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85 Comments

Stop hoping for the next feature to save you.

Hello everyone,
It feels pretty scary sharing the following, since I’m used to showing only the successful parts of my journey. But I feel like this could help others in the same situation.

Over the past 3 months, it’s become way harder to make progress on logology.

Not so much because we’ve run out of ideas, but because we’re losing hope. What was once a fun project full of big dreams has become a major source of anxiety in our lives.

We dreamed that it would be a blazing success, something that brings value to tens of founders every day and that everyone in the community talks about.

My wife being my cofounder, we hoped that it could be a way for us to make a living doing something that we love, and free ourselves from the grind of freelancing gigs.

It took us 6 months to figure out the product and 12 months to build it. Today, we're 2.5 years in and still don't see the finish line. We don’t know if this is ever going to be profitable enough for us to live off of.

We’ve been iterating constantly to try and find a formula that works to convert people at a high enough rate. Scratching our heads trying to figure out the change that will solve all of our problems.

Most changes we make do improve the bottom line a bit, but it seems like it’s never going to be enough.

Every time I start believing that a new feature is gonna save us and it doesn’t, I get emotionally crushed and my motivation for the project diminishes.

Because of this, for the past three months, it’s been harder and harder to work. I’ve procrastinated way more than usual, over-thinking every decision. I question a task 10x before doing it because I’m afraid it won't be enough.

I’m afraid of being disappointed and of putting my hopes in a new iteration, only for it to be received with indifference. This has made me work at 1/2 the pace that I’m capable of, hurting us even more in the process.

That’s when I realized that I needed to stop relying on the hope that the next feature would save us.

See, if I keep relying on this hope to motivate myself, every new setback is gonna make me weaker. Every time I believe a new feature is gonna save us and it doesn’t, my motivation for the project will decrease.

The solution is to let go of the hope.

Instead of thinking that the next iteration will finally solve everything, I should just see it as part of a chaotic process. Logology is something I work on every day and try to grow at a consistent pace. Maybe what I work on right now is gonna succeed, or maybe it won’t, it doesn’t matter.

Motivation shouldn't come from the hope that the next change will finally make us successful. It's way more reliable to be motivated by the love of our craft and wanting to bring more value to our customers. The rest will take care of itself.

Even though our big dreams haven't materialized, we still managed to find ~50 people who loved what we do enough to make a purchase. It’s far from what we need but it’s a start. It shows that our work isn't all in vain.

At the end of the day, reality doesn’t care if I have big hopes and dreams, or if I’m just an idiot working without second-guessing. All that matters is that I keep improving logology based on user feedback, as consistently as I can.

I still have no clue if Logology is gonna work. Maybe we’ll have wasted 3 years of our lives for almost nothing. I have no way of knowing ahead of time.

Instead of being afraid of the next disappointment… I might as well stop thinking about it, put some music on, and keep working.

Consistency is the most reliable path to success.

  1. 13

    I took a quick look at your website just like a casual visitor would and I don’t understand if it’s:

    • A logo maker
    • A website that sells pre-made logos
    • A logo design service

    I’m still trying to understand what the product is and your CTA asks me to take a questionnaire... Too much friction, you lost me.

    Your design is amazing by the way, and the logos too! So I think it’s a matter of refining your positioning first before trying to drive more traffic.

    1. 1

      Thank you so much Andre (love your weekly newsletter)!

      That's exactly where we are right now. We realized we had a positioning problem, and recently spent a week working on it, using April Dunford's book "Obviously Awesome" (the current landing page doesn't reflect it though).

      This work highlighted that our best customers saw us as an alternative to hiring a designer, not a logo maker like we assumed. Yet it's still hard for us to explain what we do clearly.

      To try to put it as simply as I can:
      We have designed a catalog of pre-made logos. By taking a brand-identity questionnaire, we automatically match you with the best ones, and tailor them with the best font / color pairings for your startup.

      Here's the headline we're thinking of for the next landing page:

      Get a designer brand identity for your startup. In minutes.
      Answer questions about your project and we'll automatically prepare relevant proposals. All made by our designer.

      Does that sound clearer to you?

      1. 4

        We have designed a catalog of pre-made logos. By taking a brand-identity questionnaire, we automatically match you with the best ones, and tailor them with the best font / color pairings for your startup.

        Put this on your website! With a few tweaks it could be a good subheader.

        I’d seriously consider letting the visitors browse all the pre-made logos and when they find the one they like you ask them to take the questionnaire to customize it to their needs.

        1. 1

          That's... super insightful. I never thought of it that way. Allow people to either do:
          1- answers questions and get tailored proposals
          2- browse logos and then take the questionnaire to tailor it

          Seems like it would be an elegant way to solve the problems of both types of customers.

          1. 3

            Picture is worth a 1000 words. Show logos and let us customize it. I know you are thinking "But wouldn't you want to tell us what you really need before we show you options??", the answer to that is "I myself don't know what I would want. That's why I m here. Show me what you got and I will start there and customize further.

            Reduce the friction. Or provide both options and track which one is used more.

            1. 2

              Thanks to you and a few other people, I'm really starting to let go of forcing people through the questionnaire. Now thinking of ways to start with logos first :) 🙏

              1. 2

                No worries. Also, you could think about categorizing the logos if that helps. For example, "Trendy" vs "Business/Professional" vs "Funky" etc. If possible.

                1. 1

                  the fun thing is that I was building that feature already, but I would have used it for an easier browsing experience AFTER the questionnaire.

                  Our categories will be sector based (marketing, productivity, health...) and then "abstract", "monograms", "mascots and face"... :)

          2. 1

            I’d run some tests but in the end I’d pick one positioning and go with that. You don’t want to offer people too many choices, they get confused and end up not taking action.

