Sharath - Product hunt

Sharath - Product hunt

Description

In this episode, we go all in on how to start your FIRST side project

Sharath is a maker who built 12 side projects that helped him

land a job at a company he loves., Create side income, Build a community and so much more

We take a deep dive on Building in public, being vulnerable, removing stress from building & shipping and the things you need to do to ship that first project.

Transcript

jawad:

0:00

hi. Welcome to thinking backwards. This is your host Jawad. This podcast is here to help you tap into your inner creative and get you to ship your best work. We will interview guests have succeeded and failed. We will learn from them. And how they got their dream job. How did they get the raise they were looking for? How did they start their side hustle? But more importantly, how did they take the leap? To push. The start button. Today's episode is packed with the secrets that you need to know To turn an idea. Into something real. We all have ideas on our heads. Sometimes we struggled with turning them into a reality. Our guests today. He's experienced at turning his ideas into something real. he reveals all the secrets. Everything that we need to know to turn the ideas on our heads. Into something real and put it out in the world let's just get to it the conversation is fantastic Welcome Saharath thank you for taking the time on joining us today

Sharath:

1:08

Hey Jawad Thanks for having me Excited to talk to you about side projects how we can build it

jawad:

1:13

It's going to be a lot of fun So Sharath You have a lot of experience in this field you've shipped 12 projects in the past three years And you have a full-time job which is impressive I think most of my audience isn't the same position They have a full-time job they want to start their own side hustles side projects it could be a struggle for a lot of us

Sharath:

1:33

Right

jawad:

1:34

maybe you can tell us a bit how do we start with like where do we begin if I have an idea Where do I start

Sharath:

1:41

So I think It is a big question I would say pick a dead simple idea And the idea should come from within yourself So it should be very personal So that you weren't you You don't have to have extra motivation for example when I started my journey I'll explain how I started my own project So When I started my journey as a maker I was actually determined to build uh I challenge myself like Whoa Can I build a project that was late 2018 October And I challenged myself end of year Can I build a project myself And since I'm not technical I don't know how to code I started identifying tools there were like so many no-code tools are that you can actually use to build some projects without writing a single line of code That was fascinating to me And that's how I discovered the no code movement and While I was actually gathering a lot of these tools like identifying them I asked myself this question What if this there is a hub Or a home for all these tools for makers like me who are just getting started So it is so personal

jawad:

2:53

We actually faced this problem I want to tools

Sharath:

2:57

Exactly All the tools for myself So I'm anyway going to build some projects And I have friends who are on the same on the same mindset And I felt you know what let's actually ship it Let's let's pick this idea and I have resources like tools and we'll just look it no I just named it as tools for makers that's it so it should be that simple It should be like you should not put a lot of thought into building these things building especially the first first of your projects It should be like You if you if you've done by like I said it should feel very silly Now if I turn back I'm like what the fuck I did I did I just started a project called tools for makers That's not even a name Right so I just I just like pick that simple idea And as I started identifying these students I picked table to site which was Actually like pouring.io I'm going to drop some tools So you guys have to LIKE

jawad:

3:59

Maybe also like give a brief with every tool that you mentioning just the small brief

Sharath:

4:03

Sure Sure So I what I used was called table decide which is we just sort of like a tool is powered by Air table You can use air table as your database And the tool table decide guys What they did was they actually gave give you a frontend Like a UI So all you need to do is insert the data in the table And design your UI It's dead simple Like you know in in less than I don't know like one hour you can actually make a project out of it you can change the design You can actually change the structure add Filters you know add some content Blah-blah-blah some you know illustrations and whatnot And You can basically like buy a domain That's the simplest thing you used GoDaddy or Namecheap whatever you want to use and like you know hook it up and that's it That's that's you know I did that You're good to go So I feel like uh It is it should be that simple It should be very very simple And don't judge your ideas when you're starting Because if you reject your ideas you're never going to like make it The whole point of having are doing side projects is having fun Have extreme fun Don't worry about What other people think about that idea Don't worry about how many people are going to use that idea when you're at this is when you're starting That's the that's the disclaimer like you know Start dead simple The reason I was I'm ready Bullish on that as you will get an insane amount of confidence you'll be like You you you It'll be like unstoppable because you actually brought an idea From a thought To actually something people can use and you know hit What are the domain you want to hit and use it So

jawad:

6:00

So it's kind of like a way too You know experience moving the idea into something that becomes real In the confidence So whatever the next the next idea comes up you're like yeah I'm going to do this And I'm going to do an awesome job at this

Sharath:

6:16

Exactly I think once you start So there are like three phases right One is pre ideation which is more of like are we even call it a premade Which is pre-building Which is like you'll be confused You'll be like completely lost which I did Should I pick which tool I should pick You'll have so many questions And I think the answer is You don't have a right answer You just pick one One of the idea It is like there is no right answer to start things with But there are some little hacks like I said pick an idea which is personal to you so that you will build for yourself Again that site I can't I cannot stress how important it is to build something you want first That's it Period build something you use first and then later on you'll develop the you know develop the nature of building something people want which is obviously the you know one of the

jawad:

7:18

The goal is

Sharath:

7:20

One of the goals that I think one of the best things in startup world it Just build something people want Paul Graham

jawad:

7:25

we go back the idea that you built the first one so you build this Platform basically Where people can go and find the tools they need to build out stuff Did you have the intention of making money from it or was it

Sharath:

7:37

Nope

jawad:

7:38

this is something that will solve a problem for me And I hope it solves a problem for other people

Sharath:

7:43

Exactly So all my projects I have a framework which is I asked the question what if This exists this exists Again and again and again So the second thing is I have one goal which is put it outside in the world to just ship it basically instead of Living in my computer I just have to like be will go you know doing things in public and ship it outside so that other people can see my work Number three I have no intentions to like you know monetize it That is something which will make you stress free Because you you don't have the stress too Uh think about like how do I make money out of it Because it's a silly fun projects right So I think I want to complete the stage pre making building stages mode of that question though The actual Making stages what I feel You will learn a lot of stuff You will learn how much of process you are into and how much design skills you have how much organizations can see have and blah blah blah And I think you will enjoy you have to enjoy a lot of building And the last thing is putting outside The post building which is Put it outside ship it ship it to Two of your friends and say Hey I built this or in the last two weeks what do you think about it That's it And listen to them ask feedback and you know iterate iterate iterate that's the whole game the how all the side projects should be treated You can ship like the next slack in one month 100 percent but what you can do as like can actually take a single peice out of it The thing which you can do be very realistic in terms of shipping things Instead of you Getting dreamy about lot You know I'm going to build the next I dunno like patron or whatever it is like the next big thing we can't build a clubhouse over night Paul Davidson took 10 years to build a club house he failed so many times And you know he learns obviously you know so many things in iterated iterated in the same market So

jawad:

9:54

Yeah The same thing I think with the founder of another no-code tool Which is a bubble right In 2004 I think early on And uh he kept trying to do it for 10 years until 2014 where then it kicked off with them and it's like it's working

Sharath:

10:12

I think even webflow founder Vlad They did so many things Before pre WebFlow and that's that's why it's it's an it's It's an Iteration Process you can just say you can get everything overnight So I would say eliminate the expectations of you being the next big thing And that's why you have to have extreme fun That's the hack Have extreme fun like enjoy it like so much that you'll you'll be like you know it's that adrenaline effect which won't leave you I felt the same Once they put it outside the tools were makers I'm like you know what I'm on top of the world and what it did was I actually I put it not just like on Twitter when actually shipped on product hunt so I start off like literally faced my fears by Doing it like you know getting

jawad:

11:06

Exposing it to the world Everybody can see it now

Sharath:

11:10

And that's it And I never turned back And I'm like You know if I can do this once I can do this a hundred times

jawad:

11:18

Yeah but the thing is I think you have to experience it so you can You know get the get a taste of this adrenaline that you're talking about because a lot of people would say like yeah I'm not going to do that If I'm not getting paid for it you know I needed to make some money out of it what can we say to those people Yeah

