TLDR if you have limited time
Talking about building audience first for me is kind of confused. There’s no silver bullet in achieving this. Some may take years then they said they “successfully built an audience”. Some may only take 1 blog post and he/she went viral.
If you read this post, I also am like you, as of this writing, I only have 37 followers in Twitter. 1 follower in Indie Hacker. Some followers in Dev.to. Yeah, not really impressive compared with those “superstar” indie hacker.
But I would like to learn about this, so why don’t we together dive deeper about building an audience?
I started indie hacking for around 5 or 3 month ago (officially). Unofficially, I had been freelancing in web and software development from 2019, freelancing in graphic design from 2018.
I started to make products initially this year, when pandemic started to boom. Back then, I made something because I wanted to learn, for example, building game like Stay off Please to learn about Unity, because I think I wanted to expand my freelancing business to game. But shortly after, I decided gaming is too big for myself, realizing I didn’t really have the passion for that. But I noticed that some played that game, and it felt good.
However, I realized that making things and don’t get money, is the same as hobby. And I came to face the truth that I could not live making things more if.. no one wanted to pay.
But did you try to monetize the game you built?
Didn’t really monetize it, but I put a paypal.me link when people beat the game. The idea is to let people pay what they want.
But as of this writing’s date, Paypal doesn’t notify me anything about the game.
And so, I built more products. And while the time run, I searched more and more about one man business. And no longer after, I found people like Daniel Vassallo, Pieter Levels, Courtland Allen, and so many more from indie hacker community.
I tried to learn what they did. Tried to imitate what they successfully did. In my opinion, I still have not reap the fruit yet as of this writing.
But I noticed that there are some trends going on in this indie hacker’s community. That is, build audience first.
Daniel Vassallo, before was known as the guy who quit from his high paying job in Amazon. He is now a head of product at Gumroad, and also known as someone who uses Twitter to build his audience. One of his well-known product is a course on how we can build audience in Twitter. Now, he is known for valuing lifestyle first.
I went through his Twitter, finding gold nuggets I can chew on, and one thing I notice is that we need authority.
Notice that number 2, in my opinion, can be considered with what “authority” is.
Although I would also argue that there’s a time you may want to do research to enrich, at least for myself.
Here is the another I found quite interesting
- Start by taking notice of what people in real life ask you about. This can be an instant authority.
- write a short blog post answering a particular question under 5 mins.
- At the end of your post, invite people to follow you on Twitter (or your platform of choice) to get more updates about your story. Only put one call to action. Don’t ask people to follow you on Twitter and sign up for your newsletter. Pick one.
- When one of your posts gets some attention and you start getting comments, make sure you’re there to answer every single question you get. Your willingness to answer authentically will be a huge signal that you’re worth following.
- Repeat until you get 1k audiences.
There are more, but I think I would like to keep this short.
In my opinion, his journey was a bit different. He started building a music app, where you can play music from Gmail Inbox. What I think he got good overtime is that he got the opportunity being covered by a journalist from Lifehacker, hence he got well known at that time. Later on, he built Go F*cking Do It, a web app for people to commit to one thing. There he said in one of his blog that the app went viral on Twitter, so viral he got offers for a TV show.
By the way, I tried to imitate the journey. I also built 1 day 1 Profitable product. Although, I still have not succeeded yet. Hehe. Actually going viral today, in my opinion, is harder than it used to be, isn’t it? Not everything can work out.
One thing I noticed is that Pieter has been building audience from the very first day.
Actually from his music app got viral. He was active on engaging with the people, either on Twitter, or Product Hunt. Later on, Pieter built nomadlist. and he stated in his blog that this product is the most successful one.
To me, that may be more of success of building audience and product, rather than plain lucky. I don’t believe in luckiness, but I’m sure some may come without our realization just yet.
So I would say Nomadlist success was because Pieter’s success in building the audience. If you noticed, Pieter said in a blog that his product was viral due to the word of mouth effect. Well, isn’t that audience?
And Pieter built his audience from… building product, back then where Product Hunt was gaining momentum.
His marketing also came from his blog, Twitter, the story and journey of how he bootstrap startup, the fragility, and more interesting stories.
Building audience, can be a worth investment.
I saw random twitter accounts saying they were nobody in early 2020, and now already has those xx.xK followers. If they can, so can we.
But, I also recently learnt a lesson. Don’t try to build in 1 night. I mean, it’s not really impossible. I did that, I wanted an instant audience. There was a time I kind of spammed my Twitter account. I tweeted about x. 2 hours later, I tweeted about Y. Minutes after I tweeted about Z. Hoping someone would instantly click the follow button.
But, as of this writing, learning from the thought leaders, I would say building an audience is more like a journey. Personally I saw a destination saying 1k follower is the nearest station.
I would write this regularly. Also try to build audience, just like you.
How about you? hope we can meet at Twitter to talk more.