            1. 1

              That's a good call. I'll see how I can let people browse right away without losing the recommendation part. 🙏

  2. 5

    "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate" —George Lucas

    A startup is a research project. I believe many founders fail because they wish to skip the research stage and become successful overnight with the first version of their product. It does happen, sometimes, but not for the majority who get frustrated and eventually give up. Research can be fun and not frustrating, when you embrace it. The problem with most entrepreneurs is that, unlike people in Academia, we don't get paid for our research projects and we expect the projects to make money as quickly as possible. And sometimes, we have to put up with people who make fun of us because we dare invest in a new path.

    The fear of failure is a hindrance to your efforts to find Product Market Fit. Research must be bold, not restrained by fear. You should not be afraid to remove even the features that your best customers love, because sometimes, they are the obstacle to a bigger market and better opportunities. Keep failing fast, until you find success.

    When you embrace the research stage of your product and give it the freedom to stumble, to fail and to rise again, you will embrace every negative and positive aspect of the process and enjoy building a startup. Eventually, you will find a kick-ass version of your product and wonder why you did not think about it from the get-go. Research pays the biggest returns, embrace it.

    1. 3

      The fear of failure is a hindrance to your efforts to find Product Market Fit. Research must be bold, not restrained by fear. You should not be afraid to remove even the features that your best customers love, because sometimes, they are the obstacle to a bigger market and better opportunities. Keep failing fast, until you find success.

      You nailed it, I'm gonna meditate on that. Should move from a success oriented mindset to a research oriented one.

      Thank you 🙏

  3. 5

    Was nodding along to this - thanks for sharing, because it's nice to hear the reality of trying to create something - and I've definitely had those feelings too. I've had times where I've had to stop listening to IH, How I Built This, Business Wars etc - because all you hear is success stories, and I don't think this is the reality for most of us.

    I've definitely been there with the hope and it's a good lesson in grounding yourself and being more realistic - the next thing you try might not work, but it will be a learning opportunity. I'm mostly quite patient and know you have to be in it for the long haul, but it is hard sometimes when all you read about is other people's "success".

    "Maybe we’ll have wasted 3 years of our lives for almost nothing" - I don't think this is true - you'll have learned a lot over that time, it's all experience, and it's very difficult to get things right the first time around, or even the 2nd, 3rd or 10th! Every try is learning and it's part of the journey - maybe you'll get to where you want to be, maybe you won't - but ultimately it's the doing that has to be the point - otherwise we might never find what we're reaching for, always looking for the next thing whenever we do achieve anything.

    I've tried to think of it more now as putting in the work to practise my craft that might pay off in the long term, not next month or even this year. This comes across in Mastery by Robert Greene and it really struck a chord. I still have days of impatience, but I've got that idea available to ground me now, and get back to just learning and plugging away. You've got to be enjoying the day to day, because that's ultimately what it's all about, and then perhaps over time you'll be rewarded with the cumulative results :)

    1. 3

      Oh wow, I feel so seen, appreciate it mate. You're so right :)

      The reason why I started in the first place was because I love building stuff. And yet like you said, seeing all these success stories, all these people who seem to "make it" in a few months... I started wondering if I was not missing the mark entirely.

      At the end of the day, I love building things, and I've grown so much over the past couple of years that I wouldn't trade it for anything else.

      I guess the hard part is how it looks from the outside. No real success, lots of money invested on something that still not profitable, etc. Internally, I feel very rewarded by the journey, but externally I feel somehow ashamed of it. Like when I talk with friends, I used to be way more confident. Now I feel like a weirdo who makes bad life decisions 😅, while everyone else seems to make it.

      Let's stay focused on the journey, not on how it looks from the outside :).

      1. 2

        It depends how you define success - you're getting to do what you love, isn't that success? All that matters is how you feel about your work and experiences, not what other people think - other people aren't the ones who will be living your life. If you hated what you were doing and couldn't stand going to work on a Monday morning - but other people saw you as successful - would it be any consolation? If not, then you can see that what other people think is meaningless to your goals.

        Yep, stay focused on yourself and keep learning! All the best!

  4. 3

    @dagorenouf Before I say anything, your website is amazing! I loved the playful theme you have created on the website!

    As far as success goes, just hang in there. You never know what might click quickly. Plus enjoy the ride of building something from scratch! Although you do seem to be dedicated, relax a bit on this issue.

    I'm sure something good is coming along the way!

    1. 1

      thanks man, it feels really encouraging. I am learning to relax :)

      1. 1

        That's great! Keep up the progress!

  5. 3

    After I got through the kinda ridiculous questionnaire (IMO), the logos were incredible! Very impressive selection and I love the UI; it makes me feel like I'm talking to a designer who really knows their stuff. I'm definitely gonna be looking into this some more.

    I totally agree with @andreboso about just showcasing some of those awesome logos on your landing page and just ditching the questionnaire completely until after the user is invested and wants to find out more.

    Also, just IMO I thought some of the questionnaire questions were a bit too abstract for me (e.g. "what movie would your company be" seems a little out there).

    1. 1

      100% agree with Nicholas here. Once I actually got to the logos, they were by far the best generated logos I have seen from different logo generation services.

      A quick search for "logo" on Product Hunt gives no less than 20 (I stopped counting) services that are aiming to do the same core concept: Generate a company logo. Ones I have used myself include:

      • Looka
      • Logo by Shapefactory
      • Launchaco (Acquired by Namecheap)

      This is fierce competition.

      Another observation is that this seems better suited as a complementary service. Using the Launchaco example from above, domain sales (what Namecheap does) is an incredibly lucrative service. You can be reasonably sure that someone buying a domain will also want to buy a logo. So they are able to make their service completely free.

      This may be an interesting path for you, if you are looking to exit. Find another domain registrar and see if they would be interested in buying your business.

      Otherwise, here are some things that I see as your competitive advantage:

      • Your logos are just better. Period.
      • Your website design is amazing
      • On first glance, I want to use it

      However...

      • Your pricing is very aggressive (for the self-serve retail market). Look at Looka for a comparison.
      • Your pricing is very low if you are looking for a more concierge service type
      • The questionnaire was kinda silly
      • How far are people getting before they quit?

