconscious like the things you haven't done and that is literally been on my list for four months only I have to kind of learn react before I can write about how like I kind of sorta know react but this this partnership I feel worked out really well. So that really He inspired me, it went so well with Drew, it inspired me to hire more people to write for me. But I'm definitely having a bottleneck, like finding the right kind of people, especially for the rail stuff, because I feel like I can do that better than most people. So it's a trade off. Michele Hansen 30:18 Well, so. So first, I wonder if you could create some sort of pipeline where you create one piece of content, and it can be recycled in many different ways. And I wonder if even just that one piece of content from drew like if your sister can take that and with some understanding of what the customers are trying to solve, and where they're coming from and what the product does, and recycle that into many other pieces of content? What does that mean, risk can be used in other places to further improve your SEO? Colleen Schnettler 30:49 I literally don't know what you mean. Like you mean, put it on? Like, like, yeah, so like, he Michele Hansen 30:55 wrote up this, like, long guide? Yeah. Right. Yeah. So but then you can also have landing pages that are how to do this with react. And it's like taking like bits and pieces out of that. Like if she can read that and understand it, and then be like, Oh, we can use it in these other places. You can put bits and pieces of that on your homepage on other pages like, right and use that. You're probably trying to do this, like, Look, read that article, and then look at everything in Google Search Console and say, Okay, what are the similarities in terms here? What is the actual term that people are using per Google Search Console? What is the word we're using in this piece of content? Let's change that to the word that people are typing in? Are there five variations of it? Let's make sure in this article, we have headlines that use each one of those five different variations, like, use that on other parts of our site, like, so on and so forth. Colleen Schnettler 31:44 This is the stuff we don't understand. Like I hear the words coming out of your mouth. Okay, but I'm a little confused. I mean, like, okay, so I set up okay, Search Console. So go me, I get that. So you've got keywords, right? Yeah, yes. Yes, it did. Keywords? Michele Hansen 32:04 Yes. Okay. That is the most useful part about that for me, okay. Like before, until we started using h refs, that was what I used all the time. Okay. And so that tells you all of the different keywords that are leading people to your site, okay. It's very, it's very basic, but it's like, it's, it's enough. And I think you can sort it by volume, and you know, the number of clicks and stuff that you're getting right. And then basically taking that and so so in, like in that long article that drew wrote. So I was just, you know, publishing that as a web page, not as a PDF or anything. And then search engines pick up on the headlines. So if someone is typing in, you know how to do image upload, or file upload with react, for example, then your headlines need to be like step one, like, determine which files you want people to be able to upload with react, like with your react app, like step two, like do this thing with your react app, if you want to be able to have them, you know, import files, or like what like, use different variations of that. But like, use it in the headline. So like, we have a million of these things on our website. It actually if you go to geocoded I o. And then like in the Help menu, there's one that says tutorials, we've all these step by step guides, that are all in this format, which I actually learned from another friend of ours, who is a total SEO, like genius. And then each one is like bullet points of step one, determine which addresses you want to find the congressional district for step two, take the list of addresses that you want the congressional district for, and upload them to geocode, do step three, you know, like, and it's just using those same words over and over and over again, it's kind of like, you know, in the 90s, when you saw like, a huge block of like, tiny font text at the bottom of a web sites, Colleen Schnettler 33:55 yes, Michele Hansen 33:56 that is basically how this is done now, but use different versions of that of that text to because people might be typing in different things. Like we saw, for example, we'll see that people type in lat long to Congressional District, which is something I would not type in personally, like I think of address to congressional district. So we make sure that it says address to congressional district, it also says lat lon to congressional district to GPS coordinates to congressional district, like all of those, many permutations of it, and then having as many things in headlines as possible. So that that is what the you know, search engine picks up on. Colleen Schnettler 34:36 Okay. Okay, cool. Yeah, we can work in that direction. And you're right. I didn't think about that. We already have this piece of content. So Michele Hansen 34:43 yeah, and then just use it in many other places. Colleen Schnettler 34:46 Okay, great. Awesome. Cool. That's exciting. Yes. That's something to to focus on a little bit. I mean, I think that's what's been challenging for us is we're just what do you do next? I have no idea. I mean, I told her I was like, we're both learning here, right? This is part of the fun. This is why we're doing it like this is part of the fun of the process. But it's definitely can be a little intimidating