How do you decide if/when to stop a project?

Dan Hill
30 replies
Hi fellow Makers, How do you decide when to stop a project?, or double down? I have a live project, but the next phase would be a substantial marketing investment - which I am not sure will pay off. Thanks for your thoughts Dan My project is - a community driven travel itinerary site which is unique in that it reverse builds your itinerary from your travel photos


It's always a tough choice. If it's a project I really like, I'll continue working on it, but maybe move it to the back burner for a bit and focus on something else. Usually that helps me either 1) think of a new direction to take the project in, or 2) decide to give up on it. The time away from the project lets me think about if I really think it's a good idea or not. If I miss working on it, that's probably a good sign. If I'm happy to be working on something else, I'm probably done with the project I took a break from. I also try to spend a little time working on projects that are mainly for myself - learning and fun. I think of something I want to learn, and build something using that framework/tool/api. Working on a project when I'm not thinking about users, money, etc really clears my head and helps me do better work on my other projects. I recently did that with - made it completely for fun and because it's something I will use daily - and it's now one of the projects I'm most happy with. I needed a break from my main projects, but now when I go back to working on them more, I'll feel a lot better, and honestly learned a lot.
James Bryce - Lind
Hi Dan, have you exhausted all bootstrapping options?
Dan Hill
@james_bryce_lind Hi James, I think my issue is when to know if I'm throwing good money after bad. Am I too emotionally evolved to know if the project is viable, etc. Is the timing right for this venture (I think possibly not...) So far my capital expenditure has been mainly my own time. I have started down the marketing road with my own time using all the free options I can find - but starting to conclude that investing in Google, Facebook ads etc will take real money - to make progress... Since users are not falling over themselves to use my app - perhaps it's time to stop / pause and move on. Just wondering what tools people use to assess this logically.
@danjhill I'm in a very similar position with a hobby project. It's costing about $100 to acquire a paying user, at which point it takes 30-40 weeks for us to recover that cost. My strategy has been to do more organic outreach with traditional news platforms. E.g., just did a local news interview on the product today. I'm hoping an approach like this could lead to a growing userbase without continuing to dump money in an uncertain hobby project.
Dan Hill
@d3feater Sounds advice. I like the advice on here about doing things that don't scale. I will go into manual publicity / client finding mode!
Wayne Smallman
Hi Dan, such a difficult position to be in. It would depend on the cost of maintaining and hosting it, and riding out the pandemic situation, in the hope of finding some success on the other side. I would at least give it until the end of the year, betting on the surge in demand for travel benefits you. I'm assuming you've look at the communities on Meetup and similar? Focusing on some of the influencers there, perhaps.
Dan Hill
@waynesmallman Thanks Wayne. Running costs are minimal so I won’t stop it operating. Meetup is one community I hadn’t explored - but will do so (been mainly exploring Twitter). Thanks for the advice.
Wojciech Gryc
This is a neat website. Making a big financial investment is definitely gutwrenching. As such, I'm curious: do you have any user metrics you can share, or any evidence that this is working and compelling to the users who find your site? Anything around that would be helpful as to me, user adoption is critical in this space, and you only want to invest if you're actually giving users something they need/want and might eventually pay for or tell their friends about.
Dan Hill
@wojciech Hi Wojciech - Thanks. user adoption is what the marketing budget would be for.... had good feedback from beta users friends and acquaintances - alas with restricted travel since Feb - now has not been the best time to assess future adoption.
Wojciech Gryc
@dan_hill1 What's the value prop for a user right now? Say you paid $1/user to drive them to the site... What then? I tried to use your search for Warsaw, Toronto, and Shanghai and in all cases was told no content exists. If you spent money to acquire me, you'd have lost me pretty quickly. Are you sure the issue isn't lack of content?
Dan Hill
@dan_hill1 @wojciech Yes - you are absolutely right. It is just a platform right now - with about 8 itineraries added by me to prove the platform (and about 100 places, and about 10,000 events in the Denmark area). I need users to upload & share content. It is of course not scalable for me to keep adding. I would ideally need some travel blog influencers, or similar to help promote. All my attempts at marketing so far have been in the area of content creators - as opposed to marketing it as a platform to regular users. Regarding the commercial model - I have a number of ideas in the works - but right now I am much more interested in making something that people want to use. The rest would follow if generated traffic sufficient.
Wojciech Gryc
@dan_hill1 @danjhill Got it! I missed that part when logging in. I definitely am not in your target market then, but good luck!
Nathan Svirsky
Well done on getting this far! Looks like a nice product. It's definitely a really difficult time to be launching this kind of service. However, there is no doubt that many people will be planning for a long trip once things have calmed down. If I were you I would look to tap into backpacking and travel forums who may be looking for this kind of solution. Also if it's an area that interests you then start becoming a thought leader within those communities. This is slightly 'out there' but to help promote how your service works, could you create a "Virtual Experience Itinerary", so for example; - you take all the places on this list:, - plot them on a map like you already do on your site. - add information about them. - schedule it. - share as a pre-made package by MapADay ***OR*** - curate a big list of virtual experiences (there are endless amounts at the moment - allow users to filter them via your filter options. - users can create their own lists. - share with friends. Could be a good way to get people onto your site!? Good luck mate!
Dan Hill
@nathansvirsky Hi Nathan - thanks - really appreciated - these are great ideas that I will implement!
Dan Hill
@nathansvirsky Quickly knocked up a virtual tour based on the Independent Link you sent: Need to flesh out the details - but thanks for the advice again!
It is certainly an awful time for travel. But things are only going to get better! The key is to ensure that you have a current source of income and only a small portion of that is going into the maintenance and development of this new site. However, you obviously have to test out your site (hoping you already did this) that might tell you whether you need to pivot a little or you can keep this running until the domain becomes valid. I would look for ways to get some potential enthusiasts and keep getting feedback until you get an answer (use this: Good luck!
You should check a book called The Lean Startup by Eric Ries it tells you exactly when
Jones Myrtle
There is an AI site ( ) that targets to image enhancement solution.
Conti Janet
@jones_myrtle You are allowed to convert YouTube to MP3, and download videos from almost all of your favorite sites.
Dan Hill
I decided to keep going, and very glad I did! We now have some great content on the site - with loads in the pipeline - and user momentum is really building :) Thanks all for the encouragement and feedback!