      Hope this helps. I empathized with your story, and wish you luck. If you ever think about selling, send me a message.

    2. 1

      Oh wow, thanks, I love that this resonated with you. Got the message loud and clear, will add a way to browse before the questionnaire + fix a couple of weird questions :).

  6. 3

    My coach would tell you to STOP BUILDING. DO NOT BUILD. NO MORE BUILD. Flat out. Market, Sell, Get Customers. That's it.

    1. 3

      What marketing channels or distribution channels are you guys using? Your last blog was dated 2019 from what I could see, and there's not much there.

      1. 1

        Thanks man, yeah it's a balance to be found. Our conversion isn't good enough that our marketing efforts could really be worth it.

        So we've mostly just been participating on IH for traffic. We also post on reddit from time to time. We did try some paid ads but to no avail, so we decided to go back on the drawing board, just getting enough traffic through IH to test our assumptions on a regular basis.

        We realized recently that this wasn't gonna be enough though, so we started a new weekly series about logo makeovers. see here

        I'm in the process of updating the blog right now and we'll be posting the articles there everyweek to.

        1. 1

          I'm going to be the devils advocate here. You need to do waaay more than that. Coincidentally I just (posted in my update here)[https://www.indiehackers.com/post/non-techy-building-a-tech-business-journey-continues-9301413ea2] that it's a little easier being the non-techy. You said you like building stuff - which is a double edged sword.

          But now you need to shift all that energy into marketing and selling the sh*t out of this.

          I had a look at your website - and it's A+, I briefly went through the sign up process and it's also A+.

          What does your marketing strategy look like? feel free to DM or discuss here, I'm happy to give you some ideas. For my startup, I had 50 users signed up during ideation, because of a slight pivot, I've now got a new list of 20 users signed up.... and we're still a few months away before the first version.

          Our conversion isn't good enough that our marketing efforts could really be worth it.

          I don't understand this. Your marketing efforts are all worth it. It's not a switch that you can just turn on and traffic will start flowing in. Go hard man, drive the traffic, at the same time work on the conversions so you can start scaling it faster.

          1. 1

            Hey man, thanks for your input, it's a good take on it :).

            We are indeed doing marketing already, it represents around 1/4th of our overall efforts.

            We manage to get ~2k people to come to the website every month organically (through IH mostly). Lots of them fill the questionnaire and play around, but few of them buy .

            It seems pretty clear that there is still a lot of blockers for people to buy, things that we could potentially fix (in terms of positioning, overall offer and product). I'd say it wouldn't be crazy to double conversions with these changes.

            So the current strategy is to keep spending ~1/4 of our time on marketing, to keep people coming, see the impact of our changes, and slowly build awareness. But spend 3/4 of our time on fixing what prevents people from buying.

            Right now we have a leaky bucket, so I don't want to spend time pouring galons of water in it, if that makes sense.

            Right now, we wouldn't be profitable on any paid ads channel. That to me is a red flag that we're not ready for the growth stage.

            When we get conversions where we want them to be, the next distribution channels we try will be Google ads (we tried a couple times and failed, so we'll try different keywords now), Facebook ads and cold emailing (for our more expensive offer).

            Obviously we'll also do the whole PH / hacker news / reddit launch too.

            Oh and we recently started doing a free weekly logo makeover. The second edition is coming up today.

            That way we can keep building awareness on the value of branding and get some love from the community.

            Please let me know what you think. I'm very clear on our plan, but still very open to suggestions and can easily change course if it sounds like the best way ;).

            1. 2

              Ok, that all makes sense. I totally agree with waiting for paid channel as you want to get it right before trying to scale that.

              1. 1

                @dagorenouf I think I need to learn a thing or two on driving traffic from IH from you though, that's good traffic.

                How can we connect?

                1. 1

                  Just realized I hadn't filled my IH profile properly, now it's ok. Shoot me an email or twitter DM, should be an interesting discussion ;)

  7. 3

    Just some unsolicited feedback,

    Your service offering is really clear when I look at the pricing page:
    https://www.logology.co/pricing/

    I really like the phrase "complete branding package to kickstart your marketing" - it's clear and it makes me wonder ok, what's in the package? Then I start to read the details.

    So as far as capturing my interest, the pricing page does pretty well. You're even using plan names that help me self-select. I'm past the Start phase, so I'm probably in the Grow phase or Establish phase. So that's great.

    However...

    Your main landing page might as well be for a completely different product. I don't see any of the language from the pricing page. I don't see "start / grow" anywhere, I don't see "complete branding package" anywhere.

    The main CTAs are all concerned with me taking a questionnaire. But I didn't come here to take a questionnaire, most likely if I landed here I came for help with my branding. What I would be expecting to see is something like the language on the pricing page "get a complete branding package to start / grow your business, in X minutes" and then examples of the work, and then a "How it Works" section that maybe says something about a questionnaire that takes X mins.

    What I'm trying to say is that the questionnaire is just a means to an end. You should be talking much more about the "end" rather than the means.

    I think with a little tweaking, this has loads of potential. You are clearly a gifted designer and your pricing page suggests you understand the customer problem - but you should be using that language much more deliberately on your homepage.

    1. 1

      Hello Jon, thank you so much for looking at it. I remember reading your post detailing your journey with Bannerbear last month. It helped me keep pushing when I was getting pretty discouraged, so thank you 🙏.

      That's a very interesting observation on the pricing page. The copy was indeed written at an earlier time when we still didn't have lots of customer feedback. We updated the pricing page more recently, with more knowledge of what people loved about us.

      I'm feeling stupid for this but I didn't assume that the homepage copy could be such a big deal. I had that assumption that people would just try it and get it anyway. In reality, a lot of people do indeed try it, but since they don't really understand what they're doing, they leave quickly.

      I was working on a new version with a big "how it works" section, so I'm super happy that you had a similar hunch.