or confusing, and to what you said about Michele Hansen 35:12 important versus urgent. I feel like important projects that are nebulous, get shoved to them. Colleen Schnettler 35:19 Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, for sure. Like, totally. So we, that's great. We'll work on that. And then what I really want to do this week, is get a test sandbox environment set up on my website. You and I actually talked about this ages ago. And then when I talked to Derek Rhymer a couple weeks ago, he said it again. And I was like, I should really do this. But all this rail 6.1 stuff was the reason I hadn't done it yet. So I'm hoping I'll be able to get something like that up in a week. And basically, that would be kind of test sandbox. Yeah. So you know, if you go on to upload Cara cloudinary website, there's a big button that says try it now. And you can literally just try and like that, you can see exactly what it does before you sign up for an account, and all of that stuff. So that is something I want to go. Okay. Yeah. And I think that would be great. Because that's going to give me higher quality leads. And I think it'll encourage more people to use the service because I think my service offers some things that these other these other services don't offer. So Michele Hansen 36:21 show them what it does. Colleen Schnettler 36:22 Yeah, exactly. I mean, that's I try I have the video, which shows them what it does. But people like to, especially developers, like at least I do, I like to put my hands on thing, like you make it look easy. Is it actually that easy? So I feel like I think that's a pretty common feeling. Yeah. Michele Hansen 36:37 Don't tell me that it's easy. Let me experience how easy it exactly Colleen Schnettler 36:41 like I want to actually do it. So that's my goal for this week. That's a little ambitious, because there's a lot of moving parts in that. But once I get that set up, I think that's going to be great for marketing, and potential customers and stuff. So Michele Hansen 36:54 yeah, what are some of those moving parts? Because maybe if there's five steps involved, if you get three out of five, by next week, that's still pretty good. Colleen Schnettler 37:02 Yeah. So the thing I have to do to do this, my plan, at least, first of all, if I have an open file uploader open to the world, I have to be really careful with security. And so I want to write a script that automatically deletes these uploaded files, like every 10 minutes. I don't know how to do that. I mean, I'm sure I can figure it out. But like, I've never done that before. So I have no idea. I don't just know how to do that. I, again, theoretically, it's easy, but I don't know. So I want to do that. And I guess I don't need a script, I can just do it in my app, but whatever. I also want to make sure those files go to a completely separate domain, like completely separate domain, then the files I'm serving for our production customers. Because if someone says it's open to the world, if someone were to upload an inappropriate file that could be that can be bad, right? Michele Hansen 37:58 I mean, it's files. I'm vaguely remember remembering somebody's like, warning you about like that. Yeah, it was like I think on Hacker News or something like this. It happened to somebody it happened to someone else app. And yeah, Colleen Schnettler 38:10 so there was, yeah, someone sent it to me on Twitter. And it was a there's this big Hacker News thread about it. Someone else who has a similar product didn't separate his domain. So he had everyone on the same domain. And so his whole site got blacklisted. Like he didn't even separate. I'm not saying he did, he didn't know. But he didn't even separate his app from his serving domain, like mine are already separate. So that's already good. But he had literally everything on the same domain. So when his site got blacklisted by Google, like, everything went down. Oh, yeah. And he said it. You know, the interesting thing, I read the Hacker News thread, and they didn't have problems for years. I mean, they had their file uploader open to the world for like, I think was like three years. And they didn't have any issues. And then one day, bam, everything, everything was shut down. So I've already taken many security steps. I have a wireless firewall, I have separate domains for my app and my serving domain. But if I'm going to open this to the world, I want a third domain for test files. So that's I already have that. I'm actually deleting the files. Michele Hansen 39:14 Yeah. is smart, too. I don't know if that other person did that. But that disincentivizes people from using it for malicious? Colleen Schnettler 39:21 Yeah, file. I mean, one of the good things is he wrote a really detailed what I learned I could just take all of that he's and that was one of the things is he was deleting the files, I think every 36 hours and he's like, that's not enough. Like you need to be deleting the files like every 20 minutes. Okay, Michele Hansen 39:38 that's a great he's got like a step by step, Colleen Schnettler 39:40 step by step. So what not to do, so. I want to make sure I hit all of those wickets before I open this up on my website. Absolutely. Yeah, but that would be a huge I'm really excited about that. Because I really think once I get that I really think I can I can push a little more and I really think that's going to help with my Yeah, so that's my goal for next week. Michele Hansen 40:06 Alright, so next week we will check in on whether the sandbox is live on your site and maybe possibly my book will be ready. Who knows? Stay tuned. Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Startup to Last

