It's easy to get lost in your project. What do you do when you need to start looking outside your own world?

I've been heads down, fully focused on building the best sustainability platform I can for the past 1 year and 10 months. I'm now to the point where I need to put my baby into the world, but it's incredibly difficult to get any traction.

We just finished up a private beta where we made key updates, but now we need a bunch of beta testers and we're not sure how to reach anyone that's intersted.


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    now we need a bunch of beta testers and we're not sure how to reach anyone that's intersted.

    My first instinct is to go where the community is, because it will be both rich in your target market and likely have some more visionary early adopter types who can give you rapid feedback. Often, but not always, this community is reddit.

    I usually take a lot of care to introduce my project in the community, in a way that will build some sense of ownership within that group - like I invented it there, for them. “Hey everyone, I’m tinkering on this new way to <whatever>. What do you think?” It’s maybe a tad facetious, but not maliciously so.

    I don’t know much about your product - what kind of people do you think it is “made for”; and where do they congregate (online)?

    It’s also possible your “killer” growth channel might not be online. Are there offline communities you could target for early adopters?

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      I appreciate this comment more than you can know.

      I've always strayed away from online communities because I've heard their toxic environments full of trolls.

      I recently joined Indie Hackers and Reddit and my vision couldn't have been further from the truth. Members are engaged and eager to help each other out, it's been a breath of fresh air, to say the least.

      In regards to bringing up my project in a community, THANK YOU. Do you have any other tips? I've attempted to be subtle in my company mentions, but continue to get scolded and threatened that I'll be banned from the communities for self-promotion. I'm going to test your mentioned tip in a Reddit sub now ;)

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        Hey, my pleasure! I'm glad to help.

        On Reddit, I think my best advice is, be authentic & tailor to the community. Would watch it for a bit and see what works, too - you're right some can be toxic, but remember every sub has different ownership (moderators). Tolerance for self-promotion certainly varies, but assuming it is low, my usual strategy is to try showcase an "I'm building this here on Reddit / with your input" sort of vibe.

        Let's say my niche is model trains, and I want to shake out some interest on r/modeltrains. Here are two different approaches I could take:

        Approach 1 (bad):

        To: r/modeltrains
        From: [@ModelTrainApp](/ModelTrainApp)
        Headline: Looking for testers for my new app.
        Content: <Link to ModelTrainApp.io>

        Approach 2:

        To: r/modeltrains
        From: [@trainlover123](/trainlover123)
        Headline: Got tired of tracking my trains by hand, so built a little app - what do you think? (details in comments)
        Content: <imgur gallery of app> + <comment-reply explaining more>

        This is fictionalized of course, but basically hits on a few common options that work better on Reddit:

        • "Real person" account versus "corporate" account
        • Headline that connects "problem -> idea", versus being pushy about what you ultimately want
        • Content that's tailored to reddit (people like images and text posts vs links; it depends on the community of course)

        Basically the more you seem like a real human, and, the more you connect to things that are actually interesting to a sub, I think the more likely you will be to catch someone's eye and get substantive feedback/interest.

        Ultimately, your best community may be something other than Reddit. For one friend's business, it was a craft show, where the network effect of other makers at that show was key. For me, there was a niche-specific phpBB forum that was a good fit. Maybe for you, it's an offline sustainability meetup or tradeshow? Who knows; all this is to say, don't bank on any one single place and try a few.

        Good luck!

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          Brilliant advice. Thank you so so much!

          It's so obvious, directly relate to the niche, but I didn't think about dialing down the username as well.

          Here we go!

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