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NOTABLE! Path to creating a digital product

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Submitted! Already fixed some bugs from my quick rejection lol.

I feel a bit weird, having finished it. Now I have this huge chunk of time freed. Working on this app became part of my identity ("Are you free today?" "No, busy working") the past few months.
 

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Forgot to update. My app is still awaiting approval... It's been 2 weeks.

In the meantime I've started developing another one for fun, and I'm surprised at how much easier it is the second time around.
 
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Hoping the review is done this week. The other app is almost finished. I think working on a main app and also pushing out smaller ones to see what sticks is a good plan.
 

Rhino

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My app got approved!
Amazing progress, congrats on getting it launched!

How are you planning on marketing it? Will you be focusing on paid media to drive the initial downloads? Or will you use a more organic/app store approach?
 
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Amazing progress, congrats on getting it launched!

How are you planning on marketing it? Will you be focusing on paid media to drive the initial downloads? Or will you use a more organic/app store approach?
Thanks!! It's launching mid-August, so not yet.

My main plan is app store optimization, something like 70% of users find an app through app store search. I really went HAM on ASO and optimized it for several countries, got some great keywords. I think I did as well as I possibly could with ASO.

I'll now focus on posting around forums and perhaps building an Instagram. Not sure though. I'm not good at marketing, it's gonna be a challenge.

Not touching paid anything for now, except maybe influencer marketing if needed.
 

Rhino

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Thanks!! It's launching mid-August, so not yet.

My main plan is app store optimization, something like 70% of users find an app through app store search. I really went HAM on ASO and optimized it for several countries, got some great keywords. I think I did as well as I possibly could with ASO.

I'll now focus on posting around forums and perhaps building an Instagram. Not sure though. I'm not good at marketing, it's gonna be a challenge.

Not touching paid anything for now, except maybe influencer marketing if needed.

Good idea. I built an app a few years ago and had quite a bit of success with ASO (just over half a million downloads) and didn’t use any paid media at all. The app itself was for a company in the cannabis industry, so it literally wasn’t possible to use paid ads due to the ad networks seeing the industry as a bit of a grey area. Anyway, I got it to rank in the top 3 for a whole load of competitive keywords, and it ended up being in the top 50 in the medical category! (Not bad seeing as I had never built an app before).

Some things I did that worked...

Writing a killer app description:
  • Look at the top 5 apps ranking for your keywords.
  • Copy the entire app description from each app into a word document.
  • Rewrite the entire thing (it should be impossible to tell that you’ve written it from the other descriptions I.e. do not directly copy it), using the key bits from each competitor description (you can find these by looking for the sentences that contain the keywords the app shows up for).

Develop some content:
  • Create 5 or 6 short articles (400 words ish) about stuff related to your app
  • Make sure the articles contain some of the keywords that you want your app to rank for, and then link them to your App Store page

Social media:
  • Create a spreadsheet to populate with social media posts. You need several columns: Date, Content, Link, Hashtags, Image etc
  • If you need to monitor the word count for the post content, then you can just use a formula to count the characters in a separate column and then use conditional formatting to turn the cells red when the go over 280 characters (twitters current limit). If you can’t do that I think HubSpot used to have a pre-done spreadsheet that you could download for free, although I’m not sure if that’s still a thing...
  • Use the articles that you wrote earlier to inform your social media content and start populating your spreadsheet.

Create accounts/pages on the following social networks:
  1. Twitter
  2. Facebook page
  3. Pinterest
  4. Instagram
  5. YouTube
  6. Google +*
*i know, G+ is terrible and most people don’t use it. However as it’s Google’s own network, links coming from Google + are given more prominence by their search algorithm than the majority of other social mediums. I even went as far as testing this a little while back, pages that were only shared on google + were indexed faster than pages being shared only on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Make sure you properly compete each profile, add images, a good description and make sure you add links to your App Store page.

Automating social media posts:
  • Create a Buffer or Hootsuite account (they have free versions but I think you have to pay for Buffer if you connect more than 3 accounts) and then connect all you new social media accounts to whatever platform you choose.
  • Now use your spreadsheet, either upload it or copy the posts directly into Hootsuite/Buffer and schedule them to go out for the next couple of weeks.
  • Aim for 3 posts a day on each platform. And make sure they cover different time zones.

