Building in Public January 9, 2021

I'm launching another product out of frustration

Wassim @wassim

While most of the people were celebrating the end of the year and the start of a hopefully better one, I was alone in my corner, counting my failed indie projects. It's a graveyard.

I'm frustrated and angry because I lost a good amount of time building my shitty products. A time that I certainly can't get back. This, coupled with the fact that I will lose my current 9-5 job by end of January, I entered what others call "panic mode".

It's safe to say that I'm in a shitty situation right now. And I couldn't help myself but to launch another (soon to fail?) project 🤷‍♂️.

This time I took a different approach, however.

I decided not to waste hours and days looking for the "next big" idea.
I decided not to try to sell another product but rather myself. My skills. Skills I've acquired for more than a decade.

I'm an experienced full-stack software developer. And I have been recently following the trend of JAMstack and statically generated websites.

I told myself why not build a productized service around this trend and try to sell what I can do best; coding websites.

This is another journey of mine trying to break the 9-5 loop and make a living independently.

Hi 👋 my name is Wassim and I'm publicly building FastJam.dev

Edit: I'm running a giveaway here as a thank you for everyone who took the time to comment my thread and all this great community as whole!

  1. 20

    The time you mentioned builing "shitty products" was not wasted, look back and see how much did you learn along that journey and you'll see its value. Imagine if we all considered our first steps when we were babies as shitty walking :D We wouldn't be able to walk and run now without those tiny steps.

    Keep going and all the best!

    1. 2

      😂 Lol ... and good advice!

    2. 1

      Same here, I launched buildfaster.co a while back and it wasn’t great. However, I did learn a lot from it and now I’m better prepared than I was before.

    3. 1

      I learned a lot of things for sure. But I always associate income failure with global failure. Maybe I need to take a different view.

      Thank you oras ❤️

  2. 4

    Good luck.

    I'm not your potential customer. Those two "*" was a buzz-kill for me, jfyi. Those are what remained in my mind after closing the page.

    90+ score guaranteed within the limitations
    Simple pricing up to 4000 px height

    Seems like too early to be picky. I've check the twitter accounts, if dsgn.link is your work I'd highly recommend to highlight it in the website, having a portfolio always a bonus.

    One more thing, who are you targeting, I'm not fully familiar with JAMStack, I think it's a new fancy js thing. I don't know it's capabilities, I don't know if it fits my needs. Can you "JAMStack" a facebook? A real-time chat app could be done with JAMStack? You are loosing people who doesn't know about JAMStack and those who already know has an option to do it for themselves. 🤷‍♂️

    Anyway, sorry to hear you'll become unemployed soon but I think this was a great start instead of working behind the curtains on a "killer" saas idea.

    1. 2

      Thank you for your feedback. I need to work on that copy for sure. The page height limit is important for pricing because a one page design can exceed 100000px... in this case I can't deliver for the same price. That would be crazy.

      I'm planning to a add a portfolio section but I told myself that putting my own projects (like dsgn.link and letsremote.net which are built on JAMstack by myself) can be cheesy and not honest.

      Actually there is a big community around the JAMstack. There is a section on FastJam that tells some of its benefits.

      I need to focus on a niche somehow. I choosed JAMstack for now. Maybe I'll just pivot to frontend in the future.

      1. 1

        It looks like dsgn.link gets decent traffic - 1179 monthly visitors. 10x more than any website domain I own.

        Why aren't you running Google Adsense ads on it?

        1. 1

          dsgn.link is actually getting more traffic than that. But even with 10k visits per month, Google Adsense will performs very poorly.

  3. 3

    Looking good.

    Don’t be too harsh on yourself this shit takes time but the more you can launch and try the higher your odds of being successful at it.

    1. 1

      Thank you. I know that time is key. I seriously need to embrace patience instead of frustration.

      1. 2

        Yeah I know it's tough. Society and things like social media prime us for instant gratification but nothing long lasting and or sustainable really works like that.

        You can try to use your negative energy to motivate you as long as it doesn't stand in the way of getting things out but it should never be used for rash decision making out of a temporary feeling.

