48
68 Comments

I launched 12 companies from $0 to $2MM ARR. Let me answer your launch questions. AMA!

I've launched a dozen startups to over $2 million in ARR, including some companies you maybe have heard of like GOG.com, Unito.io, Kontakt.io; I am an expert in launching startups by helping them nail positioning & prove market demand with quantitative data (https://crowdtamers.com/build-test-a-million-💲-arr-acquisition-funnel-in-9-weeks/). I've taught and mentored a few hundred early stage startups through StartupHub in Europe and Founder Institute in North America and MENA. I love helping early stage startups get up off the ground and am on a mission to help 1,000 startups reach $1,000,000 in revenue in the next 7 years (https://crowdtamers.com/the-why-of-crowdtamers/).

AMA about your launching your project--ideally before you've even finished building it.


EDIT - Thanks so much! #1 community post for the day in both comments & votes! That's about a wrap on this thread; I'll check in again at least once a day over the next week or so, but I'm not gonna haunt the page, refreshing constantly to see if there's a new question to answer.

I hope y'all found it useful, and you can always feel free to hit me up @trevorlongino on Twitter if you have any questions.

  1. 5

    I have a few ideas that I'm building landing pages for. Yay/nay? Is there a good way to know if an idea is worth building a landing page for before I do so?

    1. 1

      The launching landing page is not enough. What matter most is what is your pitch and what type of problem you are solving!

      Since you are in the validation stage, I would advise you to sell an info product rather than create a new product!

      1. 1

        What do you mean by an info product?

  2. 3

    I just launched PipeSocial.io as a private beta, targeting twitter power user.
    What do you think of the private beta mode? How you'd kickstart this kind of product?

  3. 2

    Not a question, but... I love your CrowdTamers "why" and just want to put myself and one of my co-founders on your radar as possible future resources. I specialize in naming and verbal identity, and she's a phenomenal brand strategist. We both love the startup space and the early days in a company. (Totally understand that when a startup is just getting off the ground, the name/brand is NOT the most important thing, but it definitely starts to matter once they're trying to grow!) We're building our own startup, too, but happy to side hustle and help other founders while doing stuff we love.

  4. 2

    I devoted everything to build a personal WhatsApp CRM for sales (cooby.co) and now I found it's so hard to find salespeople (ideally field sales agents, insurance agents and direct sales) to try out our product. Any tips on getting first batch of users in this vertical?

  5. 2

    Awesome to know that you are behind Kontakt.io. I've been trying to get into the beacon space over the last few years seeing as I am in Poland which seems to be the go-to place for beacons companies these days.

  6. 2

    Just read all the questions/answers and some really great insights.

    Especially around not wasting time and figuring out if a startup will work or not.

  7. 2

    I have been working on a no-code/low-code platform designed specifically for front-end engineers. It's not available to public yet, but I'd like to demo it to potential users to gather some initial feedback.

    How can I go about finding users who are willing to provide feedback over a Zoom call? I posted on Reddit as well as here (https://www.indiehackers.com/post/feedback-request-for-no-code-low-code-platform-built-for-developers-front-end-engineers-545af34e96) with no luck.

    Thanks for doing this btw.

  8. 2

    In your opinion, which companies are doing the best job of building in public ahead of their product's launch?

  9. 2

    I jumped the gun and started reading your blog! really impressed so far.

  10. 2

    Before you put up a landing page to test a proposed solution to a problem, you need to pick a problem to try and solve for people.

    Have you seen a systematic method for searching a market / problem space to discover opportunities?

  11. 2

    Is there a piece of advice you'd give indie hackers that hasn't been said before?

  12. 2

    I just launched NFT HUNT ( https://nfthunt.softr.app/ ) Been good at the beginning now things are slowing down, How do i build a community around it?(more of a cult)
    How do i get users to comment?
    Thanks a lot!

  13. 2

    Do you have any steps in figuring out your positioning that seems to work well for SaaS companies?

  14. 2

    Hey Trevor,
    appreciate this. As my side project I am building Kairo - getkairo.com - a tracking dashboard. It is not officially launched, that is planned in a month, but I have posted to various sites where it received a great feedback and being on top of the lists just to test the waters.

    Now, great feedback is great, but, there were little sign ups to try it out (compared to upvotes and feedback). There are already a number of paying customers, which is great and I didn't expect it (it is a new project).

