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Hi, I'm Fred & this is #SixBySix


#1

Hello! Here’s a go at that intro thing.

My names Fred. I’m 24 years old, my normal role is in web design & front-end development but I dabble in other areas. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to build my own website from scratch, I sporadically shoot & edit videos and I’m currently full-time freelance until early 2015 when I’ll be hitting up the employed world again.

Why am I here? For a number of years now (7, to be exact) I’ve been working with @mikeaag. Ever since we started out we’ve had ideas for services & products and have invested a fair amount of time in lots of them but never quite enough to get anything decent out. In fact the only project we did launch was a tiny mic take of a site with a few hidden easter eggs that made us laugh.

Both Mike & I have a passion for side projects, ideas that we think have some potential to someone. Last night we launched our brand new website & latest project, #SixBySix. Our plan is to get good at launching, by taking some of our smaller, more achievable ideas and limiting ourselves to 1 month to take the idea from concept to launch. We’ll take on a new project every month for 6 months and will be blogging about our experiences and hopefully launching the projects on the site too. You can read more about it here.

If you’re at all interested you can follow our progress on twitter, facebook, google+ & via rss. We’ll be posting a monthly newsletter detailing how the month has gone, our tips & tricks for learning to launch and, hopefully, where you can find the launched project. You can signup here.

Looking forward to being a part of this forum.
Fred.


#2

I like the idea. How did you settle on 6 months as the timeframe? Also, what happens to the have-a-little-traction ideas at 6 months? Will you shutter them anyway? Keep them running, but focus on the next project? Something else?


#3

Hey Corey. Great questions and ones we’ve been thinking about a lot recently.

We settled on 6 months as we want to give this a good shot, but equally don’t want to devote a year of our lives to it. After getting the site going I contacted @mijustin who kindly pointed us in the direction of this site and also a guy who’s doing something similar, 12 startups in 12 months. He’s done really well, amazingly so in fact. Our aims are slightly different to his though so we’re not expecting immediate success like he’s seen.

Simply put we’ve got a list with over 40 ideas for side projects to work on. They range from the utterly useless but slightly funny to projects we think have genuine value as a viable business. I lose track of the ideas @mikeaag & I have worked on, but it’s probably between 5-10. We’ve invested a lot of hours and a decent amount of finance but always struggled to launch. Hence #SixBySix. We’ll settle on the idea we’ll be working on at the start of each month. Day 1 of Month 1 is today, but we’re not able to chat tonight so we’ll decide on which idea to run with tomorrow night.

With regards to what do we do when a project seems to have some traction? That’s what we’ve thought about the most. Ultimately our aim is firstly to ‘learn to launch’. If that’s all we do these 6 months and end up launching 6 projects nobody cares for, then that’s still a success.

That said, I, like many on here, have many ideas I’d love to see happen that I think have genuine potential. The difficulty comes if we run with these ideas at month 1, because if we do launch then we’ll have little time to work on them until 5 months down the line, and I don’t trust myself to be able to leave a good idea stagnant for that long! With that in mind, we’re taking some of our simpler ideas to start with, that we still think are cool, but saving our big hitters to month 5/6. Each month we hope to increase the level of the projects, but we’ll see how we go. We certainly won’t be shutting down any projects after launch, unless they’re causing a considerable financial drain.


#4

I don’t get the point I am afraid.

Sure diving into a project, then running out of steam is a well known problem but I don’t see how this will really help as you’re not tackling the real problem (as I see it) - you’ve just moved the goal posts.

If your projects are to become a business (which is what I think this forum is about) then the ‘launch’ is only the first milestone - I would think that many of us would say the real work comes after that as “build it and they will come” just doesn’t work.

But the way you’re talking you’re all about just getting to launch and then distractedly moving onto the latest shiny idea.

I can’t see that will get you anywhere but a couple of portfolio projects.


#5

Hi @rhino. I appreciate your sharing your thoughts.

We certainly don’t see this as the answer to all our problems. Not at all. We’re extremely aware that there are many trickier hurdles post launch. You mention we’re not tackling ‘the real problem’, and to an extent you’re right. We’re just tackling hurdle #1. But we’re cool with that, we’re playing the long game.

I’m someone who very much wants to build a business out of a bootstrapped project but I’m aware that doesn’t happen overnight. My experience tells me that most good ideas never see the light of day, and that when they do, some have surprising success and some under-achieve. It’s hard to tell until you’ve got your MVP going, before then it’s just speculation.