      I'll also try variations of "get a complete branding package to start / grow your business, in X minutes", what I had was "Get a designer brand identity for your startup in minutes."

      Feels like our messaging is about to become way clearer very soon :)

  8. 3

    Off topic but I love your website! It's really unique. Feels very Mondrian-esque.

    1. 2

      Kind words are never off topic 😎. Thanks a lot!

  9. 3

    If features aren't moving the needle, you're probably just not marketing enough.

    1. 1

      It does move the needle, usually in the low two digits conversion wise. With the price of ads, our conversion rates and customer value, it's just not good enough yet.

      I got exhausted because of how long it takes to figure it out, build and all. I had that crazy idea that it would be much easier. I feel so naive, since I've been building websites for 15 years and seen a lot of startups fail first-hand (as a contractor working for them).

      I of all people should have known. I guess I gained a lot of humility :).

  10. 3

    I can relate to this big-time. I made a mobile app and it had a solid core idea that people liked but when I was not hitting my revenue targets I would add new features that were beyond the core idea thinking that more features would get more people to pay. It made the app a franken-app and was incredibly hard to use a couple years after the first version was focused and easy to use. The biggest thing I have learned in making a mobile app is that I ONLY add features that are relevant to the original core idea. That make the core idea better and are ONLY about the core idea. Instead I went and just added every idea I could think of and the revenue went down and the app was almost unusable. So in a different way, I can relate to what you are saying here big time.

    I have a newer app and I add ideas but I really ask myself if they are ONLY for the core idea so I am the BEST of X provider - not an average X provider that is also trying to be Y and Z - if you kill it on the execution of being the X provider - people will talk about you and the business will take care of itself. (IMHO)

    1. 2

      You're exactly right. It gets scary when you don't grow as much as you'd hope. Then you start building everything you can think of to try and "fix" the problem. But in reality, you already had something good, just had to make focused and steady progress, and trust the process :).

      1. 2

        Amen! Rhe BIGGEST thing I would tell myself 10 years ago. I killed ideas that had legs to them because I couldn't stop adding irrelevant features. Ugh - well - it is what it is but at least I know if for today's apps and it's working much better now.

  11. 3

    It's a marathon but you're right, no single feature will save you, things have to compound over time but if you put in enough time and effort you will reap the benefits!

    1. 1

      thanks! let's keep pushing :)

  12. 2

    Not sure if this was said before (too many comments to read them all), but stop adding features, start doing marketing. Go by 20-80 rule. Spend 20% of your time on improving your landing page, your content, your message to the visitor. Then spend 80% on exposure.
    I had a quick look at your site and I think in such a crowded space, you need to provide value to the customer before you can convert him.
    There is so many examples of other companies in this field - just look around, learn and don't be afraid to implement conversion hacks!
    Good luck!
    btw - really nice website design!

    1. 1

      Thanks for having a look!
      We did work a lot on exposure last year, at some point managed to get 3-4K people to the website every month, but sales weren't impressive at all. We would need to have like 20k people on the site every month to reach ramen profitability, which seems insane.

      That's why we switched gears and decided to really dig deep into product + positioning before promoting it again.

      Love your idea about conversion hacks, we tend to "play it by the book" a lot and to shy away from more basic tactics that we see as "not cool". But it's true that if it hurts us, at some point it doesn't make sense. Let's add conversion tricks that work, in a way that we're comfortable with.

      ps: I'm curious to know if you have a different opinion on how we should solve our sales problem. I'm not certain that my way is the best way 🤷‍♂️

      1. 1

        Yeah, there is certainly a problem. 20K people to ramen profitability (what's that for you? $10K?) would mean (based on $10K/mo ramen profitability) that you are converting 1,2/1,3% visitors?
        I would aim at 5-7% in your niche, So that's problem #1.

        You want to play by the book, but what book? It's not working. It seems that the customer does not care (or you failed at making this a selling point to him).
        The "book" should be set of rules accepted by the general audience and established by "giants." You certainly CAN create a new "book" of rules and become a lighthouse in the storm of questionable business practices, but that's quite difficult. You either get there by luck (which seems is not a case here) or skill (which you'll get in the future, but it seems you lack now).
        It's difficult, I know, but you need a strategy to succeed, not to be a cool and hip new thing no one knows about.
        I think it would be easier for you to look at this from a business perspective.
        Here is an elementary guide:

        1. Determine what marketing investment you need to make a conversion. (for example, for each $15, you convert one visitor). Use that as a first variable.
        2. Create a price point based on that first variable (round it up to the "9", so if it's $15, make it $19). That's your base price, and that's the only price you will advertise on the website.
        3. Build your message to a customer around the idea of "get an amazing logo for only $19". Offer A LOT at this base price, at least what others offer.
        4. Convert users that are ready to buy (here is where you'll make money) - offer ADDITIONAL stuff for more. Do you want a set of designs for stationary, better resolutions, more formats? BOOM, that's $49. Want a human to edit and expand on your logo idea? BOOM, that's $199. This is where your profit comes from. You aim to convert 10-25% of users to any additional service (depending on the value provided).

        Simple mathematics - if you spend $5K on advertising. You'll get around 333 paying users ($5K / $15). You convert 10% of out those 333 users to a higher package. The average price of an upgrade is (out of 10 upgrades, 9 are for better package, 1 is for full service) $45, so 333 users account for $14,985.
        You make money here.

        EVERYTHING changes based on your base breaking point, though.
        Also - your price will stay the same, while your skills in advertising will improve. So you'll be paying less while charging the same (more profit to you).

        In a niche like yours, it's a number game mostly.
        And believe me - I've researched this niche well, and MOST newcomers do not do their math right.
        Also - play by the book, but don't overinterpret it. First, focus on succeeding, then you'll have time and resources to "change the world. Those things require a hell of a knowledge.."

