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16 Comments

What Am I Doing Wrong with my SideProject? #HustlerUnderPressure

My Project
I built Eurekea(https://www.eurekea.org/) - a Dataset of 250K+ SaaS, Apps & tech-products launched in the last decade.

Why Did I built it

My intention to build it was to: Help people find validated niches for their ideas & build better products by learning from mistakes/reviews of currently existing products.

Because I believed that finding an idea for what to build is the biggest problem every maker here has to solve again & again.

How Did I Market It

Initially, I build just a landing page to get emails of how many people are interested in the idea. Got 60+ registrations, which was a fairly good response.

Then I launched the actual product on the first weekend of 2021 & posted it on multiple places- subreddits, IndieHacker & HackerNews.Even though the response was not as good as the pre-launch, but I got 2 people buying it in the first week(one just simply bought it & for the second, I had to exchange few emails to convert)

After one week, I launched on ProductHunt & it was a flop! My product remained the last product of the day from midnight(I guess maybe it's their ranking algo which induces some negative snowball effect).

Current Situation

Right now I just keep on posting on random-new platforms for side-hustles & sending a few cold-emails to users from PH & IH - which I got from my dataset :) along with those who registered early- trying to pitch them my product. But the site visitors rate remains infinitesimal & I haven't made a single sale afterward.

Please share your wisdom & tell me what am I doing wrong here? I still believe that my idea is useful to the makers community & don't want to give up on it.

@IH community, please advise me what am I missing with my side-hustle here. It's my first finished product & my main intention for launching it is to learn about the journey of a multi-hat wearing IndieHacker.

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    I think you might want to think about it from the problem-solution kind of perspective. Basically, is there a group of people who have a problem/ pain point/ need that your product solves? I'd imagine so.

    Not sure if you've got much experience with validation, but this is sort of what you need to do. Make a list of assumptions, go talk to potential customers with the goal to figure out (1) do they have an actual need you can solve and (2) where do they "hang out". The answer to question (2) should help you target your marketing efforts in a more meaningful way.

    Hope that helps?

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      Thanks Lisa for the feedback!
      I absolutely agree with your point. I just took an odd 60 people's interest as validation stamp for my idea.Should have asked meaningful question to those who were showing initial interest .Could you share some strategy to do this more effectively? Because all I could think of was sending them cold-emails in a survey form, which I think not many people have got time & zeal to fill.And the resultant data wont be reliable.
      For this one, my potential buyers are the new-makers who mostly hang out on IH,PH,HN. So I'm planning to use these platforms to promote my product somehow.

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        I've put together the most important things that I know about validation here, see if you find any inspiration there? Let me know if you found this one helpful.

        The core idea is to get people to talk to you. As you said, survey probably won't be a great idea. So why won't you try getting in touch with the 60 people in a very honest and personal way - saying you just want to have a quick chat if they could offer you any time in their busy schedules to see how you can help them. And then talk to them about their needs. And understand why they signed up and how you can help them.

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    it is interesting, because I believe if you made it free then suddenly lots of people would find it of genuine value and use. The whole problem-solution validation thing isn't straight forward, as you need to add in the cost variable.

    As an outside the box pivot kind of thought... how many of them are live still? are you able to tell? how many are still small? possible pre-seed and seeking funding? do you have direct/founder contact details for them?

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      You're absolutely right. I'm getting many mails for the 'freebie' but non eventually converts.

      • So, all of the products which I have in the dataset are live(as of 31 Dec 2020). Also, I've added columns for 'Launched On' & 'Last Update On' to give the user better insight.
      • To infer about their size- there's no direct metric. But one can get the idea from a product's customerbase_size, number_of_comments, etc.
      • No, I don't have any metric on funding.
      • Yes, if the founder has made their email/twitter/profile public; my dataset has got them. In-fact one of the early buyers was only interest in this data for his newsletter service. Guess I should be marketing this as well (or probably sell this dataset as a separate plan).
        Do let me know what would you advise me. Thanks again for your feedback :)
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        firstly, not sure where you're based, but if EU/UK be very careful selling lists of emails that have been scraped off the internet - I assume this is how you did it, seriously how else did you get 250,000 of them ;-)

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          I'm from India. Not sure there are currently any such restrictions here. Have to recheck though.
          The dataset has 250K products & their makers. But if the maker hasn't put his twitter/email/profile on public; then ofc I don't have it. So this makes around 70%+ products dont have direct contacts for their makers.