Our aim is to practice the process of launching MVP’s. My natural urge will then be to push hard and work on those projects post launch, but we’re looking to focus on the concept to launch phase and then towards the end of the 6 months, at month 5 & 6 we’ll look at launching projects that we have genuine hope for growing into something bigger, and these we’ll look to take on into the challenges of post-launch. Months 1-4 will have some use, but they aren’t our money makers.

I totally understand this way of doing things isn’t for everyone, but it’s an experiment to see if it works for us. From our experience from every project we’ve done (and failed to launch) we’ve learnt and got close to our aim. This is just formalising the process and hopefully with strict deadlines we may get some stuff out the door.


#6

This is a neat idea for gaining experience. I can appreciate what @Rhino is saying, but I don’t think that’s a bad problem to have. It makes me think of, “I have so many customers I don’t know what to do, help!” Launching seems to be the goal here. In a way, it’s very similar to testing a market but I think it’s more comprehensive in gained experience.

I checked out 12 startups in 12 months and found my creative juices flowing. The most interesting take away from that project is that he has begun creating startups that all revolve around a single market and community. He’s creating synergy and a strong foundation for a single relevant business that has multiple income revenue streams. It really got me thinking about my own business and reminded me of Sacha Greif’s article The Spiderweb Strategy.

@fredrivett I think you’re going to learn from the experience. Who knows what that will be, but it definitely seems worth doing to find out.


#7

Hey @Lewis. Yeah I totally agree. We don’t really know how it’s going to pan out but learning and gaining some experience, however small, is our aim for the next 6 months. I’m a lot happier doing this then diving headlong into another big project, even though deep down that’s what I want to do. Sometimes a little discipline goes a long way. We’ll see.

We found 12 startups in 12 months only a week before our launch and I’ve got to say it really surprised me how successful he’s been. I totally agree that a really strong point for him is that he’s now building an audience and related products specifically for them. The interesting thing is his month 1 project was nothing to do with what he’s doing now, for me it goes to show you don’t have to plan too far ahead. A big part of #SixBySix will be agile, reviewing and adjusting everything at every stage. I’m not expecting Angel Investors looking to invest in our project, well, certainly not months 1-4, 5-6 maybe. Encouraging to see his journey though.

EDIT: Just read The Spiderweb Strategy, very interesting. Taking levels.io as an example, his progress seems to show that related products are obviously the best for creating network, but equally that some of his unrelated products had some benefit too, just a little less maybe.


#8

Whilst I have my reservations on the strategy I should have said in last post “Sincere good luck though!”.

Random 2c worth - what about modifying the plan a little.

  • 3 Projects in 6 months. Constraint is development done in 1st Month,
    2nd month work on ‘marketing’, then move on.
  • Constraints force you to hustle, 2nd month of building interest broadens the lessons/practice from just technical to ‘that other stuff’

Also - might be worth reading Dan Norris 7 day startup e-book to give you ideas about how to get stuff out the door - http://wpcurve.com/the-7-day-startup/


#9

Hey @Rhino. That’s cool, I appreciate the honest feedback. It’s much better than people just saying what we want to hear.

The inherant issue with #SixBySix is that however we do it we’ll always want to run with the first idea we have. That’s only natural. For us though, we want to focus more on phase 1 (concept to MVP launch) than phase 2 onwards. We massively value phase 2 onwards, turning an MVP into a fully fledged product is our end goal. Towards the end of the 6 months we’ll be launching projects/ideas/products/services (I never really know what to call them) that we plan to iterate on and market. But we don’t want to try and run before we can walk. In all likelihood If we did 3 projects in 6 months we’d never want to move onto project 2 in month 3.

Whatever way we do it there’ll be difficulties. I appreciate everyone’s feedback and thoughts though, feel free to keep them coming.

EDIT: I’ll be sure to check out Dan Norris’ e-book, thanks for the heads up :smile:


#10

Good stuff. It’s a methodical approach, and while one can always argue the details of doing too much of X or not enough Y, etc, you’ve got a plan for learning & iteration - and that’s excellent. Please keep us posted on what you’re learning, and how you’re making decisions along the way.


#11

For sure, thanks @coreysnipes. We’re posting regular updates over on Twitter and will be doing more ‘streams of conciousness’ type posting over on our site too. I’ll refrain from posting too many details on here until there’s anything more exciting though as I don’t want to clog this place up with my little project.

But as you asked: It’s day three, we’ve decided on our idea, planned out all features (both pre & post MVP), decided on a name (buying domain tonight), created logo & initial font choices, started our marketing plan and setup dev environments. We’re both using Toggl which is a great little simplistic app to track our time. Between the two of us we’re 13h 23m in so far.