Building links:
Create an account on the following websites:
  • Reddit - works best when you find the most relevant sub-reddit and post something that doesn’t sound like an add. This should be easy to do if you’ve created good enough content earlier on.
  • Hacker News (Ycombinator) - Allows you to quickly register and share a link on their tech related feed.
  • Tumblr - Quickly create a relevant profile. Use your articles that you’ve already written to create posts. Make sure you add images, hashtags and definitely link the keywords in the posts to your App Store page.

These are just some of the first websites you should look to get links from. It’s really quick to do, and they are all high authority websites so your app page will get the SEO benefits (so to speak).


Obviously the above is not everything you’ll need to do to market your app. It’s just what I did when I launched the app I mentioned earlier, longer term you want to build a name for your app and get more natural links and mentions that way, but when your just beginning you need to start with the quick wins.

After you’ve built the easy links you can then focus on contacting other relevant online media (blogs etc) to try and gain some more coverage for your app.

There’s also a load of websites that are essentially directories of apps, so you should try and find out what they are, and then submit your app to them. Oh and don’t forget to create an actual website for your app, it only had to be one pager, but it’s worth doing.

Anyways I’ll stop there as I feel like I’m rambling, hopefully you’ll find some of it useful.
 
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• nikita •

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Good idea. I built an app a few years ago and had quite a bit of success with ASO (just over half a million downloads) and didn’t use any paid media at all. The app itself was for a company in the cannabis industry, so it literally wasn’t possible to use paid ads due to the ad networks seeing the industry as a bit of a grey area. Anyway, I got it to rank in the top 3 for a whole load of competitive keywords, and it ended up being in the top 50 in the medical category! (Not bad seeing as I had never built an app before).

Some things I did that worked...

Writing a killer app description:
  • Look at the top 5 apps ranking for your keywords.
  • Copy the entire app description from each app into a word document.
  • Rewrite the entire thing (it should be impossible to tell that you’ve written it from the other descriptions I.e. do not directly copy it), using the key bits from each competitor description (you can find these by looking for the sentences that contain the keywords the app shows up for).

Develop some content:
  • Create 5 or 6 short articles (400 words ish) about stuff related to your app
  • Make sure the articles contain some of the keywords that you want your app to rank for, and then link them to your App Store page

Social media:
  • Create a spreadsheet to populate with social media posts. You need several columns: Date, Content, Link, Hashtags, Image etc
  • If you need to monitor the word count for the post content, then you can just use a formula to count the characters in a separate column and then use conditional formatting to turn the cells red when the go over 280 characters (twitters current limit). If you can’t do that I think HubSpot used to have a pre-done spreadsheet that you could download for free, although I’m not sure if that’s still a thing...
  • Use the articles that you wrote earlier to inform your social media content and start populating your spreadsheet.

Create accounts/pages on the following social networks:
  1. Twitter
  2. Facebook page
  3. Pinterest
  4. Instagram
  5. YouTube
  6. Google +*
*i know, G+ is terrible and most people don’t use it. However as it’s Google’s own network, links coming from Google + are given more prominence by their search algorithm than the majority of other social mediums. I even went as far as testing this a little while back, pages that were only shared on google + were indexed faster than pages being shared only on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Make sure you properly compete each profile, add images, a good description and make sure you add links to your App Store page.

Automating social media posts:
  • Create a Buffer or Hootsuite account (they have free versions but I think you have to pay for Buffer if you connect more than 3 accounts) and then connect all you new social media accounts to whatever platform you choose.
  • Now use your spreadsheet, either upload it or copy the posts directly into Hootsuite/Buffer and schedule them to go out for the next couple of weeks.
  • Aim for 3 posts a day on each platform. And make sure they cover different time zones.

Building links:
Create an account on the following websites:
  • Reddit - works best when you find the most relevant sub-reddit and post something that doesn’t sound like an add. This should be easy to do if you’ve created good enough content earlier on.
  • Hacker News (Ycombinator) - Allows you to quickly register and share a link on their tech related feed.
  • Tumblr - Quickly create a relevant profile. Use your articles that you’ve already written to create posts. Make sure you add images, hashtags and definitely link the keywords in the posts to your App Store page.

