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Result of building in public, 2 months marketing and development of a force of one

So, after 2 months it’s time to share some numbers. Our highlights and learnings. Hopefully, it will help you in making your decisions…

We had (and still have) this idea; one place for freelancers to create their best digital self, for better jobs and more opportunities. One place to create a profile, maintain it, share and control it. And in the next phase of development with more features like “manage your schedule” and “integration”.

We started with building our a force of one platform about 2 months ago. Our first goal was to create a database of freelancers (and supporters), an audience, who want to help us build our platform by giving us feedback on our prototype and prioritizing features. And after that, developing our MVP and of course our final product. We wanted to have our first subscribers within a few weeks.

We started on 2 sides; marketing and development. What did we do?

Marketing: the focus is and was on awareness/thought leaderships/acquisition of subscribers.

  • Creating a subscription site
  • Company page of LinkedIn/Twitter, for posts and share blogs
  • Newsletters to keep our subscribers updated and ask for feedback
  • Subscribe to start-up/voting platforms like Kernal, Indiehackers, Product Hunt, etc
  • Blogs on Medium (to share)
  • Polls and surveys to decide on features

Development: the focus is and was on developing a prototype first and MVP next

  • developing our design furthermore,
  • developing our prototype
  • opening a Slack channel, to communicate, share ideas and feedback with our subscribers
  • developing our basic MVP

Some numbers I like to share with you, which are a result of the last 2 months:

  • 30 subscribers
  • 81 followers on LinkedIn
  • 21 votes on Kernal
  • 10 posts on LinkedIn aforceof.one account,
  • 2167 views on the last post
  • 13 followers on IndieHackers,123 followings, 6 posts, 18 votes
  • 25 followers on Twitter (aforceof.one), 181 followings, 16 tweets
  • 20 likes on last (personal account) blog @Medium
  • 31 followers on Medium, 202 followings, 5 blogs, 50 likes on the last post
  • 2 newsletters
  • 2 polls
  • 2 surveys
  • 16 channels (personal, website, newsletter, e-mail, Medium, LinkedIn, IndieHackers, Twitter, Slack, Kernal, ProductHunt, Betalist, Betapage, start-up base, Reddit. Quora)

We are very happy with this result so far (as being all part-time freelancers).

What went well:

  • The collaboration
    o The three of us (CEO, CTO, CCO) work very well together. Good diversity in skills.
    o We are all very motivated and focused.
    o Regularly planned meetings, work with Trello for our planning.
  • The speed
    o In developing a prototype
    o In attracting subscribers
  • The response
    o On social media, newsletters.

What did we learn:

  • Stay agile and change course if necessary
    o Up until now, the survey did not respond well
    o Some people don’t like to give feedback in public and don’t want to use
    Slack
    o At some points we changed our product because of the feedback (but we also got it confirmed)

  • Different channels, a different approach
    o Different audiences per channel, different kinds of messages
    • Do some research on the different channels and find out where your audience is, or what hashtags to use, or who to follow
    • Stay focussed on a few channels, not every channel works for you, and be consistent and post regularly
    • Kernal gave us a good start, and I really like their online presence. ProductHunt/Betalist/Betapage didn’t do much and for most start-up platforms you have to pay for a quick review and acceptance on the website. I understand the revenue model, but it didn’t work for us. Reddit did not work out very well either up until now.

  • Be consistent and patient
    o You have to be aware that you have to create a brand from scratch

Take away’s

  • Collaboration/good teamwork is everything
  • Consistency and online presence
  • Stay agile
  • Research the channels of your audience

And now almost ready for our public basic MVP. If you subscribe on https://www.aforceof.one, you can join us (https://www.aforceof.one) and pretty soon you will recieve a special invite code...

Any comments, questions, or advice, please let me know!

  1. 1

    UPDATE: Our submission on Betalist was approved on the 24th of July (it took a few weeks...) and I must say, it worked. We got a lot of new subscribers the last few day, with Betalist as source. Betalist als has a lot of followers on twitter, that helps

  2. 1

    Thanks for sharing the insights. @EllaR As per your review I've joined Kernal. Let's see how it goes for us.

    Btw - curious, how is your platform different from websites like about(.)me and flavours (.)me. Are you similar to those but with a focus on freelancers and highlighting freelance work experience?

    1. 1

      yes exactly, we focus on freelancers and their work experience, skills, recommendations, availability

      1. 1

        That's a good adoption for freelancers. There is a need for one central platform-agnostic profile that connects with every other platform/channel.

  3. 1

    I am looking at the site and on your landing page, it says:

    "Freelancer, re-create your best digital self. Creating, sharing, and controlling your professional digital identity for more and better opportunities. Help us to build this place"

    So I kind of get the idea that it has something to do with creating a profile of some kind that will make it easier for me to get more work. It's not a lot of information provided to help me decide whether or not to click a button labelled "join forces" which I would presume means I am joining your service.

    When I click that I see text that probably should have been on the landing page because here there is more information but it doesn't really reference anything profile-ish so having clicked the button I still don't know exactly what it does. The signup form is pretty straightforward but you really need to completely lead with what this does rather than just say the status quo sucks. You need to say "the status quo sucks, we address that this way, join us and the status quo will suck less because you joined and here is what that future will look like"

    1. 1

      thank you for your feedback and looking at our website so thoroughly, it is defenitely going to be a place where you can create and share your (best) profile. We consciously made this choice (with our website), in order to be able to build our product with a group of first subscribers and supporters

  4. 1

    Great journey, Ella. It was so insightful. Thanks for sharing :)

  5. 1

    Congrats on all the momentum, Ella! We were excited to follow your success on Kernal and are so glad to hear that it helped with a successful launch.

    If anyone else wants to test out Kernal from Indiehackers, here's the invite code

    1. 1

      Signed up with the code you shared! Thank you!

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