A New Beginning

This blog represents a new beginning and I’m both excited and trepidatious.

You see, I’ve considered blogging at one time or another over the last 15-20 years, but I’ve always been too busy with more important or fun ‘stuff’. Everytime I think about it, it sounds like a great idea … and then it fizzles out.

I have a history of building things. Software/tech/web things that are supposed to make money. Call them micro-startups or side projects or lifestyle businesses or whatever. I’ve done a smattering of them.

Aside from jobs and freelancing gigs, I would spend my discretionary time on building something … that I hoped would make money. It’s great fun.

Except when they don’t make money. Then it’s just a time sink.

Of the things that I’ve tried to monetise, sometimes the results were modest. Other times, the results were mediocre or downright terrible.

In my most recent project, I wrote a non-subscription accounting app for people with gigs or simple affairs. I had a lot of fun writing it. And I use it for myself (ie. dogfooding) too. Awesome!

I’ve spent the better part of nine months building it and I’ve shipped the MVP. Problem is … Where are my users?

Uh, oh.

It’s happened again.

I built something. And the users aren’t coming. Even worse, this time, they don’t even know about it.

I have tried to get some word out and I’ve posted on various forums over the Internet. I’ve got a tiny trickle of people who visit the website and then, AFAICT, don’t come back. That’s about it. No one (other than myself) is actually using the app.

Granted, I didn’t spend a lot of time doing ‘marketing’ things, but I did spend some time, and the results have been underwhelming. It also doesn’t help that I have no pre-existing audience. No blog, no twitter followers. Nada.

Distribution is a hard problem. Maybe it’s sometimes even harder than writing software. Lack of distribution has killed my previous projects before. Several times. If I don’t solve this problem, it’s going to kill this latest project too.

So I took a step back and thought about things.

* * *

I need to learn how to do distribution. And marketing and all that other stuff.

I can build things, but if I can’t reach users, then what’s the point?

On my to-do list of marketing activities, I had ‘content marketing’ ie. writing articles and blogging. Maybe I should jump straight to it and give it a try.

A related thought … There are numerous posts on the Internet about people who are making X thousands of dollars N months after launching, or they do a kickstarter project and smash through the funding target.

The common thread? They already had an email newsletter of 3000 readers, or they had 10000 twitter followers, or they were already a well-known member of an existing forum, or something.

I don’t have that.

But if I want to solve distribution, I’m gonna need something like that. I need people who are reading what I’m writing. I need to interact with people who I can bounce ideas off. I need people who I can reach.

Alright. Fine.

Let’s give this content-marketing/blogging thing a try. Let’s learn more about ‘marketing stuff’.

But let’s not just read about it. Let’s do it.

So I’m gonna write a blog, get some practical experience at content marketing, and see how things go.

Either it’s going to work: The next time I launch a new project, it will be more likely to succeed as I’ll be better at distribution (hopefully).

Or it’s not going to work: I should stop building things and concentrate on paid work instead.

* * *

So I’m gonna write a blog.

But let’s refine the idea a bit more.

I don’t want to do something where I’m blatantly blogging just to monetise or to push a sale. I don’t want to be a shill for my next project (whatever that might be). It’s not all just about money.

I want to write about stuff I’m interested in (Software, technology, startups, life, etc.). Otherwise it’ll turn in a drag and I’ll lose motivation. There has to be some intrinsic value in it too.

Having opened my mind to the idea of blogging, I’ve suddenly had a lot of ideas for things to write about. Things that my subconscious has always wanted to talk about but never got the chance.

I’m excited. Yes, it’s new and very different from building things, but it sounds like it could be fun too. (I’m also a little nervous) Hopefully, it also turns out well.

I spent most of nine months writing Gig’o’Books. Imagine if I spent nine months blogging. I wonder what the results would be? Only one way to find out.

So here I am. A new beginning. Let’s do it.

Wish me luck!