Jan 23 – I launched my product in beta
Starting my indie hacker journey.
Hello, and welcome to my monthly newsletter. I’m Nicolas, and each month I share updates about what I’m working on and where I’m at in my indie hacker journey.
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In July 2022, my friend Jeremy Stenuit challenged me to create an MVP for an app in 7 days. That’s when I started working on a new side project…
Type is a macOS app that allows you to take notes without interrupting your flow. You can launch the app from anywhere via a hotkey and it will save the note to a file, and automatically add a timestamp to each note.
I initially wanted to create this app because I often need to take quick notes while I’m working and I don’t want to break my flow.
6 months and a big break later (a month of vacation in August completely broke my momentum 😓), I finally launched the beta… I wish I had done this sooner because it definitely helped me gain followers.
Having something to show definitely helps rather than just speaking about the idea of a product when it comes to growing your social media following.
Lesson learned for next time. ✅
✨ New app icon
My talented friend (and coworker) Denis Moulin designed a beautiful icon for Type.
A great icon makes all the difference. When you see a beautiful icon, it makes you want to try the app. It’s the same with the design of an app. I know the current UI of Type is quite boring and I plan to work on it this month to make it more delightful ✨.
🚀 Launching the Beta
I shared a private beta with friends earlier this month.
Instantly it was clear that the app needed an onboarding because everyone was telling me they couldn't find the app when they launched it (it's a menu bar app 😆).
So I created a basic onboarding and added a signup form on Type’s website to access the beta.
I know I could have gotten a lot more beta testers by just sharing the TestFlight link, but I believe deeply in the power of email for marketing. So I really wanted to ask beta testers for their email before sending them the link. This helps filter out people who really want to try the app and it will be very helpful for the launch. We'll see if it was a great strategy or not!
If you also want to try the app, you can download the beta here.
🎨 Website redesign
I can't believe I was proud of the first design of the Type website I did in August. 😆 With the launch of the beta, I thought it was time for a little refresh.
I spent an evening redesigning the website with some Tailwind components. It's crazy how fast it goes and how more pro it looks. I also took the opportunity to add support for dark mode.
I must say that I like it a lot (for now 😏).
In July, I decided to try the "Twitter Game", which is trying to grow my followers. My goal was to help me the day I launch a product. I was also curious to see how it works.
It's still very early days, but it will be interesting to see these stats month after month.
Personal account: 284 followers (+25 / +9.65%)
Type account: 11 followers (+11 / +100%)
Personal account: This is the first issue, next month we’ll see how it went.
Type account: 29 subscribers (+12 / +141.67%)
🔍 Product recommendations
Each month I share a few products I use.
Flow – A minimalistic pomodoro based focus timer. I recently subscribed to their annual plan so I can block certain websites when I’m focused. It has proven to be very helpful for me to stay productive.
Texts – All of your messages in one inbox. I recently got access to this invite-only macOS app that lets you combine all of your messages into one app. I wrote a thread about my thoughts on this product.
Umbra – Specify desktop wallpapers for both light & dark appearances in macOS. I recently bought a nice pack of wallpapers and this app allows me to specify a wallpaper for light and dark appearance.
At the start of the year, I created a Notion doc to track my goals for the year. 🎯
I first read a bunch of articles on how to do annual reviews and think about your goals:
Then I created my own system (based on OKRs) and built a Notion page to track everything. It was inspired by Easlo’s OKRs dashboard, except I don’t track things quarterly, but annually.
If you’re interested, you can download the Notion template here.
👋 That’s all for now…
I hope you enjoyed this first issue. Let me know how I can improve this newsletter. I'm doing this mostly for myself to keep track of what I've accomplished this year, but if it helps some of you in the meantime, I would be very happy. 🙂
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Thank you for reading!
Until next time! ✌️