Today is an amazing day 🤩
Because I got my first 3 paying users on my SaaS Product, FeedHive.
I began working on FeedHive on the 28th of November, 2020.
That means, that it has taken exactly 63 days to go from start to paying users.
All while working +40h/week with two clients as a consultant.
How did I manage to pull this off?
Let me share some tips on productivity, management, and growth 🚀
First of all - and this may not come as a surprise - spending time building a dedicated audience makes a huge difference.
I started building my very first SaaS Product in February 2020.
I made a lot of mistakes, but the biggest one was underestimating the value of having an audience.
At this point, I had around 250 followers on Twitter and barely used LinkedIn.
I launched Sigmetic in June 2020 - and no one cared.
It got close to 0 traction and I had to almost drag users into the platform by force.
It was the book "Rework" that made it clear to me, how important a dedicated audience is.
So I decided to build one, and I made it my primary goal to grow a dedicated following as fast as possible.
I made a public announcement about FeedHive in a tweet on the 3rd of January this year.
This time, it was different.
I now had 30K followers, and the tweet got 1.1K likes and a lot of comments!
Since then, FeedHive has been mentioned over and over on Twitter, and a lot of people are very interested in the product.
Yeah, you've probably heard it before. Most likely, many, many times.
But it's because it's crucially important.
Through Twitter, I invited 20 users in, already 12 days after I started developing FeedHive.
The application didn't do a whole lot - only very basic functionality.
And it was full of bugs.
I created a small focus group on Twitter (a group chat), and I have been talking to these users daily.
Not only did they provide invaluable feedback and catch 90% of all the existing bugs, but a lot of them also came to fall in love with the product and are some of the biggest advocates today!
It's very clear: Without having this group of users onboard this early, FeedHive would most likely have completely missed the target!
I have built FeedHive on a technology stack using AWS and React.
Two super popular solutions.
The biggest takeaway here, is that there are so many awesome libraries out there that can save you a lot of time.
I've used Chakra UI for the front end, AWS Amplify and AppSync for the back end, and a lot of small libraries that were already made and ready to use.
Do yourself a favor and use as much of this as you possibly can!
In addition to that, I also got a great habit of reusing my own code.
From previous projects, I encapsulated small modules that could easily be reused.
Templates for landing pages, utility functions, authentication modules, etc.
I've also gotten into the habit of reusing some of the code that I've been writing during my work as a consultant.
Remember - it is not appropriate to use solutions that you do not own the intellectual property of!
But it is mostly ok to take individual small code snippets, approaches, and general know-how that you gain from your daily work.
Of course, make very sure what you are allowed to take.
If anything you do outside the project can have any side-effects that you can take advantage of - do so!
It probably goes without saying - if you don't market your product, you'll never get users.
I have spent a good deal of time creating initial hype around FeedHive.
This includes making promo videos, demos, and example screenshots.
I have shared a lot of insights, details about the technology stack, and user statistics.
It's popular to build in public.
People love it - they are curious, and they want to get inspired to build on their own. Take advantage of that. Keep people in the loop. Share your progress, and don't be embarrassed about sharing the negatives as well.
People rarely judge - they actually really appreciate the openness about it!
Yes, we're not gonna get around it.
I've been working a lot in these past two months.
Counting all work hours, including working as a consultant, I have put down around 80-100 hours every single week.
This is not healthy, and I wouldn't recommend doing this on an ongoing basis.
But for a limited period of time, it really helps if you can buckle down some serious work!
Some small hints and hacks.
It's not healthy to sacrifice sleep. But again - for a shorter period of time, you can sleep a little less than you ideally would.
See if you can cut 30 minutes - 1 hour pr. night on average.
Ideally, I need to sleep 7 hours every night, but cutting 30 minutes - 1 hour has helped me get in extra work.
So I typically get up at 4.30 AM and start working on my project.
Then I switch to working for my clients from 8 AM until 5 PM.
Then I continue working on my project until 9.30 PM and getting ready to sleep at 10 PM.
I'll add to this that I have an amazing girlfriend who has been incredibly supportive. She has been doing most cooking, groceries, and housework in this period. This has enabled me to keep full focus on the work.
Be super tight with your schedule.
I am a huge fan of using Todoist in combination with Trello.
I write everything down - categorizing, prioritizing, and scheduling it.
I can really recommend spending time grooming your taskboard.
Keep it updated and make sure that no quick thoughts slip away.
Write everything down as soon as you remember.
Make sure you spend your time optimally.
I use a Pomodoro-inspired technique to keep my focus high while working.
Let's just do a quick summary here.
This is a great investment, even if the product you're working on right now isn't going to succeed.
This will save you a lot of time in improving your product, finding bugs, and making fast decisions.
Anything from existing libraries, code snippets that you wrote in other projects or at work (to the extent that you are allowed).
Put aside a significant time every day/week to do marketing.
This part can end up determining your success entirely.
Get ready to put down hard work.
Remember - you shouldn't neglect your health.
But doing less workout, eating less healthy, and sleeping less for a shorter period of time is ok. Just don't make it a habit.
Spend a good deal of time putting everything into structure and make sure that your time is spent as optimal as possible.
I hope this can help some of you indie hackers out there 😊