I'm Steph. I've grown products like Trends.co to millions in ARR and sold 6 figures in my own. AMA!

Steph Smith
82 replies
Hey Product Hunt In 2018, I decided to learn to code. Inspired by other creators who had become completely financially independent, I set out on my creator journey and started building my own products. Fast forward four years and I now have a profitable book Doing Content Right that has sold over $125k in ~1 year and a new course, Doing Time Right that's on pace to do the same.Along the way, I've worked full-time, most recently at The Hustle leading up their Trends product, which was acquired by HubSpot in February! I'm always dabbling in something — whether it's on Twitter, my blog, or my new podcast The Sh** You Don't Learn in School. Happy to answer questions on basically any topic, but here's what most people ask me about: - Creating while working FT - Growth and marketing - Content (and doing it right! 😉) - Remote Work/Nomading (I spent ~4 years on the road) - Learning to code - Trends! Product Hunt was at the very beginning of my creator journey, so I'm excited to support any fellow creators on theirs. I'll be in and out answering questions all day, so fire away! 🚀 PS: I created a code (KITTY) for both of my products Doing Content Right and Doing Time Right that'll get you 50% off. 😺

Replies

Valentin Decker 🥢
Working @LiveMentor
Hi Steph, Thanks for the AMA ! What are your best advices for content distribution ? When you write a piece, how do you think about promoting it ? Thanks, Valentin
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Steph Smith
NomadHubb + MYGA + Eunoia + FeMake
Hey @valentin_decker! Your question relates to a conversation I had with the Product Hunt team recently: https://www.producthunt.com/stor... Below is an excerpt from it, but before you read that, I will just add that it's so important to spend a significant amount time with marketing. Many people think of it as an afterthought and spend probably 90%+ creating and a fraction of that marketing. There is no perfect ratio, but it should be more like 50/50: https://twitter.com/stephsmithio... And from the get go, you should never be thinking about "how do I create content" and just as if you were building a startup, "what problem does this content solve for people?" Many companies approach content production from the first angle (ie: we should have a blog!) and that's why it feels so unnatural for them to promote. In terms of channels to promote to, this will depend highly on your audience, but the important part is that you explore several channels, before doubling down on a few. If you're unsure on where to start, I would suggest using a few tools: 1. https://anvaka.github.io/sayit/?... to find subreddits 2. Similarweb to see where similar content sites are getting traffic 3. Keywords Everywhere or Ahrefs to do keyword research (so you can learn what people care about!) I cover this in much more detail in doingcontentright.com (there's an entire chapter on distribution and another on SEO), but I'll leave you with the snippet from the PH article below: A lot of people think ‘Let me go make something and then share it after,’ and then it feels really uncomfortable to share because it feels really self-promotional. The first thing is realizing that marketing doesn’t always need to be post-production. Building in public, for example, is a form of marketing and it feels more natural because you’re not showcasing or presenting a finished product.” Another thing to keep in mind is building marketing functions into the product so that it’s sharable in nature. Smith pointed to her fellow grant recipient, Marty Bell at Poolsuite FM. The Poolsuite team isn’t mass marketing their product and posting in every channel (and we know from Bell that the team doesn’t track marketing KPIs). Instead, marketing is built into the product. In other words, the experience is so detailed and thoughtfully created, and so cool, that it’s the website visitors that are doing the marketing for Poolsuite. “I also think it’s important to question why you’re bad at marketing or why you feel uncomfortable. If you’re presenting a really great product and showing it to people who need that product, it also doesn’t feel so much like marketing. If you’re taking something that you’re not sure people really need or blasting it across 30 Telegram groups, it’s going to feel uncomfortable and you’re going to wonder why no one is listening. If you feel like there’s friction, you better believe no one else is going to share it if you don’t want to share it.” Smith also suggests stepping back and taking a look at the gap between what people need and what you’ve produced if you’re feeling a disconnect when you’re marketing. That should bring you back to making something marketable.
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Max Russell
Founder @ Flowio
@valentin_decker @stephsmith that's completely what I need to know right now! Thanks for your valuable sharing!!!!!!!
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Steph Smith
NomadHubb + MYGA + Eunoia + FeMake
@valentin_decker @themaxrussell Glad this was helpful to you!!!
