Month #3 : Final Update
Bootstrapping Maker's search for meaning 3 weeks ago

Photo by Charles Etoroma on Unsplash
This is an update of the maker's search for meaning & profit challenge, where I basically ship 1 - 2 products per month until something sticks. Check out the challenge intro if you need more context.

October was a good month.

Although the Squadist Beta launch was slow at first, eventually people started replying to my feedback request emails and I learned a TON of stuff about the market. My original target ( early stage b2c startups ) was wrong, turns out most early stage businesses do not have the time or resources to grow a community of advocates, no matter what the potential benefits were. And it makes sense, when you're starting out you already have a lot on your plate.

But, it seems like agencies & b2b startups with product-market fit are way more interested. Although my experience selling to that segment is somewhat limited, but I'm looking at it as a learning experience more than anything, so it's all good for now.

On the other hand, I was supposed to start working on something new this month. And I did, I just didn't code anything. Instead, I wrote a small description of the concept, and just emailed 100 people who I believed would be interested.

As you may know, I've had a tumultuous relationship with cold emailing in the past. But this time, it worked great! I got around 40% reply rate and I'm still talking regularly to some of those people.

Not having anything to sell (Not even a landing page) definitely helped me write a more genuine and authentic email, and I guess because it didn't feel like a sales email, people actually replied.

I still haven't completely validated this new project, but since I already have a lot of work to do on Squadist, I'm taking my time to actually talk to more people before I start writing code.

The problem with this challenge

I originally started this challenge for a very specific goal : Find something meaningful & profitable to commit to.

After 3 months, I started seeing problems with this premise :

  • I only gave myself 1 month to launch : That's not how meaningful & profitable products are made. I may be able to build an incomplete MVP in a month, but it's really hard to determine if a product is worth committing in that timeframe. Plus, it's really fucking hard to make anything impressive in 30 days.

  • Commitment is a skill : I was under the impression that all I had to do was try a few ideas, pick one, and "decide" to commit to it. But that's not how it works, at least for someone who struggles with committing. Commitment needs to be practiced, meaning I should do my best to keep working on every project I start, unless it's clear that the market doesn't need it or want it.

  • Validation before code is necessary : I know I've said the opposite in the past, but I was wrong. In some cases, you may not need any validation, but that's not the rule.

Overall, I did learn a ton of stuff during the past 3 months, more specifically, sticking to whatever I decide to work on.

But, at this point this challenge feels a little outdated and does not serve any purpose, so this will be the last update.

I will keep you posted on the progress of Squadist and any new things I make, in standalone posts.

Next

Well as I said, I'm sticking to Squadist, and trying to better understand the needs of my new target. I'm also slowly validating this other new idea that I'm really looking forward to share with you.

Another side project that I've been thinking about lately is this blog, I don't necessary like the format of my posts, I feel like the value to the readers is a little scattered over challenge updates. I'm currently brainstorming a new structure and some new content, so feel free to email me ideas of what you would like to read/learn about.

Thank you for your time & support!

Talk Soon,
Othmane.

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