Sharath:

11:35

You will if you will eventually like your goal should be being better 1 That's it it's not a transaction You know It's an investment Side projects are investments not transactions You can just say I'm going to ship something and I'm going to get back something in return You will get something in return but it's not tangible It's intangible For me Leverage I've built so much leverage on Twitter on like in tech community You know in in in maker world Uh I have I got my job my nine to five job in a startup because I have built So much work which is proof of work You have proof of work now

jawad:

12:19

Okay So your side projects actually helped you get your full-time

Sharath:

12:24

Exactly Exactly So the the one which I'm working at draftbit which is also a no-code tool For mobile apps So uh yeah it's you basically are going to get a lot of intangible returns Which are going to benefit you a lot But you have to believe in that if you're not believing in that I think there is no point again like I said it's not a transaction You just put something outside and expect at least In your first iterations first projects Do like you know And number of times and once you start doing that you you will learn like You're getting better at it First thing And you'll get you'll get better at copywriting You know designing organizing everything process how to ship How to talk the customers how to listen how to gather feedback Well they're like so many things And again you learn which are all intangible assets It's only going to compound over time they're not going to like Be visible The moment you just like I said I put tools for makers side and I didn't get anything like zero But I experienced a lot of adrenaline effect Number one number two I saw community helping a newbie maker like me insanely well like they actually welcomed with open arms the whole product can community And they like supported me rooted for me like you know but I had launched that project So that is something like you know you can like quantify you can just say you can put I don't know like you know A number on

jawad:

14:04

that's a natural Human instinct Right You want to belong to a community and then when the community's open to on there like please Yeah I'll come join us Okay I want to be a part of that

Sharath:

14:14

Exactly I think that's something like you know people should first of all get rid of those monetary expectations You will make monetary returns if you start like this it just I don't I don't care about that I will I will get there so the recent project that's the close that loop I've built 12 projects With zero revenue nothing And my recent work which is shout out We got 10 paying customers So it took me three years To get the first I've made My first dollars on the internet In in my three-year journey So

jawad:

14:55

How did that feel

Sharath:

14:57

Oh I got I uh it was very emotional because uh It's very different It's another it's the other adrenaline effect in my opinion You get if you get validated by someone you didn't even know not just saying yes we love your idea but you want to put the we want to put like a dollar amount on top of it That is amazing That's a true validation that you're you're doing something right You're in the right direction at least for now So Uh yeah I mean You know it was it was fantastic

jawad:

15:37

I bet Yeah My first dollar online I actually minted it I went to the bank and I got a minted cause I was so Let's look through the first dollar I make from my company I need to celebrate this and friend told me yeah you can go to the bank and get it minted So I was like okay lets do it And that's what I said That's an awesome feeling yeah I I think of like invested actually you invested your time into this I'm going to do the things that I like And you put in three years to actually You know see your first uh dollar right did build the community within three years I honestly got into introduced into the maker world because of you You're the first person I followed who had the maker Uh and their bio and I'm like what is a maker I had no idea And I don't know if you remember this but I actually tweeted at you I'm like So I started a few companies Does that make me a maker For sure Yeah it does Like good I'm part of it though That was like a few years ago but um Uh but I love that you took the time and you had the patience for it which I think a lot of people are going to lack 90 at least going to lack this Nobody has You would probably be saying like three years and people are like Whoa Oh my God Is this an all the time You know But is that three years are Nothing actually

Sharath:

17:07

Well for some people it's 10 years Right So

jawad:

17:09

Yeah

Sharath:

17:11

And that's why I think it's a long game It's not a get quick rich scheme you know you just say Hey I'm going to do some things and I'm going to get rich quickly I have to be very patient You have to play the long game Don't look for short-term hacks Just play the long game Like I honestly I put my I gave myself like a 80 years eight zero Of time To build a startup Literally I still we collect myself If I do something like you know terrible or something went opposite to what I did like I failed let's say I have eight zero years

jawad:

17:51

Okay That's her I guess in your head you're like 80 years

Sharath:

