When I first started building my list I was a full-time software engineer.
I had created a nice freelancing business but it wasn’t providing me the time or freedom that I wanted. I started thinking more about building products and improving people’s lives, and the more I thought about it, the more I noticed there wasn’t any good teaching online that would help people do what I was good at.
That’s when I decided to start building an email list to help web developers grow into full-fledged engineers.
Fast-forward 19 months and I’d built a list of 4,396 subscribers.
I’ve launched 4 times and made a total of $50,000 of revenue among those launches.
Now I have a job that gives me the time and freedom to work on audience and product building! I love it.
How did you do it?
I got my first 100 subscribers by doing one thing.
I had written a blog post called “From disgruntled developer, to founder, to burnout” on HackerNews. At the bottom, I added a link to a book I was writing called “Why programmers work at night.” People could sign up to receive updates throughout the writing process.
This is what I added at the bottom of that blog post:
When that link was clicked, it would take them here.
I knew this would work well because I knew the audience on HackerNews. I knew most of those people were struggling with the same thing.
I gained 100 subscribers from this.
I went from 100 subscribers to 4,396 by doing one thing: launching products.
I launched products that people liked, needed and/or enjoyed.
The first product came out of a bet. A friend was having a problem and challenged me to figure it out. So I took the bet and created a product to solve his problem!
The other products grew from there. As I gained customers and subscribers, I gained people sharing their pains with me. A lot of it was just observing people’s behaviors and identifying their pains.
I’ve done 4 of these product launches:
Launches drive traffic, and my selling strategy is that nobody buys on their first visit. Instead, I push them to subscribe to a drip campaign and then buy. This both converts better and creates subscribers. Double-whammy 🙂
What has building an email list changed in your life and allowed you to do?
Saving well despite paying rent in San Francisco has been pretty spectacular. Money is no longer a major source of stress in my life.
What’s next for you?
I’ll be spending all of my time focused on three things:
Girlfriend + Bird
Deep down I always knew that what a true indie business needs, is its own distribution channel. Now I'm building one and launching products has never been easier.