Today is a day for celebration. JustFitness.io has finally got its first five subscribers. Three signups for the yearly commitment and 2 for monthly. I know it's not much, and B2C is tough, but it's a start. I am proud to have made my first $100 outside of an employer and, more importantly, in a creative pursuit.
Here's what I've learned and confirmed.
Since JustFitness.io is a solo venture, I can do things that do not scale with its customer base.
I am in constant communication with everyone who reaches out to me. For instance, one person reached out with roughly two pages of feedback. We went over each item line by line. I offered to speak and share my screen via Discord to streamline the process. Now, we exchange emails at least twice a week.
Another person, who was going to wait for his trial to end, recently sent me this:
Man, your dedication and quick responses are phenomenal!
I was thinking about postponing my subscription until I used up all the free sessions, but after your amazing response, that subscription fee is well-deserved. Thank you for all the hard work!
You've got yourself a happy subscriber :D
In this reddit post, he provided a bit of feedback about a recent update. One feature was not fully functional, and another was removed without forethought. I addressed him about the concern as soon as I saw it got to work and replied again once I pushed the update. This occurred within an hour.
I'm well aware that these sorts of feedback loops will not be possible once JustFitness.io's customer base grows, but the lesson here is listening and talking to as many people as often as possible.
I recently learned of the Last-Movers Advantage. Oh, look, another fitness app. What sets your app apart from all the others? And why would I pay for yours when there are a ton of free apps out there?
I hear this at least once a week. These used to be uncomfortable questions. Now they're my favorite. Because I've spent the last 2.5 years tearing apart every fitness app I could find to understand what works and what doesn't. What features need an iteration, and what has the market already perfected.
For example, rest timers are mandatory. JustFitness may have missed out on a few subscribers for missing such a critical component. It was a feature requested by everyone who reached out.
A complete show-stopper without it.
They were right.
Furthermore, being the "last mover" has allowed for iteration. The entire reason this app exists is to solve the Desktop to Mobile integration problem. I can only think of 3 web applications that attempt, and none of them use a Trello/Kanban board. After getting the board to work, the immediate next step was to learn how to communicate with a server and other devices in real-time.
Here's a bit of user feedback on that note.
- First and foremost: desktop navigation! This is my absolute favorite as it has been a sticking point in most of the other apps I used; I find it way easier to create and modify the programs on the desktop than on the mobile.
- The text-based way sets/reps are set up is simply genius! and ties neatly with desktop editing.
I could have copied my competitors and called it a day, but I had already been exposed to a better way. How could I not take on the challenge? These are the sort of responses that made those long nights after work worth it.
Side note: I'm sure drag and drop and syncing with a database in realtime is probably trivial to most of you reading this, but to me, back then, it was far above my skill level. These were required features from the start and refused to ship without them, so I had to figure it out.
I admit it. Every day I learn something new. I didn't know the first thing about web development when I got started. Heck, I just figured out automated testing two weeks ago. I have no desire to present myself as some guru when I am thoroughly unqualified. Check my earlier milestone posts or the landing page feedback requests I've riddled across this site. I’m mostly asking questions.
I regularly posted and engaged on Twitter. I briefly experimented with giving fitness advice in an attempt to build an audience. Though you'd see these recommendations or books and articles, none of these actions and behaviors led to sales.
Why? Because I wasn’t honest with myself. I don't use social media in my personal life, but I'll drop what I'm doing if you're up for a chat. I am unqualified to give fitness advice; But If you've met me in person, you'd know that I'm only fit because I consistently follow the directions of people who’ve been teaching others their entire lives. Anything I’d have to say on the subject would just be parroting them.
Finally, I have no desire to become a public figure.
If you can find and extract value from JustFtiness.io; Then that is far more important to me than whether you know my name.
The people I’ve spoken with thus far are well aware of these notions. I believe the sales came from that level of honesty.
Let me know how I can make JustFitness.io work for you. If it doesn't meet your requirements, reach out. We'll bridge the gap!
I know that one day I'll have to step out of the Technician's role, but until then, I'm going to continue the enjoy the hell of a roller-coaster this ride has been thus far. $5 a month means 400 subscribers for ramen-profitability. It's going to be tough, and I have to learn marketing. But if the last 2.5 years have taught me anything, I have more time than lessons to learn. I'll figure it out.
I've Finally updated JustFitness.io.
Last year I launched and nothing happened.