Tim Tutt
Democratizing Data Analytics
Hey Steph - Excited to see this AMA. Big fan of Trends.co and have always been fascinated by its growth. Really curious as to your thoughts on growing an initial following (especially in the B2B space). For context, I'm starting to invest more in marketing and we've been figuring out how to grow slowly, but looking for the things that really help rocket-ship all of the marketing efforts to go from leads -> conversions. Thanks much!
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Steph Smith
NomadHubb + MYGA + Eunoia + FeMake
@timftutt Hey Tim! If you're looking to write online, regardless of whether you're an individual or a business, or if you're B2B or B2C, you need a differentiator. Let's start by addressing the obvious: there is SO much content out there today, so you need to find a way to stand out. And while democratization is good (gives everyone access!), it means that only the very best rises to the top. Most people try to stand out by writing about something that no one is today, which is really hard to do and normally signals that it's actually something that people don't care about. Instead, I encourage people to find something that they know super well (I assume that's the industry your business is in) and to focus on doing that at least 1% better than what already exists out there today. But this "better" needs to be specific. You should be able to articulate what you're doing better in an adjective. Are you funnier? More deeply researched? Contrarian? Simple? More visual? Etc This sounds simple, but it's important and the thing I see so many people miss. No one ever reads something because it's about a particular subject matter (because there are so many options based on the same subject matter). They read it because it's [insert adjective here]. Think to yourself about the newsletters/blogs/podcasts/[insert content medium] that you read. You never say "I love this because it shows up every Tuesday." Nor do you say, "I love this because it writes about technology." You say, "You HAVE to read this newsletter because it's so very concise" or "I've yet to find something as comprehensive" or "It feels like a friend wrote it." If you don't believe me, just answer the question: Why do you subscribe to your favourite newsletter? Why is someone your favourite follow on Twitter? I can almost bet it'a because of *how* they talk about something, not what they talk about. You’re not going to say that you love Barstool Sports because they write about sports. It's because they're funnier. If you can’t articulate to someone: ‘my content is more X than my competitors’ then your content is probably not differentiated enough and other people can’t recognize why they should pay attention to you and not someone else. In the future, you can branch out from this, but having focus at the beginning is essential in building your early audience. As a follow up note on distribution: B2B content focused on conversions tends to benefit from an SEO-focused strategy, because you can specifically target your users' (or future users') problems in a way that you can't as easily through other channels. In other words, you can target based on relevancy and intent. PS: I talk about this in a lot more depth in Doing Content Right (doingcontentright.com) and spoke about it with the Product Hunt team here! https://www.producthunt.com/stor...
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Kevon Cheung
Builder & Writer
@timftutt @stephsmith Steph really takes the questions here seriously - huge respect!
Victor Ponamariov
UI/UX is my passion
e4 or d4? ;)
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Steph Smith
NomadHubb + MYGA + Eunoia + FeMake
@victor_ponamariov d4! London System for me ♕
Sally
Happy
Steph! So happy to see this AMA. Giant fan or your writing, and growth mindset :) I am 24 - working full time, thinking of launching products of my own. I've ran a few conferences and such (think the hustle but in Canada and for students) so I have a little tiny tiny experience with it comes to "doing". What mental framework has helped you the most when it comes to launching new products/ideas into the world?
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Steph Smith
NomadHubb + MYGA + Eunoia + FeMake
@sallysbrain Hi Sally! Love meeting other Canadians on here. 🇨🇦 I'm not sure if this counts as a mental framework, but I think we (humans) overthink things. Perhaps overthinking is a form of procrastination, which is a form of self-defense so that we don't fail. With that said, I think the best thing you can do is to just get something out there and iterate from there. The longer you wait, the more you are prolonging what you really need, which is user feedback. As I said in this tweet https://twitter.com/stephsmithio... Don't spend time talking about whether you think something will work. Test it. Don't spend time asking people what they want. Create it and validate. Don't spend time asking people what they like. Look at what they use.
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Sally
Happy
@stephsmith I so appreciate you taking the time to reply. Love it. Onto publishing.
Justin Jackson
Co-founder of transistor.fm
Hi Steph! Question: what's the best way to determine gaps in the content we already have? We've published ~70 pieces of content on https://transistor.fm; how do we know what we're missing?
