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EXECUTION [Progress] Building a Copywriting platform

AlanBayWalker

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I recently decided to pick up copywriting as a skill. Like most people would I scoped out the playing field before I started executing.

I browsed videos and forums about copywriting. I had a few questions about getting into the industry or picking it up as a skill for your Fastlane venture.
  • How do people learn to write copy?
  • How do they practice?
  • How long till they find their first client?

The more I read the more I saw a pattern. "I wish there was a place to..." or "It's really hard to do..."

I found 2 main pain points that people are having while on the on-ramp to learning how to write good copy. I think both these problems can be solved in 1 web app platform. Today I started mocking up my Idea to flush out all the kinks.

I'm currently prototyping it using Figma. You could also use AdobeXD. They are both free and let you quickly prototype ideas.
 

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AlanBayWalker

AlanBayWalker

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I'm slowly gathering snippets of people complaining about these pain points. I'm thinking about using them as a resource for validation or to add features to the app.

I'm starting to realize that I might not be able to use my Figma prototype to show my idea. This platform has features that Figma won't do justice to.

Once I'm done mocking I might have to build a web prototype that people can actually interact with.
 
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AlanBayWalker

AlanBayWalker

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I've spent the past week building out a prototype for the App. So far it's only the front end but that was enough to show people the gist of the idea. I've been having online meetings using Zoom with professional copywriters. Most of them told me that this is a great idea and that it has a lot of potential. Something feels off... Would they actually pay to use this? Are they just being nice?

I also made some facebook ads to lead to a WordPress landing page. The landing page has a call to action to sign up for $5 a month. Once you sign up the form basically errors out since there is no production product yet. The ads had a 1% conversion rate and only about 7 people out of about 200 people signed up. To be honest the copy on the landing page is terrible and the demo video is even worse.

Validating an idea is a bit harder than I anticipated. I'm still weighing out whether I should keep validating or just go for it.
 
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AlanBayWalker

AlanBayWalker

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Current goal: Reach a live MVP that copywriters can use by next week
Long term goal: Make my first dollar as a fastlaner
Current monthly revenue: $0


Last time I gave an update I was battling with the decision to either keep validating or start building. I decided to double down on the building and try to validate a bit more once I have a cleaner prototype. I'm not sure if you can 100% validate a saas product. I think at some point based on the data you're either going to have to go for it or pivot to something else.

Validating the idea is the #1 mistake I see in the saas progress threads on this forum and I really tried to make an effort to not make the same mistake. I really hope the decision I made to move on doesn't come back around to bite me.

I made tons of progress on the prototype over the past week. Using the Pomodoro technique has been really helpful. I found that 25-minute Pomodoros are a bit too short for programming. I always run out of time when I'm in the middle of something important. I pushed the timer to 30 minutes and that seems to be working a lot better.

The prototype is currently built in React. Node and Firebase. This has allowed me to build faster because I don't have to do a lot of setup for the backend. I think I can get an MVP going in a week from now and go from there.

Once I get a live product I'll start validating and collecting feedback again. There is still a pretty big chance that no one will benefit from this. I don't want to kid myself and hold on to this project if it is just going to waste time.

Any feedback or questions are welcome. I've never built my own saas before so if anyone has any questions, feedback or concerns I'm all ears.
 

babyballer

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5 dollar a month is too small for SaaS. It gives an impression that not much value is there.
 
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AlanBayWalker

AlanBayWalker

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Current goal: Get 10 users

Long term goal: Make my first dollar as a fastlaner

Current monthly revenue: $0

It's been 1 week and 1 day since my last update. Last time I updated you guys I set a personal goal to get my MVP out and live on the web by yesterday. Unfortunately, I didn't make it...

I had 1 job and I f*cked it up. I was too exhausted to post an update last night and honestly I didn't want to update you guys with nothing to show for it. Over the last 8 days, I probably put in a solid 90 hours into this project. I looked like sh*t, to say the least.

It was 11:56 PM on the night my product was supposed to go out, and there I was standing in front of the bathroom mirror in defeat. My eyes were bloodshot red from staring into the monitor for so long. The toilet bowl behind me reeked of modafinil as the drug had made its final exit through my urine just a few moments ago. As I walked back to my computer my joints squeaked like a door in need of lubricant. I sat down and refreshed the screen to my hosting service...

"The domain **** has no nameservers detectable via DNS". F*ck!

That's all I could say before hitting the sack and accepting defeat.

On a good note, the MVP went live today. Still no users but I haven't told anyone it's live. To be honest I put in waaaay too many hours for someone that has a saas idea with soft validation. This is not the smartest thing to do.

My current action plan is:

  • Message everyone I interviewed for soft validation and tell them the app was released. These people will most likely bring my first 10 users.
  • Announce the communities where I found these people that the saas was released.
  • Be on standby to fix any bugs people run into. In most cases, your first MVP will most likely be a hot flaming piece of sh*t so you gotta be ready to make sure people can use the thing.
  • Get some sun... I haven't seen the outside in days
  • Take a break and finish reading The Lean Startup. I want some insight into how others go about releasing a product.
If there are any copywriters out there or anyone looking to get into copywriting. Feel free to send me a PM. I'd love to link you to the platform and get some feedback.

As far as monetizing the platform I have a few ideas. I was thinking about going with a freemium model. Unfortunately, this means that a payment processor was not part of the MVP. So I can't make money yet which isn't good.

Now to the bad note. I'm only 19 years old and I was under someone else's insurance so I wouldn't have to pay a massive penalty for being young. Well, unfortunately, that person got a DUI last month. My insurance company is charging me a one time fee of $900 in insurance changes. That's not even the bad part lol. After that my insurance will triple.

It's not looking too great for me. I'm burning through money pretty quick and chances are I'll have to find another job in a few months. I saved up enough to live frugally without having to work for 1 year. That didn't go as planned, but that's my fault.

I'll see you guys next week. - Code hard, die young
 
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Rabby

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Subscribing. I would be interested in seeing what you're building, if you want to DM it. I was a freelance copywriter at one time. Now I'm building a SaaS product in a completely different market (cyber security, business processes).

For validation, try to gauge whether the customers want to use it, or before that, imagine using it, and tell you about it. At this point it's hard to get them to pay, or soft-pay for something without the interaction. You might be able to find a surrogate product that solves part of the problem, sometimes that works. But if they call you back on their own and buy you lunch, you're getting strong validation signals. If they invite you to their office instead of blowing you off you're getting pretty good signals. Especially if you can prototype fairly quickly.

I ditched modafinil (or adrafinil). I've used all the nootropics, and finally realized there is one single nootropic that does more for me than anything else. Guess what it is? A solid 8 hours of sleep. No kidding, I can do more work, and better work, if I just stop and do it the next day. 12 hours into a code sprint, or writing an expert report, I'm a mess and will have to do as much rewriting as writing. Not sleeping is bleh, and surprisingly dangerous to your health. I'm also more convincing to business contacts when I don't look like the undead. :playful: You might find the same.
 
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AlanBayWalker

AlanBayWalker

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Awesome @Rabby! I'll be sending you a PM. I've gotten 7h of sleep almost every night. Funny enough my roommate was binge-watching Breaking Bad right outside my room the night my app was supposed to go live. I had dreams about code as my brain tried to decompress all the abuse from the past few days.

That was probably one of the worst nights of sleep I've gotten in a long time. The stress plus the gunshots in the show, combined with the fact I took the modaf way too late in the day made for a bad night.
 

softwareRules

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I'm interested in seeing how this turns out. As a developer it would be cool to see what kind of ROI it is. As a freelance writer, it would be cool to see if I could use the platform for extra cash.
 

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