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    Some thoughts...

    My intention to build it was to: Help people find validated niches for their ideas & build better products by learning from mistakes/reviews of currently existing products.

    I think this is a valid reason and maps to the goals/fears of an entrepreneur to understand is my idea valid, have others tried it and what can I learn from them.

    ---

    Because I believed that finding an idea for what to build is the biggest problem every maker here has to solve again & again.

    This is not the biggest problem -- many of us have ideas. Maybe the challenge is how we shape ours ideas into better ideas and validating those aspects of the ideas.

    ---

    Initially, I build just a landing page to get emails of how many people are interested in the idea. Got 60+ registrations, which was a fairly good response.

    So... you did basically no real marketing....

    Then I launched the actual product on the first weekend of 2021 & posted it on multiple places- subreddits, IndieHacker & HackerNews.Even though the response was not as good as the pre-launch, but I got 2 people buying it in the first week(one just simply bought it & for the second, I had to exchange few emails to convert)

    Yea more passive marketing... let me post it and they will come.... This isn't marketing. You need a real marketing strategy -- how will people talk about this product and how it helps them. How will you talk about your product helping. ... need to actually have a plan.

    ---

    please advise me what am I missing with my side-hustle here. It's my first finished product & my main intention for launching it is to learn about the journey of a multi-hat wearing IndieHacker.

    I had a chance to review the product itself, and like @anandmohit had suggested, you need to fine-tune this to segment different audiences. And find people that want to buy the data from you. By doing this it will help you understand your positioning and help you define your marketing strategy. Often times people forget that Marketing and Sales go together and they aren't disparate things.

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      Hey @mgan59 thanks for the time you put in for writing this detailed feedback.Yours is the most helpful response I've got yet!

      When you say "no real marketing" could you let me how should I go about marketing & selling such a product(and more of them for my future SaaSes)? A bit about my background: I've been a full time Software Engineer for past 1.5 years with zero experience in sales/marketing/UX (I think which is pretty evident from the site :/ )

      Currently my intention for launching as many products as I can is to learn about these skills which are crucial in the journey of an IndieHacker.I'd appreciate if you could point me towards some material to pick up the marketing strategy part.

      PS: I am trying not to burn money from my pocket on SideHustles's needs until its absolutely essential (like Server hosting, domain etc) till they turn profitable.So trying to avoid paid promotions & ads.Is this wrong, I'm a total noob.Let me know please.

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        @Parivraajak Understandable, my background as well is engineering so putting on the marketing hat can be a challenge even for myself. So I 👏🏼 for your effort here in learning.

        We are aligned at least right now, don't put any money into ads or paid promotions. Just a waste of money till you know this is going to work.

        The challenge for you face now is how to position the product -- I'd recommend starting with April Dunford. Have to be honest this can be the HARDEST part of sales/marketing. This tweet-thread sums up the idea

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          Thanks man! The book looks promising.I'm adding it to my reading list.

          Tbh I've my slight reservations about marketing/product literature as they turn out mostly fluff & so little (& mostly obvious)useful content when concentrated. The only one I liked yet is The Mom Test. I'm desperate to shatter my reservations & hopefully this book might :)

          Right now just having a product & trying to sell it feels like being an unknown seller on the outskirts of the city-whom nobody cares about. And it looks like the path of marketing is a very uncertain & subjective one.

          Let's stay in touch!

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            You might be able to skip the book, and just search for her on podcast interviews/youtube.

            Mom Test is a solid book and glad you've read that one.

            Know this part of the process can feel challenging, just have to keep at it. Message me through my form at https://morgancraft.com and I can give you some actual next steps.

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              Sent you a message with your form. Hoping to hear back soon.

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    I think people don't start from a list to think of ideas which has a better chance of success and that's why maybe it's not lucrative for people who are visiting your website.

    Maybe your database can be fine-tuned to a different audience base? Early stage startups who can get some insights from the data of different companies who have operated in their domain.

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      Thanks for the feedback. I think I'm trying to serve everyone the dame dish.
      I'm thinking to tweak the dataset & pivot it into two separate products a per the need of customers - those who want to start something & those who already have build a product & want to improve upon.

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    You built a solution looking for a problem

    "I believed that finding an idea for what to build is the biggest problem every maker here has to solve again & again."

    I don't have that problem, I have a list of 500+ ideas. My biggest problem is finding time, and customers.

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