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47 Comments

How I made 0k in 6 months. No, that's not a typo.

  1. 9

    Best title I've seen in ages and such great, honest writing 😄 I hope you keep doing that...the writing, not the product making (kidding 😅) With the self awareness, reflection and patience you have, I suspect it's just a matter of time. 🤞🏾

  2. 4

    Enjoyable read. Thanks for sharing.

    When I used to work in a call centre my managers slogan was, “Every rejection takes you one closer to a sale”. or something like that lol.

    But I think it's true. Very rare people get a hit without some “flops”.

    1. 1

      That's some good management right there.

  3. 3

    You have a good writing hand. Learned a lot from the post as well. Hope you find success soon!

  4. 3

    Love your writing style - great read!

  5. 3

    I like your writing style. It’s funny but sincere and not over-done. I guess I can’t articulate well what makes it enjoyable but I’m looking forward to reading more about your journey/success/failures. Keep it up!

  6. 3

    Great post!

    I really connect about having a low motivation for publishing a JIRA plugin - myself having hit this low bar when I wanted to post an integration between JIRA tickets and Coggle mind map 😅

    I would love to understand better how you came up with the ideas. Is there anything that helps you do the initial validation -- or did something changed about your way of doing it project after project?

    1. 3

      Thanks Ben.

      Great Question, as you can probably tell from the post, the first two ideas were sort of copycats of other people's products. I seriously have a list of like one hundred ideas in a notebook from brainstorming. Picked a few that resonated with me, and start the validation process. For the validation process I usually take two approaches: Customer Development or Competitive Analysis.

      Customer Development is fucking hard. Sure we can sit around and yak about how great The Mom Test is, but, when you're in the moment, it can be tough to ask the right questions. I seriously have busted my ass with cold out-reach only to squander the interview because I was under prepared and under experienced asking questions. Even more challenge, the impromptu mom test: When someone pitches a business idea, you have to sift through the shit to see if there really is something there. One time I was on a date (yes, really), and he pitches me this recipe book app for restaurant kitchens since he's a chef. I ask about how valuable it might be, and he replies "I dunno, probably a lot".

      Competitor Analysis is tough too, and can even include customer development. Yikes. Can be tough to hear folks complain about their pain (thanks @robwalling ) The competitor analysis for FastGrasp was kind of weird in that I didn't really talk to people, and I have a feeling people won't want it. Even though no work is better than some work, people probably will stick with good ol' Smart Documents, or whatever, because they've sunk a lot of time into implementing a filing system for Jira, but I digress. No competitors = no business. I won't even begin to delude myself thinking I'm early because I'm just not.

      I'd like to add FastGrasp wasn't on the notebook list of ideas, I was just playing around and wondered if I could pull off the concept, and then realized there is a pile of shit on for Jira to do what FastGrasp doel, but worse.

      I hope that answers your question. lol

      1. 2

        Thanks, this is great.

        I agree that throwing words like "Mom test" does not work instant miracles - I found myself in a position where I felt like even starting inquiring with a question like "btw, when was the last time you..." might piss off the community.

        Competitor analysis is something I don't take enough time to do properly - I should try harder - this is a good point.

        Hope you'll get that Atlassian approval 🤞

      2. 1

        Where did you find people to interview? Any advise on strategy?

  7. 3

    It is not easy to document a series of failures, but you did it with grace. Thanks for sharing this, we can learn from this.

  8. 3

    Love the quirkiness of your website!

  9. 3

    Awesome post.

    As much as everyone here enjoys reading about successful founders and products, it's even more important to read about product flops.

    Thank a lot Janet for sharing your story.

    All the best,
    Adem

  10. 3

    Nice blog All the best and keep us updated.

  11. 2

    Good writeup. Keep us posted about the Jira Addon. All the best.

  12. 1

    Admirable 👏👏👏
    Thank you for this transparent and honest piece 🙌
    Interested in offering support for the LGBTQ+ Job Board project if you ever decide to give it another shot (hope you will).
    Best of luck.

