In theory, product ideas aren’t hard to get. But the practical process of creating something out of nothing is hard to imagine until you actually do it.
I decided to apply my theoretical Indie Hacker knowledge, by starting a SaaS product from scratch. And I created the video below of the process
How did you go from zero to product?
To go from nothing to an idea, I usually write every problem and idea I encounter in the wild down in my (physical!) notebook. It’s important to not leave out any ideas that are ridiculous or impossible to build. We can use our healthy dose of realism later.
This is the part where I use Google and community websites (like Reddit) to find out more about potential target customers, to see which solutions are out there and how an Indie Hacker like me could improve on the existing solutions. So many ideas can go straight to the bin after a simple Google search - and that’s a good thing!
One thing to ask yourself with this information: what if my idea actually works? Would I enjoy serving this audience? Would I happily get out of bed to get to work on this idea for multiple years? Not everyone needs to be certain about this. Some people are really good at doing things they’re not excited about. But I know I need this excitement to keep going.
I still believe in that mantra. You can look at what works for the competition, and place yourself in the market. It’ll save you countless hours of experimentation and a ton of time. And unless you’re venture backed and you can buy yourself some time to figure it out, this is a huge advantage. And in this time and age, it’s probably an even bigger advantage than being a first-mover.
It might be early, but it’s a good idea to get an idea of the search engine competition for relevant keywords. If competition for keywords is high, then you know that you can’t rely on traffic coming from search engines for the initial months. With low competition, you might be able to use high quality content to rank well in your niche.
I rarely let go of an idea just because of high competition for keywords though. There almost always are keywords that you can use.
I’ve worked on products before that after building didn’t get any sign ups. It’s absolutely soul-crushing and something I don’t want to experience again.
And there’s only one way to be sure that you’ll get sign ups after you build, and that’s by having customers sign up for your actual product, before it’s even built.
To convince people to start using Maeven, I designed the homepage in Figma. This forced me to think of benefits and features before I will actually build them. And those that sign up are actually interested in those benefits and features.
Next I’ll experiment, iterate and improve the homepage. I can drive traffic to the page and see what message resonates with my target audience. Driving traffic can cost some money, but it’s the only way to make data driven decisions. At the same time I try to talk to (potential) users, so I’m not experimenting at random. Whatever happens, I’ll let you all know here and in a future video!
How did you go from zero to product? What has worked well for you?