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Steph Smith
NomadHubb + MYGA + Eunoia + FeMake
@mijustin I'll record a keyword research Loom for you. In order to do that, who would you say are your direct competitors? Or if no direct competitors, who is your target audience (podcasters or podcast listeners or something else?) and what are they key problems they face?
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JS
How would you recommend going about finding async work? More companies are finally taking on remote employees, but finding async marketing opportunities still feels difficult. Is there a better way than simply compiling a database of async companies and reaching out?
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Steph Smith
NomadHubb + MYGA + Eunoia + FeMake
@jmestn Good question. From my experience, the more remote-first a company is, the more they embrace async work. So effectively, a database of remote-first companies tends to be synonymous with async companies. There are many lists out there of remote-first companies (here's an example from GitLab: https://about.gitlab.com/company...) that you could do outbound to or you could start with one of the remote job boards. I think it's equally important that during the interview stage you ask how folks in the company work (ie: mostly 9-5 or whether it's more flexible) and how they judge an individual's success. Generally, you can tell if the success if input-based or output-based. Finally, once you're in a company, you can push for more asynchronous work. There's definitely some tedium to this, but I've found you can retrain your colleagues over time, since they also discover that async is optimal. Even simple things like when they ask for a meeting, ask if they can send a Loom instead.
Enrique Iturriaga
Curious Human & Designer
I’m learning how to code (it's been 6 months ) Been doing online courses, freecodecamp, codecademy and trying to create stuff on my own. Still, I feel like I'm not progressing much. I’m considering doing a online bootcamp... Do you have any recommendations? Do you think bootcamps are overrated? (online because I work full time) thanks for the AMA 🤗
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SIMON KEVIN
All-round Artist who does code
@enrique_iturriaga same case, here i don't even know what to do anymore
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Steph Smith
NomadHubb + MYGA + Eunoia + FeMake
@enrique_iturriaga Good question! From my perspective, almost all information required to learn coding is available online for free. While that's exciting, it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with taking a bootcamp. Just be clear on what they're offering: accountability. It's also important to say that here's nothing wrong with paying to be accountable. That's why cohort-based courses cost so much more! And that's effectively what a bootcamp is: a cohort-based course. I personally took this online course (http://bit.ly/30zMOpD), which you could say is a bootcamp in itself. But since it's self-paced, many people don't complete it. I personally held myself accountable by tracking whether I coded every single day. It took around 6 months to complete, but you could easily do it in 1-2 months with focus. I also think a key element was that I had a project I wanted to build, so it helped cement the learning. It sounds like you've been doing the same. When you say that you feel like you're not progressing much, can you elaborate on why you feel that way? That'll help me follow up with specific suggestions. PS: You can learn more about my journey and suggestions here: https://twitter.com/stephsmithio...
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Adnan Siddiqi
Software Developer and Consultant
Thanks for the AMA This is probably the first time I am participating in the ProductHunt discussion. OK. Instead of products, I am more interested to know about the mindset that helped you to launch so many successful products. Can you share your thoughts, workflow, or whatever that help you to do it rather than suffering due to fear or procrastinating? Thanks
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Steph Smith
NomadHubb + MYGA + Eunoia + FeMake
@adnan_siddiqi Great question! Mindset really is the key to getting things done. I covered this in a thread I wrote recently here: https://twitter.com/stephsmithio... Some of my personal favourite takeaways... 1. As a creator, you’re at war... with yourself. Your ability to succeed hinges on your ability to craft the right habits and mindset; to show up every single day. “Life is a competition with yourself — not others. And if you want to win, you must make it easy for yourself.” 2. Everyone is an imposter. Most people at most times don't "know what they're doing". The digital world is architected to highlight our best. Self doubt is healthy, so long as it's not debilitating. "He was one of you and yet he became Abraham Lincoln." - W. E. B. DuBois 3. Perfection is an asymptote that you don’t want to chase. When my book launched, it had typos. There still are! The MOBI file didn't work. The title is mediocre. But unlike 99% of projects, it made it out there and continues to evolve. Perfect is the enemy to progress. 4. Stop asking ppl what they want. Let the market decide. I'm a fan of pre-sales bc ppl put their money where their mouth is. "Netflix learned a lesson early on in its life cycle: don’t trust what people tell you; trust what they do." - Everybody Lies 5. Unstoppable people focus on what they can control. If you orient around public opinion, anyone can stop you in your tracks. "You can define a free person precisely as someone whose fate is not centrally or directly dependent on peer assessment" - Nassim Taleb
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Lukas Hermann
Maker, fullstack dev and vue enthusiast
Hey Steph, maybe an unconventional question: What is a marketing shortcut that you would avoid under all circumstances?