These are just some of the first websites you should look to get links from. It’s really quick to do, and they are all high authority websites so your app page will get the SEO benefits (so to speak).


Obviously the above is not everything you’ll need to do to market your app. It’s just what I did when I launched the app I mentioned earlier, longer term you want to build a name for your app and get more natural links and mentions that way, but when your just beginning you need to start with the quick wins.

After you’ve built the easy links you can then focus on contacting other relevant online media (blogs etc) to try and gain some more coverage for your app.

There’s also a load of websites that are essentially directories of apps, so you should try and find out what they are, and then submit your app to them. Oh and don’t forget to create an actual website for your app, it only had to be one pager, but it’s worth doing.

Anyways I’ll stop there as I feel like I’m rambling, hopefully you’ll find some of it useful.
Thanks for your reply! These are some really good tips! I've started working on social media. In the past when I've tried to grow accounts I've completely failed. This time I'm gonna treat it like a science.

I think the most difficult part is finding what to post so often. How did you do that?
 

Rhino

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Thanks for your reply! These are some really good tips! I've started working on social media. In the past when I've tried to grow accounts I've completely failed. This time I'm gonna treat it like a science.

I think the most difficult part is finding what to post so often. How did you do that?
That’s why I created a few articles beforehand, you can use that content as the basis for some of your posts. It’ll make writing your social stuff much easier...

I found generally if you break it into 3rds that it seems to do well... so have 1/3 of your posts directly marketing your app, another 1/3 of relevant industry stats (or something similar), 1/3 other posts interacting with your followers or posting other stuff your target audience will find interesting/useful. Just make sure you add an image or video with each post.

Also make sure your app includes your social media links somewhere so people can follow you directly from the app.
 
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That’s why I created a few articles beforehand, you can use that content as the basis for some of your posts. It’ll make writing your social stuff much easier...

I found generally if you break it into 3rds that it seems to do well... so have 1/3 of your posts directly marketing your app, another 1/3 of relevant industry stats (or something similar), 1/3 other posts interacting with your followers or posting other stuff your target audience will find interesting/useful. Just make sure you add an image or video with each post.

Also make sure your app includes your social media links somewhere so people can follow you directly from the app.
Thanks again, will try this out!

How's your app doing now? Made any others?
 

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Rhino

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Thanks again, will try this out!

How's your app doing now? Made any others?
Unfortunately the app is no more due to the company I built it for stopping trading last year.

After that I built a couple of small apps just playing around for myself, but my recent focus has been on developing an MVP SaaS solution (it’s a pr research/outreach platform for digital media), so not had much time since then for apps. It is something I’d like to look into more once my current project is nearer to completion though.
 
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Unfortunately the app is no more due to the company I built it for stopping trading last year.

After that I built a couple of small apps just playing around for myself, but my recent focus has been on developing an MVP SaaS solution (it’s a pr research/outreach platform for digital media), so not had much time since then for apps. It is something I’d like to look into more once my current project is nearer to completion though.
Good luck with your current project!

As for the social media marketing, I've just come across a video on Instagram growth. The concept is:
1. Curate enough content so users don't see blank space when they open your page
2. Make a good promo video for your page
3. Find popular influencers or other curation pages
4. Pay for shoutouts
5. Rake in the followers

Once you have a lot of followers (the guy in the video got 100k in 48 hours), you can make money selling shoutouts yourself. But for us it would be hugely beneficial because we could market our product(s). You have to pay for the shoutouts but it's minimal compared to the benefit.

I have 2 weeks until launch so if I manage to recreate what he did, it'll do wonders for my app.

Here's the video btw:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcTIsgH2jXk
 
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Rhino

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Good luck with your current project!

As for the social media marketing, I've just come across a video on Instagram growth. The concept is:
1. Curate enough content so users don't see blank space when they open your page
2. Make a good promo video for your page
3. Find popular influencers or other curation pages
4. Pay for shoutouts
5. Rake in the followers

Once you have a lot of followers (the guy in the video got 100k in 48 hours), you can make money selling shoutouts yourself. But for us it would be hugely beneficial because we could market our product(s). You have to pay for the shoutouts but it's minimal compared to the benefit.

