My First Month as a Solo Founder
On the first of april I started my first full-time month as the solo founder. I’ll try to build a bootstrapped software-as-a-service product that should get me to ramen profitability in a year. Having previous experience running Ivaldi, an agency, was a huge help so far. Lots of entrepreneurial jobs such as doing taxes, requesting a business bank account, apply for a business credit card, and registering at the chamber of commerce were at least vaguely familiar to me. The development and hosting side of my company shouldn’t be a problem either, as at my previous position I’ve been developing and hosting Ruby on Rails web applications for 10+ years.
So didn’t I experience any challenges in my first month? Well of course I did experience some challenges, there are lots of new jobs to do! This was the first time I had to actually do marketing, SEO, and advertising.
Marketing & Advertising
Having just finished the first minimum viable product version of an analytics product for API providers, I’ve started the marketing and advertising efforts. So far I’ve written some blog posts referencing the product, set up a Twitter account and created a Bing Ads account. Bing Ads you ask? Yes, I had not heard of it either, but apparently it’s Microsoft’s answer to Google Adwords. I’m a huge fan of DuckDuckGo and recently discovered they use Bing Ads for advertising. Given DuckDuckGo’s mission, it’s quite probable that their userbase consists mostly of developers and other possible customer for me. Seems like a great match! I activated my ads a few days ago, but so far I’ve only had 8 impressions. Not enough traffic on DuckDuckGo and Bing? Wrong keywords? I’ll have to experiment some more to find out. The bidding price luckily is not the problem according to the Bing Ads portal.
At my previous job we mostly build marketing sites in WordPress. That was a part I didn’t have much to do with. So for my business I was actually building a marketing site for the first time in years. It should be as accessible for search engines as possible of course. I’ve added noindex to non important pages, I’ve generated a sitemap, added unique title tags to all public pages and written some articles that should give search engines an idea what Callcounter is about.
In this first month I also setup Plausible Analytics to start analysing traffic on the marketing site and this blog. I wanted to protect my visitors privacy when analysing the traffic, so that seemed like a reasonable choice.
Talking to Customers
Talking to customers was a very important part of running an agency. The big difference was that we could easily meet face to face and mostly worked with customers that we’d know for years. My new business is currently in quite a different situation. The newsletter has some subscribers that I’ve sent emails to. So far not much interaction though. Let’s hope I can improve that in the second month. It’s very important to know what parts are still missing for possible customers or which obstacles they experience. The initial version supports Ruby projects out of the box, because that is what I use myself. I’m hoping to get an idea what kind of integrations possible customers would need. Will it be .NET, Django, Rocket, or …?
First Month Summary
The first month summarised in a probably incomplete list:
- Registered domain names
- Setup a server for hosting
- Created an account on sourcehut for git repo hosting and CI builds
- Setup Plausible Analytics
- Setup a Twitter account
- Published various blog posts
- my corporate website
- the MVP for an analytics product
- a marketing site about it
- the first analytics integration for Ruby using Rack middleware
- Started SEO optimising the marketing site
Plans for the Second Month
A short list with the most important tasks I can think of for now:
- More advertising experiments with Bing Ads.
- Try to get more interaction with the newsletter subscribers.
- Develop a second integration, besides Ruby on Rails, for an important framework.
- Write a blog post about my second month.
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