Home runs vs. consistency

Jul 26th — Topics from this episode: Tyler hit 2,000 Twitter followers, and we discuss how Twitter is a hits-based business which doesn't suit Tyler's strengths. Rick gives an update on his personal website and newsletter optimization efforts. Rick reached the first page on an important search term. Less Annoying CRM is tweaking the format of help articles to appeal more the the easily distractible internet user. Rick has finished his javascript course. Tyler discusses the LACRM product roadmap.

Indie Bites

Bootstrapping Transistor.fm to 13,000+ podcasts - Justin Jackson, Transistor.fm

Jul 25th — Justin Jackson is the co-founder of Transistor.fm , a successful bootstrapped podcast hosting company. The journey building Transistor were documented on the Build Your SaaS podcast, which is a must listen. Justin is the founder of the MegaMaker community which he started in 2013, so if you're part of the maker sphere - you'll probably have heard of him. In this episode we cover: What is Transistor and why did they start it Why work in podcast hosting? Was it not already a solved problem? How did they get the first few customers? What's next for Transistor? What's it like having "made it" as an indie hacker? What challenges does Justin run into? Should you just get a job at a tech company or run your bootstrapped co? Why bootstrapping is not a level playing field When you should quit your job Addressing mental health as an entreprenuer Recommendations Book: Life Profitability Podcast: Software Social Indie Hacker: Derek Sivers Follow Justin Twitter Blog Follow Me Twitter Indie Bites Twitter Personal Website Buy A Wallet Sponsor Thank you to Dan Rowden for sponsoring this episode with his product, ilo which helps you easily see which kind of tweets get more impressions, likes, profile clicks and more so you can get grow your Twitter audience. Use the code "INDIEBITES27" for 25% off your plan for life. Sign up here.

Run With It

Create a Marketplace for Business Acquirers and Operators with Michael Bereslavsky

Jul 22nd — If you like the show, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts ! Nuggets: Many investors who buy a business trip up over simple operational details (e.g. forgetting to renew a domain name). Michael has seen this happen time and again. Action Steps: Generate your opportunity to break into the space: Start a podcast Host an event Connect with recruiters who can source talented business managers Buy an existing business with the audience you want to serve If you’ve connected with a recruiter you can understand their fee structure, add a profit margin and use this information to sell this service to your first Investor clients You can begin charging a commission as soon as your make your first connection, probably 5-10%, or you can just get a testimonial and case study from the deal Once your more established in the space your can start to build out your platform for connecting Business Investors and Talented Operators You might reduce your commission slightly once the business requires less manpower and runs more on automation One way to build your client base is to buy an existing business that has a similar audience. Links: https://www.domainmagnate.com/ https://domainmagnatecapital.com/ The Domain Magnate Show The White Coat Investor <em>Michael Bereslavsky is the Founder and CEO of Domain Magnate, a micro private equity firm that acquires and operates online businesses.</em> Love a part of the show? Did we get something completely wrong? Let us know at [email protected]

Indie Hackers

#218 – Making Money and Being Happy with Sam Parr and Shaan Puri of My First Million

Jul 21st — Sam Parr (@theSamParr) and Shaan Puri (@ShaanVP) have both sold their businesses and are currently hosting one of the best business podcasts out there. In this episode, we talk about what it's like to be in their position now and what kind of businesses they would start if they were doing it all over today. Listen to My First Million: https://thehustle.co/my-first-million-podcast/ Follow Sam on Twitter: https://twitter.com/theSamParr Follow Shaan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShaanVP