I have built 9 products during this pandemic, and made 1 sale

And the lessons I learned along the way

Photo by Bethany Legg on Unsplash

In my country, pandemic has been around for around 9 months. From my perspective, we are still not safe yet. I and my family is at home, doing lockdown.

However, being in lockdown allows me to create something whatever I want. I build:

There are probably more, but these are what I remember I have built.

Some reports, from these 9 products, the most successful thing I ever have done, was to sell the number 8, for $20.

Yay! I literally shout. After around 9 months during pandemic. I have made 1 sale. The PHP e-book. I literally shout that both of my parents got shocked. You cannot imagine how excited I was.

The other products haven’t made any revenue for me. And I took notes about why the other products didn’t sell.

Lack of Promotion

I from the first game I built, the app icon, and so on, I didn’t promote enough. I mean, I didn’t really put any writing post, or a medium post like this, to tell to the people that I have made those products.

I literally just put on Hacker News. Just that, and kind of hope things can go viral.

But that didn’t happen. My products didn’t go viral as I imagined.

My lesson is that if you built a product, you have to promote to anywhere you can find. Literally. It doesn’t mean you promote to a group without context, but let’s say you make a game, you want to promote your game to anyone you know will take interest with your game.

If you build an app icon, you want to find all of the possible place where app developers are, go find them and tell them you make something useful for them.

I didn’t do this. And this is why I didn’t make any sales.

I was too lazy to do this kind of marketing stuff. I was kind of afraid to sell stuff, to be honest. You know, I saw people saying that you have to be active first on reddit, let’s say, do some engagement first, not just throwing out your product. That takes time. And what I wanted is an instant result.

And that brings me to the 2nd lesson I learned.

I should have not overwork my product (or MVP, you can say).

Before I wrote an ebook, I code. I love coding. I tried to make my own PHP framework. A simple framekwork, built from scratch. But I have to be honest, after you code, there’s some energy I spent. And when I have to market, it seems I have to run for “another lap” again.

I was not ready for that. and because I spent my energy thinking how the system should work, security stuff, styling stuff, integrating with payment gateway, and so on, I just am happy with that and then deploy to my server and publish the link to hacker news. Clicked, and waiting for 30 mins, I didn’t see my HN post got upvoted.

And I was too tired to do promoting stuff. It’s real. the tired feeling is real.

So If you follow, the product I make became simpler and simpler. and actually I got my literally first sales on the PHP book.

“How did you do it?”, you may ask. The answer is this. I create the e-book on Notion.so, and put the pdf on Gumroad.

I have to admit, that type of work is also spending much of energy. But I still have ‘enough’ energy to go on and build some post promoting it.

Here are the blog posts I make.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RicardoSawir/status/1331910229060042752

IndieHacker: https://www.indiehackers.com/post/9-useful-php-tips-and-code-snippets-that-get-the-jobs-done-fc9c97941e

Dev.to: https://dev.to/ricardosawir/9-useful-php-tips-and-code-snippets-that-get-the-jobs-done-1he5

P.S. I cannot get to Reddit due to my country’s policy. VPN is not my option, though. I think I’m not the type to break rules. Though, if you know some way I can do Reddit, I am happy to hear from you.

And probably 2–3~ hours, I got my first sale. I am excited remembering that.

But, it’s a journey. I still have much lessons I have to attend. I have not yet made 6 figure sales. That’s my current target.

But you know, I have to be honest that…

My first sale changed me

It really did. It kind of gave me confidence that I can do it again. May be with some modifications and adjustment with my next product, and my blog.

My parents were excited, too.

And also, I learned this.

My family is the best supporters I have.

I want to give thanks, to my father and my mother. I am still single, 25 year old. But, the mini-success I get is probably because their biggest contribution for me. They help me dealing with my impostor syndrome. They help me when I was feeling down. They are not indiehackers, or bootstrappers, or founders. They are just… my parents who help their son navigating through life.

If you still have your parents, I invite you to give thanks to them. Talk anything. Or if you are a married person, talk with your spouse, just build communication with them. You know, they are the last supporters standing for you. Especially in uncertainty times like this.

What’s next?

I am going to continue with my solo-business. I am eager to make a living with the way I am in, and I believe I can achieve my target. I can help to supply my parents with the income I get from selling.

How about you?

I also document my journey on Twitter, if you play with Twitter, you can follow me there https://twitter.com/RicardoSawir

I code plain PHP and gets fortune with this.