Like many programmers, I’m often fooled into thinking that it’s enough to build a good product — that people will find it on their own, instantly recognize its value, and pay for it. It’s easy to forget that even great products need marketing to succeed. For a one-man shop it’s important to take a break from writing code and work on how the app is sold.
Building a business is hard. I started Riverfold Software 6 years ago and in many ways it has fallen short. And for some of the past year, I’ve squandered the success of Tweet Marker, failing to practice and experiment with how to make money from it.
Jason Fried of 37signals wrote for Inc Magazine last year about how making money takes practice:
“One thing I do know is that making money is not the same as starting a business. For entrepreneurs, this is an important thing to understand. Most of us identify with the products we create or services we provide. I make software. He is a headhunter. She builds computer networks. But the fact is, all of us must master one skill that supersedes the others: making money. You can be the most creative software designer in the world. But if you don’t know how to make money, you’re never going to have much of a business or a whole lot of autonomy.”
In the last week I’ve taken a couple steps in the right direction. I’ve finally redesigned the Watermark home page around a simpler marketing statement of what the app is about. And as discussed on the recent Core Intuition, I switched from PayPal to Stripe in an effort to make payment smoother and subscriptions easier to track. There’s still a lot to do, but I hope to make even more time for marketing before the year is up.