I have 2 weeks until launch so if I manage to recreate what he did, it'll do wonders for my app.

Here's the video btw:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcTIsgH2jXk
Thanks!

Yeah you need to use a different strategy with Instagram than with the other social networks, you can still post viral content but it’ll have less of an effect on your audiences initial growth.

It’s an interesting video... as my project is more of a b2b online service, I’d been thinking that I wouldn’t bother with Instagram, but having watched the video I’d be silly not to give it a try now.

I wouldn’t expect many of my target audience to be massive Instagram users, but it’d be good brand awareness and probably quite a useful thing to learn generally (I’m a digital marketing consultant in my slow lane job, so it’s definitely a useful skill for me to have).

If you do follow the advice from the video, just make sure your posting content that is relevant to your target customer from the start. It’s not much use having 100,000 14year old followers who won’t be interested in your product. Far better to have 10,000 quality, engaged followers who are in your target market.
 
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Thanks!

Yeah you need to use a different strategy with Instagram than with the other social networks, you can still post viral content but it’ll have less of an effect on your audiences initial growth.

It’s an interesting video... as my project is more of a b2b online service, I’d been thinking that I wouldn’t bother with Instagram, but having watched the video I’d be silly not to give it a try now.

I wouldn’t expect many of my target audience to be massive Instagram users, but it’d be good brand awareness and probably quite a useful thing to learn generally (I’m a digital marketing consultant in my slow lane job, so it’s definitely a useful skill for me to have).

If you do follow the advice from the video, just make sure your posting content that is relevant to your target customer from the start. It’s not much use having 100,000 14year old followers who won’t be interested in your product. Far better to have 10,000 quality, engaged followers who are in your target market.
Even for businesses that aren't that suited to typical Instagram posts, you could try giving your page a theme related to your content. For example, if you do web design, you could post interesting designs from Dribbble. Or theme your page. I've seen people have a style where they post picture of the same color every week. E.g green, then pink, then blue etc. Grow the page and occasionally throw in an ad for your company.

Also if you use someone's photo, crediting them is cool because they visit your page and like your stuff. That helps you build connections with people who are the source of good content (not just curators).

Definitely agree with engaged followers being better than a mass of random unengaged ones. Plus you get better comments than just "cool", "love it, check my page out" or some emoji
 
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What skills did you need first?

Social media...i may kick off a stink but i do not think it holds longevity anymore.
Skills for what?

About SM... I worry about this too sometimes. It’s someone else’s platform, plenty of people make a shit ton of money on it but if it explodes in the night there goes your income. I’d like to use it to build an audience so I have initial users.
 

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Social media...i may kick off a stink but i do not think it holds longevity anymore.
I agree with you to an extent. I was referencing it as a way of quickly syndicating links across the net as a means of improving your App Store position.

On its own its definitely a risk, as you’ll be putting all your eggs in one basket. But if you look at it as one spoke of a larger ‘digital marketing wheel’ then it can be an incredibly useful medium... especially if you don’t have loads to spend on paid ads initially.
 
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Last week was a bit crazy. I started a test Instagram in the travel niche to test out some growth methods. It's been about 6 days and it's grown to 700 followers. But most surprising is my engagement rate. I'm getting up to 60 comments and 1500 likes on each image. All this from seeing how people respond to the posts and optimizing post per post. Now people are messaging me asking for help :p

This has given me even more business ideas. Amazing how good growth can be if you listen to your audience!

In terms of the app, I've been sending off emails for PR to various sites, hopefully one will pick it up.
 
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Aaaand it's launched!! :praise:
After so long, it feels really good to see my app actually live.

It's already ranking really well for some of the MAIN keywords in my niche. I assume this is because I was really thorough with ASO, and spent a long time on it. I launched it this morning so I'll need a bit longer to see stats on my iTunes Connect. I'm excited.
 
