I signed the contract on 1st of April and almost seven months later my web app, Netcrumb, is ready.
It’s been a long journey, with a lot of ups and downs, but my big minimum viable product is live.
Netcrumb is a web app that will help people to create one page WordPress websites faster and easier.
Probably, you don’t know what I’m talking about, but if you want to read my complete journey, I wrote a few parts:
If you don’t want to read the previous posts, let me tell you the story in a few words.
Last year I had an idea to create a web application that will help people build WordPress websites faster and easier.
On 1st of April, this year, I hired a small agency from Bucharest, Romania, to create the app in three months for 16,000 EUR.
It took them almost seven months to complete what we discussed initially, and I was asked to pay 4000 EUR more.
That is why I wrote $23,000 in the title, and after I made the conversion with xe.com, 20,000 EUR is more than $23,000.
The app looks and works great at this point, but would I do it again? NO.
I’m a mobile developer, and before starting this project, I thought that for me to learn the technologies required for this project, it would take at least one year.
I don’t want to complain, but I will write a post where I will try to help people understand how to choose developers to build their projects.
I’m a developer, and it was very hard for me during these months.
I imagine that someone with no technical knowledge has fewer chances of paying and building something they dream.
About the App
It takes hours or days to search for a WordPress theme, buy, then learn to customize and finally launch your website.
I’ve seen a lot of people complaining that after they buy a theme, it doesn’t look as promised. That’s because you have to do more customization.
If you ever built a WordPress site, I’m sure that you know the struggle.
With Netcrumb I’m reversing the above wrong process.
How Netcrumb works?
- Select the design, colors, assets and add text.
- Once you like what you created, buy the design. Netcrumb will convert everything into a WordPress theme.
- Download it and install on your WordPress panel
Being an MVP, you will still have to download and manually install it on your WordPress panel, but once you do that, it will not require more customization.
It should take less than 30 minutes to build a one page WordPress website.
What are the PROs and CONs?
I will start with the PROs:
- Fast ( Saves you at least a few hours )
- Easy to use
- Beautiful designs
- Unlimited edits
- Only one page WordPress sites
- Limited designs
- Manually download and install the theme
The BETA pricing for a theme it is $19.
Thinking to look for a co-founder
Being a solo founder is hard. I have a lot of ideas in my mind, but I don’t think I can do everything.
I started alone and I will continue alone in the next period, but I’m thinking to find someone that can help me with the non technical aspects of the business.
I’m wondering where do you find a co-founder?
Friends are the first in the list, but what if none of my friends are interested in Netcrumb?
How do you find someone that wants to put the same amount of work as you or has the same passion or desire to succeed?
If you have any suggestions, leave me some comments.
Raise money, bootstrap or learn the Netcrumb’s stack
To take the app to the next phase I need more money ( $50,000 – $100,000 )
Firstly, I need to see how people will respond to the MVP, but I have to think in the future, no?
If I will have customers, bootstrapping will not be an issue, but what happens when you have clients, but not enough and you discover that you need to change things or add new features.
Without money, raising or boostraping, the only solution will be to build everything by myself. In this case, who will promote the business? The answer is: a co-founder.
I will try to get as much feedback as possible in the next months and based on that I will decide on the next move.
You never realize how many decisions you have to make, even in a not launched start up.
Moving from London to Bucharest
It was the end of May or June when I came back to London from a Bucharest trip, and I asked myself “Why I’m living in London?”.
I moved here two years ago for new opportunities, but the only things I’ve done was work.
As a self-taught developer, the last few years were devoted to work, and I will continue to do that, but I think that everything else is necessary too.
You need balance in your life otherwise you cannot continue like that forever.
You might be wondering why I move from such a great city.
I’ve received this question a lot of times in the past few months, and there are several reasons.
- Making relationships in London is hard.
Not talking about finding the love of my life, as I already have a fantastic girlfriend, but making real-life friends.
I have great colleagues at my job, but everything ends after a day of work.
Most of the people live far from each other, or they have other commitments like wife or kids. You always have to plan meeting other people in advance.
- People in London are educated and polite, but I feel like a person that doesn’t belong here.
- Health system is broken from my point of view
I had some terrible back pains this year. After visiting an emergency hospital, a physio several times and with two private insurances, I couldn’t find out what I had. I asked for an MRI, but I’ve never received it.
These are just a few reasons, but there are many more in my mind.
I’ve resigned from my job on 30th of August and on 31st of October is my last day.
I’m happy for everything that I learned here and for every person that I meet, but it’s time to go to my home country.
Netcrumb will use the Stripe account that is registered with the UK company that I have and will remain like this, at least for the next months.
New article published
The most significant achievement in August was publishing an article on Hackernoon.
I know it’s not much, but it was my most read article to date.
I have 2800 Views and 1100 reads.
It’s a story where I explain how I worked on a mobile app for ten months and I made less than $ 70.
You can read the story here
I focus on why monetizing a project from the beginning is very important and what mistakes I did during that time.
Free $1,000 Aws Credits
I don’t know if you are aware, but if you have a startup that requires any AWS stack, you can apply for a $1,000 promotional credit that is available for two years.
I applied for the Builders package, but they have two more packages which can give you more credits.
For example, the Portfolio package can give you up to $15,000 credits.
Anyway, I applied, and I received a fast response from Amazon that I was accepted to receive $1,000 in free credits that include a lot of areas.
My expenses with AWS were in the last months around $150 in total, and the bill went to around $65 in August.
Now I know that if Netcrumb will not scale too much in the next year at least, the hosting was paid, but who doesn’t want to scale?
Total Subscribers and Readers
In the last few months, I wrote some posts with the idea of making people aware of Netcrumb.
A few thousand read my articles, but I managed to get only 174 people to subscribe to the mailing list.
The downside of this type of strategy is that you don’t have a target audience. Most of my articles were published on two publications on Medium: The Startup and Hacker Noon.
I have a mailing list collector inside the posts, but it was not enough.
I guess that the best thing to do is to try and send as many people as possible on your main website and target the right audience with the posts.
One thing that I would probably do different today:
If the MVP is not easy to do, build an audience first.
Let me give you one example for my case.
I could have done a WordPress themes directory ( free and paid ), or as suggested by an online friend, Nitesh, I could have created the service that Netcrumb is offering manually.
The most important part of building a web application when you are not the developer.
- Building Netcrumb.com – 20,000 EUR; I paid only 18,500 EUR so far as my initial budget was 16,000 EUR, but I will pay the rest in the following months. I will convert the 20,000 to USD via xe.com and the conversion is $23,100.
- AWS ( Before receiving the credits ) – $155.28.
- Mockflow ( I will probably cancel ) – $22.80 x 8 months = $182.40.
- Betalist – $120 ( Had a campaign with them – Read the review ).
I do not remember other costs or they might be small.
Total = $ 23,557.68
That’s a lot of money!
Can you imagine how stressed I’m if Netcrumb will be succesful or not?
The app is amazing and works great, but clients and time will tell.
It was an interesting thing to do the project management instead of the development, but it is only the beginning of the long journey.
The hard part will start now.
I’m thinking to create a goal like “reach the first $3000 or $5000 in sales” and explain what I will do to get there.
Nathan Barry’s story from Convertkit is amazing and inspirational.
It took him one year and 8 months to reach his goal of $5000 in recurring revenue, but he did it.
If you want to read it: http://nathanbarry.com/category/the-web-app-challenge/
I might do something similar in terms of writing.
Let me know what you think about Netcrumb and if you have any questions please ask!