Hey everyone 👋
I'm a software engineer who’s been coding for 16 years.
In 2018, I decided to take the plunge and build my own startup, with my wife as a cofounder.
I love to code and she loves to design. And since we’re doing a logo design product, I thought that focusing on these areas would be enough to succeed.
From the start though, people kept telling me to focus on distribution and marketing.
It made sense but I felt that it didn’t apply to us. I was convinced that finding product-market fit would be enough to make us successful.
Just like the unicorn success stories you see all the time. I hoped that we would be so good and disruptive that we would become viral. I assumed actual marketing wouldn’t be needed.
Actually, focusing on the product worked well in the beginning.
When we launched last year, we had 1 sale out of every 800 visits. There were still big problems in the flow.
So by spending time on features, we got it down to 1 sale out of every 200 visits. It was a big improvement!
But by focusing on that exclusively, we stopped trying to get traffic. And even with a better-performing website, it didn’t sell that much.
By January 2021, we had already fixed the bigger problems with our site.
But we kept focusing on features until the end of May, except for some participation on indiehackers and reddit.
This didn’t lead to any major improvement in sales and got us down to a tiny ~700 users and 7 sales per month. Even worse, half of those were late conversions from traffic acquired in 2020.
The result of focusing only on product
As the months went by and we kept improving the product, we experienced firsthand how it didn’t change anything.
Regardless of our efforts, we were still barely selling a handful of logos a month.
So eventually we had no choice but to admit it.
We did not create a product so mind-blowing that it became an instant-hit. We’re not the next Facebook or Uber.
And that means we need to do marketing.
I really didn’t want to do marketing.
I wanted to create my dream job, where I could do what I love every day (code and UX) without a boss telling me what to do. Now I have to learn something that seems like a big chore?!
Lucky for me, my target market is founders and entrepreneurs. So I took the smallest step that I could: participate more in online communities.
It doesn’t feel like marketing if it’s just « participating » 😅
So I became more active on twitter, indiehackers, and reddit. I joined lots of private slack groups.
I forced myself to reply to tweets for hours and bring value to every online discussion that I could.
It felt like a grind at first, and it was hard to not work on my product.
But after a couple of weeks, one of my 100s of replies got viral on twitter. It got us thousands of visits and a couple of sales.
I had finally gotten a win 🤩.
This made me want to double down, and by staying consistent, sure enough, I kept getting more wins, which led to more traffic and sales.
I got a bit more comfortable, and it even became something I enjoyed doing. I started making memes about the indie journey (the ones you see in this post) and this led to some more growth for my twitter account.
The best part is I don’t have to be salesy at all. Most of the time I just try to be helpful, share my experience and don’t mention my product.
But people are naturally curious, so if they like my answer, they go check my profile. Then they follow the link to my website 🤷♂️.
Do I still want to do product? Yes.
Would I rather live in a world where I can just build a great product and become instantly successful? YES YES YES.
But at some point during my journey, I realized that it was just a fantasy. Sure 1 out of every 1000 founders will hit the jackpot with an instantly viral product. But for most of us, there’s no silver bullet.
If I want my product to succeed, I have to make a conscious choice to make it visible to the world. Even though it still doesn’t come naturally, it's gotten easier by focusing on bringing value and having fun.
Thanks to this, I'm finally making logology grow. I hope this article can inspire you to go out there and do the same 🚀