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Eleven learnings from building indie apps / SaaS so far | Daily #146

Build something you like or are passionate about.
Eleven learnings from building indie apps / SaaS so far | Daily #146
Photo by John Schnobrich / Unsplash

Over the years, I've built several indie apps on mostly mobile but also web since the release of DevLeads.app. While none of them has five-figure successes yet, these are eleven things that I have learned from building them.

  1. Release or at least beta-test as soon as possible. Ideas and products need to be validated. Not just if it suits your target group, but also if it suits you to build it.
  2. Make use of tools that make your development life easier. Examples are Firebase, Supabase, Tailwind CSS, RevenueCat, Netlify, and many others. Your job is to create good product(s), not perfect code.
  3. Have a business model in mind. You don't want to come to the scenario to have hundreds of daily users, but none of them pay anything. You will feel obliged to work on it, but you won't get anything in return in terms of materialistic value.
  4. Build the application with a target audience/group in my mind. It makes your life easier to know who to work for and refrains the developer to create features that customers don't really want.
  5. Listen to the customers. If you have the right audience, listen to them. They make your life easier as they will tell you to want they want. You then can create better or further solutions for them.
  6. Marketing is king. Learn marketing yourself, or partner yourself with someone who is good at marketing. There are dozens of apps available that may be better than the ones you use, but you have never heard of them so you don't use them. Understand that marketing is a NEED for any service and product.
  7. Don't focus on all platforms. Start out with one. Start with web, iOS, or Android first. No reason to spend your time building it for all the platforms while you haven't even validated if it is needed by your target audience.
  8. Refrain yourself from learning new technologies. Your job is to create a product, not learn new technology. If you want to do that, then do that, without focusing on building a good product. Focusing on one thing is hard enough, don't focus on multiple.
  9. Create a TODO list or Kanban board for your product. Productivity is important. You probably don't have all the time in the world. Write the things you need to do, prioritize them, make them smaller and execute them accordingly.
  10. Delegate or hire other people to do design. If you don't have a good sense of design, hire people for it. It is the easiest skill to hire on Fiverr or Upwork. Use it and pay them well if they provide good work.
  11. Build something you like or are passionate about. I created DevLeads purely on the idea that I think it was valuable. But the motivation and consistency quickly died off after launch, cause I found out I'm not that passionate about recruitment. Build products and services that you like so you can maintain the progress for a long time.