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Steph Smith
NomadHubb + MYGA + Eunoia + FeMake
@_lhermann Great question! Avoid anything that erodes trust with your audience. This could be selling a half-assed product, promoting a friend's course that you don't believe in, selling your user's data, etc. What many people recognize about 1:1 relationships is that "trust takes years to build seconds to break." The same is true with 1:many relationships like an influencer to a million person audience, because it's essentially a million unidirectional 1:1 relationships. If they break their trust, they can't win it back. If anything feels like you're trading tomorrow's trust for today's $$$, do not do it. A nice litmus test when you're selling anything (of your own or someone else's) is to ask yourself: Would I sell this on a street corner? If the answer is no, don't do it! The internet may shield you from the immediate response, but it won't shield you from the inevitable dent in your brand. People know that audience drives sales, but sales also drive audience. Don't sacrifice the long-term for the short.
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Lukas Hermann
Maker, fullstack dev and vue enthusiast
@stephsmith Thank you for the thoughtful answer. I'm going to hold on to the "Would I sell this on a street corner?" advice!
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Kyleigh Smith
No-Code Maker
What is the best book or article you've read so far this year and why?
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Steph Smith
NomadHubb + MYGA + Eunoia + FeMake
@kyleighsmith Hmm so tough! I have not been reading as much as I would like, so I'll reference a book that I read at the end of 2020: When Breath Becomes Air. One of the most moving books I've ever read that truly makes you reconsider the fragility of life. My favourite quote from it: “I began to realize that coming in such close contact with my own mortality had changed both nothing and everything. Before my cancer was diagnosed, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. After the diagnosis, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. But now I knew it acutely. The problem wasn’t really a scientific one. The fact of death is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live.”
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Lakshmi
Engineer. Entrepreneur.
Hi Steph Thank you for this AMA, Great Stuff! I'm creating a monthly newsletter. Sometimes I wonder if monthly is infrequent. Would be good to know your take on a weekly vs fortnight vs monthly newsletter. Also, please share newsletter secrets with this newbie. Keep Rocking🤓
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Steph Smith
NomadHubb + MYGA + Eunoia + FeMake
@gogloballakshmi There are many successful monthly newsletters out there, just as there are many successful weekly newsletters out there. There are also newsletters that have no specific cadence and go out whenever they have something substantial to say (ie: striking when the fire is hot) A few notes on cadence: 1. Even if cadence matters, it matters much less than the quality of the content and your ability to differentiate. No one reads a newsletter because of its cadence. They rarely even read it because of the subject matter (because there are so many options based on the same subject matter). They read it because it's hilarious, deeply researched, contrarian, etc. Think to yourself about the newsletters that you read. You never say "I love this because it shows up every Tuesday." Nor do you say, "I love this because it writes about technology." You say, "You HAVE to read this newsletter because it's so very concise" or "I've yet to find something as comprehensive" or "It feels like a friend wrote it." 2. The cadence matters more to you as the creator than it does to your audience, unless you are in the news business. I generally say that early on, consistency is important for you to develop a habit of showing up. After that, I think you should choose a cadence that you can stick with, that ensures that whatever you’re sending is high quality. I think it’s actually much worse to send a weekly newsletter that’s mediocre just to set an arbitrary deadline, than it is to send once a month (or even a year!) with material that is excellent. There is of course one caveat which is that if you’re monetizing your newsletter, there is an argument to increase cadence to increase ad slots. But I generally encourage people not to focus on monetization until they’ve built up a substantial audience.
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Lakshmi
Engineer. Entrepreneur.
@stephsmith Wow, thank you for highlighting the role of cadence and what really matters Steph!
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JS
How do you gently push people to communicate with you async? Would you word things differently if you didn't have an established personal brand?
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Steph Smith
NomadHubb + MYGA + Eunoia + FeMake
@jmestn I think regardless of whether you have a personal brand, the power of asynchronous is not preserving my time at the expense of someone else's, but to make both sides of the working relationship more optimal. I say that because I think you can communicate that ethos when you're asking people to work asynchronously. For example: 1) Could you send over those questions via email so that I can make sure to answer all of your questions? 2) Could you record a demo via Loom so that I can share this with others that also want to learn and revisit it later? 3) Why don't we set up a dashboard for this so we can check this at any point in the day, since I know you're on another timezone?
