Hey It’s Harold
maker Kyleigh Smith
was so surprised upon being notified that she was receiving one of Product Hunt’s first-ever Maker Grants
that she thought it was a scam
. We love Kyleigh’s humility and are inspired by her determination to make habit tracking easy and personal — as intimate as a text from your faithful friend Harold.What was your inspiration behind Hey It's Harold?
I read an article by Steph Smith
, a creator that I admire, entitled, "How to Be Great? Just Be Good, Repeatably"
, where she wrote about the importance of being consistent with small habits that compound. In another article she spelled it out: "The best way to stay committed to your goals is to a) track progress daily and b) share your progress openly."
This sounded simple enough, but there was one problem: I had tried tracking my habits before and it didn't work. I would make a beautiful table in my journal, get all excited, track for a few days, and then never look at it again.
That's where the idea for Harold came from. I needed a habit tracker that would come to me and ask me for the data. That way I didn't have to remember to track. I had been interested in applications of SMS and this seemed like a great use case. The name Harold came later.What was the first step you took in building?
Like most of the ideas I have, this one sat in my journal for a while. I often have so many ideas that I get stuck in choice paralysis. Luckily, at this point in time, I was working with a career coach who helped me prioritize my ideas and I decided I would try to make this habit tracker idea first.
From there, I started googling how to build an SMS bot. I came across a tutorial on HackerNoon
that seemed pretty close to what I wanted to do. I followed that tutorial and because it was done with No-Code tools, I was able to tweak it to fit my needs (with some help from the amazing Autocode
team). All of a sudden I had a working prototype. I was amazed.
At the time, my sister was pregnant with a baby boy and I was begging her to name the baby Harold, after our grandfather. She wasn't having it, so when I needed to name the project in Autocode, I just entered "Harold". It just stuck after that.What has been your biggest challenge as a Maker?
The biggest challenge has been staying motivated and making consistent progress on a project that I'm working on by myself. When you are making something by yourself, there's not much external accountability, at least in the beginning. Before you have users, if you don't make progress, no one will notice. For me, it's easy to get distracted and lose momentum when I don't have external accountability.What has been your biggest reward?
Interestingly, one thing that allowed me to overcome the motivation and consistency challenges was Harold. When I got the prototype working, I started using it myself. One of my habits was working on my project for 30 minutes every day.
I tracked this habit with Harold for 4 months and looking at my data, I did this habit 42 times (about a 53.8% success rate).
Turns out Steph was right. By working on Harold for at least 30 minutes every other day, I reached my goal of having a side project that had real people using it. From there I reached my goal of launching a side project on Product Hunt. And here I am receiving a Maker Grant, which is still mind-blowing.
I think the biggest reward has been finally realizing some of my dreams, which I wasn't sure I would reach. I think Harold played a huge part in that and I hope he can help others realize their dreams as well.
Launching on Product Hunt, getting almost 200 upvotes, and receiving all of this love and support from the community was a big moment for me. Harold also had my mom and stepdad doing push-ups every day which was awesome to see.What are your next steps for Hey It's Harold?
Keep iterating and improving the product! Harold has a growing waitlist and I let in a new group at the start of every week to try the latest iteration.
I'm also working on developing a business model. One downside of SMS is that it's not the cheapest communication channel. Each text costs money, so at some point, Harold will likely need some sort of paid plan. I'm working with my users to figure out what that might look like.Any words of wisdom you can share for Makers looking to get started?
Finding a career coach, mentor, or community that can support you and help you decide what to spend your time on can be a game-changer.
When you're ready to start building, try googling for a tutorial! There is so much that you can do with NoCode tools now that you'll be surprised what you can make without a lot of programming skills.
Speaking of NoCode, there's a really wonderful and supportive NoCode community on Twitter that I would invite all Makers to join. Some great people to follow to get started are @thisiskp_
They also happen to be in my Be On Deck No Code
program which I also recommend makers check out.
And finally, I know everyone always says this, but it's truly a journey. Play the long game and have fun!