        Anyway it looks like you have good skills, that page looks very professional/promising so it's "only" the matter of finding the thing that works and then it's sky's the limit

        1. 1

          Im starting to believe that the "thing" isn't just untied with hard work but also some luck or maybe I'm not as smarter as I think I am 🤣

          1. 2

            Luck is always involved but if you show up more and have more opportunities to be lucky you’re more likely to find it 🧐

  4. 2

    I understand the frustration you feel but am also glad to see that it's not holding you back. There are many failures and setbacks on the path to success. But you gotta keep walking the path because if you veer off or give up then you are no longer on the path to success. All the best.

    1. 2

      I made myself a promise that I'll keep building until I succeed or burn out...

      Thanks 💪

  5. 2

    Don't be so hard on yourself. Infact you can document why the project failed then it can a learning lesson to others

  6. 2

    Don't lose hope, every self-made entrepreneur went into shit including all of us... You will succeed if you keep your head up & down working on your projects, make sure you learn from your mistakes.

    1. 2

      Thanks. It's difficult to think that despite there is a lot of success stories on IndieHackers, there are also a lot of failed ones. You are right about learning from our mistakes and just move on at some point.

  7. 2

    Who is this landing page geared towards? Lazy Developers? Or designers?

    1. 2

      I'd say designers and startups, but then it could be anyone who don't have the skills or the time to do it by himself.

      1. 3

        Okay let's say I'm a designer and have no idea how to code. Why should I care what stack (which I obviously don't know what it is) is used?

        I can't really maintain it, after all I'm just a designer.

        or the time to do it by himself.

        I reckon this is the kind of customer you are looking for. Maybe designers, who want to do whole websites and who just started learning to code, sell them a tutorial aswell.

        I know for you all this seems super intuitive but believe me, I've worked in UX/UI testing and people are duuuuumb.

        1. 2

          I agree with you. I need to narrow down my niche or simplify my copy. Thanks for the tips.

          1. 2

            Glad I could help. Good luck!

      2. 1

        I am working on wickedtemplates.com imagine both slammed together, what would that be an agency?

        My strength is design...

        1. 1

          Hey Michael, nice work with WickedTemplates. I'm open for partnerships. Drop me a line to hi@wassim.co or lets chat on Telegram if you are interested (@wassimdotco).

          1. 1

            Sure thing. That sounds great!
            you can email me here too.

            hello@unicornsfeed.com

  8. 2

    Sorry to hear about the frustrations of your current situation. Hopefully, things work out with FastJam 🤞

    I wouldn’t say you’ve wasted any time at all with your other projects. The fact that you can confidently say you can turn around a page build in 2-3 working days shows you’ve learnt a great deal from your other projects. Just because they haven’t succeeded financially doesn’t mean they were failures altogether. If they have made you a better developer, then I’d say they have succeeded in some ways.

    In regards to the site, assuming you’re working on FastJam alone, I would make it very clear that 2-3 days deliver is per page and not an entire site. Currently, it's only clear in the FAQs which most people won't click.

    Also how do you plan to manage the workload? If you have 10 projects come through today how will you deliver 10 pages in 2-3 days? Will you outsource the work?

    Anyways best of luck and please do keep us updated on progress.

    1. 1

      Thank you for the kind words. Actually I learned a lot of my products. I learned new programming languages. I learned to work with new tools like Integromat and Airtable. I learned to fix technical issues asap. But I always associate the lack of financial income to failure.

      You are right about the delivery details. I need to work more on that copy!

      I currently don't plan to outsource because I'd like to control the quality of the work provided by FastJam. If in case there is a workload (I don't think that will happen anytime soon) I can go full-time on the project.

  9. 2

    Website looks really nice, don't be too hard on yourself about failed past projects. If you learn from your past mistakes you're progressing. How are you planning to advertise about your services ? Are you using GumRoad or Fiverr or any websites like that ?

    I see a lot of people wasting time creating MVPs, maybe could advertise how your service can help people validate an idea.

    "I'll create your MVP for $XXX , validate your business idea in a few days"

    1. 1

      Thank you for the kind words and marketing suggestions! My first plan right now is to provide some sort of giveaway on IndieHackers to get some visibility and crash-test my service. Gumroad can also be a good idea, I need to think more about it!

  10. 1

    Gotta say the website looks very professional, I think you won't spend much time before some clients come knocking at your door! Wish you the best!!

    One last thing about your 9-to-5 job, your set of skills may well be loved by remote companies, hence even if you don't think you may find something interesting in your hometown, or in the nearby area, consider applying for a remote job!! Never give up!

