John Jago

Day 6: Self-doubt and Google Ads

My project has so few users. Is it ever going to grow? This is a question I often ask myself, and one that many will ask themselves when they try to start something.

The niche Dashify occupies is, well, very niche. It’s an extension for an extension of a platform. Arguably, I haven’t done enough marketing to say that it can’t grow past 10 free users, but at the same time, because of how niche it is, I feel that possibility is likely. But is my feeling correct?

There’s been plenty of validation that what I’m building is needed in the space, but actions show more than words. People might say they’d like something, but are they really going to commit to using it?

I took some time to think about my experience with Shopify as an ecommerce platform. When compared side-by-side with WooCommerce, the user experience of a merchant managing their store from the dashboard is clearly better. It’s faster, cleaner, and packed with intuitive features. Then, I thought what if the end vision for Dashify is an extension for WooCommerce that brings the fast, clean, intuitive dashboard to WooCommerce. Especially if part of it is free, it should be a “must-have extension” for any WooCommerce store.

When building something totally new, with no competitors and when not built on top of another platform, it would be prudent to validate, validate, validate. With my goal of making money, if not a living, in less than 90 days from now, I don’t have time to experiment with many different, unvalidated products, so here’s what I’m betting on.

WooCommerce has at least a couple million active stores. Though market share of ecommerce platforms changes year by year, WooCommerce is likely to be around for perhaps another 10 years, if not more. If any of these merchants can upgrade their experience significantly with a free plugin, and even more with a paid version, they’d probably do it. Or at least enough would to justify making a business out of this.

So, all I need to do is to continue building out the best possible dashboard for managing WooCommerce orders (and eventually products, customers, and other parts of the store) and marketing it. But, emphasis on the building part, which I haven’t been doing for a few weeks, and to be honest there hasn’t been too many development hours put into the project in its lifetime.

One thing indie product makers are often cautioned against is putting all our eggs in one basket. But, if the demand is clear and time is limited, I am starting to think it’s the better choice. As an analogy: food is always in demand, so if you’re goal is to just get started, opening one quality restaurant in a busy place with no other options will probably be better (to achieve a living) than opening 5 across different areas of town to see “what works”, which would divide your effort too thin.

Today I set up a $5 per day Google Ad campaign targeting rather specific keywords. It’s the kind of thing I don’t have expectations for—I just want to see what happens and adjust. It’s also my first time using Google Ads. It’s fairly confusing, but to my understanding you only pay per click, so I suppose it’s not doing any harm if people end up visiting the website, as simple awareness of Dashify should be enough to bring it to the first 10 active users.

👋 This is my work journal, a series where I write daily about trying to make a living building a bootstrapped software product.