Landing your first customer can be a huge challenge:
Research the crap out of your ideal customer. Go super, super niche, and ensure that your product delivers a ton of value.
Online events are a cost-effective, scalable way to spread your message. Use them to validate demand and get early revenue.
The initial idea wasn't working, so Victoria Wu decided to pivot big time. 10 days later, Trickle had 1,500 users and struck Product Hunt gold.
Want to grow your business? Try running a promo in the Indie Hackers newsletter to get in front of nearly 70,000 founders.
Locking in Your First Customer 🙋
by Marcos Eich
I'm developing a new project, LangClash, a trivia game to help users learn new languages. Getting the first user is so hard!
In my previous project, I thought we would never get our first customer. Is this the nature of creating a new business, or is it just me?
Go super niche and know your customer
I think the trick is to go super niche to the point where you're thinking you should surely cast your net wider. Too often, we drown instead of starve.
I have two apps: Chap, a chore tracking app, and Orbt, an AI trip planner that generates itineraries for you. Both of them got their first paid users within a couple days of launching paid options.
I think if you properly research your customer, target the right audience, and ensure that your product brings value, your first paid user shouldn't be hard to get. If it is, one of these three things is off.
Yes, when starting a new business, getting the first user is the hardest part. Things that can help:
Define your ideal customer profile from day one, even before building your product.
Sell your product before coding it.
Talk to your ideal audience and get constant feedback about how your product should run.
It's all about knowing where your customers hang out!
Keep barriers low
I'm surprised at how difficult it is to convince even friends and family to take one hour of their time to test my platform. My hypothesis: Time is becoming increasingly valuable and limited. Additionally, the people in my inner circle want to provide appropriate and thorough feedback, which requires much more effort than one might initially think. As a result, things get postponed longer and longer, leading to no feedback coming in.
My advice is to keep the entry barrier as low as possible, be explicit in the request, and, at the very least, ensure it's mobile-friendly.
Additionally, make sure you are active in the right communities and forums.
I recommend this video from The Lean Startup Conference of 2013. It goes step-by-step into how to attract your first customers with little to no cost.
This article is also a great resource: Acquiring Your First Users Out of Thin Air.
Discuss this story.
In the News 📰
from the Growth Trends newsletter
🤖 TikTok debuts new tools and technologies to label AI content.
💸 Americans plan to keep cutting spending through the holidays.
🏛 The UK's controversial Online Safety Bill passes, cracking down on harmful content.
📱 X users are posting fewer posts per day.
🎤 Why do music festivals keep ending in disaster?
Check out Growth Trends for more curated news items focused on user acquisition and new product ideas.
Trend Alert: Online Events 🎬
from the Trends.vc newsletter
We want to connect, learn, and be entertained without leaving home.
Online events have lower friction. Anyone with web access can join.
Online event tools:
Zoom: All-in-one platform to connect attendees.
HeySummit: Build, grow, and monetize events.
Livestorm: Simple meeting and webinar platform.
Gather: Build 2D online conference spaces.
Podia: Sell workshops, classes, and webinars.
People will join remote group fitness classes to boost accountability and track progress.
Online events will mail craft kits to offer hands-on experiences.
Entertainers will hold live concerts in the metaverse to break physical barriers.
Pre-sell your online event to validate demand and get early revenue.
Turn your online event sessions into on-demand videos. This is free marketing material.
Use free online events as lead magnets to build an email list of qualified prospects.
Connectivity issues: Internet disruptions, slow speeds, and lag spikes can lead to missed content, poor peer interaction, and frustration.
Coordination risk: Failure to manage groups can lead to poor experiences for attendees.
Reputation risk: Misbehavior, such as zoom bombing, can lead to negative experiences and a lack of interest in future events.
"It is hard to engage remote audiences."
Host the event over a few days. Break down content into shorter portions. Add interactive activities, like polls and Q&As. Change the pace of the event with videos and quick discussions. This can help attendees stay focused and not get bored.
"In-person events have higher-fidelity interactions than online events."
True. In-person events also have more friction.
"Hybrid events have the best of both worlds."
Hybrid events are complex. You need to solve logistics, catering, and security problems for in-person attendees, plus connectivity, engagement, and moderation issues for online attendees.
"Online events are exhausting (Zoom fatigue)."
Short breaks, chatting, and letting attendees turn off video can help to lower online fatigue.
"What if I want to go to two sessions that happen at the same time?"
This is a tradeoff for having a focused experience. Most online events share recordings that you can watch later.
- Building a Report on How to Grow and Monetize Online Events.
- 35 Ice Breaker Games for Virtual and Hybrid Events.
- Hybrid Events Are Essential.
Go here to get the Trends Pro report. It contains 200% more insights. You also get access to the entire back catalog and the next 52 Pro Reports.
Subscribe to Trends.vc for more.
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1.5K Users in 10 Days After a Pivot ↩️
by Victoria Wu
In 10 days, we went from zero to 1.5K+ users, 20% of them being paying users. We also hit number one Product of the Day and number one Product of the Week on Product Hunt!
Pivoting led to a slam dunk
Trickle transforms your screenshots into a searchable archive using AI. At least, that's what it does now!
In August, we made a significant decision to pivot. Trickle went from a task management tool to an AI tool that tackles screenshot chaos.
This wasn't Trickle's first pivot. For us, pivoting has unquestionably been a very painful process, but it's something we had to do.
Our decision to pivot mainly boils down to two factors:
- The task management tool market had already reached a boiling point in terms of competition, making it challenging to find opportunities for differentiation.
- We aimed to create a tool that could genuinely address our own pain points and issues.
After reaching this decision, we spent nearly one month developing an MVP for the new Trickle.
Validating the new idea
In early September, I posted on Indie Hackers and Reddit, seeking everyone's thoughts and suggestions on the brand new Trickle.
Based on those suggestions, we continued to refine the product. On September 8, we acquired our first user!
This marked a fresh beginning for Trickle, and we felt it was time for an official launch.
We began submitting Trickle's new materials to various launch platforms. On September 13, we launched Trickle on Product Hunt, and hit number one!
Here are some quick stats from the launch:
- 1.2K+ upvotes and 356 comments.
- 1.6K+ unique visitors per day in website traffic.
- 1.8K+ followers.
- 1.5K+ registered users.
- 20% paying users.
Certainly, there's an element of luck involved, but there are also numerous hacks. Our team here at Trickle curated a compilation of 176+ launch platforms for founders. Each one has been personally researched by us. We put a tremendous amount of effort into this spreadsheet, and I'm sharing it here.
For Trickle, this is just the beginning. Our journey is still ongoing. Achieving product-market fit will be our next goal to explore.
We're still in the running for Product of the Month. If you have a minute, we'd love for you to check out our launch and show your support!
Discuss this story.
The Tweetmaster's Pick 🐦
by Tweetmaster Flex
I post the tweets indie hackers share the most. Here's today's pick:
Enjoy This Newsletter? 🏁
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Special thanks to Jay Avery for editing this issue, to Gabriella Federico for the illustrations, and to Marcos Eich, Darko, Dru Riley, and Victoria Wu for contributing posts. —Channing
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