  11. 1

    Good luck Wassim! Just don't be so hard on yourself, anger and frustration are no healthy premises from which something good can come out. Just keep trying and trying. There are many ways and I'm sure you'll find yours. In case you need help with the specifics about setting up a business in France or just a small community of french makers I know a good discord you could join, just hit me up. :)

  12. 1

    Agreeing with others, Ive heard this saying before, you're not starting from scratch you're starting from experience

  13. 1

    I would burn out if I tried to create a service like yours outside my 9-5 job. Actually it sounds worse than a 9-5 job. My job I know my boss so I understand expectations. Your service would be like having infinite bosses, and never knowing what they expect without constant back-and-forth.

    When working on my shitty products I never think it's a waste. I'm the #1 user of everything I make. That way I don't care if I make money or not, worst case scenario I'll just use the product myself.

    One downside to this approach is you end up avoiding things you don't like. For example I'm horrible at marketing because I don't like bragging/selling my products. I'm trying to get over that in 2021 so we'll see how this year goes. Anyway good luck with your service, if you get customers and like it better than your 9-5 then it's definitely worth it.

  14. 1

    Totally understand you... found myself in the same position... but be careful, you can trap into "9 to 5" easily even with such high pricing. My advice if you see a traction, try to hire somebody to make the work for you (or at least helping you).

    Good luck, anyway! (Followed you)

    1. 1

      Thanks for the advise and for following :-)

  15. 1

    JAMStack is the future! With Vercel and Netlify's recent integrations for APIs, things are ramping up in that space, and I'm massively bullish on it. Investors are too, with seed money pouring into serverless.

    I think as other posters have mentioned - not enough people know about the virtues of JAMStack (a fairly good summary can be found at https://jamstack.org/why-jamstack/) - there's an opportunity here to become a major evangelist of the stack.

    Furthermore your experience will be hugely valuable - I'm certain that lighting the way for your future clients with your project (and warning them anecdotally of pitfalls) will act as a value-add. Eventually, who knows, the experience you pick up with this new gig could even line up the dominos for your next idea.

    I'm sure you'll smash it. Wishing you the best of luck!

    1. 2

      I do think the same Terry! JAMstack has a bright future ahead. I need to simplify my copy for common users and explain to them the benefits of this stack and how it can help their business.

      Thank you buddy :-)

  16. 1

    I understand the frustration, I have been building SAAS projects for a few years now and still isn't to a point that I earn enough to live on. You can always focus on several things at once to keep things interesting and eventually something will click and be successful.

    As a freelancer, it's important to be visible so focus on publishing a lot of content as well as get listed in as many directories as possible. Here is one I started for freelancers: https://www.hashtagremote.com/ (Free).

    Personally, I got tired of the freelance design/dev world, and ultimately moved on from it and started an Interior House Painting company as my day job 2 years ago. Best thing I have ever done. Don't limit your potential by eliminating new directions.

  17. 1

    I find this post sooo relatable, because I've been in the same shoes for the better part of the last 15 years: investing a lot of work and effort in our own product, but then having to resorting selling my own time.

    Quite literally, I have built a "give us a Photoshop PSD and we return the HTML" service some 15 years ago.

    We've ended up being a dev shop rather than a productized service back then. The main reason for that was that we weren't clear enough about who we tried to sell our HTML cutting "product" to. In fact I see the same trap on FastJam.dev: for someone to be able to use your service, they need to know what Figma/Sketch/etc is -- but your FAQ is for someone who has a blog, or tries to build out a relatively small idea. Maybe being more clarity about your ideal customer could help.

    1. 1

      Thank you for the feedback. As some others Indie Hackers stated above, my current copy is quite poor. I will try to improve it!

  18. 1

    Thanks for sharing your experience and feelings on this particular situation!
    I’ll add to the rest of the people of not being to harsh on you. I often feel something similar and reading your experience and actions over that sentiment you had I think is encouraging. I actually think is impressive you came out with this product in three days and out of the situation you are describing.

    Best of luck with FastJam!

    1. 1

      Thank you so much!

  19. 0

    "Highter rankings"

    1. 1

      Hey, I'm not that good at writing copies especially when english is not my first language. Maybe you can give me some suggestions?

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