Did you make a goal to launch your own product last year? Did you succeed?
I struggled for years to get a product built and launched. This past year I finally launched two small products: a book called Amplification, and an online community called JFDI.
Here are some reasons you might not have launched last year, and what you can do to overcome them this year:
You thought about it, dreamt about it, and talked about it, but you never put pen to paper (or hands to keyboard) and just started.
"Just get started." - Nathan Kontny
Getting started is half the battle, finishing is the other half. If you're trying to build something on the side, schedule a regular time to work on it. I've found that building a regular habit (like getting up every Saturday at 6am, and working 2 hours) is the most effective way to schedule your time.
Nothing kills momentum like a huge project that you're barely making a dent in. This past summer, I had plans on writing a full book called Build & Launch. Once I started writing it, I realized that at my current pace it would take me at least a year to launch. I decided instead to launch a smaller book + resources. I thought it would take me 3 weeks (it ended up taking 3 months), but I did launch. Shipping something small is better than not shipping at all.
Trying to build a product without an audience is like hosting a dinner party when you haven't invited any guests. First: if you don't know who's coming, you don't know what kind of food to make. Second: who would cook a big meal if they hadn't invited any guests? If you start anything in 2014, start building an audience.
Brennan Dunn just posted a "year in review" on his blog. The guy is a machine: he's done well over 6 figures in product revenue this year, has 9 different products, and is a wizard at automating his marketing. It looks like he's doing this all by himself, but the truth is, Brennan has a good support network:
[One of the best things I've done in 2013] was I’ve kept myself accountable to others.
When you’re bootstrapping, things can get a bit lonely. Especially when, like me, you live in a pretty agrarian part of the world.
I spent a lot of time building and strengthening relationships with fellow product people this year. It’s helped me for partnerships, cross-promotional opportunities, and get advice and feedback on initiatives I was experimenting with. But most importantly, it helped me keep myself accountable to others, while helping others stay accountable to themselves.
I’m involved in two Masterminds, one meets weekly and the other (which I just joined) meets every two weeks. I also hang out in two group chat rooms for bootstrappers. Being able to show up and see familiar faces who know what you’re up to and can provide on-the-spot advice or feedback.
It's time to just start. Start by building an audience. Set aside regular time to work on your project. Focus on a small product first! And get a support group: hang out with likeminded people that can encourage you, give you advice, and give you feedback.
PS: I run a community called JFDI. It's aimed at bootstrappers that want to build relationships, and accountability, with other bootstrappers. We have a Campfire room we hang out in, and we also run a regular "Week of Hustle" every month: it's designed to help you start and finish a project in a week. The next one begins January 2, 2014 (perfect timing if you're thinking about tackling a product launch this year). We've just opened up registration again: you can sign-up here.