I made a big mistake.
It was at the end of December of 2019, and I started working right away on my idea. A platform to send newsletters.
I spent six months working on it. Every day. From Monday to Sunday, until I had an MVP. I was very proud of what I created, and I wanted to share it with the world.
The results: Zero clients.
I was expecting people to try it, at least out of curiosity or to think about using it. But no one did.
Is the project a failure because I have zero clients?
1 - The site only had around 4K visits so far. That's not enough.
2 - From those people, 99% were visits from places like Indie Hackers, Product Hunt, BetaList, etc. Are they my clients? Maybe not.
I have two big reasons to consider this a failure.
1 - I still need to put in twelve more months of work.
To add paid newsletters, static pages, a better writing editor, a blogging experience, custom domains…. If I want to create those, I need to spend at least another 12 months. Probably more.
And for what? Adding more features is not going to help with finding clients because they won't see them.
2 - I need to find clients.
I am sure that you can make a lot of money from a service like this.
The problem is, if I code, I can't do sales or marketing. It seems to me that there are at least 3 full-time jobs to do simultaneously, and that's too big for me.
I was naive when I started.
What was my big mistake?
I wanted to create a Micro-Saas. I wasn't looking to be a big company. I thought to have 500-1000 clients and make 10/20K per month.
I wanted to create a family business. Pay salaries for a couple of people and flying low. I wasn't looking for attention. I didn't want to be the greatest entrepreneur.
My big mistake was to think that creating a SaaS was easy. At least easier. I was expecting to have 50/100 clients in the first couple of months. I thought: "Internet is big, they will come."
And there is some truth to that, but I learned after that you need to find them. Or spend money on ads. Or both.
And I don't know how to do it, and I don't have a budget for that or the experience.
What do I mean by "I quit"?
I quit big projects that keep me attached to my desk for years and infinity hours. Projects that you can never say: done. A SaaS is never done.
Last week I created and launched slideslist.com. It took me a week to create it. It had some visits and no sales, but it doesn't matter. No risks were taken and minimal effort.
How to know if you should start a project?
If you are starting today, you should start small. It would be best if you learn first. Start by creating a SaaS is too big and risky in time, money, and effort or even Micro-SaaS. The "micro" doesn't reflect the effort you need to put in anyway.
Create something small in less than a month and try to sell it. You will see how hard it is and how many people tell you: "nice! I will take a look later" And they will never do. So then you learn, and you keep trying small things until you have enough experience.
Even enough experience to realize that creating a SaaS is not for you. Like I learned.
Do You Need to Create a SaaS?
I’d say probably not, but I am still figuring this out.
I started this to be free. And being free involves, of course, having more money. But I don't want to buy a fancy car or a big house. You can make a lot of money from a SaaS, but there are also other ways to make money online.
The problem with the SaaS I was creating is that I was giving away my freedom by doing things that I wasn't enjoying. But I didn't want to spend every single hour of the day adding more features and at the same time trying to find clients.
If that's what you want, that's fantastic, go ahead and start a SaaS. But that's not what I wanted.
I romanticized the idea of travel and writing. And that's what I want. I wanted to make money to write, to share lessons on the things that I think are valuable for people to have a better and more balanced life.
If I wanted to write, why was I spending my time creating a SaaS?
Now I am writing, and let’s see from here.
Thanks to this article I published telling my story I learned that I might not have to create a SaaS to start living the life I want.
People paid me for it, and I made a good amount of money. It paid my rent for the month, and that blew my mind.
So I decided to start a newsletter and a blog and start writing about the things I enjoy. Who knows if in the future I will go back again trying to create a big project, but for now, I’m going to try something small that is also fun to do for me.
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