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Guide to improving focus


Just published the first post to our blog and it could be helpful to many bootstrappers.

This is my tested approach to getting things done while working from home on my own projects.


Lovely site Ivan. Good job :slight_smile:

Did you do the design yourself?


Thanks! I did the information organization and basic layout design, then we hired a designer from Crew.co to help us with visual design, then my co-founder (and wife :D) adjusted the colors, made icons and illustrations.

Meanwhile, the guide got to the top of Hacker News and I’m overwhelmed with feedback. Writing is truly the best way to break through the noise.


There’s a surprisingly positive conversation going on at Hacker News about your article. That must be really nice for you, given how prone Hacker News is to pedantry and hypercriticism. People are saying good things about your product too.

I’m very much interested in hearing if this results in a permanent uptick in your sales.


Thanks a lot for sharing this with us, Ivan. I am always skeptical when I see clipartsy design, but yours does a great job because it is backed up by golden nuggets of insight.

I wish more publications took such an attitude to be useful at the first place. Usually we get tons of marketing fluff nowadays. Your piece is different from that and that’s awesome.

Thanks once again.


HN is one of the few sites that I visit daily and read mostly the comments. This and previous experience of arguing on the Internet helped me to develop an explicit style to minimize possible quarrels.

I do not practice self-censorship but look for dubious or over-generalizing statements in my drafts and shield up with links to research when something is controversial. But yes, I expected much more criticism on all sites.

I’ll be posting more articles and freebies in the following months. :slight_smile:

Thank you! After digging through tons of fluff, I find illustrations more trustworthy than stock photos. Nice modern companies like Trello or Help Scout use them for their helpful blogs while shallow business sites always go with pretentious shots.


Cool. Can you give me a link to the designer? What’s a rough idea of cost? I might have some design work to get down.


Crew shows a questionnaire when you start a project, for a landing page it was about $950. Then they ask you for references to some existing designs and find you 3 designers (you can ask for more). Their selection is not perfect – in our case one of the offered designers had only mobile apps in her portfolio, but it’s significantly better compared to what you can get on Upwork or 99designs.

It’s also not clear how many edits are allowed for free after the design is more or less done. I didn’t ask because we polish everything ourselves anyway but it’s a good thing to know. Here’s our designer.

For new projects, I’d recommend buying templates from sites like ThemeForest or WrapBootstrap. Our design was quite generic and bland for the first year and it still converted well.


So it finally arrived more than half a year later: the middle of this summer is our best organic month ever and the sales are high. I even failed my article-a-month strategy and haven’t been posting anything for 4 months.

Here are the visits from search engines:


That’s a great result, @ivm. I hope the chart keeps going upwards!

This chart is an excellent example of how good content seems to work. It takes sooooo long to get significant organic traffic, but once you do it just keeps coming.


A year later:

  • over 124,000 unique reads
  • almost 40% came from HN
  • 7 min. average reading time
  • at least $5k in additional revenue

And it was intended as an unremarkable first post, just to have something in our blog before “more serious” content. I don’t think it will be possible to surpass: for example, the “founder skills” article has 32,000 reads (over 50% are from HN).

I’m not sure what are the findings here except for “write things relevant to HN because it’s huge and welcoming to good content”.