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Ask HN: How to find product focus for your own projects? Freelance PO? Other?
1 point by showsover 4 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 1 comment
I've been working on my small project for about 9 months now. It's slowly coming together but the progress has slowed down considerably. Not so much due to technical debt or pesky problems, but rather something more annoying: I don't know what feature to work on or what direction to take the project. Of course I'm eating my own dog food, but my own use-case gets me only so far. How did you get a product that interests people? Ideally I'd like to charge money for this, but I think I'm still far from that point in time / functionality.

My project is about tracking your net-worth so you can map out your own road to FI / FIRE. So far I have portfolio managing / stock tracking / FI goal setting. I have a rough roadmap that talks about tracking your cash / bank accounts ideally via PDS2, but other than that I'm kinda drawing blanks. The main issue that I have right now is that I don't want to start at adding bank accounts because of all the manual work for the user, at least until I get automated syncing set up but for that I need to register a company etc with each bank. That is a step too far right now because I have only one user: myself.

If you want to check it out and give some constructive feedback, I would hugely appreciate it. Feedback about anything at all: Design, functionality, ease of use, language mistakes, etc. You can find it at https://my.roadto.fi/#/




> I don't know what feature to work on or what direction to take the project. Of course I'm eating my own dog food, but my own use-case gets me only so far. How did you get a product that interests people? Ideally I'd like to charge money for this, but I think I'm still far from that point in time / functionality.

I'm not in your target market, so I don't have anything interesting to say about the product itself, but I do have some suggestions for how you can get actionable feedback to de-risk your project:

First, you don't necessarily have to actually charge money in order to find out whether people would pay, you only have to measure whether they click a "buy now" button (or the equivalent).

Furthermore, while the folks who clicked the button might be slightly annoyed that the button was "fake", they are then good prospects to sign up for notification when the product is available for purchase, and are decent candidates for user testing your eventual product (but keep in mind that the product you develop based on this sort of validation may be different than the one they tried to buy (also, the more-annoying variation that is actually taking the order and then cancelling the charge is pretty risky unless you use a throwaway business/product name, I've never tried that and wouldn't suggest approaching those folks for anything else).

Creating and A/B testing google ads and landing pages will (potentially) teach you which users to target, what features/phrasing potential customers find most compelling, what pricing models to use, and so on, helping you to hone your value proposition and prioritize features (fair warning, you may learn that there is no viable market).

There are a lot of decent articles on the web about validating an idea with 'spoof landing page', 'dry wallet', or 'fake door' MVPs, but some of my favorite resources are the following books, which will also give you good context for these and related tactics, as well as 'next steps' you can take:

Running Lean by Ash Maurya

Validating Product Ideas Through Lean User Research by Tomer Sharon

Lean Customer Development: Building Products Your Customers Will Buy by Cindy Alvarez




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