How I shipped a micro-startup in less than 10 hours 🚀⏱
Hello ! 👋 I am Julien, I just launched 100JobBoards.com, a website where one can discover many niche job boards.
I made it in less than 10 hours, from first line of code to ready-to-launch.
For a few months, I have been building micro-startups as an indie maker, namely me alone working on projects from scratch. Being a maker means being able to give life to a lot of different ideas — knowing most of them will 🗑 fail.
So best is to fail fast.
Thus the goal is to diminish the idea-to-launch personal investment, whether it is time, money or energy. Many tips can help reduce this time and this article is about them 👍.
Tip: Plan ahead of execution 🧐
This is probably the most underrated advice of this list.
“First, solve the problem. Then, write the code.”
― John Johnson
Before every project, I take a black ink pen ✍️ and a removable-pages sketchbook 📖 and I write everything about the product I want to make :
- What are the different features I want to ship ?
- How am I going to make them ?
- Where am I going to store the data ?
- Which services will I use ?
- Are there similar products ?
- How long is going to take the development ?
- What is the final design ?
- When do I want to launch ?
- Are there any security constraints to keep in mind ?
After writing all these answers, it’s time to make what I call the War Room
The war room should be done on a single note sheet — Notes from mac is perfect 👌.
It should contain :
- All the tasks that have to be done to bring my project from 0 to ready-to-launch.
- Every relevant resources — E.g. similar products, inspirations, tools…
- A complete description of the design—fonts, colors, layout, logo…
- A complete description of the model of your data—names, attributes…
- The launch checklist and materials I need to submit the product.
- Any relevant note you have to keep in mind.
The first point must be done prior to any “computer” work, the others will be completed during development.
It’s very important that every item in the task list is an absolute necessity to launch. 👉 I remove every superfluous item from this list.
The idea is that the war room is the single place where every piece of information about your product is stored. This way you always have an overview of the whole project.
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
― Sun Tzu
Here the strategy is everything written on the war room, the tactics are only about execution. With a carefully crafted plan, and the end goal kept in mind, building is just about pure execution and should be achieved swiftly 🚀.
Tip: Use free and plug-n-play services extensively 🤘
A good way to stay flexible is to write less code
― Pragmatic Programmer
When time and money are scarce, best is to make as most features using free and easy-to-use services that will not have to be maintained.
Same about servers : I hate servers. They need an absurd amount of maintenance time compared to the value they bring, I try to avoid using one at all cost—and luckily, there are many alternatives.
Here is a list of those free services I like to use :
- Database : Contentful, Google Spreadsheets, DynamoDB
- Hosting (static) : Netlify
- Hosting (web server) : Heroku
- Hosting (assets) : Cloudinary
- Micro functions : Serverless
- Search engine : Algolia
- Plugging services : Zapier
- Pre-rendering engine : React-snap, Gatsby
All these services provide generous free tier and takes literally seconds to setup. They are perfect to bootstrap a product quickly as an indie maker.
Last one: Don’t be innovative too much 👌
Innovation is essential, but too many makers are reluctant to copy what already exist. Copying is not a problem and you should do it, as long as you keep being innovative on other aspects.
For example, when building 100JobBoards.com, I had really no inspiration about the general design of the app, so I decided to take the best from websites which have great design. I visited nomoregoogle.com by Pieter Levels and followfriday.io by Guillaume Bardet, it really helped me to ship faster 🚢.
This was a short article but I really hope it will help you shipping faster in the future. As I wrote in the introduction, I just launched 100JobBoards.com on Product Hunt. If you ❤️ like the project please give your vote 👏.
Thanks for reading and if you like my work, follow me or drop me a message on 👉 Twitter to keep in touch ☕️.