How It’s Going

The hardest part about building something is having patience. The second hardest is changing course.

A top-down photo of a piece of paper with the words “to do list” written on it in block letters.
Photo by Annie Spratt / Unsplash

We’re in the fifth month of this website’s existence, which makes this the tenth issue. I started this in January with a grand ambition —building a successful microbusiness— so I thought I’d share how that’s going.

I’ve made the site’s analytics public, so you can see exactly what I see about visits. Since the beginning of the year, there have been about 300 unique visitors, mostly coming directly to the site. About a third of those visitors come from the United States, with Canada taking second place.

The most popular issue on the site, by far, has been about focusing on customers before you have any which, perhaps ironically, I published on April Fool’s Day.

I generally haven’t been doing much sharing of these issues on social. I share across social networks on the day of publishing, and that’s about it. Engagement generally isn’t very high. I have thoughts on this.

I’m also trying something different here, where I offer a membership forthose who want to support the site. That’s not seen much growth either, but I didn’t expect it to.

(Not yet, anyhow.)

The business itself, in which I publish apps and do some software consulting, has not grown at all. In fact, it’s making a bit less money, because I’ve made Thought Detox free, while still working on setting up its patronage offering.

The business is also taking on more expenses to run this site, but I’ve already set aside funds to run it for a year without profits, so that’s expected.

So, in short: the business hasn’t been growing.

Okay. So, we’ve established that despite wanting to focus this year on making this business successful, there hasn’t been any progress on that front.

I’m patient and I know things take time to grow, but it can sometimes feel frustrating to put effort into things and not see progress.

Whenever I start feeling that way, I take some time to reflect on what’s happening.

I can identify two themes:

  1. Too much time spent on the periphery of the business. The purpose of a business is to serve its customers and rather than doing that, I’m spending the bulk of my limited time —remember, this is a side business— writing, looking into starting a podcast, dealing with administrative stuff, and in general not focusing on serving customers. That’s not time well spent.
  2. I’m still working on discovering my niche. The apps I’ve built in the past haven’t been successful. I’m working on something new after doing a bit of market research, but I’m not sure about its viability either. And then there’s a whole other thing I want to build, which likely would be a better product, but I‘m struggling to figure out first steps.

It’s time to focus. This is how I’m feeling about the social sharing, too. I’ve spread myself across most every platform, and am therefore doing a bad job of actually socializing with people there. Social media is A Bad Thing, generally, but connecting with people —customers or otherwise— is not. It’s about sharing ideas. Asking questions. Celebrating together. Learning from one another. Supporting each other.

So, the action items I’m giving myself before the next issue are:

  • Find my niche
  • Find my tribe

I’ll let you know how that goes in the next issue.

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Jamie Larson