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Downhill Product Making: Entrepreneurship Shouldn’t Feel Hard

There is something magical about trains.

Trains are romantic—the perfect place for a writer to feel inspired. I took a train five minutes ago, and I felt an energy that put me immediately to write.

I am not going very far. It doesn’t matter a lot. An hour and a half is enough time to get anything done when you have full focus, no distractions, or nowhere to go. My destination is a small city in the middle of Poland, a place that probably none of you have heard about before.

Downhill Product Making an easy approach to start making.

Working hard and results are not correlated.

You can work hard and have zero results. Also, you can do something in five minutes and have an amazing outcome from it.

It’s easy to understand why. Imagine that you have to ask someone how to go somewhere in a foreign language. You have to put a big effort to speak, defeat your fears, and understand what the other person is saying.

If a native speaker does the same, this person's effort is close to zero.

But the outcome is the same.

If we translate this to starting a business is clear to realize that this could happen in many situations.

When you start, you need to find something natural to you that feels easy and can do for a long time.

There are three options.

Uphill Product Making: You need to push your idea and constantly keep pushing to avoid it going back.

Flat Product Making: You need to push your idea, and if you stop, the results stay, but it won’t grow.

Downhill Product Making: You give it a little push, and without doing much, it goes downhill.

Consider these 3 real examples.

Uphill Product Making

I was talking last week with Carlos Tenor (@carlostenor), founder of podstatus.com. He’s worked on this project for almost two years, every day from Monday to Sunday while having a full-time job. He had some happy moments and some spikes in traffic over these two years, but for most of the time, it’s like going up the hill.

He has to take care of his current clients. Find new ones. Keep adding new features. Take care of the servers.

One key thought. He likes it (most of the time). But still, it’s a big effort.

That’s hard. You have to be very stubborn to keep going. And the results from this massive effort can be really high, but also the chances to quit.

If he stops, the project goes down. So he needs to keep pushing every day.

Flat Product Making

This project is similar to the previous one, but with a big difference, the project stays in the same place if you stop pushing.

I started a coffee project, and I had to go and find people to join. It was a community. I stopped working on it, at least for now, but the results stayed. The people who joined are still there.

You still need to put in the work, but if you stop for a couple of months or only work on it a day a week, it won’t go back (at least not a lot).

Downhill Product Making

This is for me, writing about habits, entrepreneurship, and lifestyle. I love it. I enjoy it. I like sharing. I love the feedback and interaction with people. It feels like playing.

Plus, every article I published has an impact. Sometimes a big one, like one article from last week that made me almost $700, and others a small impact, but it feels natural.

I don’t have to make any effort. People ask me for more. It’s just something that comes naturally to me. For others, writing this content would be a nightmare. For me, it’s a pleasure.

Entrepreneurship shouldn’t feel hard.

Suppose you are starting today and don’t have much time because you have a full-time job or don’t want to spend forever working on something. Aim for the last one.

How to recognize it?

I think you need to find the intersection between fun, work, and verify the results you are getting. But honestly, you know it when you see it. If you have doubts, keep trying new things.

By the way, the city is called Kalisz.

Thanks for reading!

  1. 2

    I read the first post you posted on Reddit, and I'm silently stalking your articles, and I must confess, I'm seriosly thinking to start my own blog/newsletter thanks to you.

    Reading about startups has been so much fun, and now I feel I can contribute to other's life, I will need to think about it a little, but you are an inspiration.

    Also, top article, it flows nicely.

    1. 1

      That's very nice! Do a small test, write one article and see if you like it. You don't need to go 100% with it, just try it once and decide later!

      Thanks a lot for your words. It means a lot!

      1. 1

        I am currently brainstorming, I really dig the idea of writing seasons, like a TV series, but with words. Right now I'm on a vacation at my grandparents' home and I have a lot of time to contemplate and figure things out, will start writing as soon as I get home again.

        Maybe seasons will also help your blog, I've read somewhere around here I believe about this concept.

        1. 1

          I like the idea! My goal now is to write and publish to create a habit and improve. Not really thinking much.

          My plan now is to document what's going on with my entrepreneurial path so that I don't have to spend a lot of time researching. I will figure things out while creating.

          Let me know when you publish something!

          1. 2

            Good point, I also want to basically do the same, pick up some answers that I gave around Indie Hackers and Reddit about startups and growth, expand them a little and throw them into the wild.

            Will let you know what's what!

            Keep up the good worky work!

  2. 2

    Thanks for sharing.

    By the way, the city is called Kalisz.

    That is a good touch at the end. You are a good writer. Happy for you that you have found something that is fun and pays.

    like one article from last week that made me almost $700

    Would you mind sharing what is the article and how it made $700?

    Update: I found this article after looking around in Balance. Sharing it for anyone else who might be interested.

    https://www.indiehackers.com/post/i-wrote-an-article-that-changed-my-life-and-paid-my-rent-e03f5ea364

    1. 2

      Thanks!!

      Still trying to figure this out, but I'm very happy that I started!

      Also thanks for taking the time to search for my article.

      Have a beautiful evening!

      1. 1

        But there was no Buy me a coffee link in that article. Instead there was the link to subscribe to Balance.

        How are you planning to make money with the newsletter?

        1. 2

          I removed after a couple of days. I'm testing different things.

          I have no idea how I'm going to make money yet. The newsletter is still a work in progress so not sure about making money from it just yet.

          Still exploring!

          1. 3

            Hello Jose,

            I see different ways to monetize.

            1. You can ask for donations at buymeacoffee or paypal.
            2. You can have a referral section on your blog. Recommended books in amazon, recommended servers where to set up webs, etc. Things or services you use and recommend.
            3. Articles can lead you to have a stronger personal brand and that some people hire you for consulting on their projects.
            4. After a while, you can take all the articles of your blog, order them, make it nice and publish a cheap book in amazon.
            5. You can use patreon or other platforms to make a kind of membership site. For example I was a few years ago supporting https://www.patreon.com/foosel for 1 euro a month. (1 euro * many people = quite a lot of money)
            6. You can do something similar to point 5, but you are only given priority to read the contents before most people. For example if you don't pay 1 euro you have to wait 2 weeks to read the whole article. There are people who use this tactic for manga/anime translations.
            7. Put advertising on your blog (google adsense for example)

            You can do one, several or none of the things I tell you hahaha. I think that the one that can give you more money in the long run and that is less work for you is the n6, self-publishing the articles on a certain date.

            I hope it helps you

            1. 1

              Great job Robert. You have conveyed almost all of what I wanted to say and more.

              With respect to #2, I would try to keep it in sync with the article and mention it as part of the article, rather than having a separate referral section. Maybe under each article, you can have links sections, but make sure you provide value there, not just affiliate links.

              I personally disagree with #7. Sites with ads look cheap (I think like people won't pay for this - which means low quality content - and hence they put ads) and imply they don't care about user privacy. Just my opinion.

          2. 1

            The advice I have got from lot of successful indies is that we have think about monetization right from the moment we start and it should never be considered as an after thought.

            I would have personally had both CTAs - buy me a coffee and subscribe to newsletter. Just to figure out what most people end up doing.

            1. 1

              Thanks a lot, guys!

              The Coffee thing I'd like to go away from.

              I want something more like a paid community maybe, a small one.

              Or a paid newsletter, but I think I prefer to have an open newsletter.

              I'm writing a book, and I may create other products. So I think I will make money from things like that, books, etc.

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