Pretend you get an idea for a simple tool that you realllly want to use but that doesn’t exist anywhere. Since it’s so simple, and because the build process should take less than a week, you decide to build it.
Where do you start?
I’d start by taking an edible and then going on a long walk, stopping every 12 seconds to write down my AHA moments. But you probably don’t live in Colorado, which sucks for you, so let’s move on.
After I was comfortable that I had the subtleties of the idea down, I’d spend some time figuring out the brand. Better to figure that out before writing a line of code, right? That way the product matches the voice.
That brand-conceiving would dump me on to Instant Domain Search where I’d try to pick out a decent domain name. Not a perfect one, because I don’t have time for that, but a good enough one.
Sike. I’d tell myself that the domain decision would be completed in two hours or less, but that’s only because I enjoy lying to myself.
The truth is that I’m really shitty at choosing between infinite options. I want to analyze ALL of them. Despite promising myself otherwise, I’d spend 2-12 days picking a domain name.
There would be periods during that 2-12 day stretch where I’d hate myself for being so indecisive. So I’d take micro breaks to start setting up a new Laravel site.
Then I’d add the new site to CloudFlare, provision a new Linode server through Forge, get a new email address with Google Suite, create a new Google Analytics account, create a new Stripe account and go through all of that verification stuff, create and setup a new MailChimp account, etc.
After all that it’d finally be time to get started!
Well, sort of.
It’d be time to get started designing the landing page for the site, and maybe scheming up some new twist like a weird pricing model or some kind of early-bird craziness. None of which I’m ideologically opposed to (obviously), but it might be nice to be able to sell actual software at some point instead of just theoretical software.
And remember when I said I was bad at choosing between infinite options? Well it turns out that I’m bad at all decisiveness in general. That includes deciding what things should look like. It includes committing to a pretty damn good design when I know I could make it 2% better if I just spent 12 more hours on it.
So that would happen. Best case scenario I’d start real development 3-4 weeks after starting The Process. And I’m no Sam Hinkie.
Worst case? Let’s not talk about that.
Eventually EVENTUALLY I’d write the damn software. Probably. Maybe.
And then what?
Well, then I’d try to start building an audience. From scratch. Because I just started a new site. From scratch.
Then I’d try to keep the new software at the top of my priority list while also trying to keep my blog and my other software at the top of my priority list.
This would work for 3 weeks. Then bad things would happen.
When everything is bold then nothing is bold, right? That’d happen to my software AND my blog, and everything would suffer because I wouldn’t be able to pick my favorite child. Remember remembering about my poor decisiveness? Comes into play again here.
So what am I getting at?
I’m so stupid!
Keep it simple, stupid.
I see that all the time and never think it applies to me. The saying should be amended to include "Yes, you. You with the eyes. You're the stupid one we're talking to."
How do I differ ideologically from the typical corporate software company? I care wayyyy less about money, way less about scaling, and way more about intimacy.
So why not use that to my advantage? And I don’t mean leveraging that fact on sales pages, but rather letting it change how I operate altogether.
I take great strides to keep my life as simple as possible. I actively seek out and destroy monotony. I pride myself on this.
Yet every time I get a new idea I spend a lot of time thinking of new domain names, setting up a new site, trying to make a pretty new landing page, creating a new marketing strategy, etc.
But why? Because that’s what I’m supposed to do, that’s why. And I’ve never been aware enough before now to think twice about it.
But today I thought for that second time. And then I wrote a whole bunch of words that you just read, all of which bring us to this:
Starting as soon as I feel like it, I’m done having different websites for my different projects. With the exception of projects I work on with others everything is going to live right here on my blog.
Sure, that means no sexy landing pages to sales (it’s a verb) people into buying my sexy nonexistent software.
It means that my indie status developer status will be obvious to visitors, and people may trust me less because they know I don’t have a team of developers and a team of support people.
But it also means that my indie developer status will be obvious to visitors. Wait, didn’t I just say that? I did, but this time it’s in the "pros" column. Some people, like this guy (me), might be more likely to fork over money to an indie developer. Might be more forgiving and more eager to give feedback.
It means that I can manage one brand and one audience instead stead of five brands and five audienci (like platypi, but not).
It means that when I start doing validation testing (next chapter) any visitor that isn’t interested in one of my ideas still stands a chance at being diverted into one of my other ideas. Less waste.
And it means that all of the nonsense that I talked about in the top half of this post goes away. New idea? Cool, make a blog post about it and then start developing!
If I truly want to be a lifestyle entrepreneur and I truly don’t care about making 9 Figs and I truly value simplicity in my life... isn’t this the obvious choice?
Like I said, I’m so stupid. But I’m willing to admit my stupidity. Gotta start somewhere.