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Tell/Ask HN: Sell right from the start./?
6 points by Loic 2842 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 2 comments
This is maybe a bit pretentious, but I wanted to tell that long ago. Something coming here on a regular basis is how hard it is to get momentum, to keep the motivation and going ahead when you are tired etc.

I found that the best solution is to sell. It does not mean that you need to sell a lot, even if it is just $50 a month. Do it. Offer a paid option of your webapp and sell.

The days you will be down, the serendipity will be there and you will get an email from your payment processing gateway: "$50 for you". And this is the best thing you can get, it means:

"Me, the customer, trust you, you have a good product and I am ready to pay for it. You are good."

When you are offering both "totally free" and "paid options" the effect on the moral of getting a sale is higher than the inverse of your conversion rate. It is like drug, you want more of it, you start to make crosses on your year calendar on the wall, you feel good.

Go sell and enjoy accumulating these little red crosses.

And you, what is keeping you rolling? Do you think that in your case you cannot sell right from the start?

Interesting to discussion to kick off.

1) Do you think that having a sell angle on your site can be a traction killer? Will you be stickier if things are free and happy for a longer period of time?

2) Isn't integrating with billing solutions and going through all the necessary legal/tax/yada rigamarole the exact kind of "dip" that tends to demotivate people in the first place?

3) Isn't the customer service that comes with keeping your paying customers happy also the kind of thing that tends to take away from development momentum? Esp. if you are solo?

Would love to hear what other people have to say. I think this is a great question.

For my very small case which is a software available as GPL with a free limited in space hosting and a paid "more space" hosting.

1) the offer is a freemium offer and the free part is something I would personally use, the free offer gives traction and users are happy using it. Some are also slowly (no stats yet) converting to paid customers.

2) I had already my company so this was not an issue. The only thing I had to do was to get a merchant account and a payment processing gateway. It took a bit of time but it was way easier than expected.

3) No way, the customer service is telling you were you need to code and in my case helps my development momentum. When I have a paid customer who ask me something I wanted to implement but were procrastinating, it is the small kick pushing me ahead.

What is also helping me is a paper in front of my desk with just the 13 sentences from here: http://www.paulgraham.com/13sentences.html (minus the first one, I am a single founder).

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