  13. 1

    You have the freaking best FAQ section on the internet!! 😂 😂

  14. 1

    Hi @janetacarr. Thanks for the read!

    I have been working on Atlassian plugins since early this year, and I'm writing about it on my product page at https://www.indiehackers.com/product/windtunnel-technologies. Maybe it can help you to set some expectations :-) I suspect the dynamics of server versus cloud apps to be quite different though.

    To me, these plugin marketplaces are a double edged sword: they provide you with a clear distribution channel and market, but you are submitted to the (ever changing) rules of its overlords. As I see it at this point, it's more of a getting your feed wet in terms of product development, and a first step to an independent offering.

    I'm currently heavily contemplating what my next move should be (as stated in my latest updated), so I'm very interested how it works out for you. I you ever want to bounce off some ideas, I'm all ears.

  15. 1

    I love the openness.

    My first startup had 0 users and $0 revenue.

    My second one had 7,000 users and $0 revenue.

    It took me 2.5 years between the two. The lessons I learnt were invaluable with my third startup, which made a bit more than $0.

    I believe a lot of tech companies do lip service to support LGBTQ+ folks. If your idea helped them with lip service, instead of actually helping them improve their policies, they'd be more willing to shell out money 🤷🏻‍♂️

    My close friend runs an amazing blog you might like: https://hightouch.co/

    Hello from Toronto 👋

  16. 1

    Nice write up! Keen to follow what would be up to your Jira. Every lesson counts, you’re getting very close to your goal. Strong! @janetacarr

  17. 1

    Great summary, I've definitely followed a similar path on my maker journey.

    I also think the job board could still have plenty of potential.

    Looking forward to following the journey.

  18. 1

    Welcome to the painful world of startups ;)

  19. 1

    Awesome read.

    Watching your safety net drain away is really stressful. Looking back, I don't think I ever did any of my "best work" unemployed.

    You can definitely build something "on the side" without committing a lot of time to it. Good luck!

  20. 1

    Well, you certainly got a hit with this post, Janet :-)

  21. 1

    I love it when people are openly critical about their past decisions when they need to be. None of that rose-colored glasses BS.

  22. 1

    Hi Janet, I think you’re looking at idea validation wrong. You’re building things and then trying to find people that want to buy the thing you built. I think you’d have a higher success rate by talking to people first, finding their problem, and then building the thing that solves their problem. I enjoyed reading your article 😊

  23. 1

    Love the title and the blog!!

  24. 1

    The moment I read the first sentence ("I'm a dumb ass."), I knew I was in for a very riveting read. And I was right!

    I think it provides grounding as to what the typical entrepreneurship journey is like, particularly when you're starting out from scratch.

    A lot of bumping around, a lot of failed/scrapped projects, a lot of burnout periods where you'll just be bumming around, savings going down, needing to look for a job again, but ultimately never giving up.

    I wrote about how I bummed around for 11 months before making my first dollar from Zlappo. Yikes.

    The danger of simply reading success stories is getting a sudden feeling of demoralization, especially when you only pay attention to the "I did $0 to $5k MRR in 3 months" stories floating around so commonly on IH (survivorship bias).

    The truth is there are way more variables that go into this, and believe it or not others' $0 isn't the same as your $0. Maybe their stars are way more aligned than yours. Maybe they're starting their second/third company. Maybe they have connections from a previous job. And maybe they simply have found a better niche/market than you.

    Comparison really is the thief of joy, and we need more people sharing war stories from the deep trenches instead of just the final victories.

    Keep writing, Janet. I'm waiting for your next post.

  25. 1

    “University drop out, so you know I'm good at this.”

    You rock :)

  26. 1

    Hey Janet, great post! I was wondering if you could comment on how it’s been starting at a tech startup and juggling being an IH in your spare time? Do you find that juggling both has been fairly easy or is there a tension there? I’m thinking about a similar move myself but worried that a startup might be all-consuming of my time or mental energy.