Sorin Olaru
Hey there Steph, So I actually came across you early in this timeline you mentioned, probably sometime towards the end of 2018 before the Hustle with that thread and content that had some virality on Twitter. I say the one because I think I've heard you mention this on some podcast or tweet how that one post opened up a flurry of opportunities. Anyway, all that to say I'm somewhat familiar with your come up and happy to see it, congrats! I have 2 questions for you: 1. Since you do have a full time job and I know you also take on multiple parallel challenges -- when do you actually work on the side hustle and how many hours would you say you dedicate in a week/month? And do you schedule your time for most effective time for you for a certain task (i.e. first chunk of the morning rather than after work)? My belief is that you can probably create something good in about 100h which you can realistically do in 5 weeks (20h/w) but most of us just don't manage our time or the quality of effort/energy during that time. 2. Now that you have all this "freedom" runway coming in, do you feel less motivation at your day to day job (even though it has its perks for building your brand)? What I mean -- do you feel a pull towards spending 100% of your work time on your own projects now that you have seen some success, created some connections, started growing an audience and have created a nice financial cushion? My personal experience has been that it's hard to justify emotionally to myself spending many hours of my time on projects that don't have priority in my life particularly if it's for security/paycheque reasons (I know it's probably a bit different for you since the work is interesting and the benefits to your personal reach are great) and when I have the opportunity for relatively asymmetric growth for my time if spent elsewhere.
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Steph Smith
NomadHubb + MYGA + Eunoia + FeMake
@realsorinolaru Thanks for the kind words! 1. Honestly, my time investments into side projects is all over the place. But I 100% agree with you that most projects don't take as long as you think. They just require focus, but most of us (myself included) are running around trying to do too many things at once. That's exactly why I like to really time box things. Whether it's using Pomodoro for my daily job or more acutely, my personal projects. My book Doing Content Right tool me 7 weeks. Now of course, I always like to remind people that the book was actually 5+ years in the making (learning and distilling the expertise) With that said, actually putting this thing on paper in a short period was all about deadlines and weight behind the deadline (pre-orders). It was my only goal outside of my full-time job for those couple months. Parkinson's Law is a strong force, so I try my best to contain my projects in discrete timelines. Similarly, Doing Time Right I did on an even shorter timeline (20 days). Same principles though: focusing on one thing at a time and setting aggressive deadlines. During both of these phases, I'm spending pretty much all day working outside of my core job. But when I'm not focused on a project, I'll only really work on stuff when I feel like it (ie: not very much at all), which is why I say it's all over the place. As for scheduling, I think time blocking is one of the most simple, yet powerful tools that you can use. Here's a simple tactic that I do weekly: https://twitter.com/stephsmithio... You might also find these articles relevant! - You Don't Need to Quit Your Job To Make: https://blog.stephsmith.io/you-d... - Habits and Routines Interview: https://tomaslau.com/interviews/... 2. Excellent question. I think I would be lying if I said there was no pull to go all in on my own stuff, especially as I see other creators that have done the same with quite lucrative results. However, I'm acutely aware of how easily your passions can be destroyed by making them your full-time job (see the "You Don't Need to Quit Your Job to Make" piece above), so I'm trying to keep that in perspective. I'm also trying to keep Parkinson's Law in mind, which in this context means that just because I remove my FT job, it doesn't mean that I'll actually be much more productive in my own endeavors. I absolutely will go all in on my own work one day -- my bosses know this -- but for now, I personally find the projects I get at work compelling. I suppose this is to say that as soon as my job is no longer interesting and teaching me something, that'll be the juncture that I go all in on my own projects. The one thing I'm pretty sure of is that I likely won't work for another company after I leave this one!
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Sorin Olaru
@stephsmith Thanks for the insights Steph and for sharing your journey! Happy to see you win, it's quite inspiring :)
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Christophe L.
Co-founder at Request
Steph is doing excellent work. The "doing time right" training is very insightful. I recommend.
