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A portfolio of small fails
Progress and learnings from April 2023.
Last month I got hit by platform risk.
Good news: ✨ Sidebird survived ✨ but this whole Twitter API storm screams diversity. So all in the last week, I built and launched a new project!
Here’s the process I used:
Saw a problem: embedding substack forms in a website is frustrating.
Searched for a technical solution.
Put together a quick MVP in 6 days.
Check it out here.
🚧 Rapid failure is a win
“You don't need to ship fast, if you're shipping the right things. But to know the right things, you often need to ship fast.” —Marc My Words
With Sidebird, I was making slow and steady progress, so I kept building feature after feature for almost 9 months… calling it iterations.
It was not.
Instead, it was just stacked guesswork, backed by intuition and user feedback. I was missing out on two significant things: measure and learn.
Here’s the new strategy to avoid this:
🚚 Ship fast. If it takes more than 7 days, then break it down into smaller pieces.
📆 Set a reminder to check the results. ( i.e: in one week )
👨🔬 Check the results. Really do. And after that take clear, bold decisions.
🙇♂️ Burnout is real
For the past ~8 months, I was so motivated by this new solopreneur journey that it was literally pulling me out of bed.
This didn’t last.
On April 9, I found myself stuck in bed. Unmotivated, uninspired, lost, aimless, overwhelmed and depressed.
Frankly, I made some mistakes that led me to that ugly spot: Firstly, and that’s the most obvious one, I forgot to rest. I was working almost 7/7, only allowing breaks to go to the gym from time to time.
Secondly, I was always trying to get more and more done. I was a tyrant to myself.
I took action quick however — I decided to free up my schedule, and do pretty much what I wanted, things I know are good for me, for as long as I wanted. Recharging.
Sleeping a lot, discovering new activities, learning, reading, searching for new podcasts, new ideas, new perspectives.
… and most importantly: setting a new goal.
The new goal: €3,000 /mo as a solopreneur, by Aug. 2024.
The anti-goals: (1) don’t neglect health, have at least one complete rest day per week, and (2) don’t set too many rules, just focus on one thing each day, ideally the most impactful one. That’s it.
📈 What’s up Sidebird?
April was the first month of negative growth for Sidebird. It obviously took at hit from the Twitter API madness, but I’m glad it survived.
Here’s for my chart lovers:
Time to rise like a phoenix.
Because of the new limitations, I can’t pull all my users’ tweets anymore. That means users have to tweet from Sidebird directly if they want auto-retweets to work, instead of from anywhere they want… and this is what’s responsible for most of the churn — as far as I know.
But I have a plan. The next experiment will be adding an upsell plan to the tool, with more advanced features.
It will *probably* include:
Tweet from anywhere you want ( the mobile app, the twitter website, or anything else ) and have the auto-retweets working passively.
Connect multiple accounts.
AI-assisted writing features.
✌️ That’s it for now
Hope you enjoyed this issue.
If you liked it, feel free to share with your twitter friends 😁
I’m always happy to hear your thoughts. Hit me up on Twitter @_justlilian and let's connect.
See you for the next issue!
Keep shipping, stay indie — Lilian