    My question is, I took an approach where the users can try it out, without logging in (but the data won't be saved, so no reports and limited set of features), then there is 7 days trial. Do you think this is a worthy approach for the launch or should I just drop the free no-login version and have just trial and extend it to 30 days for example? Or do something different on the free page ( there is a form now to follow the progress which has seen some conversions).

    Thank you 🙏

  15. 2

    How many ideas have you run through the validation process and killed off?

  16. 2

    Hi. Do you believe in blogging as a long run way to reach customers? If not, what other SEO strategies do you use?

  17. 2

    Hey Trevor, would you be interested in joining to a startup with a really great potential, as a partner?
    I'm talking about Howitzer.

    Thanks!

  18. 2

    Have you ever thought of productising this validation process?

  19. 2

    I read this and I'm wondering if this sequence works even for developer-focused SaaS products?

    https://crowdtamers.com/build-test-a-million-💲-arr-acquisition-funnel-in-9-weeks/

  20. 2

    Hey Trevor!

    I'm currently working on https://www.namy.ai

    It's in a decent state but there's tons of improvements I want to do (specifically in the algorithm side of things, to suggest better domain names).

    What do you recommend me do? Continue building and launch later? Launch now? Have a series of staggered launches where i gather feedback and get validation?

    What would your strategy be for namy.ai?

    1. 3

      ABL - Always Be Launching :)...I find that founders who launch often, gather feedback, and iterate are more successful than those who wait for some big arbitrary date! Cheers

  21. 2

    @CrowdTamers Thanks for sharing! Super valuable. It seems this process relies heavily on ads. How do you think about customer discovery calls with regards to your process? Are they useful, say as an ER0 to inform your ER1?

  22. 1

    What about those who have already wasted time building something without a business model? I built a cryptocurrency research application (https://moonfactory.com) a while back and it gained a decent amount of initial interest which motivated me to continue..

    I've struggled greatly in building premium features onto the application in a cost effective way (the blockchain is a major PITA in terms of activity, data and 3rd party services/support/costs).

    It was originally for researching gems but then the market crashed (as I knew it eventually would), usage dropped off and now I've pivoted to the trading side of things. The plan is to introduce subscriptions.. but the costs to power the features for those subscriptions are too costly. It's a painful catch 22.

    I already have half of something and a small userbase. Crypto has a lot of great opportunities.. it's difficult to throw the towel in without testing subscriptions. I even had an investor give me $20k (for nothing) to support dev. I think I'm just overwhelmed and anxious as I have no clue how I'm going to make money from it and when I should cut my losses and move onto something else.

  23. 1

    Hi @CrowdTamers,
    We've recently launched a platform centered around peer to peer lending of DIY kit, (with a geographic focus on London), AlienRent.com. Pre launch we had set up a landing page and run some ads on FB and Instagram, which went quite well. We collected about 150 email addresses over a month, so took this as we had a market fit. After a few months of building we launched again. 4 of the original landing page signups created accounts on the platform, and we've begun running ads again, however this time around seems to be completely cold, no new signups.
    Do you know what might be behind this apparent mismatch in demand?

    1. 2

      Were both times round the same landing page? Sounds like your offer changed and your signups reflect that. Those 4 of the 150 are warm in the sense that they came form an email signup. It's far harder to convert a cold prospect into an account.

      Also, I went through your registration process and it's far too cumbersome. It's really important to make it as frictionless as possible. Your multi-step form with "Next" along with no idea of how many steps to take will lose you a lot of potential users. Treat it as if you are losing a percentage of users with every field you add. I'd scrap the multi-step, try social registration with maximum a few fields for normal email/pass registration, then only ask for other important info if/when a user tries to do something which requires it (such as rent/hire equipment).

      Looks like a decent idea, good luck with it!

      1. 1

        that's really helpful feedback, thanks for taking the time and going through our signup, we're definitely going to incorporate it :)
        The initial landing page was essentially just a site explaining the idea, a way of collecting emails, and doing a questionnaire if you felt like it. Our new page is the actual functioning MVP.
        Thanks again!

  24. 1

    I am working on Group Leads - https://groupleads.net

    I would love to have your feedback.

  25. 1

    I am deeply impressed by your mission. What inspired you to quit CMO position to devote life towards helping startups such way?

  26. 1

    Hi Trevor,

    Two weeks ago I've launched as public beta an alternative to Twitter analytics, without the hassle of complicated navigation. https://TwitterStats.app

    I've launched on ProductHunt and got 25 votes and a stunning 67 new users on the launch day - https://www.producthunt.com/posts/twitterstats , from there the users growth was 1 or 2 / day.
    I also build in public on Twitter - https://twitter.com/AlexMano12 - where I share lessons learned and weekly reports.

