Hello everyone! After around 7 months of work, my first web app is finally live at https://lofi.co and even though there's still a lot to do, it feels good to have it open to the public.
As a non-technical founder, and with this being a pretty unique app, I went through a lot to make my idea a reality, and in this post I'll tell you everything about it: the story behind the app, how much I spent (I feel like this is a piece of information many non-technical founders are interested in) and the mistakes I made.
I'm a 23yo guy from Italy, I started looking for ways to make money online since I was 16 and while growing up I used to have an absurd amount of ideas, but I never had the kind of money to pay for the development and design of any of them, so in the past 3 years I shifted to crypto, social media (growing and selling pages at the beginning, then collaborating with a media company to help artists with their social media presence) and e-commerce. Thanks to all of these, crypto in particular, I was finally able to save a decent amount of money and invest in my ideas.
lofi.co: idea and development
Due to my social media background, I managed to get the username @lofi on Instagram (i know this might seem useless, but that username alone is actually worth a pretty decent amount of money) and I was thinking to start another theme page to grow and sell, but then I decided I actually wanted to make something different out of it and, still without an idea, I bought the domain lofi.co for $3.5k back in mid-2020. The idea I was looking for didn't come until this February, and it was a pretty complicated one: an interactive experience combining lofi music, interactive animated artworks, and productivity tools. It wasn't complicated because of the tech side of it, but because a lot of people needed to be involved: music producers, designers (shoutout to @speedpoint and his amazing agency PixelTrue for making the UI/UX of the app), illustrators, record labels (if I didn't want to keep paying to have original tracks only) and a developer.
Managing all of these people together was not easy, and it took 7 months to get everything done but, to be honest, it could've gone worse. I think the most frustrating part of the management process was during the interviews, where some people initially didn't take me seriously because of my age, but I guess I can understand them.
Mistakes & Costs
As I said, It was not easy, and I made a couple (expensive, both money and time-wise) mistakes. With the same experience I gained in these 7 months, I think the project would be completed in less than half the time. So yea, learning by doing is definitely a good way to learn.
My two mistakes are strictly correlated, mainly to the fact that I hired a developer before having a final UI/UX that I actually liked (first mistake), this cost me a lot of time. The developer I hired is a great guy, ended up in Forbes 30 under 30 for an ed-tech startup he co-founded a few years ago. I had him start working on the project while the first design agency was almost done with the UI/UX. Problem was that I actually didn't like that design at all, and I knew this would happen before they even started working on it. This was my second mistake, because when I scrolled through this agency's portfolio, I already knew they weren't the right fit, but I was in a hurry to get the UI to the developer. I was also late on my schedule because of an issue I had with a previous developer I hired, which ended up wasting 1 month of my time and almost $1600 (which I'm still trying to get a refund for, and I eventually will). This is a product for students and young workers (it's for everyone, actually, but that will be the target audience with marketing campaigns), therefore I really wanted to launch it before summer.
When we were close to launching the beta, I decided I really didn't want anyone to see the platform with that design and that's when I found Andy's agency, PixelTrue, here on IH. I had his team redesign the whole thing, which brought to a few UX changes and obviously delays, also caused by the summer holidays.
Let's talk about costs:
I also set a budget for paid marketing (mainly influencers who I already booked), but I won't talk about that because the campaign hasn't started yet and I think it would be pointless before seeing the results.
Woah! I don't remember the last time I've written something this long in English. If you've made it here, thank you for reading and I hope I didn't bore you too much ahah, would love to hear your feedback! Any advice is also greatly appreciated.