17:55

Can I can I build one startup in 80 years I don't know like you know Uh how you can beat that

jawad:

18:04

Amazing Yeah

Sharath:

18:05

You'll be like completely stressfree You don't have any pressure or whatsoever You have to be free It will be like doing things for fun Right So it will that's why that I think once you start realizing the fact that you do for fun You will find ways to take it to the next level 100 Trust me I'm I'm the I'm the example for that And I have so many examples As well a good friend of mine KP one of the examples you should bring him on the podcast he did the same thing You know He started like me as a maker you know we both wanted to have fun extreme fun and We both build a lot of uh portfolio that proof of work And we have community Uh we are really active on Twitter or giving value to people So those I think those are the things Once it keeps once you start keeping in mind like you are here to provide value for others A lot of things will get eliminated in the journey Like You know Uh showcasing like you know showing off like Hey build this You'll you'll get rid of expectations We'll be authentic purely authentic like you were doing your thing So I think you know KP Does the same thing like me and Uh We have like very big plans you know I think I tweeted about it last year I guess just like how elon Musk wrote the master plan for Tesla actually wrote a master plan for myself Like I'm going to be a maker I'm going to be a startup operator I'm going to be a founder I'm going to be an investor And I'm going to Do all these things in one by one like that's that's the level I want to graduate from each thing but yeah you basically it's a long game

jawad:

19:49

how is it going

Sharath:

19:50

It's good It's good It's it's actually going good So I did the maker things I'm working at a startup being an operator now And in panel and I'm a founder as well for shout out So we are obviously now working very hard to build solutions to creators Who are selling digital products online leverage the social proof they get on Twitter for now but eventually we want to monopolize the whole social proof niche When I say that that what that means is you know people buy from people And what a small and close to The proof is not new But the way you have to utilize is nobody's actually harnessing it Nobody's actually leveraging it So We are here to help you leverage harness the social proof you're getting on Twitter So all these shout outs are going to base going obviously in the infinite feed It's just like Going away Right So we want to help people to leverage is that so we're on the we're on the mission and it's going well obviously I'm super grateful for Everyone in the community for showing their support rooting for us So yeah it's

jawad:

21:01

What you guys This is pretty cool I was thinking of what I'm like It's kind of in It's very simple Right But just nobody thought about it literally No just nobody I was like should use this as a way to you know Aggregates all my social proof of people saying you know they love what I'm doing They love my products all of that Now I have them in one place and I can basically have them on my website Yeah and I love that I'm like it's such a straightforward thing idea Well done

Sharath:

21:38

Thanks Thanks Appreciate it

jawad:

21:39

Yeah no we're talking about social proof How do we build the social proof

Sharath:

21:46

Well yeah I get that question a lot I feel the best way to build social proof is doing things in public period

jawad:

21:55

Explain a bit more on that

Sharath:

21:57

when I say doing things in public basically build everything What you're doing in public Share your lessons Share the progress share where you're going share where do you want to go Basically Very transparent in your journey to to the public not just to your friends or family Or you know your co-founders or like you know uh the community but it's it should be entirely open to the public We that's what we're doing at shoutout everything since the beginning What the hell it's it's instinct before it even the idea inception The idea was actually a KP actually announced shout out as Hey Sharath this building something cool check it out So since the beginning of shout out everything is in Open everything is on twitter

jawad:

22:47

only twitter

Sharath:

22:49

for me it's only twitter but hundred percent like you know I think people where their communities are right for me I feel strongly about Twitter because All the tech community is there and there is so much knowledge that is basically you know flowing To Twitter So many people so but yeah so I think building building public is the best way to build social proof once you start doing that you basically are Attracting a lot of eyes And once you start providing value they have every reason to root for you because you are doing so much giving first and once you do things like once we launched we actually launched our first launch To the public A week ago somewhere like 10 days ago On Twitter Man everything you know we literally got literally spent $0 for marketing Because all our efforts towards marketing is building in public

jawad:

23:46

the people informed along the journey with everything you're doing We're here We're here We're here

Sharath:

