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I've been building software products for a while now, but I've never really tried to grow a side project. What's a solid basic game plan I can start with? Flying blind here. (If you're curious what it is, it's at wiplo.com)

  • ES

    Edward Stephens

    over 4 years ago #

    I like you're platform it's nice.

    Well it's slightly tricky to ascertain your goals here so I apologise for any assumptions i'm making. However, i'm just going from the information I can deduce.

    What I would like to know is your financial/resource/time pressure as this will obviously change your strategy.

    Okay, first thing......you've got clients and they're paying. That's awesome but the clock is ticking, so if you're serious about proceeding with the side project i'd say:

    1) Get feedback from early users, so you can address early gripes and potential causes of churn. It's going to be a lot easier for you to retain an existing user than acquire a new one. Plus it will be a good way to see if you feel inspired about the product you have created and if you believe it's adding actual value.

    2) Looking at your site it looks like team referrals are going to be crucial to retention. One thing i've noticed is my team mates are quite resistant to 'new tools', however, if I onboard them e.g Slack they are incredibly loyal. So fight this battle first and enjoy developing the product for early adopters, they tend to be a bit more forgiving.

    3) I would recommend if there is only one of you automating/creating canned responses for as many as the customer service emails as you can. Create an FAQ page, whatever it takes but definitely pre-empt this. The one thing that will seriously strangle your resources is customer service inquiries and article after article on GH is stressing the importance of community managers.

    4) As you are already monetising, I would say getting the data set up right will be pretty useful. Once you can work out the churn and LTV then you can start to figure out marketing spend. This will inform your decisions on where you go hunting for leads e.g. inbound/outbound.

    5) I guess this will then let you work out what roles you are hiring for, I apologise this is a bit vague but any further advice will be conjecture.

    So in conclusion:
    Feedback, Referrals, Customer Support (automation), Data......

    I hope this helps, i'm sure some of the more eminent people on this site will be able to lend better advice!

  • JB

    Joseph Bentzel

    over 4 years ago #

    Sweet product. I'd start with a partner based strategy for distribution. Too many high marketing costs with direct downstream-to-users/teams model. Hit me up at www.platformula1.com. Best of luck.

  • JH

    Joshua Ho

    over 4 years ago #

    To get to 50 paying customers is great! Congrats, that is some great validation.

    My initial thoughts are:

    1) Focus on more paid users.
    It's just more validation and more trust you build that this is the real thing. You may have to force yourself to slow the product development, but if your goal is to turn this into a full time gig... you need to build up more revenue and confidence that it will sustain.

    2.) Figure out what has been working and work it some more.
    What is the paying customer profile? Where did they come from? See if you can double down on these efforts and/or make them repeatable

    3) Establish a system to focus your efforts.
    There is so much advice out there for the different parts of the funnel. Marketing, sales, onboarding, customer success, churn.... I suggest organizing all suggestions and ideas (tons from this site) into buckets that you sort through later. It's easy to get distracted. Once they are in buckets, prioritize! Figure out the low hanging fruit and of reward vs effort and document your efforts.

    Congrats again, to me it feels like you are over the initial bump!