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Steph Smith
NomadHubb + MYGA + Eunoia + FeMake
@lassuytchristop Thank you so much! ⏳🙌
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Igor Cotruta
Data wrestler
What's your take on AI-generated content? Do you think it will discount the value of high-quality content produced by media companies?
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Steph Smith
NomadHubb + MYGA + Eunoia + FeMake
@igocrete As with most other technological innovations, it will change the game, but not replace it. At the end of the day, people will still be looking for the best content. And for now, I don't think that will be produced by AIs on their own. On their own is key phrasing here, because I think that absolutely AIs can already augment the writing process in pretty significant ways and I think it will continue to expand those use cases. Even today, you can use GPT-3 to write an article for you, which you can use as the foundation that you build off of. But, I still think that you (for now) need a human to adjust that piece and make it excellent. And even if that part gets replaced, you still need the prompt which comes from someone having the ability to determine what people care about. When you think about it, AI-generated content won't really change the game much, but simply advance what is already happening. The democratization of people being able to produce content en masse already flooded the internet with more content than we could ever dream of. In other words, it became a commodity. So now, people don't want a lot of content... they only want the best stuff. So in fact, I think it will increase the value of the best content, but it will continue to lower the value of mediocre content which again, is already in progress.
Juan Jesús Millo
Design Curator @uxdatabase
Hello! I would like to know which is your schedule (including weekends), since I am struggling sometimes to evolve my product while FTing :( Best regards, and thanks for your AMA! <3
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Steph Smith
NomadHubb + MYGA + Eunoia + FeMake
@juan_jesus_millo Hey Juan! I responded to a similar question above that Sorin asked! I definitely work on weekends and nights, although I don't think that is *necessary*. I think the biggest thing that's stopping people from reaching their goals is not focusing in one concrete direction. Feel free to read my more in depth response below, or you may find the course doingtimeright.com helpful! It's all about how I've learned to make the most out of our most scarce resource (time) https://www.producthunt.com/disc...
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Juan Jesús Millo
Design Curator @uxdatabase
@stephsmith Thank you very much for the link of the answer! I will try to balance my FT and Side Projects, consistency is key! Many thanks!!!
Özge Erdemir
PRM @Pangolin
I'm very happy to see women doing great job and feel proud of seeing their achievement. Great stuff Steph. I know many people wanna do remote work or live like a nomad, but it's not easy for them to find their passion. How was it for you? Did you find your passion or a job to survive as a nomad easily? Im sure knowing that would inspire and encourage other people to take on that path. Thanks
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Steph Smith
NomadHubb + MYGA + Eunoia + FeMake
@ozgeerdemir Thank you so much! Love women supporting other women. If you're looking for a remote job in 2021, you're already starting from a much better place than 2016 when I started. There are endless remote jobs out there, regardless of your passion, which I think is a bit of a fairytale anyway. I got a degree in chemical engineering, but have worked in academia, consulting, marketing, product, etc, and enjoyed each one. To answer your question directly though, my first fully remote job was in digital marketing and I selected it on the important criteria that it remote, but that I also would have taken the job even if it wasn't remote. In other words, I wasn't trading anything away to be remote. You might like the responses to this thread: https://twitter.com/stephsmithio... With that said, if you're looking to go remote and travel, I would encourage you to check out the following two articles. They're both several years old now, but should still apply (and as I said, be easier than before!) The Guide to Remote Work That Isn't Trying to Sell You Anything: https://blog.stephsmith.io/the-g... A New Age: Finding Non-Tech Remote Jobs: https://blog.stephsmith.io/non-t...
Zied Hamdi
Entrepreneur since 2000
Hi Steph, Thanks for proposing to help makers, that's cool. I must create a strong community for my product before launch for it to succeed: it's a platform that allows people to file requests to local businesses. The unique thing about it is that people can join a request to notify they have the same needs/complaints. The business can propose solutions to his customers, and when satisfied, they can mark their request as "solved". Thus, we can see how good or bad a business treats his customers needs in real time. Each of us had at least a bad experience/idea of improvement when he purchased a product or service, we just need to write those down so that we can be aware of how many others fell in that case. All this is to say: "I need a big community of users to bootstrap the platform's content". Those people must be aware of the great impact we could have by filing/joining requests. So this needs content to be written. I'm not a native English speaker (you must already have noticed it), so for the sake of doing things well, I'd like to hire an external content writer. Can you share your thoughts after reading this, please? Thanks for taking the time to read so far.
