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Don't Launch Now - Things I Learned From My Launch and Development Hell

Launching can be hard, but not launching is even harder.

This is a bit of a long post and is divided into several sections. For your convenience, this study consists of the following sections:

  • Having A Product But Not Being Able To Launch
  • Development Hell
  • A Post (or two), A Hope
  • The Week Before Launch
  • The Launch Day Fix
  • End Of Launch Day
  • Lessons Learned
  • About The Product

Having A Product But Not Being Able To Launch

After working on Focus Wall for a while I decided that its time to finally launch since it had already passed its MVP stage a while back. However, something held me back from just launching it. I had a decent website and the product was ready but I just couldn't get myself to launch it.

This would mainly be because I was being psychologically held back due to the fact that I didn't have a big enough following on any social media, which led me to believe that I shouldn't launch now as it wouldn't be worth it unless people start showing more interest on social media.

And hence, the launch didn't happen.

Development Hell

So after that I naturally went on to building my next project. Developing is the one thing that sucks me in and even though I enjoy it, sometimes it feels like this passion is holding me back from truly achieving somethings as I just jump from one thing that excites me to the next one after its completed.

And as fun as developing, designing and coding are, there seemed to lack a meaning behind it all. If other people aren't able to use the things I'm making and take advantage of my tools and products, then what's even the point of making them?

A Post (or two), A Hope

It's not always that something you read changes your perspective on things, but when that does happen, you start seeing things in a new light. And that's what happened when I encountered this post on Indie Hackers.

Just as I was working on my new project, I came across that post and reading it sparked something in me and made me realize that it's okay to just launch because I've built something that I want and if I don't put it out in the world, someone else who might want it as well might never get it.

At the same time I had also come across this post and it helped me understand how to handle social media in a way while developing my product. I've always wanted to post more about what I'm building and my process, but I never knew where to start. So this post pointed in the a clear direction and now I've got a bunch of GEMS to post. And because of that, twitter seems to have become a more relaxed place rather than a source of anxiety.

The Week Before Launch

After the development hell had somewhat faded, I committed myself towards a single goal, that within a week I'd launch my product on Product Hunt.

So I left the current project that I had been working on and started polishing Focus Wall for the launch. At the time I even wrote a comment on a post about my goals for the upcoming week.

During the week, I shared progress of the product on Twitter and even slight details of it. This resulted in my follower count going from 4 to 11 in less that a week, which I consider to be a big achievement as I hadn't been active on social platforms prior to that.

The Launch Day Fix

The Product Hunt Launch was right after the list refreshed. I had been working on the first comment for about an hour and added it the launch page along with some generic screenshots.

What I didn't realize back then was that product hunt compress the images that you add and just having dark screenshots didn't look good, especially on phone.
So I spent the next few hours completely redesigning the images and adding self made mockups and styles. And as soon as I finished making one image, I'd upload it to the the page and then work on the next one.
After fixing the page and website with better images, I did see the number of upvotes go up, though I can't be certain if it was because of this or not.

Along with this, I also had a sale going on over on itch.io and a coupon for gumroad, the two places where I uploaded the app.

I then wrote about the launch on reddit, added a milestone on indie hackers and shared it on twitter. And also added the product upvote hunt button to my site.

End Of Launch Day

At the end of the launch day, Focus Wall ranked 22nd on Product Hunt, with 36 upvotes, which I don't consider to be a bad rank for someone who just launched their very first product, in fact its motivated me work harder on my next product (the one I had kept on hold to release Focus Wall).
Product Hunt Analytics

Along with that, I had also gotten my very first customer within just the first 2 hours of my launch🎉, and that got me excited to work on it further, knowing that other people want it as well!

Though the traffic on gumroad wasn't the best, the product was featured as one of the top products on itch.io since it appealed to all sorts of developers.
Itch.io Feature

And all of this traffic was totally organic, I hadn't told any friends or family about the launch just to see where I can get without relying on any extra factors for the launch.

Lessons Learned

Instead of plain screenshots, make sure to use better pics that stand out next time and to check how it looks on various displays.

Don't let social media give you anxiety, if you just give it a bit of your time, it'll become a relaxing place where you can not only show your products but even express yourself.

Don't let the fear of 'not launching now' get to, instead launch when you're ready rather than keeping your product in the shadows. And this is a big part of the reason why I started building in public as well, as it's better to have your product out there instead of keeping it hidden from someone who might need it.

And the above statement is further strengthened from all the sales I've made so far. It's made me realize that I wasn't the only one who needed this and if I hadn't released it, it wouldn't have reached to people who wanted it.

And I guess that's the rewarding part about being a maker, you not only have fun making what you enjoy, but you also get to give people something that they need, that only your unique product or solution can provide.

About The Product

Focus Wall is a clean dynamic desktop wallpaper to help you stay focused so you never lose track.
Keeping all your important to-dos in that one perfect place that see everyday, your desktop wall! So you can easily sort out your priorities, right there on your wallpaper, with just a single glance.

If you'd like to learn more about it or try it out, you can do so here:
focuswall.madebyayan.com

And if you'd like to get in touch, feel free to reach out on twitter @madebyAyan

This is my first post here and I hope this helps someone! Happy Hacking!😊

  1. 0

    Thanks for the sharing @madebyAyan. Leant a great deal from the post!

    Well the good news is that, you can shipped repeatedly on PH.

    I've got a few case studies that I think could help if you decide to launch again:

    ---

    1) Find a hunter to hunt your product

    • Having a good hunter on your side is like being in pole position on the starting grid of a Formula 1 race. Your chances of finishing first are significantly higher.

    2) Get some beta-users first

    • Build up an email list or some audience before launch. On the day or a few days before the launch, connect with them and ask them for a favour to upvote your launch.

    3) 700+ leads in 24 hours from Product Hunt by segmenting promotional pushes

    • You can check out this summarised case study here

    ---

    You can check out more case studies under the "Product Hunt" or other strategies type that I've curated and summarised at GrowthHunt.co

    Cheers & all the best!

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