        Sorry, I am tired (bad night), and I am working on something that requires quick execution, so my writing might be chaotic/non-grammatic.
        Let me know if you need some further help.

        1. 1

          Thanks for your thorough answer.

          I like that idea of converting people to something where I don't make much money initially, but then expand with additional packages, since it's easier to upsell.

          We're actually working on additional branding packages right now. It serves two purposes: lots of people don't have the skills to make their business cards or web design themselves, so they don't buy since they don't feel confident they'll be able to use their logo. And 2 as you said, it increases the average value of a customer.

          We're also repositioning our offering as it seems 50% of people don't understand what we're selling at all. We will increase the price in that process.

          What we're trying to do is get to ~1% conversion but with an average order value around $150-200 (incl. additional packages). That would put us in the realm of profitability, since it would enable us to open ads or affiliation channels.

          We tried some advertising (newsletter sponsoring, google ads) already but had zero conversions come from it. That's why we're back on the drawing board.

  13. 2

    I think it's mainly a marketing problem. Your tagline is logo maker for design lovers, sound like it's made for designers. But designers already have their tools to make logos.

    When I need a logo, I will just go away because it's not made for me. I am not the target users. Actually, I just bought a logo & banner design service from a UK designer.

    1. 1

      That's super interesting. You're the kind of customer we're after (founders who would otherwise work with a designer) so your feedback is doubly helpful.

      It seems like a lot of people don't really understand what we're selling. Working on new copy / headlines right now.

      1. 2

        Also, I bought brandmark logo once. Logo master is similar. Brandmark service is quite good frankly. Cheap, fast, acceptable quality, good enough for launch.

        For simple mvps I would like to launch asap (or I am lazy), I would spend less than a hundred bucks on these logo makers.

        1. 1

          Thank you! I'm just curious, doesn't it bother you that the logo you get from brandmark (or any logo maker) comes from a free public database, as opposed to a more original design?

          1. 2

            If I am rushing to launch something out, I don't care about this.

            If I need to work on branding, I will try to customize the logo or hire a designer. That's why I am hiring the uk designer.

            He is helping me to create the logo and promotional banners on an AppStore. I also want to focus on my technical works instead of graphic design

            1. 2

              Btw, I suggest u don't focus on new features.

              If u are really running of ideas, just step back. Shut down your IDE. Take a break or do something else.

              Refocus on what's important.

              Startup is not all about running forward. Something u need to step back.

              One of my apps grows from 0 to >$1,000 over 4 years. Ironically, when I have no idea and don't work on new features, the revenue stills grow slowly. Collect user feedback, stay idle is what I do in the spare time.

              1. 1

                Thanks, we've noticed that also. Some people just had saved a bookmark to us 8 months ago, and came back recently to buy. Simply because they had finally started their project, and thus needed a logo.

  14. 2

    Thanks for sharing. Always been a marathon runner and totally agree with your point!

  15. 2

    Hey Dagobert, first off, you did an amazing job by opening up and sharing what's going on in your end. I'm a true believer that sharing is the way to go. It not only brings you support from other people, but it's also a proof that you're mindful about your actions.

    Now, your website looks really good, amazing job UI-wise! But I'll be agreeing with what other folks here said: it could have the entry to the product itself facilitate. Being told that this is gonna "take between 5 and 15 minutes" is a big barrier to those potential clients that are only "checking it out" at first.

    If you could tease users with some already made logos, or even just collecting something as simple as the user's business name and generating a few logos with it, before diving deep into the questionnaire, that would decrease the traction.

    I'm looking forward to following your journey on building Logology from here on.

    Also, I'll make sure to include it in the homepage of Dev Resources for a while. Hopefully I can help you bring some traffic.

    Best of luck!

    1. 2

      Thank you Marcel! Dev Resources look very neat, I'll add logology to it as soon as we fix these couple of outstanding issues people have surfaced in this thread. (don't want to get too much traffic that doesn't convert lol).

      I didn't expect to get that much support honestly. I mean everyone seems to be taking the time to look into the website and try to figure out why it's not working so good. I just wanted to share my experience, and now I have a super clear roadmap of what to focus on 😁.

      After reflecting on it, I think I'll simply add an obvious way to "skip" the questionnaire. You would just be prompted to enter your startup name and be able to navigate as if you had completed it. You could then finish it whenever you want to.

      1. 2

        Exactly, just let me know when you think it's ready to go.

        Right? I also had amazing support from IH a couple of days ago when I messed up with something. People here really take the time to listen and help in the kindest way they can. It's awesome!

  16. 2

    Consistency is the most reliable path to success.

    Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: "You don't rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems"

    1. 1

      Dude I should have read that when I started 3 years ago 😂. Brilliant.

  17. 2

    I think the important differentiation is "Who is driving the new features?".

    In my experience with my own startup. Every time I came up with a brilliant new feature that I thought was cool and clever and would solve everyone's problems, it almost always fell flat.

    But every time a customer approached me with a "You should build 'x' into your product", my initial reaction was always "What? No, that wouldn't work. I didn't even consider that so its obvious that no one wants that". But then, unsurprisingly, when I did eventually build that feature, customers would adopt it quickly and new customers would get excited by it.

    In short, listening to how your customers use your product (or expect to use your product) is valuable. Not everything they say is great, and there is some skill required to sift through the wishy washy requests and dig out the gold which shows you exactly what they want or expect from your software.

    1. 2

      That's a really good point. I you look at the different threads in the comment here, you can see me gradually move from "we don't do this because X Y Z" to... "damn I think you're right I should have listened to you sooner 😭".

      It's pretty tough finding the balance between 1.not wanting to just build a monster of features everybody asks for and 2. not locking ourselves in our own vision, disregarding insightful remarks...

      I think I have clear roadmap now though:

      • fix positioning and messaging of home page
      • add a way to skip the questionnaire and browse logos freely before completing it
      • make a couple of the questions less weird
  18. 2

    Thanks a lot for sharing. Really appreciate your transparency :)

    Really like the design of your website btw!