23:52

Yeah exactly So they know like okay where are these guys going So share the goals Share the vision So we insanely got like a social proof from the soft launch on twitter Right So And it it happens Don't expect like it is going to happen over time Like I said again social proof is not something you'll get like with your first project I think one of the things is It's again it's not a transaction It should be like an investment People are users are going to invest in you those people should follow you along your journey And that's why you have to build in public so yeah I think it again do it all the time You have to have proof of work You have to give tremendous value to the community to your users It's always give give give And you will build social proof over time

jawad:

24:42

I'm very active on Twitter too But I see the a lot of the time not everybody shares the Bad moments Right Everybody's sharing the good moments So today we had 1k Monthly revenue or Oh we had this many users with nobody's actually mentioning The bad or the problems that they are actually facing which sometimes I personally gets annoyed by that just because of my experience of building And I know that like if it's 10 days of work Nine of them are solving problems And I'm sure it's It's the same thing Being a creator and You're basically solving a problem nobody mentions that everybody's focused on the the the best parts of the fruity part and the yay It's so exciting And it's amazing what do you think of that

Sharath:

25:28

No It should be the other way around I feel like you should you should basically balance the both worlds which is you should showcase the upsides What you're You know experiencing At the same time you should showcase the downsides as well Like Hey That's what I did literally you know two days ago which is Even though we got huge Attention hype for shout out We only got like 300 signups And after I actually putting a thread Maybe today or tomorrow about like the lessons we learned from the launch So All your lessons be something Being successes and the failures are going to create a value create value for people So the how to basically how to do this right How to do X And A lot of people do that in when they do build in public I think the other the missing pieces Uh what did work Even though we know how to do it what didn't work So share that I feel like you know Uh I think those are very important in my opinion And you should balance both worlds both upsides and downsides

jawad:

26:44

I agree 100 I was talking to this Friend the other day forgot who he mentioned to me but he was showing me their Twitter profile and it's very impressive What they're doing the creating a lot of stuff but I caught that it's extremely positive This happened then this happened then this happened It was all check Mark check Mark Check Mark it's not realistic And then I was thinking of someone who quote on quote made it And they give you those Lessons that they learned and stuff like that And the advice that they give doesn't always apply to you because you can do it and it's won't work but they did that and it's worked But the thing is the people did and it did not work They did not Make a video about it They didn't tweet about it Nobody talks about it it's a big missing part and that's how I use my Twitter I'm always talking about You know the bad things that happen not trying to like bullshit it and make it sound like it's Lala land I guess people they're going for building an audience and building an audience You need to show them the good parts not everybody cares about the bad part until you make it after you made that I like we want to know like how hard this was

Sharath:

27:54

That's what I'm saying I think In my maker journey Before the 12 projects I shipped Some projects we're very You know It was like it was out of it out of my expectation So one of the projects I did was the angel philosopher which is a combination of all Naval Ravikant content under one place The same thing I did This exists right And it was on naval's twitter bio for more than a year used to I used to get 30,000 to 40,000 people hitting on the site every month The traffic is so big That that was a big hit right And I shipped something called one dial in product hunt When he got 50 or less votes And it never made the homepage Never So you see I think the lesson there is like For me I just shared I think back then I shared like even though I'm solving my own problem It not necessarily should be a problem for others So you just want right You just I gained some experience of doing that which is more important for me So I think When you try to be very authentic In my opinion You don't have to show both ends You basically do What are you feeling You you just let it out Like you'll be vulnerable enough to be transparent enough to put everything outside Anything I think it wouldn't be any differentiation When it is What is good And what is back Basically do everything I think that is the key Be authentic be so vulnerable and transparent You were just starting like doing things Without planning them

jawad:

29:39

I agree agree I took the alt MBA course you heard of it

Sharath:

29:43

Yeah seth godin's

jawad:

29:45

Yeah exactly Yeah I took that course last year And it's a one month course extremely packed with work like almost 40 hours a week And Every week you change the group but it's like five people every week And One month you're supposed to ship 13 projects in one month it's a alot of work but it's amazing And they put you with those people that You never met before from all over the world different age groups or some of the people in my Or 60 and somewhere in 19 and some in their thirties It was mixed up From everywhere So many cultures And every group I got into insane There was such a chemistry

