J for joy - June 2021 retro

Overall, June has been a great month! I got my first sale!

June began with me completing my first freelance writing piece. It took a little longer to finish than I originally thought. But it wasn’t a huge deal, and I got it done. One thing I noticed is that I was able to get into the work and stay focused.

Another freelance opportunity came up in June for some software engineering. But it wasn’t really a good fit.

In last month’s retrospective I said that I would launch 2 projects in June. This was mostly because my May project didn’t get launched. And I did!

I finished the prototypes of my physical product - a small (barely smaller than a credit card) piece of aluminium with custom designs printed onto the face. They’re designed to replace the plate that sits in all LianLi O11D PC cases. The audience is PC enthusiasts who like to customise their PCs.

I posted a couple of photos of the prototypes of the PC Nameplates to Reddit. There were a few people who were engaged and were interested in buying one. And someone bought one! My first sale - for $15!

I also built and soft-launched an MVP of mapofstrength.com. It’s a directory of top gyms for enthusiast lifters and strength-sport competitors. I’m planning to monetise this with featured listings and advertisements of events. I’ll also look at other monetisation strategies.

Now with 2 project launched in June, that brings me back to 3 project in 3 months.

One concern I have is with launching a big project in July. There’s still a lot of work to do on both PC Nameplates and Map of Strength. I don’t want to launch them and then immediately abandon them. So I’ve got to make time for them, my freelance work, and July’s project. On top of that, I’ve got to come up with some ideas / plans for the months ahead, and I’m trying to engage more on Twitter / Indie Hackers.

My plan for July is a much smaller project. A tiny one in fact. It’s comes with a mildly interesting story, so it should be fun.

I wonder at what point I decide to cut the 12 projects in 12 months short to focus on projects that are alive? I don’t know many people who did a 12 projects in 12 months and finished the challenge.

June’s goals

I set more goals for June than I did in the previous months. Importantly, each one is pretty binary this time. So it’s easy to say whether each one was achieved.

Complete our first freelance writing piece ✔️

We finished and submitted the first freelance writing piece. I guess this is also the first time I’ve been paid online for something. I won’t be counting freelance work money towards my ‘revenue from projects’ though.

I enjoyed doing writing as a paid job. I’m working with the client again, and I’ll be working on writing a bit more in the future I think.

As an aside: I HATE PayPal. I had to sign up to get paid for the freelance work. Adding a bank account was a huge hassle which involved contacting PayPal multiple times to get it to work. Then, after actually receiving the payment PayPal decided to hold the funds hostage. I can only get the funds after completing a huge list of requirements (which is pretty unrealistic) or by waiting a month. So I won’t even see the money for another few weeks.

Turn the freelance writing into a regular thing ✔️

It looks like this goal was hit too - I’ve been talking with the client and coming up with ideas for the next piece(s).

Complete the prototype of the physical product ✔️

I made a few prototype units of my physical product. Overall it went fairly well, and I got an idea of how much work it would take to create more of them.

It turns out that a few people were interested in buying these custom nameplates. I posted on Reddit showing the prototypes and got some interest.

Launch the physical product ✔️

This doesn’t count as my June launch because this project was the one rolled-over from May.

I got a purchase of one before I had even made a non-prototype version of the product.

The project page is also live, along with a small site - so it’s definitely launched.

Get 1 sale of the physical product ✔️

When I wrote this goal in May, I really wasn’t sure whether I’d achieve this one. It was a goal that I thought would be a challenge - something that would push me.

And I guess it worked? Not only did I get my first sale of a PC Nameplate, but it was my first sale of anything. It was a good feeling.

I won’t lie though. When I got the email from Stripe I thought to myself “Shit, I have to do this now.” Not in a bad way. More of a ‘this is real’ kind of way.

To get the sale, I sent a DM to different people who were interested in the plates on Reddit. I asked if they were still interested, and what design they wanted. Then I sent them a Stripe link to buy.

Patio11’s ‘Charge more’ has been reverberating through my head ever since I mentioned the price of the PC Nameplate to the first person. The reality is that there isn’t much of a margin on the PC Nameplates right now. Particularly if I have to work on the graphics side of things for a customer.

The biggest issue now is how do I keep promoting and making sales? There’s only so much I can post on Reddit before people start getting really annoyed.

I’m also planning to create an Etsy store for PC Nameplates. Hopefully for more reach. It’s very much an Etsy style product, so it fits really well. Not exactly you typical ‘Indie Hacker’ project though.

Start and launch June’s project (MVP) ✔️

This month I launched Map of Strength. The MVP is a page with a map and some data that I’ve gathered myself, and a contact form for people to contribute other gyms.

For years I’ve had struggles finding a good gym when I’m away from home (and also just to visit for fun). And I know this is a problem for many others too.

Map of Strength has a lot of potential for helping to grow the strength community across the world.

Write June retrospective ✔️

That’s this. I think it’s time I stop including a retrospective as a goal now.

As a side note, I’ve found that my retrospectives for this month and last month were much easier to write because I have been adding bits and pieces to them over the month instead of hastily trying to remember and write everything I could remember from the previous month. Will continue to write them like this from now on.

July goals

Somehow I achieved all of June’s goals - even though I wasn’t that confident that I’d be able to. I thought about intentionally setting goals that are nearly impossible as a stretch goal. But then I thought that if I know they’re impossible I wouldn’t even bother trying. So I think the goals should be a stretch further than what I think is reasonable to encourage progress.

  • Start and launch July’s (tiny) project
  • Get 5 sales of PC Nameplates
  • ‘Properly’ launch Map of Strength and start getting some traffic
  • Add data for 30 total gyms to Map of Strength
  • Write at least 1 content piece for Map of Strength for SEO

June’s revenue from projects: $15

Join my journey by subscribing to my list and I'll let you know when I do interesting stuff (less than once per month).

Alternatively, follow me on Twitter!