This is the story of how when you put yourself out there as an entrepreneur and do the things that are HARD, you will eventually be rewarded.
So, if you don't know, I am making a ride sharing app like uber - but free. It is based on a reciprocal model where users give rides, earn credits, and then use those credits to get free rides. I am mostly targeting college students at first because I can see this really taking off on college campuses.
The MVP should be on the app store for download in about a week and a half. Well, I needed a good base of users to start off with because of the whole "chicken and egg" problem. I found the University of Hawaii (I'm in hawaii.. duh) facebook group and started messaging kids on there about my app. This was going great and I thought I had solved the code for how to get my first 1,000 users... boy was I incorrect.
After about 100 messages sent, facebook (rightfully) prevented me from sending any more messages for an indeterminate amount of time. I was sad, yet I knew I needed to figure out a way to get that first batch of college kids who would use my app when it came out. I danced around the idea for days, coming up with clever online marketing strategies and excuses NOT to do it... eventually coming to the realization that it was my only real option...
Alas, I headed to the University of Hawaii (UH) with a notepad and a pen. I went to the busiest part of the campus center where the parking garage exit was, and started asking college students one-by-one if they would use my app. The first couple kids I was extremely nervous, anxious, and felt like an idiot... but as I kept introducing myself and talking to them I gained strength and it started to feel really nice to talk about my product with others.
I only had an hour in me - and in that hour I talked to 23 kids. I got 23 phone numbers. Every single person I talked to on that campus said they loved the idea and would definitely try out the app when it came out. This is undeniably motivating.
One of the students was a soccer player for the university, and she said something along the lines of "mr blah blah would really love this, he's always trying to get his athletes on the new app - and the athletes are always trying to get free rides from people". She said she was headed to his office right then and there and I could come with her if I wanted to ----- I was shocked. I said "yeah of course!" and proceeded to go to his office and book a meeting with him and a few of his marketing staff to see how we could get UH to use this app once its released.
None of that ever would have happened if I stuck with my "in my room turtle shell activated don't talk to anyone" marketing play.
Get out there and talk to people, it works.