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So, 2 weeks later.
  • Been gathering feedback from Reddit, Twitter, bloggers, Discord servers
  • Received some really good tips and am about to release the first update
  • Preparing for a Product Hunt launch
  • Submitting to directories, review sites, etc
  • Reaching out to at least 10 people per day with genuine conversation (much higher response rate than typical spam copy-paste emails). Need to raise this number.
  • About 2 - 5 new users per day.
I've found that Reddit is one of the best places to find new users and get feedback. Not by posting your product to subreddits, but finding users that post to certain subreddits and messaging them. Ask them genuine questions first and end with something like "the reason I ask if because I have a product like ____ that ____ and I'm looking for feedback. Anything you could share would be amazing!" The key is starting with a question about them and their experience -- who doesn't love talking about themselves? You pick up some real friends and connections too. I've been overwhelmed with the positive feedback.
 

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Just got my first subscriber!

I was sitting celebrating my mum's birthday with my family, and I decide to refresh my app's stats to see how many people have signed up today. Well, 6. But also a new subscriber! After 70 sign ups.

Although it's only $5.25 profit, it really does feel like Christmas day. Someone wants my app! Someone likes it enough to pay! I've added value to someone's life. And the best feeling is that I'm actually helping someone with a problem that used to plague my life, anxiety.
 

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Just got my first subscriber!

I was sitting celebrating my mum's birthday with my family, and I decide to refresh my app's stats to see how many people have signed up today. Well, 6. But also a new subscriber! After 70 sign ups.

Although it's only $5.25 profit, it really does feel like Christmas day. Someone wants my app! Someone likes it enough to pay! I've added value to someone's life. And the best feeling is that I'm actually helping someone with a problem that used to plague my life, anxiety.
Congratulations! Such a good feeling to get your first sale!

How are you finding promoting it? Is there anything that’s working particularly well?
 
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Congratulations! Such a good feeling to get your first sale!

How are you finding promoting it? Is there anything that’s working particularly well?
Thanks! It's made my entire month!

I've found that personally contacting people who may benefit from the app works the best. I've messaged a lot of people on Reddit who may suffer from anxiety, asking them to share their story and what they think of existing apps/whether they want to try a new one. Most of the time they say they're desperate for a solution for anxiety and they'd love to try the app. I've had brilliant feedback so far!

I've also been submitting it to a lot of directories. Betabound is one of them, the owner is friendly and you can get your site up quickly. Next week I'm launching on Product Hunt which I expect to bring in a lot of new users.

Writing articles and submitting to Hacker Noon -- Hacker Noon gets a lot of readers and getting published on it is easy.

And also, Twitter ads. I find them better than FB ads for my niche, because you can target by people who have interacted with a particular hashtag or page. So you can target #mentalhealth or #anxiety. With Facebook, you can't.
 

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Just got my first subscriber!

I was sitting celebrating my mum's birthday with my family, and I decide to refresh my app's stats to see how many people have signed up today. Well, 6. But also a new subscriber! After 70 sign ups.

Although it's only $5.25 profit, it really does feel like Christmas day. Someone wants my app! Someone likes it enough to pay! I've added value to someone's life. And the best feeling is that I'm actually helping someone with a problem that used to plague my life, anxiety.
Woohoo! Well done. The first one is especially sweet.

Care to update this thread?

How do you feel especially:
  • What’s the story of your first sale?
  • How did you feel in that moment?
  • What changed from that moment onwards?
  • What has it lead to?

In hindsight:
  • What would you have done LESS of?
  • What would you have done MORE of?
  • What one piece of advice would you give someone about making that first sale?
 
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Haven't updated in a while!

The app is going well, I'm releasing a big update soon and am doing a harder launch than before. It looks much better than before. Frankly, I'm kind of embarrassed of the first version!
I've also been working on a side project, and just got my first preorder.

I keep having F*ck this moments. I took a week off from my day job and now I can't get back into it. I F*cking hate it. I know this is recommended against, but I might just quit. I am also living at my parents' house right now to avoid the extreme London rent and keep getting told not to move, speak, or make any noise. Was just told not to eat or open the fridge because it wakes them up. Total control freaks, which fine, it's their house, but when you're an adult you start to feel like a caged animal when you can't do anything.

