First off, can you tell us about your background and your product?
It’s just me here! I’m a 16 year old, and love shipping side projects on the side. I learned how to code with Node.js last fall and since then have built Routeshuffle, a random route generator for running, and then continued on to build Upload.fm, my biggest project yet. It’s a tool for uploading podcast episodes to YouTube easily and automatically.
How long did it take to build your initial prototype and how did you validate it?
I started working on it in early March, and worked on it up until May when I launched. I did no validation, which may have been the wrong thing to do. But when I get an idea I like, I’d rather just build it and see what happens. I knew the idea would be big after a guy (who will remain nameless) who worked at a very large podcast network reached out to me wondering if we could partner and work together on Upload.fm, even before I had a final product. Ultimately I backed out of the deal because I wanted to own 100% of it, and I couldn’t completely trust the other person. But it was very clear that there is a need in the industry for a tool like this. Supposedly YouTube wants to see more podcasts on its platform.
How did you get your first paying customer and how long did it take?
My first paying customer was an hour after launch. I messed up and forgot to take Stripe out of test mode, so my first customer thought they had paid when in reality their credit card wasn’t charged! They luckily signed up again in live mode once I realized what I had done and reached out.
What worked and what didn't work when finding your first users?
I’m still figuring a lot of this out to be honest. I’m very much in the early days of this still. The only real marketing I’ve done was the initial launch, and some cold emails to podcasts that are already being uploaded to YouTube manually. I’ve been holding off on marketing as I develop some more key features for the product, and then I’ll transition to working completely on marketing.
How did you grow your user based from the first paying customer?
Here’s a graph of where my customers have came from. Product Hunt was where most customers came from initially.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs looking to onboard their first users?
Cold emails work. Use a tool like Mailshake to send out emails, but be sure that you’re emailing relevant people that would actually find your product useful.
What resources have helped you in the early stages?
As always Stack Overflow saved me multiple times, but reading Twitter and looking at tweets about entrepreneurship is great motivation. I also got some good advice from wip.chat, a Telegram group, about what to do when the partnership deal was in talks.
How can people reach you and find out more?
I’m on Twitter @riieywz, my site is at walzr.com and Upload.fm is at… upload.fm :) Feel free to reach out to me if you need any help or advice about bootstrapping or building a SaaS!
Website 2: upload.fm
Website 2: walzr.com