    What would you recommend to take as next steps ?

    Thank you.
    Alex

  27. 1

    The myth, the man, the legend...

  28. 1

    Hi Trevor,
    1 year ago, during the pandemic, I build this product as Side Project: https://sheetpages.com .
    Some people started using the application, but there where too bug and I was too busy with my real job, so I shut down the product, leaving up only the landing page.
    In the last year, without working on it, I have collected about 200 emails ( 10% of users who visit the site).
    Now I am wondering if it makes sense to quit my job and focus on this project even if I have not generated any income.
    How do you act in these conditions?
    When does it make sense to work on a product?
    Does it make sense to take the plunge before having a profit?

  29. 1

    Hey! We are currently building Basch.ml, a synthetic media platform to help create videos in Minutes without Any Video Skill. We are currently in the Development stage. We have about 250+ people on the waiting list. We are thinking about launching soon. Really confused right now. Any advice?

  30. 1

    If you had to start from scratch (0$, 0 users), what would be your TLDR action plan be?

  31. 1

    Please critique my landing page: https://languagetools.anki.study/awesometts-plus
    the audience are users of an addon to the flashcard software Anki. And the sign up is to unlock a premium feature.

    I have not yet gone to A/B testing, but it feels like that's the next step for me, as I get some organic traffic from having a promotion link inside the addon.

  32. 1

    Amazing portfolio there mate, I've booked in a session

    Would love to get your feedback on https://smartwriter.ai

    Taking on a niche problem that 100,000s of founders face which is effective cold outreach

    We've automated the whole schebang with AI so you just drop in your prospect URL and click send

    1. 1

      I don't understand your product.

      Does it only generate personalized outreach copies or you also have email sending, tracking, and follow-up features?

  33. 1

    What marketing strategies did you use and which were most successful?

  34. 1

    I am lost between working one idea against another.

    Idea A has already been live with its phase I launched for about 2 years now. But i stopped working on it for about a year now. Two things to consider, monetization is hard and takes quite some time to build up as its a publishing platform with adsense for the time being. And the other thing is that working on phase II requires some time to refactor what was done and impelement the new features. But the roadmap is clearer here.

    Idea B is just an idea with barely 5% of the code written less than a year ago. This one requires a bit less work to launch and the monetization is through subscriptions as its a SaaS. One more thing is that this idea came out of necessity and something i would really like to use.

    What do you think is the best route to go?

  35. 1

    I'm close to finishing https://cinematicstudio.app -- a video editor focused on simplicity + speed.

    I'd love to know about turning trial users into customers (I get around 25-30 users/day via google ads). Thanks!

  36. 1

    What is your advice for the CEO that knows nothing about marketing?

  37. 1

    Working on a side-project, Overmind Wiki. A self-organizing notepad for team knowledge. Very simple attempt at a landing so far.

    It's awesome that you're doing this AMA. You seem to focus very heavily on ads as a testing mechanism (due to speed/cost). What do you think of the "Minimum Viable Mockup" approach, pre-selling people based on mockups?

  38. 1

    Hi @CrowdTamers, How should i get companies to commit to being customers for an app that isn't built yet ?

    I built a prototype and a landing page (searchegg.io) for an idea i wanted to validate, and want to get at least 10 customers before i build it out, but i can't charge them for an app that isn't already built . what should i do ?

  39. 1

    What is the exact process you follow to FIND and EVALUATE an idea for profitable business?

    A long & detailed reply would be more than welcome. Thanks in advance.

    PS - Any thoughts around creating a business around "Content Curation especially for entrepreneurs/Sales/Marketing/Branding/Content Marketing & Social Media Marketing professionals?

  40. 1

    @CrowdTamers would **LOVE ** to hear your feedback on Median.

    Company was founded in 2017 I bought it in 2020 and we/I am really struggling with the message. I think it could be huge but we are just under $100k at the moment.

  41. 1

    I'm trying to make learning to code fun. Any advice? ZappyCode.com

Trending on Indie Hackers
Developer-first products awesome list 12 comments I co-founded an agency that’s grown to over 100 people building mobile apps and now car infotainment systems. AMA! 9 comments After how many attempts did you say "I am successful"? 7 comments Creating code with Artificial Intelligence. Good or Bad? 5 comments Anyone ready to sell their side project? 4 comments Couldn't make startup a success, looking for a job 4 comments