uFincs Update #4

Walking but not Limping

Ah uFincs, the only matter concerning my existence for the 4th post running (I wonder why).

Last Time

Hi there! Been a while since our last time. Was supposed to post an update a couple of weeks ago, but... ya know, things.

Anyways, last time, I was going on and on about mainly two things: Startup School and Recurring Transactions. My Startup School rants were mostly focused around their... 'deals', as well as my current progress on the Build Sprint. Whereas Recurring Transactions was just some behind-the-scenes rants.

And guess what? Today's more of the same. Sort of.

Build Sprint

"So... how'd the Build Sprint go?" you must surely not be wondering.

Well, I shall enlighten you regardless.

tl;dr Rather poorly.

To recap, I had set 3 goals:

  1. Launch publicly.

  2. Acquire 2 customers.

  3. Implement recurring transactions.

Launching Publicly

Technically speaking, I kinda launched publicly. That is, I formally enabled Stripe billing in production such that anybody who creates a new account must now subscribe upfront.

However, it's only "technically" because I didn't exactly publicise the news. I figured, since Recurring Transactions was well underway, I might as well wait for it to be finished before making such news public. However, as we'll see in a sec, it didn't really play out that way... (although one could argue that this post constitutes me making that news public, but it's not like anyone reads these things, right?).

Acquiring Customers

On point numero 2, I still have yet to acquire any paying customers. Reason is fairly simple: no one's gonna pay if no one knows about the service (refer to point 1).

Mhm, marketing.

Recurring Transactions

As for point 3, this was the real sticking point. Recurring Transactions ended up taking slightly longer than expected. Technically speaking, I would have liked to have had it done maybe a week before end-of-sprint so that I'd have time to start marketing uFincs around and acquiring our first customers, but realistically it would have taken till the end of the sprint to finish the feature.

In reality, it ended up taking an extra week past the end of the sprint. Which, all things considered, isn't the worst estimation I've ever made w.r.t. software development. But still, it threw off my schedule (and my mojo), so my Build Sprint was a failure.

That aside, at least it's good that Recurring Transactions are now done! At least to me, it's always been such a sticking point as far as the viability of uFincs, so finally getting it done and out of the way is a huge milestone.

It also helps that it was the biggest user-facing feature that I've implemented since the UI redesign. In fact, in terms of pull requests, I believe it was the single largest PR in terms of added lines specifically for one ticket: over 10,000. Mind you, 3k of those were from package-lock.json, but that's still a hefty amount. But it only makes sense considering the scope of the functionality.

Other News

In other news, I decided to heed some not-quite-a-customer-yet's advice and add an easy feedback form into the app so that people can complain directly to me, about the app, from the app.

In reality, beyond being a 'good thing to have' for UX, this is me having to compromise on the fact that I don't want to add much (if any) analytics to the in-app experience. If I don't want to track my users while they're using my app (as oh-so-many others do), then how am I supposed to know what's going?! As some might say, I'm "flying blind".

Well, I figure if someone is having problems, providing them an easy way to tell me about them is a "good enough" compromise.

"Social media", you say?

Never heard of it.

Anyways, the feedback form only took a couple of days to add, so no harm nor foul (in terms of scheduling).

What's Next?

Speaking of which, what's next on this oh-so-fickle schedule?

Well, now that Recurring Transactions (and the Feedback form) are complete, I suppose it's finally time to launch uFincs 'publicly'!

Honestly, I'm well past the point where I should have 'launched' uFincs, so I think it's time that I take a month and make launching/marketing my main focus. Good thing we've got a nice new month coming up soon!

I figure starting with the Startup School forums would be a good first place to 'launch'. The people over there are pretty damn receptive to new launches and giving feedback, so it should at least be a positive event. I don't really expect to get much traction, but the feedback/experience from just posting about uFincs should be good (side note: if it isn't obvious, let's just say I'm much more of a... lurker, when it comes to forums and whatnot).

After that? Well, I need to finally update my LinkedIn profile with my uFincs 'experience', so I'm sure I'll fire off a post over there. Again, I wouldn't really expect much traction; it is LinkedIn after all (although maybe the people in my network will be more intrigued to finally learn what I've been doing with my time).

And after that? Well, assuming uFincs doesn't dramatically take off or fall apart from bugs (aka my time is more needed for customer service or product work), then I'll probably start hitting up different subreddits or the Indie Hackers forums.

Inevitably, my first-phase marketing plan culminates with posting to Hacker News and Product Hunt. I would consider those the 'end-game' as far as 'forum acquisition' goes.

Once my forum targets have run dry, I can only hope I've generated some amount of traction. Maybe not necessarily the 100 customer goal I've set for the year, but at least 10 customers. If I can't even generate that level of traction after marketing to all these different forums, then I either really suck at writing compelling marketing material/choosing audiences, or maybe uFincs was a mistake after all.

We'll cross that bridge when we get there.

Till next time.