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Steph Smith
NomadHubb + MYGA + Eunoia + FeMake
@zhamdi Hi Zied. Thanks for sharing your story. I know you're not necessarily asking for advice on your product itself, but something important to keep in mind is that all products should have a clear problem they're solving for their users. The more acute this problem is for users, the easier it will be to get a user onto the platform. I say this because I wonder whether this is more of a "vitamin" vs a "painkiller" for most people. It may not be, but if it is, it'll be very hard to get people to use the platform over time, even if you seed it with a lot of requests at the outset. For that reason, I would actually not hire an external content writer for this purpose, but instead focus on seeing if you can get users to organically contribute to the platform. If your product solves a painpoint for users already, I would try to find where they're currently filing these requests. Are they posting on other forums or subreddits? Are they posting on Trustpilot? Or are they going to the companies directly and just getting shutdown? If you haven't already, I would try to develop these organic pathways and as you acquire your first users, do user interviews to learn and iterate.
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Zied Hamdi
Entrepreneur since 2000
@stephsmith thanks a lot for your advice Steph, it is good to get back to the basics to check if I didn't miss the elephant in the room. I've read "the mom test" and asked a lot of people, then I launched a simplified version of the product in Tunisia with a pretty satisfying success (1300 visitors and 100+ requests or request joining the month of launch). I'm pretty convinced people are eager to file requests (and to interact with other customers of a business), a maker on PH even commented: "In India we informally discuss issues on fragmented WhatsApp groups." (https://www.producthunt.com/disc...) So today I'm more concerned about letting people know they have a new "interactive review tool" to activate a viral loop of people seeing new requests and thinking they could file one about that incident that happened to them a few months ago...
Ana Lakko
I love business and tech
Hello Steph! So happy you’re doing this. You’re my favorite Twitter person to follow. I just started a Gardening newsletter; what would be your content strategy to grow and market this to be pretty successful? I started blogging, right now I post 1 blog per day. Any tips or guidance on this would be much appreciated. I’m on a soloperneur journey after quitting my 9-5 and I really want to win with this newsletter. Please & Thank you.
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Ana Lakko
I love business and tech
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Steph Smith
NomadHubb + MYGA + Eunoia + FeMake
@ana_lakko Hi Ana! Thank you so much. That's such a compliment. I could write a whole book about growing a newsletters (that's what Doing Content Right is), but I'll try to tease out a couple key points for you. 1. You need a differentiator. Even though I think it's a wonderful topic, there is tons of other content online about gardening. That shouldn't scare you away, because this is true about nearly every topic online. So the question becomes... why should someone read your content about gardening vs all of the other stuff out there? Is it more visual? Funny? Beginner-friendly? This differentiator will be the reason that someone spends their attention with you, but also how they share it with other people. You can learn more about this in my response to Tim here: https://www.producthunt.com/disc... 2. You'll want to test out several different channels. Given what I know about gardening (very little), I would assume your content would do well on some scalable platforms like IG, but I think if you're writing content, you likely can benefit from an SEO strategy. Have you done keyword research before? If not, make sure you understand the different types of intent and be sure to only target informational queries. 3. When you start out at the beginning, your goal should not be to go from 1 to 1000 subscribers. It should be 1 to 2 and then 3, 4, 5, etc. In other words, do things that don't scale. The easiest way is often through communities. Have you already joined any gardening communities that could support you early on? I would also encourage you to read this interview I did with the PH team about content! https://www.producthunt.com/stor...
James Xu-Johnson
Technical Co-founder & Product Leader
Hey Steph! As a product guy I'm stuck trying to organise a workload managing a team of developers, being involved in decision making with the core team, and finding time to sit down and analyse competitors from not only a business perspective, but seeing what user-experience works and what doesn't. When building your products, did you incorporate a lot of testing/competitor analysis/iteration before you "launched" or did you go all out from the get-go?
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Steph Smith
NomadHubb + MYGA + Eunoia + FeMake
@wishu Hey James! There is absolutely room to learn from others, but caution to plan too much or over-analyze. If you look back at the early versions of products, they focused on one single core use case (ex: selling books online, sharing snippets of information, uploading videos, etc) and iterated on the rest over time: https://twitter.com/stephsmithio... Launch and let the market decide: https://twitter.com/stephsmithio...
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