The product that grows itself vs the product you dream about 

Published on Sep 11, 2020

Reading @patwalls' blog post about how he had to choose between his two products resonated with me:

The mistake: I’m not focusing on the business opportunity that is clearly working - Starter Story. Years ago (before Starter Story), my dream was to build a SaaS business - which is what attracted me to building this new product Pigeon over the last year. But the writing is on the wall - Starter Story is the better business. I’ve realized it’s where I need to put all of my energy. Over the last year, I’ve been splitting my time across both projects, putting crazy hard work into Pigeon and seeing menial results, and putting in less mindshare into Starter Story yet seeing really great results!

So right now I got Keto List Singapore, and Sweet Jam Sites. I'm also learning Vue.js and Rails API so that I can eventually build the SaaS of my dreams. Sweet Jam Sites so far clearly isn't going anywhere yet. It's also the product that I'm trying to figure out the most, putting in hard work but not seeing much. The SaaS of my dreams - I don't even have a clue what to build yet, though there are contenders. Yet all the while, without much growth hacking and marketing, Keto List continues to grow on its own, slowly but surely. Traffic is up. Ad buyers are coming in. It's not ramen profitable, yet it isn't spare change either. The revenue had more than broke even on the operational costs of the site. It even pays for the occasional keto bake and treat! It's baffling, and certainly a hit on my maker ego. Because Keto List was supposed to be the lifestyle hobby/habit turned side project. I don't even treat it very seriously. But clearly it's working.

I wonder if Keto List was like Pat's Starter Story – the product that's clearly the better business in reality than the other dream products that we had invested our identity in. I see now that perhaps my own idealistic narratives are getting in my own way here – about how my dream SaaS should look like; of how I had personally invested in the identity of an indie maker building and living off a SaaS he made; of how my life should or shouldn't look like. All these preconceptions are getting in the way of me seeing reality as it truly is; the business opportunities as they present themselves; the writing on the wall versus the wishful thinking in the head.

I really don't know. It's hard to drop all that emotional-identity baggage. But the world waits for no one. I worry that if I take too long to reflect and sit on my laurels for too long, even the opportunity that is Keto List might slip away...

Should I drop the rest and go for broke on Keto List instead?

What if it doesn't work (which by then the previous momentum on the other products will be gone)?

What if it does work?!