    I think that trying to identify a concrete ideal customer is critical to make sense of the divergent feedback you are probably receiving already.

    Some context about me as a potential customer. Don't know if I'm your ideal customer or not.

    I payed 8k for a professional brand identity for my first startup attempt. We generated around 20k€ in total so you could say we spend too much on the brand identity :P

    In my second startup attempt (this time as an intrapreneur), we successfully repositioned our mobile app via a complete rebranding.

    This was critical to change how our clients saw us and eventually help us being acquired. We spent less than 4k since the rebranding was done by a very talented but young designer.

    In both cases, I felt we had to pay because we needed some unique and personalized.

    I still think your vision makes sense (especially for software companies that have differentiated products).

    I love how you explain the problem you want to solve here. I think you're right:

    We believe that a founders' number one priority should be to build their product and get their first customers. When you’re just getting started, you shouldn’t spend too much time or money wrestling with a designer to get a logo. It hinders your progress right now, and the result is likely to lose relevance as the vision for the product matures.

    Still, the difference between starting up with a great logo, as opposed to merely a decent one, can be the thing that makes or break a first impression to clients and investors.

    After completing your survey, I've browsed through 12-15 logo suggestions.

    My initial reactions was that the the proposals don't feel unique enough to pay for them.

    I feel like a logo generator like the one offered by Luka (https://looka.com/) gives me "similar enough" results for a temporary logo for a fraction of the cost.

    On the other side, I feel that for some more money ($250 approx.) I could have something personalized via a service like 99designs (https://99designs.es/).

    My feeling is that you're a bit in the middle of these two alternatives that seem to have achieve product/market fit.

    Happy to jump on a call to answer any questions you might have about my potential needs and past experiences trying to solve this topic.

    I think you would really benefit from 1 on 1 conversations with people that are not completing the purchase after starting the process in your site.

    Hope this helps!

    1. 1

      Thank you Cesc, it's a very helpful and deep feedback.

      We actually built logology for people like you. My wife had been designing custom logos for 15 years, and used to charge in the 2-5k price range per contract. But she had to turn down clients every month because they loved her work, but didn't have the budget. That's why we built this.

      What I find interesting in what you say is that it seems to all be about perception, and that's where we're struggling:

      1. You didn't feel that the suggestions were unique enough, and comparable to looka.
      The fun thing about it is that we couldn't be further away from looka. Everything you see was deeply researched, originally designed by hand, and carefully tailored to be able to look good instantly.
      It hurts to read it, but you're not the first one to say this! So we're working on ways to make the quality more obvious. For example, we'll show a 2 min video of the design process the first time you go to your proposals. We'll also show the logo on realistic mockups right away, so it looks more like a finished product.

      2. You feel like 99design would offer a comparable service for $250
      That's again a perception problem, cause from what we've seen with people who use their service, you will need to get lucky to be able to get something you like at that price. Usually people need to shell out ~$800 to be "happy".
      However, we do plan to introduce a custom design service (we had briefly tested it last summer). Right now what we do offer, is to customize a logo from our catalog if you want to make it unique to you. (it's the third pricing option)

      Your feedback is very interesting to me, because you're the exact person we're targeting. And yet you didn't see our value. Let me know if you have any more feedback on that, or other ideas for that matter.

      I've sent you an email if you're still interested in doing a call ;).

  19. 2

    I like the website. But it took me a long time to understand what I was looking at.

    First, I went straight through the questionnaire, and at the end, I was shown a nice selection of logos, with all this additional information, color/font customization options, and so on, a friendly popup to set up an account so I don't loose progress, and close to the footer a section about a free 5 part course if I share my email address.

    At this point, knowing nothing about the website, I just assumed it might be a very nice landing page for a Logo design course. No pricing/register/checkout buttons on this page or in the footer though.

    Closed the tab. "Nah, that can't be right". Opened up again the homepage, scrolled down to testimonials, and then navigated to the pricing page (which should be linked from all other pages IMO), and now it made sense.

    The thing is, this sounds like a really interesting service for me. Not something I would need for my projects (because they don't require a logo), but something that I could use for clients I do contract work for.

    The original prices are decent, while I would argue that a MVP doesn't need a logo, for 50$ you might as well slap one on it. But the highest value packages are definitely the Grow and Establish. A nice, remixable logo for 100$ is a very good price.

    I agree @andreboso's comment, just place your simple description somewhere on the landing page.

    I can see how marketing it as a logo maker could backfire. If I'm searching for a logo maker I'm expecting some form of an online tool that I use to make logos myself. Your website would have me bounce on the landing page in seconds.

    One note about the questionnaire. I would advise letting people's imagination fill in the description. You don't have to tell me who and how Batman, Superman, etc are. Same for popular movies, don't need to give me 10-20 words synopsis. Those are popular movies for a reason. Also, I read the synopsis for Shawshank Redemption 3 times and still felt confused. Something about the wording there...

    1. 1

      Thanks for the thorough review :-o.

      It's funny how our weird positioning seems to be causing all sort of problems with people not understanding what the website is about. We're likely losing a ton of people along the way because of that.

      Sorry about that synopsis, it was very tough to try and find a nice one-line description 😅. We do need to ensure people understand the references the same as we do, for our test to make sense. What do you think of doing the opposite: keep the description but remove the famous figure name? (or movie)

      1. 2

        I think removing the famous figures is a good decision if you want to guide users to a strict interpretation.

        Internally my associations with those characters might be different from what you'd associate them with, for example:

        Spider-man - "your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man". Local, small scale, accessible?

        Deadpool - "merc with a mouth". In your face, punk, smug. I already have a picture in my mind of a cross between Basecamp's DHH and Zed Shaw, but a product, instead of personalities :D

        1. 2

          Haha we have the same interpretations indeed. The logos that you're led to if you pick Deadpool (that's tied to the "witty" persona) are actually pretty crazy :).

