12 Startups in 12 Months

Following in the footsteps of Pieter Levels, Jon Yongfook, Hossein Shams, Sean Walker and a few others, I'm building and shipping one product a month for twelve months straight.

Stop overthinking, start launching

I really enjoy making stuff. Especially tools that make my own life and work easier.

However, I tend to overthink every major product idea I come up with, turning it into an impossibly large endeavor. This means that I never actually get started (analysis paralysis and all that). Or even worse, I hack on an idea for a week and then abandon it when I realize how far ahead the competion is.

The beauty of a challenge like "12 Startups in 12 Months" is that I won't be able to take any one idea too seriously. I'll have to limit the scope of each project so that I can launch it within 30 days. It'll also be nice to play with a few fun and creative ideas that might not have any long-term financial potential.

The goal is simply to publicly launch a product every month. I can only imagine how much I'll learn and grow by forcing myself to ship this much.

Shipped is better than perfect

I have a tendency to delay shipping something because I'm hyperfocused on the smallest of details. I'll create a landing page in an hour, then spend 2 1/2 hours tweaking the page's thumbnail image for Twitter so it's just right (okay, slight exaggeration, but you get my point).

In order to launch a product every month I'm going to have to let go of some of that obsessive attention to detail. If a product begins to gain traction post-launch I can always jump back in and refine it.

That's kind of the beauty of the web - you can iterate endlessly once your website is live.

My experience with SaaS

I've only ever launched one SaaS product of my own: SnipSave. It's an online code snippet manager for developers. It has several thousand free users but only 5-6 paid users (~$30/month in revenue). I've lost interest in the project, but it was extremely rewarding to get my first couple of paying customers.

I've been freelancing for the past year (as of today, actually), which has been a massive breath of fresh air. I plan to continue with my client work, but I'm going to set aside a certain amount of time every week for product ideation/development (2 days? 3 days? nights and weekends? tbd).

Use of the word "startup"

Some people will disagee with me calling these projects "startups". Sometimes the internet takes itself too seriously 🤷‍♂️. For the most part I chose the word because there's already a series of folks rolling with the "12 Startups in 12 Months" theme.

Additionally, Pieter Levels talks about his original use of the word "startup" in this podcast episode on Indie Hackers:

I was blogging this thing and the title was "Twelve Products In Twelve Months" and then for like a joke I backspaced products and I said "startups", because it was around the time that word startups started changing a little bit.

Getting started

I've been jotting down ideas for the past couple of months, so I have my first two products more or less chosen, but there's still a lot of brainstorming and research to be done to solidify them and to start nailing down some contenders for the following products.

I'm using a spreadsheet shared by Jon Yongfook to help me list and evaluate product ideas. It's pretty simple and you can adjust it to your liking, but I thought it was a nice starting point. His whole blog post on the subject is great and definitely worth a read.

My progress report

I'll be updating this blog post at the end of each month to share the product I launched!

Product 1

Launching by the end of February 2019

Product 2

Launching by the end of March 2019

Product 3

Launching by the end of April 2019

Product 4

Launching by the end of May 2019

Product 5

Launching by the end of June 2019

Product 6

Launching by the end of July 2019

Product 7

Launching by the end of August 2019

Product 8

Launching by the end of September 2019

Product 9

Launching by the end of October 2019

Product 10

Launching by the end of November 2019

Product 11

Launching by the end of December 2019

Product 12

Launching by the end of January 2020

Posted on February 1st, 2019