Celebrating first paying customer for a side project 🎉

Sent on April 19th, 2022

If you didn’t know yet, I’m building a side project, Stackblocks, which lets users embed an archive of their newsletters on personal websites.

And, it just got a paying subscriber in 12th April this year. 🎉

Will not be able to put this feeling in words, but ecstatic is a close match.

This means $4 ($3.3 after the payment service’s cut) every month. This would directly help me to keep the project running.

Journey till first customer

The plan actually was to introduce pricing after I get at least 50 users.

Until then improve the app based on actual feedback from the users and providing it for free. Now I have little more than 90 users and the app got a lot better as well.

Now, it felt like right time to charge.

It’s been operating well since I launched the MVP in August 2021.

So, I took out some time 2 weeks ago and made all the necessary changes for charging the customers. I kept deploying the changes as and when I could finish a small task.

Even before I could finish everything and announce it on Twitter and Email, I got a user paying for the app.

I wasn’t ready, but the internet didn’t want me to wait.

This was a huge boost in confidence and validation for the idea/app.

What’s to come

There are minor complains that users have reported through the chat widget in the app. The major one being the stale pages, meaning, when users change/update the options, the embed still show the old one. It takes time to update and add it to cache.

I’ll upgrading the app to NextJS v12 which has a way to invalidate few routes that were built using ISR. This is the solution to the complaints. On every change to the options, I can invalidate the page. I can also let the user force invalidation by the click of a button.

This alone should improve the experience a lot.

I wouldn’t prioritise upgrade if it weren’t solving a crucial problem. Because the tech doesn’t matter to the user. Sure it will make a good tweet but to the user it doesn’t matter.

Other than this, I have a few things I want to do on the marketing end for the app, like updating the landing page based whats working (insights from the analytics), recording demo videos, build a showcase, sending users and email after the free trial, launching on Product Hunt, etc.

That’s all for now. Thanks for riding along in this journey with me. Your support means a lot.

If you want to know any specific detail or want me to expand on anything that I’ve mentioned in this mail, please let me know by replying to this mail. I’ll be happy to share my thoughts.

See you next Tuesday. 👋

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