I'm building a tiny little business. I've been itching to build something from start to finish that I can complete relatively quickly, and so that's what I'm doing. I'm sitting at my computer right now, browsing the web for inspiration for itty-bitty businesses; ideally, something I can put together in under a month (even better if I can keep it to a couple weeks).
So, it's time for me to build something. Hopefully someone will be happy with whatever I come up with, and fork over some money.
Let's talk about that.
Although I was not alone, I built it with two amazing friends @helloseann and @garrettTichy. We built smpl.io (sold in 2020), a subscription-based SaaS which helped independent-scale coworking spaces run smoothly. It was a fairly complicated, SaaS company built on a complex subscription model with lots of options, and bells and whistles, and an endless list of exciting features to build. It was also a complicated marketplace to build for, which was an awesome experience, but really was all-consuming.
Building smpl is a big part of the reason that I'm working at Stripe today as a Developer Advocate - making that business tick meant that we were wading in the depths of some of the more intricate parts of building with Stripe: subscriptions, Connect, and international taxes. It gave me a massive appreciation for the monetization-side of building a business.
I'm going be live streaming as much of this process as I can on my Twitch and YouTube Channel. I would love it if you subscribe so that you can catch some stream sessions - this is where I'll brainstorm and iterate on ideas, build the damn thing, and put it out into the world.
Well, I've got lots of things I want to try. I've been tapping into the power of lots of no-code tools lately, and writing about CRMs, so it's likely we'll see some of those come into play. I've been enjoying web things with Remix and Next.js, and I'll use Stripe for taking payments when we're ready for that. There may be an interation of this thing that is completely no-code, too. I know that there are quite a few APIs available for making physical things appear in the world which I might take advantage of. There are mailing APIs, like Lob.com (who are a sponsor of APIs You Won't Hate, by the way). There are also services which can be used for printing physical goods like stickers or posters or shirts or mugs which I may use, too.
I'm following a path that may be familiar if you spend time on Indie Hackers, or if you've read about David Vassallo's Portfolio of Small Bets, or the book Company of One, by Paul Jarvis.
I want to learn from the experience of starting a business today as a creator, pursuing my small ideas to see what gets traction and what doesn't.
I'm going to live stream as much of this process as possible, and take notes along the way - ultimately, I'd like for you, the reader, to be able to benefit from my experimentation as well. As I'm building, I'll do my best to take feedback and iterate quickly. I want to get a sense of how long it takes for one person to build something, and just what it takes to support a product in the wild.