          But I've had a couple people who literally didn't know some of the references, so it can be hit or miss.

  20. 2

    Hi Dagobert,
    I feel your pain, the life of an indie hacker is filled with ups and downs. I know you're trying to get a way from building features, however, you may be able to expand your offering into creating custom icons too. I'm curious if you've thought of that?

    1. 1

      Hi mcas, you're right, I'm struggling between building features and improving the offering. I guess I just have to relax a bit and allocate time for both, even if it means I'll be "slower" on one particular front.

      We did think of offering custom designs, that's one of the things we'll be adding at some point. I guess we haven't prioritized it though, cause making all the designs is already time consuming, and we want to keep making our catalog deeper and deeper :).

  21. 2

    I understand very well my friend. My website has been active for 7 months and still 30 people clicks a day. I can earn a total of 5 cents a month. As you say "Consistency is the most reliable path to success."

    1. 1

      Thanks, that's exactly it! Keep talking to your users and improving the website. Even if it looks like a long shot, by staying consistent you'll have the most chance of succeeding.

      Good luck to you!

  22. 2

    I feel your pain, man. Motivation is something very hard to retain. That's where our systems kick in. We have to have a process we rely on and stick to. I love what you said: Consistency is the most reliable path to success. If your motivation is attached only to your feelings, you end up on an endless emotional rollercoaster.

    I have a question in regards to your landing page.

    Have you done any a/b testing? I'm concerned about the lines. I mean, it looks awesome, but the lines are too much (too contrasty?) and combined with the moving elements on the background I literally cannot keep my eyes focused to read some text. I'm struggling with it. Wondering is it just me or you haven't tested it?

    I feel that a cleaner and simpler UI would improve the landing a lot.

    Other than that I would double down on what @rab said. The moment I see 1/16 steps I'm out, no matter what I'm applying for. Maybe ask 2-3 questions just to get people in, and after that expand.

    1. 2

      Thanks man, that's exactly it. Being attached to feelings for motivation is the trap of it all I think...

      About the landing page, you're not the first one to say this. At the same time, we also have lots of people tell us how different we are. So that's the reason we kept it this way. It seems to be 50-50 :). There might be a way to keep it but make it less exhausting. Maybe pause the circles animation after 5 seconds, so that people can read in peace.

      I answered rab on the steps thing, let me know if you have any feedback on that :).

  23. 2

    Just some thoughts:

    Your questionnaire seems like friction to me. It's too long. How many people start it but don't get to the end? Isn't there a way to just jump straight in?

    Your prices seem low but I guess depends how much labour involved. It's a stack em high approach. Is there a market for a more concierged service?

    Maybe you're too niche and expanding your offering would bring benefits. Like a branding service. A "revise until your happy" offering seems to resonate elsewhere.

    How / where do you find prospects?

    1. 1

      Hey Rab, thank you so much for taking a look, I appreciate it.

      There are two very different types of people who buy logos and branding:

      • people who don't see the value of design. They need a logo but don't care. They want a tool that's super quick, cheap and where they control everything.
      • people who love design, and want to work with a designer: they want a solution to take them by the hand and give them proposals.

      Last month, after we failed to convert a single sale from spending $250 on google Ads for "logo maker", we realized that our solution was far from being viable for the first category.

      We hesitated between:

      • pivoting fully to a logo maker (add way more designs, give way more control, make the questionnaire optional...)
      • doubling down on the "graphic designers" side of things, and provide more tailored and custom offering, as well as some services (like you mentioned)

      So we asked our happiest customers for guidance, and asked them what they loved most about us. Nearly all of them said that it was the deep questions, and the quality of the proposals. For them, our solution was incredibly fast and frictionless because in their minds: logology is like working with a designer, only 10x faster, and without risk. They never saw us as a "logo generator", and they loved that the questionnaire was a bit long. Some of us asked us to make it even longer.

      That gave us a clear roadmap for the next few months:

      • reposition logology as graphic designers (instead of a logo maker) with automation to speed things up and remove risk
      • increase price, since 3/10 of these customers told us we could charge double
      • stop working on features that make us a better "do it yourself tool" and focus on ways to give people more relevant proposals and advice
      • add a service offering on top, for clients who want to go even deeper than what our solution offers

      I still wonder if we should make the questionnaire skippable, in a way nothing prevents us from doing so. I like to think that the 30% drop off we have on it would convert to more sales. But it would also mean that the number one thing people love about us would be gone. And we don't have enough traffic that I could easily A/B test it and know quickly.

      About expanding the offering to more branding services: you're right on. We did notice that lots of people were "stuck" before buying, because they have no idea how to use their logos. I mean for us it's easy cause we're designers, but it seems like most people do need us to do everything: business cards, website design, app ui / ux...

      So that's the big thing we're working on right now, moving from just logos to everything that stems from it.

      About prospecting, right now it's mostly hanging out on indiehackers and other communities, and bringing value through weekly posts. Once we ready the new positioning, we'll test ads on Facebook (hoping to be able to target "founders who care about branding" more efficiently) as well as some Google Ads for "startup branding" related terms.

      1. 2

        Totally understand the "logo maker" v "graphic designer". It's clear the latter is where your heart is. Given some paying customers love your service as-is the simplest is to go and find more customers like that; i.e. no more featutes. Maybe you guys could be hustling a bit more. As for the questionnaire a half-way house is to show results after every question; i.e. each question narrows responses. But regardless, given you have found customers who appreciate your current system the only question really is how to get more customers like that and can you get enough.

        1. 1

          Yeah, I think the reason why we're back on the drawing board is that it wasn't as easy as we'd hope to get these customers. We don't convert enough that any paid channel (google ads, Facebook ads or affiliation) could be profitable

          That thing about showing logos earlier in the process could really help though, I'm definitely working on a UX for that ;).

