This feature has been a long time in the making! Here were the steps involved!
And finally, ship it!
The feature has been awesome and makes the experience much more engaging. Harold responds differently everytime now and has a bit of sense of humor.
I'm really proud of how it turned out and I think it will help with retention (better experience and its fun to see what he says) as well as growth (hopefully people show their friends the weird/funny stuff he says).
Growth has been slow while I've been busy adding new features like custom times and a GPT-3 generated personality for Harold :)
But despite that, I've gotten a slow trickle of people coming in and signing up for paid plan.
I'm still experimenting with what the best pricing strategy is, which I wrote a little bit about here:
In February, the Product Hunt team reached out and told me I wont the first-ever inaugural Product Hunt Maker Grant for my Harold launch in January.
I was so surprised I thought it was a scam at first.
You can read the whole story here: https://www.producthunt.com/stories/meet-maker-grant-recipient-and-no-code-maker-kyleigh-smith
This happened on accident, so very anti-climatic.
I had an "end of trial" message that was meant to be sent out when someone reached the end of their trial. Well, I accidentally sent it to everyone, and someone converted even though they were only a few days into their trial.
Regardless, I was excited! And started to question whether I was on the right track with my pricing strategy.
It was so scary and I did not feel ready, but I knew people were starting to think about New Years resolutions and I wanted Harold to be able to help them succeed so I HAD to launch in this first week of January.
Here's the link to the launch: https://www.producthunt.com/posts/hey-it-s-harold
I didn't really follow the typical "launch" advice meaning I didn't ask everyone in my network to go upvote. Part of me wanted to see what the actual market response was, without any artifical upvoting. I of course shared on my Twitter and LinkedIn that I had posted, but I didn't direct message many people, besides a few.
In the end it was a success in my book!
Like most of the ideas I have, this one sat in my journal for a while. I often have so many ideas that I get stuck in choice paralysis. Luckily, at this point in time, I was working with a career coach who helped me prioritize my ideas and I decided I would try to make this habit tracker idea first.
From there, I started googling how to build an SMS bot. I came across a tutorial on HackerNoon that seemed pretty close to what I wanted to do. I followed that tutorial and because it was done with No-Code tools, I was able to tweak it to fit my needs (with some help from the amazing Autocode team). All of a sudden I had a working prototype. I was amazed.
At the time, my sister was pregnant with a baby boy and I was begging her to name the baby Harold, after our grandfather. She wasn't having it, so when I needed to name the project in Autocode, I just entered "Harold". It just stuck after that.
I'd been dreaming of being an Indie Maker for years, but wasn't making any progress. I was working full-time, and had all of these ideas for side projects, but they remained just as that: ideas. I hadn't taken any steps to bring them to life.
During this time, I read an article by Steph Smith, a creator that I admire, entitled, "How to Be Great? Just Be Good, Repeatably", where she wrote about the importance of being consistent with small habits that compound. In another article she spelled it out: "The best way to stay committed to your goals is to a) track progress daily and b) share your progress openly."
This sounded simple enough, but there was one problem: I had tried tracking my habits before and it didn't work. I would make a beautiful table in my journal, get all excited, track for a few days, and then never look at it again.
That's where the idea for Harold came from. I needed a habit tracker that would come to me and ask me for the data. That way I didn't have to remember to track. I had been interested in applications of SMS and this seemed like a great use case. The name Harold came later.
To help people reach their biggest dreams and goals through the power of tracking habits.