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MVP Launch

Unlike many of my past creations, I wanted to launch MakerKits.co as fast as possible to gauge interest from the community. Being an information-driven product, the obvious launching point is when I added the newsletter subscription form.

Let me break down how I launched the site from the beginning so you can follow along if you are new to the process:

Brainstorm an idea using Notion

Whenever I come up with an idea, I jot them down in Notion where my random ideas live. Coming up with this idea to create a resource hub for makers actually came from reading many ebooks published by creators, as well as reading 14-Day Gumroad Challenge. I learned important lessons of utilizing my expertise to give value to the audience I want to attract.

So I went through few iterations on how I could achieve that, including writing ebooks, starting a paid community, etc. After entertaining few ideas, I settle d down with an idea to create a resource hub for creators with a curated list of learning materials, maker tools, and introduce them with my own personal insight on them.

I plan to write more on the subject of coming up with something you'd be passionate to work on via newsletter.

Pick a name for the product

I like the word "Maker" which represents a group of people who make something, whether they are software products or ebooks. From there I used domain research tools to find available domains with an additional suffix such as "Resources", "Hub", "Kits", etc.

In short, I ended up with MakerKits.co because "kits" communicates a curated tool designed to serve as a great entry point for many creators, and the short ".co" TLD was available. I also checked to make sure there is no obvious trademark infringement or there is nothing offensive on the ".com" version of the name.

Again, more on legal and name picking tips to be written later.

Get a virtual office

This is optional but I decide to get a virtual office address that I could use for MakerKits.co as well as for my consulting business to serve as a public-facing physical address. If you are new to the newsletter game, you are generally required to submit your physical address, which is often revealed to email receivers to comply with CAN-SPAM act. Many creators probably end up using their home address or give up at this point. It does cost some money to set up a virtual office but I highly recommend you do this if you are serious about your effort. Plus, you can use the address for other business activities you can pivot to.

Find design inspirations and formulate a rough design

You don't have to be a designer but it helps to know the direction of the look and feel you are looking for. I keep a bookmark of website designs I came across in the past and use them as inspiration sources to roughly formulate the design of the website. You could go as far as creating wireframes and mock-ups, or just keep ideas in your favorite notepad.

Instead of finishing this in one go, spend time thinking about it and iterate them over as you go about with your life.

Create a landing page with a newsletter subscription

This is a part where vastly different approaches can be taken. Since I'm an experienced front-end engineer, I built the landing page with the following stack:

  • Build SSR website with Next.js and Emotion
  • Host the site via Vercel for free
  • Embedded MailChimp HTML form

If you are not a developer, you can use many online tools to build your landing page. I recommend MailChimp for the newsletter just because it would generally integrate with any website builders you end up choosing.

Also, make sure to spend a good amount of time writing and re-writing your first copy of the website. Anything you write there will also be reused when submitting your website to directories like the Indie Hackers.

Submit your product on Indie Hackers

If you are thinking of submitting your product to popular directories like the ProductHunt, think again. Many popular directories are very competitive to get in and often makes you feel like you have to put in more effort before you can proudly launch your product. This creates a vicious cycle where you build products in the dark without a user feedback loop.

When I started to work on MakerKits.co, I planned to submit the product first on Indie Hackers where the community is supportive of indie hackers like you and me! Instead of feeling like you have to release something big, you can start small and use product updates as a way to mark your milestones and build a potential audience as you build along.

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That's it for this week, I will move on to creating a first curated list of resources next: the maker ebooks.

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