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Creators Dilemma: What to do after you create a personal product?

microideation profile image microideation ・3 min read

Word of Caution

If you thought this post is my advice on what needs to be done after you have developed a product (app/website), you are going to be disappointed.

I am myself a creator who is at a fix as to what needs to be done next after you have created something that you think is useful.

I am not putting my app link in this post to make sure that it doesn't get degraded as self-promotion. This post is more about me ( or a creator ) asking for advice/help from more experienced folks out there.

Bit of history

During the lock-down of 2020, I had an idea to create a simple and intuitive way of creating and discovering content based on shorts ( 30 seconds read). The idea was to present the crux of the topic using images and rich text as shorts and discover them using simple swipe gestures.

I spend almost 8 months working on the backend ( Spring java microservices ), creator portal ( ReactJS ), and the app ( React native ). Now, I am primarily a backend developer and I learned to React and React native purely for the purpose of developing this project.

The same is hosted in GCP with some monthly billing cost and also to provide an idea of what it is, I created over 200+ shorts on Java, Spring framework, React, Data structures, and almost all the things programming I know about. This took another 2 months.

Even though I used the term "product", I am envisioning this as more of a platform for the experts to create and the users to discover. I don't believe in running ads and would love to provide this as free for as long as I can financially support it. If it ever reaches a level of users where I can no longer support it personally, I plan to charge a nominal subscription so that I can present quality content and also provide a revenue stream to the top creators.

Now the Dilemma

Since this is not a cat video I shot and uploaded to YouTube, I didn't have the option to share it with friends and family to like and share.

Of course, I can share this with my friends and family and they may say something nice about it and download it once, but that does not provide constructive feedback or momentum to the overall idea.

As a developer, this where my skills end. I have built something from scratch that I believe is useful to my fellow developers or any learning aspirants, but I don't have a platform or place where I could actually showcase and publish.

I tried online channels like Reddit and HackerNews, but all of them outright banned or rejected the posts saying that it is self-promoting and that I was not an active member of the communities. I totally agree with their stands as I have set rules for my platform, they also have their own. But wherever I was able to post ( some lesser-known programming reddits), there was a good response from the users and they found it really useful.

Now the question is, what am I supposed to do at this point?. There is no point in spending so much personal time and money on something that doesn't have enough audience. The saddest part is that I am not able to reach the right audience. Whoever I managed to reach actually likes it but that percentage is pretty low.

I know that this is not just my case, there are several others who are in the same position as me. I would really appreciate it if you guys have any general advice or can point me in the right direction or group where it makes sense.

A weary fellow developer

Discussion (7)

fr0tt profile image

It's a great topic to talk about ! I'm in the same situation at the moment with my own project.

In your case I would try to go where your target audience might be. So try to find communities that focus on learning, online learning, learning platforms and maybe about learning Java or React and see if you can be of any help with your knowledge about the subject and - if the situation allows it - mention your own platform.

I addition I would think about to change/reorder your website. The first thing a user should see should be an example of what your platform offers in order for them to be more engaged and even want to try it out for themselves. A good example, pretty and functional is

Also have you ever thought about opening your platform to unauthenticated users ? Think about, everyone can read every post, find it on google - while not specifically searching for the platform itself - and share posts they like most with other people easily.

microideation profile image
microideation Author

Thank you for your suggestion.
I have updated the product website to have first hand feel of what the product is all about.
As I mentioned in the post, I tried multiple online communities to post my product, but they all require to be an active member for posting something.

fr0tt profile image

Looks great !
Either try to become an active member (just simply write some useful comments, I'm sure you have enough expertise on the subject) or try a different community platform.
But I understand your problem. Sometimes I think it would be a great project on its one to create a platform for presenting new products or some that are still "in development", the only one I'm aware of is Product Hunt. Maybe try your luck there.

Thread Thread
microideation profile image
microideation Author

I have already published it in Product Hunt :)
But, the situation is the same there, not much interest generated and also doesn't even show up on the search. May it was due to my choice of words. Need to see if it can be updated and checked.
Thank you of much for your kind words and guidance. Much appreciated :)

Thread Thread
fr0tt profile image

Anytime :)

codecustard profile image

You have the right idea, basically go to platforms that generate traffic. Otherwise, you could also pay for traffic with ads. Contact content creators that are relevant to your product with following sizes that are small, medium, and large. Large obviously has the largest audience reach but everyone is doing the same thing you are so the odds of getting a shoutout are small and potentially expensive. You can also try to incorporate a referral system that rewards people for finding you customers. This works especially well if your product is a big ticket item and commissions would be lucrative for the finder.

Also, to your point about it not being worth while to spend your personal time and money on something that doesn't have enough audience.... that's a great lesson learned. Before investing time and money on a project, you want to do market research to get an idea of how large the potential market is. From there, you come up with a business model and see if the potential revenue from the market would make the project worth while.

I'm not sure what your product is, but I'm sure it has an audience that would find it useful... you just have to put in the effort and start going door to door and knocking.... using social media of course. You just have to invest your time to create that digital footprint and let it sit, eventually relevant people will find it and buy it if they're interested.

microideation profile image
microideation Author

My product is a shorts based learning platform. I have put content on programming on that and like specified in the post, where ever I was able to do post, there was good response.
Since this is a personal project , I don't have the funding to put ads.
I think the referral system is a worth a try.
Thank you for the inputs :)

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