      2. 2

        Joining on the discussion here. :)

        From what I see you're trying to position yourself more as an agency than some kind of saas product. Which is OK, but in a way hard to scale. Have you thought how you could further automate the process? I know it might not be your #1 priority right now, but being a full-blown agency is a major decision and would determine not only the way you scale, but processes, prices etc. Speaking of prices, being such an agency and providing the full range of design services, you could definitely position yourself as a boutique one and charge crazy amounts.

        And on the questionnaire.

        I suspect that your customers are trying to be good to you and just say "yeah, it's ok, not a problem to fill out this long onboarding form." :). Have you asked for an opinion someone who has dropped the process? They might be tens, hundreds, they might even have their own private facebook group :D

        My point is that you would never know if the long form works or not until you measure the other side of the traffic - the one that just clicks "close" on the tab once they see it.

        Here's an analogy. I'm a software developer. But I don't like the gazillion menus/submenus/checkboxes/inputs on the amazon UI. It's just so exhausting to make 100 choices in a row, even though I know that they need that information in order to set up my services properly. But on the other side, there are services like render, vercel, etc. which managed to do it in a much more pleasant and less stressful UI/X. I'd rather use something much simpler with a lot of conventions in place that saves me the initial X number of choices i have to make. It's just a psychological thing. People get exhausted when making choices. It's scary.

        I know you have this number of very interested clients, who are willing to take the questionnaire, but still, you have to make it a no-brainer to enter your process. After that, once they are in, you can ask them even more questions.

        These are just my thoughts. I might be completely wrong, who knows. That's the beauty of building things - everyone has his/hers own path. The destination is what matters :)

        Good luck.

        1. 1

          Thanks Borislav, love your input :).

          I'm not sure I was clear enough, but it seems like we have a positioning problem anyway. We ARE a fully automated service. It's just that all the work was done ahead of time by a designer. Pretty hard to describe actually. But when you fill the questionnaire, you get instant results, you're not placing an order or anything. You can then buy the one you like the most.

          About the questionnaire, I did want to remove it at some point. I had even designed a mockup in sketch for it 😅. The only reason I kept it, is because customers went out of their way to tell me how useful it was. They didn't just say that to please me, it kind of came out of nowhere actually.

          A couple of examples from 3 different customers:

          • "I feel like I got all the benefit of working with a custom designer through your quiz, but without having to pay hundreds of dollars. Thank you!"
          • "The discovery process was fun, and it helped me see things about my brand in a new and clearer way."
          • "I really like Logology's design process. It asks a couple of questions related to your brand and based on that comes with instant logo suggestions without even putting my credit card information."

          I think there are really two types of customers, those that want to get it done quickly, and those that love the discovery process and input. Some even asked me to make it longer...

          So what's hard for me is that I obviously want more clients, but I don't want to lose the thing that our current customers love the most.

          However, I really like your suggestions of having a way to do the full questionnaire a bit later, and show logos first. That might be the most elegant solution to this.

          1. 2

            No, no, no, it's my bad, I apologize. It's clearly stated that there's an algorithm behind. :) I've missed it because of the lines :P jk.

            Just to make myself clear - I really love your site. It's truly different and outstanding. It's beautiful. Just this one thing with the lines bugs me.

            Nevertheless my point on the questionnaire remains. Think it through. Give the user some hooks right away, so that they have any incentive to keep clicking around the app. ;) This with the logos after the most important 2-3 questions is something that should definitely make me stay and explore a bit more and eventually pay you the $$$ :)

            I really think that this product has some bright future, just keep pushing!

            1. 1

              Yeah there's a lot of feedback around that right now, I really need to figure out a way to keep the questionnaire... and still give people some candy right away so they stay around :)

              Thanks for all the encouragement, even though all the lines made it so hard for you 😂

  24. 1

    We don’t know if this is ever going to be profitable enough for us to live off of.

    Doubtful. You're not selling subscriptions. You're selling a single-purchase product that is very much a human "want" and not a human "need".

    You can't sell to graphic designers, becuase they're a snooty bunch :)

    You can't sell to the general public, because they have no idea how much a logo costs.

    Your more expensive options have features like "full brand guidelines". What is that? Does anyone want it? [edit - I looked at the sample. Nobody wants that.]

    "Unlimited color and font changes". Um. I know how to change a color and a font :)

    If you do want to continue:

    • Your logo preview pages have no watermark. Anyone can just screenshot the results and go make changes in MS paint. Add a serious watermark or mask. Maybe to every variant after the first two.

    • Charge people $5 just to see the non-watermarked results. All these comments telling you how great the logos are. Those comments are correct. Charge for that.

    • Charge another $5 per logo download. Just the logo. No branding and definitely NO font picking. You get a .svg and a high-res .png. But now it's yours and you can mess with the colors as much as you want.

    • Get the customer from viewing a logo to making a purchase as quick as possible. Think Amazon 1-click speed.

    • For the love of god, don't let people pick fonts. Picking fonts is the opposite of 1-click speed. It's an endless font purgatory.

    Best of luck!

    1. 2

      Dude, I don't know if you realize but you sound very mean.

      Anyway, I think you're missing the mark on our target market. What you describe does make sense and is well though-out. But it's basically a solution to target the worse set of customers. People who:

      • don't think a logo is needed
      • do everything themselves, including changing colors and fonts
      • don't see the value of branding
      • potentially hack stuff

      So for these people, your $5 a download solution looks perfect. But it's the worse business to build IMO.

      After spending time with our best customers, we realize there is a market for people who:

      • NEED a logo
      • are aware of the importance of brand design, because of previous experiences
      • don't do everything themselves
      • care about getting their logo done by a professional

      So we're repositioning as an automated branding solution for entrepreneurs who love design. People who want the professional help of a designer, but don't have the time or budget just yet. We'll increase prices to reflect that.

      We'll see how it goes!

      1. 1

        True, I did not varnish my opinion!

        It is great you have solid feedback from your best customers. And a price target that values your work fairly.

        I stand by my statement on picking fonts :)

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