Lessons from building Krets

Trying to create a profitable project alone

I've spent most of my time between summer and christmas 2020 working on Krets. The project was my first real attempt at creating a commercially viable service on my own. While the project isn't dead, I've now started focusing on other projects for a while.

This post covers some of the things I I've learned while working on Krets.

Don't make me think! (or, frankly, do anything)

Most people, i.e. potential customers, really don't like having to figure out how to use your software. I thought knew this after reading Steve Krugh's Don't make me think years ago. I didn't.

Krets was primarily targeted at businesses, meaning that I've been talking a lot to owners of small businesses. They have a lot on their mind already. Everything not core to their business is a distraction unless the rewards for them materialize themselves quickly. This means: minimal setup and minimal distruption to their existing flow is essential.

I've experienced potential customers don't even want to spend the time to create an account, but would rather have me do it. These were otherwise excited customers who showed initiative. This happened on several occations.

So the lesson is: People are not going to spend time on you or your project. Even if they see value in what you're offering, they don't care until the value is actually there. They don't find the project in itself interesting, like you do.

This was (still is, if I'm being honest) hard to internalize because I am the oposite. I am curious to learn about software and play around with every user-setting I can find. I guess that's why I ended up writing software.

Also, if something else has to be handled (like idk, a pandemic) you're the first thing going off their todo-list. Understandably so :)

Time is worth a lot of money

When I started this project, I found myself with relatively little money, but a lot of time. Krets required a lot of skills I did not have, nor had the money to buy from someone else. Like marketing-, sales- and design skills.

I thought this was OK. Money and time are just two sides of the same coin. Since I had a lot of it, I could just throw time at the problem, instead of money. While I still believe this to be mostly true, I drastically underestimated how much time is required for... everything. Ironic really, since that's the one thing everyone tells everyone about every project ever.

I did everything: marketing, cold-calling potential customers, organize meetings and try to get funding, as well as actually implementing the product.

I'm very happy to have this experience of being responsible for- and doing everything. It just did not pay off for the project this time :-)

Having friends is a must

I have been working on Krets alone. However, I've been lucky to have a couple friends around. Dedicating time to talking about your thoughts with someone is key. Having someone to talk to about what's on your mind is very helpful for separating out the constructive and good thoughs from the messy inners of your brain.

These sessions can be scheduled, informal lunches or a meeting with a specific topic. Try to make it a regular thing. The times I did this were way easier to deal with than the times where I didn't.

Thank you for reading this

I hope these thoughts can be of help for someone else.
Regardless, thank you for taking the time to read.
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