Growth October 5, 2020

1,933+ extra visitors with one simple tactic that you can copy

Felix Wong @felix12777

Hey IH folks! I have been running side projects for years while working full-time. I enjoy every minute with my projects and always push new experiments forward.

Today, I am sharing a simple tactic, which brought me more than 1,933 (and counting) extra visitors and sales to a new project over the weekend. And you can do better!

Start with why

Building side projects has become a habit, and I learned so much regardless of income. I have been the Head of Growth for some time, and people usually assume I can quickly turn a company from an idea into a unicorn in no time. The hard truth is not.

It really took me 7 years to get here. Sometimes I feel frustrated because I can't perform some tricks in my day job. But side projects filled this gap and allow me to build, test, develop, and solve any problems I want to.

Here's an overview before you are getting impatient to read further:

  • 🚀 Tactic: Always in launch mode (I will explain below)
  • ⚙️ Tool: Notion and Carrd
  • 🕹️ Product: VenturesList - The Startup Investment Library
  • 💹 Traffic: 1,933
  • ⏰ From idea to experiments: 2 days
  • 👫 Major channel: Facebook group

I have been in the venture building and startup investment industry for several years. I often hear that early-stage startups cannot achieve their fundraising goals.

There are many underlying obstacles by default, such as accessing the investor network; lack of knowledge of venture capital; unclear fundraising strategies; trapped by legal procedures; and no clues to show the correct metrics.

I want to help. However, my full-time position is restricted and cannot meet the needs of all early-stage founders. This is really annoying when you find a problem but can't really raise your hand.

Therefore, I built VenturesList - a startup investment library designed to help early-stage startups develop funding knowledge and strategies by showing essential resources in the investment life cycle.

🧐 Now, the question is, how to attract my target audience?

There are a few obvious channels and communities that I’m involved in. Including my own social network, Indie Hackers, accelerators, and selected Facebook & Slack groups.

I have been running a 30-day challenge with Makerpad and many of you also participated in the game. VenturesList was published exactly a week ago, and when I posted it on social media, there were already a mild amount of tractions, so that I could buy more coffee and ramen.

This is not enough. I want to see a vanity hockey stick that everyone is excited about, even it's only temporary.

I adopted a strategy and named it "Always in launch mode, replicate in a different form", still looking for a fancy name.

In short, I duplicated my website using other software, and then release the product to a community closely related to that particular software.

You probably saw it elsewhere. VenturesList was built with Carrd and I re-built it on Notion, almost the same design.

🕵️‍♀️ You can compare the look and feel here:

Original - Carrd: ventureslist.com

Replica - Notion: bit.ly/ventureslist_notion

I re-published in the Notion community because:

  • 🏎️ Notion is all about speed
  • 🎯 Reach my potential audience
  • 🤝 Supportive and active community
  • 👂 Gather feedback to improve my product
  • 🙉 People excited to see new things launched

You may argue because Notion is a cult, so you can basically get a lot of attention instantly, right?

🙏 Yes. But it still requires effort to re-build and re-launch properly.

In fact, I have adopted the same strategy with other new or uncommon tools, which also gives me decent traction for other projects as well. (Example)

The whole concept is based on curiosity. People like to see new products and inspirations. You are basically unlocking possibilities and encourage people to think "I can do this too, and do it better!"

I could have done the same as VenturesList built with Webflow, Bubble, Glide, etc.

After all, a tool is just a tool. The most important thing is content and execution.

Happy Indie!

  1. 3

    Looking at their website I'm not really sure what Notion is, why it is a cult, and what the community is about. Could you please expand this point?

    1. 2

      It certainly has a lot of hype! The best way I heard Notion described is: "joyous, easy and fun writing". I see it as a writing tool first and foremost and it just so happens that its blocks-based design and embedded plugin system is a great user experience. Notion is quite flexible, which is why people have been trying to use it for use cases like website building. 🙂 It's a bit hard to explain but hope this makes sense!

