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19 Comments

My First Month as a Solo Founder

I just finished writing a blog post about my experiences as a solo founder. I used to be a backend developer and co-owner at an agency, so some parts were quite familiar. However, the whole marketing, advertising and SEO game are new. I hope you like my post and let me know if you have any tips for the second month!

https://frankgroeneveld.nl/2021/04/28/first-month-as-solo-founder/

  1. 3

    Hi Frank - in terms of spammy - there's a few things.
    There's an expression in Sales
    "sell yourself, sell the problem - and the product will sell it self" (or something like that).

    In terms of posting on reddit/linkedin/et. al - I wouldn't - pls test this and get it out of your system (as I have too). But posting your product w/o discounts or whatever never really gets a good response.

    Better to email directly or DM directly to people - and "sell yourself" - ie. you are someone working on this problem - and you'd love to listen to their problems/challenges.

    Then - work with them to understand how hard the problem is....... it might be that your product can not help them at this stage. OR you product defo would.

    Keep discussing the problem and how they have tried to work to fix it (via email or DM).

    Finally. You try to close them with a trial, or early adopter phase, or discount or whatever.......

    sadly yes, this all takes time..... especially if you do not have social proof to show off.

    1. 1

      Thanks so much, great advise!

  2. 2

    Congrats on going solo, Frank! It’s such an exciting step. If you haven’t read it already, I’d suggest picking up a copy of The Mom Test. I’m re-reading it now for the third time, and as I wrote about here, I’m combining that with a re-read of Start Small, Stay Small. Those two books are so helpful in figuring out how to talk to people and build the right products. Good luck to you!

    1. 2

      Yes, I read The Mom Test. How would I contact them without being to spammy though? Lots of places such as Reddit seem to block you if you promote your product.

      Start Small, Stay Small sounds great, I've added it to my Kindle, thanks for the hints!

      1. 1

        Great question! It's only spammy if you're selling something. Remember the biggest takeaway from The Mom Test is to NOT talk about your idea/product when speaking with people. You are just trying to understand their problems. In my experience, reaching out to people cold just asking them if they're willing to talk about their problems works really well.

        1. 1

          Good one. So you would advise me to start a thread on Reddit for example, where I ask people what kind of problems they experience with the API's they provide?

          1. 2

            Nope. I would find people who match your customer segment and reach out to them directly. On Reddit, for example, you can DM people. You want to be having one-on-one conversations as opposed to trying to get bulk feedback. It'll be so much more valuable and you can ask better follow-ups when it's one-on-one.

            1. 2

              Haven't used DM there ever, thank you! I keep on learning new things everyday.

  3. 2

    I think before experimenting too much with paid ads, you should find a way to interact with your audience more, and see if your product is compatible with their needs. You don't want to invest money in ads to discover too late your product isn't what they're looking for.

    Best of luck for what's to come!

    1. 1

      How many customers? Or Which phase? You would say before starting with paid ads? I guess there no exact number, but ball park? Thanks

    2. 1

      Yeah, sounds solid. How would I contact them without being to spammy though? Lots of places such as Reddit seem to block you if you promote your product.

  4. 2

    Great effort Frank - just browsed through the list of things you did in first month.

    As a founder of many failed effort, I say focus on talking with real customers first.

    1. 1

      Thanks, great advise that I will definitely try to follow.

  5. 1

    Thanks for sharing. Love watching others journeys. They're all similar but unique. Best of luck!

  6. 1

    Enjoyed your post Frank! I'm currently growing SubmitJuice after recently acquiring it. I'm hoping to build a community of founders that can share resources and experiences, but for now, I'm working hard to get startups to use our free list of over 150 directories that get them noticed. It can be found here: https://www.submitjuice.com/directories
    Looking forward to your month two summary!

    1. 1

      I’ll have a look Monday, might me useful!

  7. 1

    Congrats on your new journey! Really nice breakdown of what you're going through. I am working, as a side project for now, on a small product as well and these kind of insights are enormously valuable 😃

    1. 1

      Glad to help if you ever need some!

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