A Time Keeper and Goal Setting App for Bootstrapping

I’ve found an itch to scratch.

Building products could be a valuable investment in the future, yet I’ve found it difficult to balance the quick profit of billable hours with the investment in bootstrapping hours. Seeing the big picture of the long term benefits of hours spent bootstrapping is elusive when the effort required remains abstract and undefined. A time keeping app seems like a good place to reduce the abstraction.

However, in order to balance billable and bootstrapping, I’d like to have an app do more than keep time. I’d like the app to help me stick with a consistent bootstrapping effort. I’d like it give confidence that I’m working on the right thing at the right time. I’d like it to motivate me toward goals. I’d like it to give a big picture, right up front, of the bootstrapping and billable hours balance.

My wife has likened this endeavor to weight loss. It is not until we sit down, make a plan, and consistently monitor and follow that plan on a daily basis that we have success. Grand illusions of weight loss are just that until we are serious with ourselves and what needs to get done and begin tracking our journey.

So, that is what I am building – a “Billable Bootstrapper” app.

I’ve been writing daily about the experience at http://bootstrappersjournal.wordpress.com. Those that want follow along might find it easiest to start at http://bootstrappersjournal.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/day-one/.

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Sounds neat. It might be best if you found a way to target this to people who are farther along in the process and therefore have money to spend.

That means segmenting business users from personal users. ie. People who are spending the company’s money vs people who are spending their own money. Simple team management is one feature that might let you segment users. If a company is paying for workers, then they probably have money.

For example, we’re happily paying $$ to idonethis.com because it lets us see what our team’s up to very easily.

Thanks for the feedback. That’s an interesting point: that those (me included) that need a kick-in-the-pants to get and keep moving may not be the folks that have $$ to spend. Probably similar to how B2B is a better market than B2C. Perhaps I’ll think of how to add components which are useful to teams. Thanks again, @starr.

This is an unrelated question but do you have an existing saas business you’ve bootstrapped?

playbookiq.com - small business CRM, has some paying customers. Not enough to live off of, but enough for some extra cash (so it depends on your definition of “business” to determine if it’s a business). I launched in 2008 - and then generally stopped active development and promotion in 2011 in favor of an exploding consulting business.

A couple personal takeaways from that experience include:

  • Momentum counts. Continuous, small efforts and persistent, small
    steps add up to big things faster than you’d think. Once you step
    away it’s more difficult to restart that momentum.

  • Design and build for maintainability. When you’re a small shop, it
    kind of sucks to be spending time fixing problems instead of spending
    it earning new customers.

Looking back I wish I would have kept up the momentum, hence my coming back into the fold and trying to learn good things from folks here. (Also why I have “pulse graph” in my little time-keeping app http://bootstrappersjournal.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/day-seventeen-pulse-graphs/).