Sharath:

30:28

Right

jawad:

30:28

working together and basically built on giving feedback to each other and on the project it was Crazy to me And I wanted to figure out what did they do for us to have a chemistry like that especially when I'm changing a group every week Like what Right There was something weird about that Because you can put me in random group right now And we go out some people to hang out with them And I just maybe I don't like them I'm not very comfortable with those people but those people we were discussing family issues We were discussing business problems We were discussing crazy things like that after one week

Sharath:

31:05

Right

jawad:

31:06

six months now and we still talk on a weekly basis

Sharath:

31:09

Nice

jawad:

31:10

it's it's crazy What's happened And we all actually wanted to figure out why And it's like you mentioned as being vulnerable Every project that we did There was a question kind of like behind the scenes on you know what's your biggest fear or what are you trying to get out of this course Like what is the one goal that you need to get And if you don't get it you will be disappointed like making you open up actually say the things you wouldn't normally say to random people And people love that loved it And we all liked each other so much just because we're being very vulnerable with each other We were Giving each other honest feedback about what we're building it was a completely changing experience this is like this So true What you're saying be vulnerable with the people and just say what you're doing

Sharath:

32:00

Yeah I think the best way to impress others is being authentic Because You have no pressure whatsoever You'll be completely free Of figuring out how to impress others you just express yourself authentically And people will attract to authenticity at anytime you know I think Naval tweeted this If you're authentic you are out competing everyone So authenticity Amen I think highly Everything changed in my personal life And I started being authentic start removing all the barriers how do I impress people Now I have no No question like that because I wouldn't ask myself like how do I impress people I just am authentic right now with you call in the call as well And I think one of the things I stress again is too Give a lot of value That's it So once you started like thinking about how you can make other people's lives better atleast 1 don't think about like life changing events Just start doing things very small If you compound over time Or time and it'll bring your authenticity openly and you'll be very transparent and vulnerable

jawad:

33:15

I agree agree 100 and this this has been amazing but I like to leave my audience with an actionable question

Sharath:

33:23

Sure

jawad:

33:24

As James clear says knowledge can be borrowed with action cannot be they got the knowledge Now what's the action they need to take

Sharath:

33:33

Ship ship ship that Simple project if I can do it before three years three years before me I'm an introvert I used to Completely ignore people because I have a fear of talking to people And I'm a very bad copywriter And I'm very shy type of a guy So all of these fears They're not fears to me anymore Right now They're like They're like normal I become like everything opposite to what I am Three years before Action itself is the medicine That's it You just have to act act act So go do that thing Go break the barriers you have by doing simple things And I think When it comes to side projects I feel like what is one takeaway I want to give is if you someone wants to Take this from from this podcast build It for yourself and Then put it outside That's it So start solving your own problems and ship it outside and hope and sort of in a way you are just hoping that some people outside will have the same old itch What do you have So put it outside and expect people that you know they'll they'll be like using it if not move on So Ship act Don't have any expectations and move on Move onto the next thing The next thing Be better one percent that's it And I think once you if you have that sort of a goal know you'll be stress-free you'll have no pressure You'll have fun and the intangibles will compound and you will reach a stage that you'll convert them then the intangible You will improve They will have social proof You have Talking points You have personal experiences You want to share you have The community built around you there's so much you know so That simple idea Start doing things have one week deadline see what people think about your idea and do alot of experiments like this you'll just double down on that So one of that works From your first project Double down Second project Double down triple down on third project So so-and-so forth You'd be like Doing things which are very strong And play with your strengths and once you start playing strengths That strength should actually or come or like completely eat up all your weaknesses So double down on them and like you know do it again And again it compounds So

jawad:

36:18

Amazing I love it Thank you very much for thinking of the time

Sharath:

36:22

Oh awesome man Thanks for having me my goal For this podcast is to make one person a builder a maker That's it

jawad:

36:32

me too that's the goal of my

Sharath:

36:35

Awesome