- On July 24, 2021 this community will enter “read-only” mode.
- On or after August 24, 2021, this community will go offline.
- The Bootstrapped podcast will continue
I took over the running of this community two and a half years ago, when it had already been in decline for some time. I tried to breath some new life into the community, but it has proven to be difficult.
There’s a solid amount of daily traffic, but few people contribute new topics for discussion. We’re a prime example of the 90/9/1 rule.
Bootstrapped community pageviews for the last 12 months
Running the community uses my time and money on an ongoing basis.
- Hosting the Discourse software costs $100/month. Self-hosting is a free-ish alternative but would require more time, and something I’m not interested in doing.
- There’s a steady flow of spammy postings that need to be deleted or, rarely, allowed through. The Discourse software does do a great job of auto-detecting these.
In recent months I’ve spent time participating in similar communities to see what they do differently. What I’ve found is:
- in 2021, many online communities struggle to maintain a decent level of participation
- successful communities often have one or more paid employees (eg. IndieHackers has 2 or 3 full-time employees and the financial backing of Stripe, who own it).
- paid communities have more open sharing
- tiny private groups (eg. a 10- to 20- person Slack group) work well for creating a strong sense of community, solidarity, and mutual help,
- For me, Twitter is better than the Bootstrapped community for asking questions when I need advice for a specific business problem
I considered approaching relevant companies (eg Paddle) to see if I could get some decent sponsorship of the community, thus allowing me to hire a part-time community manager. But this would be a form of sales. I’m busy enough doing sales for my own company, and don’t have the motivation to do for this community too.
The rough plan for closing down (still open to change):
- I’ll leave this topic (the one you’re reading right now) open for discussion for a while.
- In about a month, I’ll switch the forum to read-only mode.
- In about two months, I’ll close down the forum altogether.
This is not a decision I’ve reached easily. I’ve been contemplating this for six months.
I’m open to alternative solutions and ideas!
Recommended alternative communities:
- Indie Hackers if you are just getting started and want to chat with others just getting started
- Founder Summit (paid) if your business is viable and you like to run a calm company
- MicroConf Connect “a space for founders and their teams of independently funded startups to connect with like minded individuals.”
- MegaMaker - A paid community for bootstrappers
- Find 10 or so people at a similar stage in your businesses and make a private Slack account.