Starting is a bitch. No matter what it is, getting started can be the most difficult step. Once you start, the even more difficult step is staying in motion, but that’s a topic for a different post.
Even now, while starting this blog post I went and downloaded a different text editor because…well, just because. Our brains hate to focus, or at least mine does, and it’s made way worse when it’s a long, difficult task. Or something that requires commitment. Or creativity.
I’ve struggled with starting my entire life. I’ve also struggled with finishing things. Not the prettiest pickle, but some days you just say, “enough”, and dig your heels in and buckle down.
I started a new (yes, another new) side project today. This one I’m going to 1. complete, 2. monetize. Since I was 14 and first read Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Work Week (non-affiliate link) I’ve been interested in passive income. In SaaS businesses. It’s the holy grail, right? Build something once and earn revenue from it forever?
Well, after a decade and a half of teaching myself to code, design, PM, lead, and market, I’m still not there. To this date I have never built a product that generates recurring revenue. I’ve built businesses, I’ve built businesses, I’ve built businesses that make money; I’ve designed, coded, fundraised–I’ve basically done everything I can within the world of startup-ing except for…yup, building a product that makes recurring revenue.
If I’m fully honest with myself the blocker is entirely internal. I can make the time, I have the skills, and I have the ideas, I just chicken out when it comes close to releasing and working with other people. I’m afraid of client feedback, rejection, and failure.
But so what? Who isn’t. I can stay where I am forever and never risk getting hurt, but I then sacrifice exactly what I want.
So here I am. Starting something new. Today I broke ground after much dithering, and it felt good to get into motion. With finished designs I’ll move into the development phase tomorrow, and look to have a functional prototype by the end of next week. Some of the biggest things that I’m bringing into this continued, gritty mindset is completely cutting myself off from the idea of perfect. Going a step further, I fully expect to not like the product that I end up launching. It will be fast, dirty, scrappy and ugly. It won’t fully do what I originally planned. But it will be out there.
In addition to launching an ugly product, I’m also going to monetize it from day 1. No more excuses of, “launch it, and then once it gets traction convert it to freemium”. I’m baking in revenue from day 1. Even if I get one lone customer it will be a far bigger achievement towards my goal than anything that’s come before.
The product is a Routine Tracker. I don’t care if there are others out there, I’ve never found one that I like. I currently use a daily journal coupled with a mobile app to track my habits. I’m going to roll this into a single web app.
Nope, not revolutionary. Not even sexy, or new, or creative. But it’s a problem that I have, that I want to solve, and I think it might be useful for others.
Here are the designs that I implemented today. More to come soon.