Basically, I've had enough and F*cking F*ck this. I want out. I'd rather be free and die at 30 than live like this till 70.
 

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Frankly, I'm kind of embarrassed of the first version!
Remember: If you don't feel embarrassed of your first version, you've waited for too long to release it :)

Frankly, I'm kind of embarrassed of the first version!

I keep having f*ck this moments. I took a week off from my day job and now I can't get back into it. I f*cking hate it. I know this is recommended against, but I might just quit. I am also living at my parents' house right now to avoid the extreme London rent and keep getting told not to move, speak, or make any noise. Was just told not to eat or open the fridge because it wakes them up. Total control freaks, which fine, it's their house, but when you're an adult you start to feel like a caged animal when you can't do anything.

Basically, I've had enough and f*cking f*ck this. I want out. I'd rather be free and die at 30 than live like this till 70.
I actually did the same a few weeks ago, I left London and came back home with my parents so save money and have all the time needed for working on my projects, it just didn't make sense to stay there with such a ridiculous cost of living. I hope you'll make enough money to leave your parents' soon. Best of luck!
 

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Was just told not to eat or open the fridge because it wakes them up. Total control freaks, which fine, it's their house, but when you're an adult you start to feel like a caged animal when you can't do anything.
Despite not having such control heavy parents as you do, I will tell you that the BIGGEST change in the history of my company happened when I moved out. I got so much more done and for some reason it took so much more speed after that.

I haven't read all of your previous posts yet, but speaking from experience I can ONLY recommend getting out asap, even if it means you will have to live like a really poor man. I moved to 'the ghetto' (as close as it gets here in Scandinavia) and I was still much happier and more productive than at my parents.

Go for it as soon as you can afford it!
 
OP
OP
• nikita •

• nikita •

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Aug 24, 2017
198
293
176
London
Remember: If you don't feel embarrassed of your first version, you've waited for too long to release it :)
Definitely, I can't believe I was proud of that version! I'm happy I released it though, because version 2 is based off of people's feedback.

I actually did the same a few weeks ago, I left London and came back home with my parents so save money and have all the time needed for working on my projects, it just didn't make sense to stay there with such a ridiculous cost of living. I hope you'll make enough money to leave your parents' soon. Best of luck!
It's ridiculous how expensive housing is in London! Something that would buy you a large apartment in the US buys you a smelly box here. Apart from that and the weather though, I like it.

Despite not having such control heavy parents as you do, I will tell you that the BIGGEST change in the history of my company happened when I moved out. I got so much more done and for some reason it took so much more speed after that.

I haven't read all of your previous posts yet, but speaking from experience I can ONLY recommend getting out asap, even if it means you will have to live like a really poor man. I moved to 'the ghetto' (as close as it gets here in Scandinavia) and I was still much happier and more productive than at my parents.

Go for it as soon as you can afford it!
I can see it'd be worth it even to just escape the negativity. I love my parents, and I hate complaining about them in any way because considering that they raised me well it's a bit disrespectful... but the negativity and actual discouragement is never-ending. "Only geniuses make it and you're no one", "Go to university and maybe in 15 years you'll have enough money", etc. It's a contradiction considering they rebelled against their own parents and the norm back then by moving country lol.
 

cy-

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Feb 17, 2017
101
244
165
Europe
I can see it'd be worth it even to just escape the negativity. I love my parents, and I hate complaining about them in any way because considering that they raised me well it's a bit disrespectful... but the negativity and actual discouragement is never-ending. "Only geniuses make it and you're no one", "Go to university and maybe in 15 years you'll have enough money", etc. It's a contradiction considering they rebelled against their own parents and the norm back then by moving country lol.
I feel you, because my parents were sort of the same - and don't get me wrong, I do love my parents too :)

I think something happens with parents when their child(ren) endavours onto the big world, they feel they need to 'protect' them, naturally of course.

The thing is that they are biased, so it might not be the same advice they would give someone else who they don't care about as much.

Keep doing what you feel is right and work on the business! My parents said the same and now they don't voice their opinion anymore. Only way to convince them is to prove them wrong.
 

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