12 Startups in 12 Months October 15, 2020

Is the 12 startups in 12 months challenge a good idea?

Duane @DuaneCreates

I encountered this challenge online and it intrigued me.
I've been wanting to create a few micro SaaS for a while now and was wondering if this is a good way to start.

My concern is that maybe a month is not enough to create something meaningful; and I hate rushing my projects.

Anyone here has experience with this challenge? How did you fare?

  1. 7

    If you hate rushing projects that is all the more reason to do it.

    1. 3

      Every side-project I did took me between 1 and 2 years. And none of them have been a great success...

      Every time I think of a new idea, I think (too) big.

      I looked very recently into this challenge and I think it's great for that. It allows you to fail faster and learn way faster.

      1. 2

        Yeah exactly the same as me.

        I have tons of side projects that would be great as a week project. But then i turn them into HUGE ideas and never do them.

  2. 5

    I've just started my 12 Startups in 12 Months journey. I'm doing it with four other makers who've also committed to doing it. We're doing it together to help each other along the way.

    I don't know for sure if it's a good idea yet but here are some of the reasons I'm doing it anyway.

    Every time you repeat something over and over you get better at it

    For me, the number 1 reason is the power of iteration.

    It's pretty much impossible to do anything really well the first time. In fact, your first attempt is probably going to suck. This applies to many things (drawing, exercise, coding, blogging, etc).

    Creating a software startup isn't any different. You might already be good at writing the code but there's lots of other things you probably haven't practiced much. Market research, validation, launching, marketing, talking to people). Don't underestimate these other things, they all take practice.

    Constraints help you focus

    One month isn't a lot of time, but it sure is motivating. I've made a LOT more progress on actually building something in the last 17 days than I have in a long time. Sure, the code isn't perfect and I'm probably not going to have everything finished in time but I am confident I'll be able to launch something in just one month.

    Finding customers is hard

    One of the hardest things about launching a startup is finding people that actually care about the thing you've created. By building a launching quickly you'll get some validation and to see if anyone is interested in the idea at all.

    I can't think of anything worse than spending 1 - 5 years building something before launching only to find out nobody cares (believe me, I've been in that boat before and it sucks).

    There's a compounding effect

    A lot of the stuff you create is reusable. Some of the code you write can be reused in the next project. Many of the challenges you face the first time, like hosting, domain registration, integrating 3rd party libraries and services, tech choices, etc can be reused and improved on each time.

    But it's more than that. There's also a compounding effect in the non-technical stuff like building an audience, finding new ideas and your ideal market. People follow along with what you're creating and give feedback which leads to more knowledge and ideas for the next project.

    The goal is to find a Startup that suits you as a founder

    If I happen to find a Startup that I love and starts growing revenue before reaching the end of the 12 Startup challenge that's great! Finishing 12 startups is not really the point but by committing to do them up front I'm decreasing the chances that I'll give up just because the first few fail.

    And what if they all fail? I think that's okay too because I'm quite certain I'll be a better maker by the end of 12 months than I am now and building and launching new stuff will have become a habit.

    That's all I've got for now but if you'd like to follow along check out the website we created for our 12x accountability group and follow us on Twitter.


  3. 3

    This post may be helpful and inspirational to you: https://monicalent.com/12x-startup/
    via @momoko

    1. 1

      Thanks for sharing my post, Steven :)

  4. 3

    Rather take a challenge, 1 startup in 12 months , $100K profit.

    1. 2

      This sounds more interesting and rewarding!

  5. 3

    No, it's a bad idea.

    Tell me, how do you know EXACTLY how much a PRODUCT (MVP/startup) can take?

    Here at work in IT we cannot even estimate exact time for building a dropdown, who knows how it'll behave in different circumstances.

    And here you have to build something exactly in 1 month. Cool, in the end you'll get like 12 shitty products, which are barely half-ready.

    Plus, if you don't have 12 ideas yet, then you'll rush yourself to think about them, but this is artificial: you just tell yourself like "oh okay it's new month a HAVE to do something, okay maybe a to-do list"

    Not serious in my opinion

  6. 2

    I think it probably depends on the goal. I doubt you can feasibly get a project up and running and get enough traction to determine it's success in just a month. But I could see it being useful for iterating quickly through ideas to find out which project you and your market is most excited about, so that you can pursue it further after the fact. Sort of like a year long, in-depth, brainstorming.

  7. 2

    Move this over to the 12 Startups in 12 Months group 😇

  8. 2

    In general, I think a challenge like this makes a lot of sense. But if you prefer more complex projects, why not a 6 startups in 12 months challenge?

  9. 1

    99% of successful businesses out there didn't do 12 business in 12 months. I think it's a good idea, if you want to refine your building skills, launching skills, shipping skills. But you can't build 12 startups in 12 months. You can build 12 little projects in 12 months, but they will not be startups or even businesses. They might be the beginning of one, but chances are you will need to put more than a month into it.

    I feel like it's for those who have no idea what will stick so they try their luck over and over till something looks like it might work. I believe for those that are very calculated, focused and willing to go all in. 1 business at a time is also fine.

    1. 1

      Nobody has any idea what will stick 🙂 I think that's why 12 in 12 is such a useful thing to do, especially if you feel the need to work for 1 year on a project that's not validated. This way you get to break out of that habit and get used to micro-launches. In one month you should be able to make an MVP that can tell you if it's worth pursuing or not. If not, move on to the next one.

      If you're lucky, you won't get to making 12 projects because one of them gets enough traction to require more of your time. levelsio never got to 12, did he?

      It's important to keep in mind most startups fail, including the funded ones. I see doing something like 12 in 12 as embracing this and failing early and often so you get to your one idea that succeeds as fast as you can.

  10. 1

    With all the projects I have ever built, I have had the feeling that I took longer than I should to make them public and try to find users (including my current project). I think if I had a very aggressive internal deadline like a project per month, it would have pushed me a bit more to just try to find the users even though the MVP was not perfect.

    So I would say that yes, this is a good idea, but of course it doesn't have to be so strict and you can adapt the goals and deadlines the way you want to. I have seen some videos from https://levels.io/ and he even mentions he didn't do all 12 startups in the end (not sure if by now he has completed the plan). Here is a video from him which I highly recommend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3nb_Qj3mRA

  11. 1

    Gonna be hella hectic!

  12. 2

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