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Non-techy building a tech business - journey continues

My job right now (as the non-tech) guy is to manage the marketing, sales, operations, partially the UI/UX as well, and customer experience (once we have customers!).

My baby is called Imvidu. It’s the world’s simplest video editor for entrepreneurs and content creators. Simply put, it allows users to generate transcripts then use the transcript to actually edit the video. Users can also then export videos to custom landing pages, spin into podcasts or turn into blog articles.

Some of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt were actually from my previous semi successful project.

Product Validation

As a non-tech founder, the biggest value I brought was product validation. Validation needs to happen before you start building – hey, it’s easier for us non-techies. I do feel sorry for the technical guys though, as most of the ones I know jump straight into coding!

This has been my focus on the past few months with Imvidu. A common way to validate is to reach out to potential customers. However, knowing there are competitors in the space is good validation too.

My approach for the last start up was simple:

  1. build prototype
  2. directly reach out to customers
  3. book a time and showcase the product (in this case, prototype)

I found conversations just got so much easier once I had something visual to show people. Before that, it was just ideas and all talk.

Prototyping

I started with drawing my ideas on paper, then used a program called ‘Pencil’ on Windows to create a digital version. It’s a free tool and fairly comprehensive for doing mock-ups.

Until I discovered InvisionApp and AdobeXD.

I use AdobeXD and it’s powerful enough to do a high fidelity (detailed) prototype.

You’ll need this for your developers too so they can understand what and how to build the tech. (It’s 10000x better than words.)

Next step could even be a working prototype. With my previous project I actually built a half baked MVP my self using Wordpress. I didn’t even need to code anything. There were enough plugins out there to get the job semi done. You might be able to do the same thing – however there are ample no-code solutions out there too now.

Building an Audience

I personally feel this needs to happen ASAP– and can be done before you start building.

I’m currently using Facebook Groups, LinkedIn (personal outreach), and will start blogging soon so that SEO kicks in by the time we’re ready to take on more customers. Regardless, I’m building my user list already.

In fact I had about 60 beta users signed up when I had the idea.

This comes with some drawbacks. Because we’ve done a slight pivot, I’ll need to re-work my user list to see who is still interested in using our platform. So the numbers could dwindle. But hey, I'd rather lose prospects than lost customers when we launch.

One thing I’d strongly urge you to do is to monetize as soon as you can - if you can. I did that with my previous start up. It was a little easier though:

  • I saw the problem I wanted to solve
  • saw that my employer at the time had that problem
  • offered a solution to the employer, and charged for it.

It can’t be done for everything – like the product we have now (or maybe that’s a self-limiting belief?!) but I'd urge you to try it if you feel there’s an opportunity there.

Okay, so we’re still a month or two away before we’re able to take Imvidu to market. If you think you’ll be creating video content (especially interviews, zoom conversations, courses etc), please sign up to the early-birds program so you can get some awesome perks when we launch.

I created my first downloadable - How to Use Video To Grow Your Business. If you'd like it feel free to ping me.

PS
If you like, feel free to follow me on Indie Hacker as I’ll be posting regularly – or at least until we’re doing a few hundred thousand in revenues that I no longer have time to post ;p

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    Awesome post.

    I feel like one of those people that you feel sorry about haha. Software developer that wants to scratch my own itch. I should just create a landing page/prototype and start using LinkedIn to talk to people instead.

    I have the self-limiting belief as well that it will be very hard to charge someone before the product is built. Like the idea that you have with "Be the First to Try. Register in Early Bird Spot for Free. Free for limited time. Limited spots available."

    Are you marketing this landing page at all or are you only doing personal outreach now? Showing them the prototype and interviewing them and if they are interested you show the landing page for them to register for early bird?

    1. 2

      Ah dang, sorry I don't know how I missed your comment!

      I'm focusing on personal outreach right now as it's getting me a good result. I'm actually just about to pop in an update as it's been a very good close of the month!

      I try not to show the landing page, I do provide the link - but it's important to reduce as much friction as possible. Things always happen, stuff gets in the way, so I feel it's important to 'close' - even if it's just an email :)

      I ask them if they'd like to register, then ask them their email in the comments.

      The other benefit is the learnings you get in the 1-1 interaction. As long as you let the conversation happen (even though it's time consuming) you'll get a lot of value out of it.

      I'm pasting critical feedback into our slack group for my co-founder to take note of as well.

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        No worries, glad you responded!

        If I understand you correctly you are having 1-1 interactions with potential customers and letting them talk a lot and then you listen. Are you showing them anything here or mostly questions and answers? Are you setting up video-calls or mostly through email?

        Instead of showing them the landing page like "Check it out here" you ask for their email directly and then you add it yourself?

        Thanks a lot for your posts and help. I'm in exactly the same period now of trying to validate some assumptions that I have instead of just building something directly.

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          All good.
          Yes - usually over DM.

          I talked a bit more in my latest post on IH

          Not showing them, besides giving them the link to my home page. Some will suss it out, others I just talk about it - I've summarized the product in about 3 sentences.

          A good way to look at it is to go in by asking your self, 'how can I add value to this person's live'. That way, the conversation will go two ways.

          Mind you, some people don't respond, some people give short answers. Where as some will give you some good insights.

          Don't go in 'trying to sell'. I.e. Don't go with 'hey, can you check this out'.. I usually try and ask a few questions on what they do (in relation to video/podcast stuff) - it's a good icebreaker.

          And yes, I ask them their email in the DM. towards the end of the conversation... e.g. 'hey I'd love for you to take it for a spin when we launch.... ' then 'I can sign you up here if you like, what's your email.... ' etc.

          1. 1

            Awesome. Thanks a lot for your answers and please keep posting 💪🏻

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