      1. 4

        I have an awful user experience and after several tries, I still don't understand why the hype and what's it about.

        1. 2

          I feel the same when I tried a year ago. The product has been improved tremendously in just a year.

          There’s no one product fits all. Hence it’s absolutely okay to be out of the hype.

          1. 0

            I tried again not so long ago. The same - UI is still awful. Ok, what I hate:

            • the registration/login experience
            • every time when I create a new title or list (I don't remember exactly) it creates a new node what is very annoying
            • very inconvenient long scrolling through a long list of components in a small element.
              Maybe something else but it's what I can recall right now.
            1. 0

              Totally understand your opinions and really appreciate your time. @Zencentric

              As per mentioned here and there. UI is subjective and it's really depending on specific users. You have the freedom to choose whatever tool suitable for your UI appetite.

              1. 0

                You have the freedom to choose whatever tool suitable for your UI appetite.

                I know and I don't even need your permission :)))) I just wanted to let people know that hype doesn't mean quality.

    2. 2

      Looping in the Notion-buds to provide more context @josberco @optemization @traf @RobertAndrews @logicalicy

    3. 1

      Thanks @felix12777 for including me in the loop and for sharing this insightful article. Great way to drive awareness!!

      As @logicalicy says, it's difficult to explain the hype of Notion. It's a tool for everything and nothing. Yes, you can have landing pages quickly with other no-code tools, you can have a better CRM with Pipedrive, a better job board with pory, a better kanban with Trello... I can't stop.

      However, this tool is the swiss knife for lots of problems. It's all of that and more together: easy to build, quick, easy to customize, beautiful... Notion helps to easily manage your business or startup processes from one place, all of them. Soon integrations will come and Notion will be unstoppable.

      Being said that, form a jobs to be done perspective (AKA What job is doing Notion for you), IMO there is an important job that explains why is difficult to explain Notion's hype: it's cool, it's the next thing, and people love this cool new swiss knife.

      I like to compare it to other products that are bought not only because it does the functional job for the customers, but because it's cool and makes you feel that way:
      Why is Tesla so successful? Do people buy it because of the environment? You have other electric cars... and way cheaper. Is it for self-transportation? You can buy another car or call an uber. What about the tech? Oh yeah, the autopilot... do you really use it that much? "No, not that much... But look: I can open the Tesla with my Apple Watch and update the software with wifi, and look the screen... it's so cool" I feel cool, I feel part of the next...Tesla is cool, just like the iPhone, and clubhouse app, just like Notion.

      I don't have a Tesla, nor an iphone, I don't use clubhouse app, but I have Notion haha

      1. 2

        Totally. Notion is everything or nothing. @josberco

        Just like many other tools. They’re being built for a reason. A great product don’t have to convince everyone.

        Some of my considerations nowadays will be like: if A tool can do better job than B tool, I will go for it and measure the transition period, learning curve and so on.

        I don’t have a full love on Notion in the beginning because I used to compare it with Evernote. There’s a perception where I assumed it’s perfect for notes taking and journaling, hence my experience wasn’t great.

        Now, because a lot of contributors are making sleek templates, side projects, and the community has been so supportive.

        Those users immediately take the product into the next level. And I’m enjoying it now.

    4. 1

      Sure thing @akfaew - Happy to walk through a quick Notion 101

      https://www.notion.so was designed to be a drag and drop productivity tool. People used to compare it with Evernote, Bear, Coda, etc.

      The flexibility of Notion's building blocks enabled millions of users to create their own database, productivity tool, journal, CRM, and more.

      A lot of people are using Notion as a website builder, and many communities, plug-ins, tools have been emerged because of Notion.

      Just to name a few:
      https://www.notion.vip/

      https://fruitionsite.com/

      http://super.so/

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/notioncommunity

  2. 2

    Great write up @felix12777... Always be launching!

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