Eternally Curious. Writing, Learning, Building in Public. Writing about Ideas + Inspiration + Insights for creators, solopreneurs and indie hackers | Simple tips and frameworks to help you build a sustainable solo business
Table of Contents
- 1. Effort and Value are not related linearly
- 2. There are no bad products
- 3. A buy button is the only way to validate a product
- 4. The portfolio approach works (until it doesn't)
- 5. Price is a tool
- 6. Copywriting is super valuable
- 7. Email still works
- 8. Social Proof is the best way to sell
- 9. People Remember
- 10. Nobody Cares
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So back in June 2022 I took on the crazy 25in25 challenge -
I decided to launch 25 micro products in 25 weeks
By December I had -
- Burnt out
- Given up on the goal
But it was one of the most enriching experiences of my life
Here are the top 10 lessons I learned about business -
1. Effort and Value are not related linearly
How many hours you put into something has no bearing on how much value your customers will derive from it.
I spent 40+ hours creating e-books and guides that 0 people found interesting.
I spent 2 hours repurposing/reusing an old product and 800 people got it.
"Value" is one of the most overused yet vague terms in business.
What's valuable to me can be trash to you.
And vice versa
Our goal as entrepreneurs is to -
- Find what's valuable
- To a particular audience
- And reach out to them effectively
How you do it, how many hours you spend doing it, how much money you spend for it - all of it doesn't matter.
2. There are no bad products
Beyond a minimum threshold, most products people create are good.
But they fail because of 2 reasons -
- Wrong positioning
- Wrong audience
I had a great e-book about user interviews which I thought solopreneurs will like.
Nobody bought it.
But when I promoted it in product management communities, it got some sales.
PMs are more interested in learning about user interviews than solopreneurs.
I should've known, I was a PM before I was a solopreneur 😅
But my audience doesn't have many PMs.
Even though that product failed, it's not a bad product.
I just don't have the right audience for it, or I haven't tweaked it's messaging properly.
3. A buy button is the only way to validate a product
As JK Molina says - Likes ain't cash
Free signups, waitlists, Twitter likes, retweets, DMs don't mean much.
You know a product has legs only when people pay for it.
And then when those people find value from it.
If you're looking to validate an idea.
Write some copy on a page, put a buy button under it, share it with people and see how they react.
If they buy, figure out why they did, and double down on those aspects.
If they don't, tweak the messaging and try again.
If you fail too many times then probably the idea isn't worth pursuing.
You have limited resources (time, energy, money)
Kill the project and move on.
Ideas are abundant, resources are limited.
Optimize how you use your resources.
4. The portfolio approach works (until it doesn't)
If you don't know what your core offer is, and are still figuring out how you can add value to the world.
Try a bunch of stuff.
Put a bunch of buy buttons on the internet.
See which ones are working and double down on them
But don't overdo it (like me 🙈)
Beyond a point you need focus and consolidation.
All my projects in the beginning were paid products.
But after the initial few weeks I figured out that Indie Masterminds was how I could add the most value to people.
So I took a call..
I stopped launching paid products and started launching free ones.
Because it was way more valuable to offer a low effort free product and then upsell a higher priced mastermind.
Than trying to sell many higher priced products in parallel (every week)
Once you know your core offer(s)
Everything else should be a way to drive people to that offer.
Not take them away from it.
Too many bets spread the customer base.
And your attention
Find a balance.
5. Price is a tool
You can price internet products any way you want.
But it's best to use price as a tool.
I started all products at a very low price, validated interest and then gradually raised it.
Yes, the higher you price, the better customers you attract.
You need the initial customers at a low price point to run tests and validate hypotheses.
That's where you get real world insights, feedback and testimonials.
All of which will eventually help you sell more when you raise prices.
So "charge more" is good advice.
Not at the start.
I've 4xed the price of Indie Masterminds in 6 months.
Every time I get feedback from members, refine the offer, make it more valuable.
This is how I justify the price in my head.
Thankfully people still think it's a bargain.
6. Copywriting is super valuable
What you write on your landing pages, your emails, your tweets.
How you write it.
All of it matters.
How you structure your message is almost as important as your message itself.
You don't have to be the best copywriter in the world.
You should know and use the basic copywriting frameworks wherever you talk about your business.
Essentially you want to focus on the pain points of your users.
Understand their situation and write in a language that makes the solution obvious to them.
7. Email still works
I've probably written more emails in the last 6 months than ever before in my life 😅
My primary channels for sales are Twitter and Email
I did try ads but they didn't work as well
A lot depends on the audience you're targeting as well
But the best chance of making sales is to get someone's email and explain the value proposition of your product to them 1:1
This is true if you don't want to get on sales calls
But for high ticket offers, you will have to get on calls and do 1:1 sales
I've not done that yet!
8. Social Proof is the best way to sell
Humans are tribal animals.
For everything we do, we need the approval of the tribe.
So if you can get some real world case studies and testimonials for your product, you will give yourself the best chance of getting sales.
The more social proof you have -
- The less copy you have to write to convince potential buyers
- The more confident you feel charging higher prices
- The more legit your product or service looks to strangers on the internet.
Social proof builds trust.
Trust gets sales.
9. People Remember
If you cheat/scam people - they remember.
If you add value to people's lives - they remember that as well.
So if your free product or trial was useful to them, they will eventually pay for the higher priced offer as well
(If they can)
Trust their memory.
Repeat your message in front of them every day.
Show up and keep adding value.
Strangers will turn into followers.
Followers into friends.
And sometimes, friends will even turn into customers.
Final Lesson -
10. Nobody Cares
You probably know this already.
Whatever you do, nobody really cares about you, your business or your life.
They only care about how you can solve their problems.
This is sad yet liberating.
You're free to make mistakes, fail and learn at your own pace, in your own time.
I did this crazy challenge because I wanted to learn in 6 months what otherwise would have taken me 3 years to learn.
I made a lot of mistakes.
I got tired and burnt out.
I failed miserably -
- I didn't ship the big ideas I wanted to ship because I couldn't scope them down to 7 days
- I took random breaks in between
- I was irritated by the challenge and frustrated with myself by the end of it
I wanted it to be over
So I didn't meet my goals
And nobody cared 😀
That was a relief 😅
I took a long break in December to refresh and recover
And now I'm back with renewed focus
Feel free to ask any questions if you have any.
I’m always just a tweet away.
Here's the original launch thread -
I got so tired of the challenge that I didn't update this thread after October 😅
Do let me know what you think