How to build your own products without burning out
Too often we expect instant results.
It's not that we consciously expect things to move quickly and work out the first time, but our brains are wired to race to the finish line without enjoying the view along the way.
I've built so many failed products.
Once I built a custom printed t-shirt site. Another time I built a note tool to compete with Evernote. Yeah, that was going to take off. And I even spent months building an online marketplace site to compete with Craigslist.
All of these are now defunct. Why? Because I wasn't in it for the experience. I only ever wanted the cashout.
I'm writing this as much to remind myself as to inspire you: The only way to succeed is to be fulfilled by the journey toward success. To create something of value to someone else without expectation that you'll ever receive anything in return.
Instead of chasing the pot of gold, appreciate the fact you're sitting on a rainbow.
The Internet has the potential to connect you with people across the globe who need your help to fulfill their dreams. Your help might be offering your insight in a blog post or building a SaaS tool to help them save time, make sales, or connect with others.
It is our contribution---not our payout---which ultimately leads to our satisfaction as developers and entrepreneurs.
I've been finding that out as I've been building Formbot. The slow trickle of new users is discouraging at first, but then I realize how lucky I am to live in a time where I'm able to help others across the globe. Finding new ways to help them is more gratifying than money could ever be. And I'm confident that with that attitude, money will come.
What are some strategies you can use to build your new product without feeling discouraged by the climb ahead?
Strive to help others before yourself
Instead of constantly worrying about monetization strategies, social media outreach, and when you can retire to the beach, focus on producing something that helps other people.
Your product needn't be world-shaking to be world-changing. It could be as simple as automating a workflow that makes you and other people more productive.
You'll smile when you see other people deriving value from what you made. And when they do, they'll be happy to pay you for it.
Give yourself a break
If you're going to build something that other people want to use, it's going to take time. Consistency always wins over short bursts of intensity. Do the work, but then go live life. You'll find that when you return, you'll see things from a renewed perspective.
Just last week I was struggling to figure out what feature to build next. Luckily, I took it upon myself to shift gears and do some writing instead. Then suddenly, a burst of inspiration came all at once yesterday and I shipped a whole new feature all in one day!
Take a break, work on a different project for awhile, and come back. You'll be glad you did.
Smile and enjoy the ride
I need to remind myself of this constantly. As digital creatives, we spend the better part of our lives at the computer. Let's enjoy the time! It's an incredible era to be alive when we're able to produce so much value from the comfort of our homes.
Would you enjoy playing a game you always won, or would it bore you after the second or third round? Failure is critical to learning and growth, but it's also fundamental to our ability to experience success in the first place.
Now let's all go make something great. But first, let's go look out the window. Ooh. A squirrel!