  27. 1

    Wonderful, I would like that too. Studying takes all the time, recently I have ordered an essay from specialists https://essaysadvisor.com/, I want to create something and earn on it.

  28. 1

    Love this, makes for a refreshing change!

    I think the point at the end about consistency is key. With my first business we had a some months where there were no sales, it would have been easy to just hang in the towel if comparing ourselves to those who seem to go from 0-20Kmrr. 7 years later we're still at it and doing well. Most businesses take time and consistency. It's not sexy, but it works.

  29. 1

    Thanks for sharing, enjoyed. You are definitely closer to a success than it was before the first of your projects.

  30. 1

    Thanks for sharing your journey, janet :)

    I forgot who said that but it's pretty inspiring: "if you want to build a business, you don't need to quit your job or learn code, all you need to do is START." Glad that you didn't give up and START something ✨

    All the best to you and FastGrasp!

  31. 1

    Great post. And great website as well. Really like your sense of humor.

    I tried to subscribe, but it wasn't working. Luckily your source code is not minified so I was able to find what the problem was - but the subscribe form could probably use some error message 🙂

    1. 2

      You're probably right. It was a bit hacky to just change the innerHTML on the button itself. lol

  32. 1

    wow I enjoy reading it, thank you for sharing!

  33. 1

    Not a designer, but as a reader i'd love to see a little more space between lines and maybe a bit bigger font. And more paragraphs. Reading a 30 line paragraph is pretty taxing on the eyes and concentration. just my 2cents

    1. 1

      Oh really? I'm a bit surprised by that, I tried to design for readability. What are you reading on? Desktop? mobile

      1. 1

        Something felt off about the typography for me too and at first, I thought it was the line spacing, but 1.5rem line height is pretty normal. Then I realized it was the font-weight: 500 that was making it feel weird. I'm used to normal font-weight (400) so everything looks slightly bolded and therefore more crowded.

    2. 0

      yes, same here. There's a reason why we have 1 sentence per per paragraph. We want to flow over the text. A pity, @janetacarr , thanks for sharing your experience though.

      1. 3

        1 sentence per paragraph? Where did you study English? LOL

  34. 1

    Ahhh I relate so much! Also made 0K in the past months and am evaluating my options now 😂 Thanks for the write up! Let us know how the plugin goes, I'm also at Women Make and participated in the ship it challenge and found it was great

  35. 1

    really great read and i loved the honesty about lack of motivation

  36. 0

    You're being WAY too hard on yourself. You're in the amphitheater, fighting. I'm sure you've heard of the saying "come back with your shield or on it." The idea is that a soldier is honorable regardless of outcome, because they've got skin in the game. That's you. And in that context (of how you should view yourself), the outcome is irrelevant. So I'd implore you to divorce your self-perception from the outcome.

    As a founder, you're taking risk with skin in the game. The downside of that is that if it doesn't work out, you're forced to face the consequences as you've experienced. But that's precisely why it's so impressive. Unlike, for example, some investment bankers that get all the upside when things go well but have transferred all the downside to innocent, unwitting people when things go poorly.

    That being said, you need to pay bills as well. So next time, use Kagan Validation to avoid this problem. [1] It's a method where you try to get 3 paying customers in a 48h window in order to prevent wasting gratuitous resources on ideas that are likely to fail.

    NOTES

    [1] Read these two essays Paradigm Shift: Drastically Increase The Odds of Success and the subhead called Lesson 3 in The Dumbest Startup That Ever Worked  — What You Can Learn From Airbnb  — PART 2

    Go get 'em and don't give up.

    RJ

    PS. Everyone here is rooting for you :)

    1. 1

      Yeah, I've been thinking about trying to line up some of the cash money!

      I'm not being too hard on myself. I think my writing voice is just sassy AF. :P

  37. 1

    This comment was deleted 7 months ago.

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