I’ve read indie hackers’ 1700 threads and google’s 3 pages of search (!sic) for #buildinpublic thread, why? To see what we (solo founders) could actually do about it and how, not where and who (which most online articles do).
In this article you will find:
- The core question
The juice (The answer)
Usually tutorials just explain the basics by naming list of places and methods you can use and then they list a few projects you can have a look at. Let’s then name the list of those places, skip advertising and move on to the juice:
- girlfriends/boyfriends (ex-girlfriends, ex-boyfriends)
- youtube, youtalky
- makers (producthunt, getmakerlog, wip.chat)
- communities (fb, whatsapp, reddit, slack, discord etc)
- I probably forgot about other 30 methods but that does not matter (cause we talk about what and how).
To give you my background - I am just learning coding, having fun and building a tool for me and friends. I don’t have twitter followers, I don’t have twitch stream, youtube account. Nevertheless I actually started sharing my progress so it gave me a tiny bit of experience (feeling?) on this topic. I like it a lot and I just want to do it better and enjoy more - means get more feedback. The joy will eventually give code competitive advantage (it influences me to write better code).
The core question
What is the benefit for a solo founder? Why posting or grinding or publishing or curating or planning or checking be worth it?
The juice (The answer)
While doing research on this topic in google I learned one often omitted thing - #learninpublic. This is tightly connected with us (small, beginners, solo founders). I was not taking it that much into consideration which was a mistake due to many powerful advantages this provides. Thinking about learning when building makes you enjoy more the process because regardless of the feedback - you will be more conscious about knowledge-progress you made. This would be even more powerful if building codebase openly on github (I know there are edgy pros/cons here - comment?).
- 💡Tip - consider learning in public, think about progress you already made even before publishing your new hot update. Think about progress you will make while designing. Utilise DDD philosophy which will enhance your making skills. If you want to simultaneously #learninpublic - think about sharing the knowledge you gained.
Other neat advice I got from google was propagating your feedback - what is that? Naturally one of the best places to get feedback is a party or your kitchen. Interacting with your friends and people you know. Well, propagating feedback would be sharing already received feedback with it’s story or emotions. ”My extroverted friend hated this cartoon-coloring app” etc.
- 💡Tip - use closer connections you already have and read their feelings connected with what you’re building.
The last cool idea I’ve read is comparative advantage. Let’s say you shared this coloring app with someone - so what? Now, think about sharing it but with a sentence describing how much more it can relax you than different apps and —HERE YOU ARE NAMING COMPETITORS—. I mean - how much balls you need to have to name your competitors? Why? Market. Huge, vast, global market. There is always a tiny place for you there. If you are han-solo-founder then high chances you forget about competition. Download all coloring apps, study them, color pictures and then decide what your product will do better. Maybe selecting colors from your favorite pictures? This is just a theoretical example but my point is that competition boosts
- 💡Tip - compete! Explain your advantage when sharing updates. Your product will be better, more unique, filling niche better. People will like you for that.
That’s it for browsing. Now it’s time for advices from YOU guys.
I mean - how many times people check through similar topics on stackoverflow before posting? Too seldom.
I decided doing some research there. On search for #buildinpublic there is 1700 results. Let’s dig in into popular or/and insightful first hand experience people had and group them together.
Choose one tip that matches your needs and capabilities and use it!
- 🐦 Twitter does not work if you have from zero to a few hundreds followers. 💡Tips: learning how to make tweets more engaging, increasing tweeter count (giving talks, presentations), patience and consistence.
- 🐦 Twitter is moment-based, brief, elusive. 💡Tips: Tweet consistently, often, increase followers count with different methods.
- 🐦 Twitter: trend of #buildinpublic is not new, you may be missing the hype. 💡Tips: Use other handles, other chanels of reaching to your people. The hashtag may be oversaturated but the idea is not.
- 🐌 Ups or features may not come quick, not always, do not get frustrated. 💡Tips: Share failures, participate in fuckupnights (actively), show your strength and skills how to overcome failure. A failure may be prod server crash or forgetting root pass.
- 💬 Communities like facebook groups or reddit are good place to share. 💡Tips: genuinely ask for help in a new thread, do not spam with links, engage in comment threads asking questions related with what you need to know without advertising.
- 📺 Sharing YouTube, Twitch, streams has also therapeutical effect (besides ideas and feedback). It helps with learning how to speak in public, influences self-esteem and continuity.
💡Tips: Don’t be afraid of streaming, you are not a rockstar (yet) and you are breathtaking!
- 👤 I’m an introvert, it won’t work. 💡Tips: You don’t have to publish video, it may be in a form of podcasts, shortcasts or just text. No face is required although it could probably help. Be brave and strong! Learning to speak in public is a skill after all (I know it from my own experience).
- ⏰ 9-5 jobbers: Building in public cannot lower your daily job performance - otherwise building in public may be risky for you. 💡Tips: Have a good life balance and routine. Don’t grind. Sleep!
- 👨👧👧 Be real. Communities are out there, go out to language exchanges, tech meetups, ask around. 💡Tips: Wait a few years for the pandemic to finish.
- 🙉 BE A BELIEBER or die. Building in public will attract haters, not always constructive criticism. 💡Tips: Have a realistic reason for building it other than money. (I am helping my gf)
- 🐘 Monsieur, Vous m’avez utilisé! You do not feel comfortable, there is an elephant in the room and it’s you. 💡Tips: Do not use people. Thank them well, give them credits, do not spam them, don´t be obsessed - #buildinpublic but naturally, calmly.
- 🤷♀️ It doesn’t work! [cries in spanish]. 💡Tips: It does but you’re doing it wrong or too fast. Try actually using some of the advices mentioned - they come from people who achieved it. Try reaching out to real people that you know. A long conversation may be more valuable than a hundred of likes on your tweet.
- ⌛ I don’t know when to start. 💡Tips: Now. As soon as you can. You can start by talking about your idea. Say something about landing page builders research you made. Give back to the community. Have a landing page already? Great, now you can talk about your first feature.
- ⏱️ Does it worth the time? I don’t want to distract myself. 💡Tips: Publish only on features or on stages that are important for you. Publish for a smaller circle of target viewers, ideally your future customers. Quality over quantity.
Build in public gives benefits that come with it even if nobody will answer you. (but!) Somebody WILL answer you and you will get even more benefits. Last but not least - If you don’t have 10 people to talk about it - start from building your life!
Enjoy the ride.
You can follow me on Twitter where I #buildinpublic using Trello
Did you make any mistakes when doing BUILDINPUBLIC or you’ve seen one here? Tell me about your insights. Leave a comment with You are most welcome to see more posts of this type just go to home page