Four Ways To Build Your Side Business
Hey indie hackers. My name is Tiago and I am the host of the Wannabe Entrepreneur Podcast. Since I started this project that I got the chance to interview tons of entrepreneurs and to learn from their journey building their products.
I will only focus on bootstrapping because I don’t have any experience the VC world.
The Product First Approach
Build a mature product before launching to the world
I don’t particularly like this approach because it is very dangerous. By assuming what your clients will need before actually testing you have the risk of building an unusable product. However, there are success cases particularly if you build a great piece of software that ends up being aquired by a bigger company. That is what happened to the codeprints that end up being aquired not long after my interview with them…
User First Approach
You build a product based on your user’s feedback
This is my favorite approach but recently I have been discovering that might not be the most effective… You start by identifying a problem that you want to solve and then build the most simple version of a product that solves the problem. After doing so you release it to the world and work on the next iteration based on the user’s feedback.
With this approach, you tend to build a great usable product and your biggest challenge becomes how to acquire users. The Marketing Problem!!! That gives nightmares to all indie makers.
Audience First Approach
You first build an audience and then build products just for them
The big advantage of this approach is to overcome the marketing challenge. Having already an audience will allow you to have customers and supporters from day one. This will also help a lot during the launch since most platforms like IH, PH, Reddit, etc… Perform much better if you have a high level of engagement shortly after posting your project.
Another advantage is that your audience is independent of your product so even if it fails you still are growing and nurturing your audience that will support you later on. The biggest issue with this approach is that building an audience is a slow and consuming process.
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The Brute Force Approach
Build multiple products in a short amount of time until one starts making money
There are many bootstrappers that take the one product per month challenge being one of the most famous one @levelsio.
I recently interviewed Xavier Coiffard that did the same with really great results.
As he explains in our chat, @xavier’s approach was to build simple products with a clear value proposition and try to ask for money from the start. His first product was a list of websites where people could showcase their startups and he sold this list for 19 euros.
Just from this product, he was already able to make more than 10K euros.
Xavier built 6 products in 6 months and 2 were a success and made him and MRR of 1K immediately after the 6 months challenge.
To succeed with this approach you need to be very flexible and not be afraid to kill your projects early on.
In this post, I showcased 4 different ways to build a product and even though they are distinct it’s important to take lessons from each method for when you are building your own product. I am certainly trying to do that while building my remote co-working space for entrepreneurs and the more I learn from other entrepreneurs bigger are my chances of success.
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