End of year - December 2021 retro

The year’s end is often a time for reflection. And it is. But most of my December was spent building and growing.

Revenue dropped back down to ‘basically nothing’ after I sold a project in November, and I processed my first refund.

This is my December update.

Recap of the projects I’m talking about this month

Map of Strength - A directory of top gyms for enthusiast lifters and strength-sport competitors.

My full project list is here

December’s goals

Get >50 followers on the Map of Strength Instagram page ✔

I reached out to a few gym owners and asked if they wanted to be featured. Some got back to me interested. But like last time I attempted this - even though I do the vast majority of the work - the couple of small things I ask of the owners is too much of a barrier.

I really only ask for a couple of images that they think show-off their gym the best (which can be from their Instagram page). And I ask them to share a bit about their story.

So because this approach didn’t work. I decided to just create a miniature feature myself without seeking permission or asking for additional details.

And it was relatively popular!

I think this might be one of the ways I can kick-start interest in little features of gyms and start getting owners asking for them (and thereby providing some info themselves).

I also started posting newly approved gyms as a Story post on Instagram. Tagging the gym means that they will likely also see the post and hopefully share it too.

The page is currently sitting at 60 followers. And it seems like I can keep growing with the current content I’m creating for the page.

Start planning and development of a new project idea (late Jan launch?) ✔

Development started on this new project. Which makes it something like project number 11. I didn’t think I would be starting a new project only a couple of months after my 6in6 challenge. But here we are.

Something I’ve noticed is that so many successful Indie Hacker products are tools for other Indie Hackers and developers. That might just be because people selling products to other industries don’t promote their tools to Indie Hackers. But it’s still something I noticed. It’s basically a ‘sell the tools’ kind of philosophy.

So far I’ve not built a dev tool or a technology-focused product. Mostly because I don’t really consider myself part of the typical ‘developer’ crowd. And I don’t really know what developers like to use, or what they need. Maybe because my visibility of other developers is mostly web devs using JS / React.

This new project is focused on helping people build a SaaS MVP quickly. There are already some similar products in the space, but mine fills a particular niche, so it should slot in nicely.

The project is a productized version of a tool I built to kickstart projects during my ‘6 projects in 6 months’ challenge. Like a boilerplate / template kind of tool for my particular web stack.

It’s not ready yet. But I’m focusing time in January to build the product and the marketing site.

Do some planning and designing of STERKI 2.0 ❓

I can’t exactly remember why this was a goal for December. I’m still not 100% sure whether I want to try this idea again.

If I do finally commit to re-launching it, I will almost definitely be using my new product to kickstart the build. Maybe even using it as a case study?

A lot of the design would be similar, and I did make a few notes about some ideas I have for V2.0 of STERKI.

Take a little time off for Christmas ✔

This one was easy enough. Not really all that much to say.

Bonus

  • 2 sales of PC Nameplates

These came just a few days before the new year. Unfortunately, the one sale from November had to be refunded because the customer wasn’t happy with the product.

  • liftingstones.org rebuild

liftingstones.org was the first site I ever built and published on the web. And it wasn’t exactly built to be maintainable. It was literally pure HTML with some Bootsrap CSS and a peppering of JS.

I never expected it to grow into an actual site that people use. Nor did I expect it to be top of the Google search results for a bunch of keywords.

But I found that one of the reasons I haven’t worked on it much in 2021 is because it’s not exactly a great experience to write an article with HTML. And even less so to manually update all of the other pages on the site when I do create new content.

Which is why I took some time at the end of the month to rebuild the site using Jekyll and TailwindCSS.

Jekyll fixes the majority of the issues with maintenance and the ability to make small changes that propagate through the site (the nav was an annoying one to deal with).

And TailwindCSS is now my go-to CSS framework of choice. I’m far more familiar with it than I ever was with bootstrap. And it gives me native dark mode, as well as a very nice pre-selected colour palette.

Articles were all converted to markdown, and the whole site now looks immensely more appealing than it did before. There are still a few tweaks that need to be made before I deploy it. But it will relaunch in the first week of January.

It was also pretty fun to rebuild (mostly).

January goals

For my growth goals, I’m going to try and focus on numbers and metrics rather than specific tasks - although task-based goals are pretty useful too.

Here are my January goals:

  • Grow Map of Strength Instagram followers to at least 80 (+ 33%)
  • Grow Map of Strength’s gym numbers by 10
  • Launch the new project

2022 goals

I kind of want to publish some public revenue goals for the year. I didn’t achieve last year’s (non-public) ones. That was mostly because I was bullish on Sterki at the start of 2021 and it didn’t work out. But I’m also not confident about whether any number I pick is unrealistic, or too modest.

I will share some growth goals for Map of Strength though.

  • Reach 1000+ followers on the Instagram page
  • Serve >100 pageviews per day

When I hit both of those, I want to grow those numbers by ~5%/month. I don’t know if those numbers are too modest… I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

December’s revenue from projects: $15

(actually $30, but took the $15 that I refunded)

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