Building in Public November 22, 2020

Jamform Day 1: Building a form backend service in public

Justin @Harrjm

After trying to validate my previous project with my target customers and being told I'm "solving a problem that doesn't exist", I decided I want to take a step back and stop trying to make something new and groundbreaking. I decided to just take an existing, validated service, and just make my own version. I created this thread to discuss the idea and it seems a lot of people agree not all products need to be new and novel.

What is the product?

I decided I wanted to build a form backend service for handling form submissions for serverless applications (or server apps that just want easy form setup). You simply drop an HTML form on your page and point it to my service and it stores and emails you all of your submissions. This is a problem already saturated with companies like FormSpree and Getform and plenty more. Do I think I can beat these companies? Not sure. But I know I can build a service that is just as good as them. At the end of the my goal is to just capture a small potion of their customers. My concrete goal is $100/MRR in 1 year, it's not a lot but it's enough for me to feel successful.

What have I done so far?

Next steps are to keep coding the MVP starting with getting a landing/signup page ready so I can start sharing it with interested users. I also want to start doing more competitor research to determine any gaps they've left for me to hit as well as sending out surveys to determine any paint points people have with these services.

I'll be tweeting updates and less frequently updating on here if you want to follow along!

  1. 2

    Awesome, let me know when you get it finished and I'll share it.

    I have a page on my site that ranks in the top 10 for "Alternatives to Google Forms" and I'd love to feature more indie projects on it.

    Feel free to ping me here or via email: [email protected]

    1. 1

      Awesome I'll definitely let you know! Also thanks for sharing there was a few on that list I hadn't seen before so that'll help with competitor analysis.

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        Yeah, but don't get too caught up in what your competitors do. It's easy to second-guess yourself that way.

        Just find a few users and let them guide you to what's next. Good luck!

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          For sure! I’m using competitors to make sure I cover all the “must haves”, i.e file handling, spam prevention, webhook/zapier integration, etc. But most of this will be done after the site is already live and hopefully getting users. Ion was I have the basics done I plan to make a public facing roadmap for users to submit and guide new feature production.

  2. 2

    Nice work, excited to follow this.

    I have a question about the business email, what did you use to set it up?
    I personally always find it a hassle to setup email inboxes for my side projects.

    Good Luck!

    1. 3

      I always find it a hassle too, one on my biggest paint points. For most projects I just use my personal email or a gmail account. For this one I decided to go with GSuite (or Google Workplace I think they call it now), I find it the easiest platform to set up by far and very powerful, but it costs $11/mo so I may switch off if i find a better one.

      I've also tried Zoho in the past which was good for my first domain because it was free but the interface is not very good and not worth paying the second time around (it's phone number locked so can't create a separate account). I also tried ProtonMain which was alright but I'd have to use the paid version and just preferred Gsuite. I also tried forwardemail.net which is supposed to let you use a custom domain with Gmail but couldn't get it to work properly.

  3. 2

    I like the name.
    And you got the .com? which is a plus at least for me.

    Good luck

    1. 1

      Right! I thought of it and got excited but assumed it’d be taken, I was pumped when the name was available and not even premium or anything! Short, memorable, brandable, and fits perfectly in the JAMstack niche!

      Cant decide if I want to type it like Jamform, JamForm, or JAMform though.

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