I built and launched my first product EVER

Kieran Glover
Jul 3, 2018 · 6 min read

About a month ago, I made the decision to build and launch as many digital products as possible and see if I can make $600 per month.

One month on and many ☕️ coffees later 💰Millennial Money Management was the first project in my one year challenge.

Summary

  • Found an idea that was quick and ‘easy’ to build
  • Built publicly from start to finish
  • Launched on Product Hunt, Reddit and Hacker News
  • Got 3 new submissions on launch day (validated?)
  • Earned $0 — so far

Where I get 💡 ideas

I don’t have a hard and fast way of generating ideas.

Whenever an idea comes however challenging, ridiculous or unrealistic it may be I write it down on my Ideas Trello board.

But what if I have no ideas?

If you have no ideas go out! Seriously!

In my opinion you can’t force an idea. But if you just go out, look around and empty your mind ideas will flow. The problem then becomes filtering ideas as they usually come in 🌊waves. For example, over a couple of days I must of written down 4 or 5 ideas just by emptying my head.

The ideas are usually ‘problems’ I notice/have while I am out enjoying life.

Idea behind of 💰 Millennial Money Management

The idea for 💰 Millennial Money Management came when I was checking out some fintech projects on Product Hunt.

I’ve also always had an interest in 📈investment and 💰finance, so I was amazed by how many awesome new apps there were and it got me thinking about alternatives to traditional 🏦banks.

I wanted to find out more about all these new alternatives; how much they costed, what countries they supported etc. And I couldn’t find a concise list that contained this info (except the odd blog post).

Bingo! This was the product I wanted to create. So out of a simple day-to-day ‘problem’ I stumbled on an idea and wrote it down.

I kept it ‘incubated’ in my head for a while to let the cycle of ideas come again. But this time, once you have the ideas, it’s time to think about how to build and what features to include.

These were then written down in my public WorkFlowy that you can check out and contribute to if you want 😊

Validating ideas

To me, this word validating is a bit over-complicated in the startup / maker scene 🤷‍

To me, validating is simply just pushing your idea publicly as quickly as possible and see what people think. Don’t waste ⏱time on ideas that people don’t respond too. Even if no one uses it, you can use it and be proud of just getting something out there — this is more than most people.

Put another way, not every idea will be a success and it’s nearly impossible to know what will be a success, so the only way you can find something that sticks is by ‘validating’ it in public.

However, when I say push something public, I don’t mean a landing page to collect emails — this is NOT a product!

But DO build the most basic version of your product (also known as the MVP) and just launch it on Hacker News, Reddit and Product Hunt and see what people think.

Building and the barriers to launch

As I was making 💰 Millennial Money Management I feel into the ‘tooling-trap’.

This is a struggle I have and I faced it in this project. On the one hand, I love to try out new ways to build, try new frameworks, new tools etc. But my ultimate goal is to build and launch stuff that will ultimately make me 💵 So, in this case, tools just become a barrier to launch as the learning curve can be steep.

I am no expert coder, but I have learnt enough HTML, CSS and JS to launch a pretty decent website — anything you don’t know can be Googled.

In Andrey Azimov most recent article, he hit the nail on the head,

“I don’t want to learn tons of programming theory from courses and books that I will never use. I tried to complete 10 courses but I never finished any of them. I’m using programing as a tool to implement my ideas in life.”

Put in my own words,

“If you want to make an espresso for a customer, yeh it’s cool to use an Aeropress or whatever, but ultimately the goal is to just make an espresso”.

Monetisation methods

As an indie maker, the goal is to make money from stuff we build to pay rent and bills, so these tools can’t always be free. It’s that simple really.

So, for this project, I had many ideas of how to make money, but the one that seemed the most obvious from the beginning was to have native-ads.

Gone are the days that we can just stick a bunch of GoogleAds on the website as these are ugly AF and blocked by every AdBlocker. So with the native ads, we can seamlessly blend them with the website. create more content for the users, help companies engage with their target audience and help me pay my bills — so it’s a win all round!

Native-ads (gradient cards) on 💰Millennial Money Management

Also, I built the advertising form such that those interested can see exactly what the ad will look like as they create it!

As of yet, there are no paid users — I gave away a couple of sponsored cards for the three companies who submitted on the first day. However, for now, I am confident in the monetisation model and it fits well with the current early-stages of the product.

🚀 Launch

So after two weeks of building in my spare time, I was ready for my first launch EVER!

I’m not gonna lie, I was 🙀 scared and put it off for a couple of days…

but then I just kicked myself in the backside and said it’s now or never!

Following the guidance in Pieter Levels MAKE book, I launched on Hacker News (Show HN) and Reddit /r/fintech first. This brought in some initial traffic but nothing more. I am no expert but looking back, this kind of simple tool maybe isn’t suited for HN and I chose a pretty smalltime subreddit that wasn’t very active. This was largely done out of fear.

My Product Hunt launch wasn’t much better, however it did bring in my first product submissions and on Twitter it blew up!

This was the validation I needed and this is why I don’t see this project as a write-off. The next step is to try and increase the numbers by resubmitting on Hacker News, different Reddit’s etc with the new found confidence that has only come from launching something.

Lessons learned

This brings me to the main point of this article that without going through the whole Idea, Validate, Make and Launch cycle I wouldn’t have overcome my fear of publicly sharing the things I have made. Also, it has reinforced my views written in my article Why become an Indie Maker, that this is a very viable and lucrative career path for our generation and shouldn’t be disregarded.

So, I have officially caught the maker bug — and a cold so send tea 🙏😂 and I am already working on my next idea — The Roles of an Agency. I don’t have a fancy tagline yet, but you can add your ideas to my public WorkFlowy and be a part of the build process from the start.

Thanks

  • Jim Hill and MakeItLaunchIt for motivating and supporting me from the start
  • My first three website and app submissions Crumbs, Starling Bank and Tripcents
  • Joe Bloom for support and suggestions
  • All those who liked and retweeted me on launch day
  • My fiancé for supporting me and putting up with my late nights and stress while balancing this on top of everything else!

Support me

If you guys are feeling really generous, buy me a coffee or tea on Ko-Fi. Or, got a fintech product or start up? Consider promoting it on 💰 Millennial Money Management and supporting more projects like this 🙏

Kieran Glover

Written by

Designer ✏️ front end developer ⌨️ currently making it happen over at Mäd Creative Consultancy 👉 http://kieranglover.xyz/ Mäd: https://www.xn--md-via.com/

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