No customers. No users outside of friends and family. Nada.
It was a humbling experience. The UX was terrible, the colors were bland, the price was way too high for what I was offering, and there were far too many bugs and inefficiencies to count. To top it all off; the application was completely unusable on iOS. Good grief.
I kept my head down and worked through the issues.
I just finished reading Start Small, Stay Small: A Developer's Guide to Launching a Startup By Rob Walling.
He mentioned the 3 components of a successful business.
Well I've already built the product. I know I should have spoken to customers before writing the first line of code. But I cannot cry over spilled milk. At the end of the day I've built a workout tracking app that I am proud of.
Wish me luck. Thanks for reading.
Analytics allows for the ability to view website traffic in real time. This morning someone completed the registration funnel. But I noticed that they followed the same patterns and my last 5 signups. They didn't navigate the other pages. Odd.
I checked the database and found that they hadn't created any exercises, workouts, programs, and hadn't even initiated a freestyle workout session. Also odd and now worrying.
Upon further investigation, I discovered that the registration was not complete on the back-end. As far as the database was concerned, these users did not exist.
I attempted to register a dummy user in production and was greeted with the following error: "An unexpected error has occurred." Go figure. [insert 'this is fine' house fire meme]
Without going into the technical details, the issue has been resolved.
Should I reach out to those users via email acknowledging my mistake and to notify them of the resolution ?
Conversion Rate, Bounce Rate, Funnel?
Prior to today I had no idea what those terms were. It seems like I'm learning about everything in the wrong order. Of course I should have had analytics up and running before launching right? Unfortunately I had not heard of it until someone commented asked me about my conversion rate.
I spent the previous day wrapping my head around analytics. It's purpose, importance, proper implementation and testing, fitting all of this new knowledge into my app.
Today I completed the Beginner Analytics Course offered by one of the Big 5. Very informative. Some time next week, I'll put this knowledge to good use.
On the bright side, given the nature of this application and the state of the planet (COVID-19 Lockdown). 90% of all gyms are closed, disposable income is scarce, and (seemingly) no one is looking for the luxury of a personal fitness tracking app. Now is the perfect time to learn as much as I can in preparation for the opening of the world economies. Maybe even find potential die hard customers with a home-gym.
Set up proper analytic goals and funnels.
Complete the advanced course.
JustFitness.io is open for registration. The next step is to email the addresses I've collected from the beginning of the journey and spread the word. The biggest lesson came from realizing that the tasks will not get done unless I put in the effort. Time management is critical to productivity.
Stripe for payment processing was a breeze to set up and test.
The JustFitness.io is finally at the point where I can use it during my normal workouts. There's a huge difference between using a fitness app at home during testing and at the gym. The UX isn't as great as I thought it would be, but it's exciting to have created something of value. Of the email addresses I've collected, there are only 5 regular users excluding myself. This might be tougher than I imagined.
Since this projects inception, I gathered emails in person as I traveled the country for work. The IH podcast emphasized speaking with potential clients so that's what I did from day one. I know it's not a lot and I realize that the vast majority won't convert to paying customers, but I'll take it as a win.
Next step: Continue Testing.
I discovered that the release GymTools.io did not prepare me for the depth to knowledge I needed for Just Fitness. Everything I had up to this point was local. I needed to find a way to use the app at the gym. I cannot spin up a server at home because my only way of internet access is through my phone. (Preparing to become a Digital Nomad ). I'm going to have to put it out to the world in a restricted state.
Problem: I need to test it in the wild.
I build a companion app over the weekend to dip my feet in the launch water. To be honest, I don't know what I was afraid of.
I built this app in flutter the previous year but never released it to the Play or iOS stores.
It was interesting to see how far I've come.
Note: This app is buggy for iOS.
Its purpose was to show me what to expect in launching a PWA. I haven't removed the bugs due to my focus on the main app.
Solution: Publish something smaller.
I made significant progress at this point.
I had learned to build a REST API and soon after discovered and implemented Graphql instead.
NoSql vs SQL research let me to learning PostgreSQL.
Client to server to database communication achieved.
One step closer.
Holy smokes. I can do this.
A couple issues sprang up than needed to be addressed.
You shouldn't have to tap on your phone 250+ times to plan a 6-day body split. JustFitness.io is a progressive web app designed with the flexibility of a notebook and the data analysis capability of a spreadsheet.