April update: Inspiring others, newsletter, and this site

A few weeks after sharing the news I was building ClientSage, I ran into a former colleague of mine who I hadn’t seen in awhile. It turns out, he saw my post and was inspired to start building his own software to sell to small business owners. It was amazing to think that my little post, when I’d barely built anything, could inspire someone else! His enthusiasm, and everything else who’s expressed interest in ClientSage, have helped encourage me to keep up my work.

In that spirit, I’m going to share monthly updates of my progress. In some months, I expect to get a lot of work done. In other months (such as the short, beautiful Seattle summer months), it will probably be a lot less. Over that time, I’ll be sharing both the ups and downs, the failures and the successes, and everything in-between.

This website

My natural habit for personal projects is to just jump into code, and ignore things like structure or planning. This time, I’m going to do things a bit different. First, I’m going to invest more time in marketing, including this site and a monthly newsletter (signup in the footer at the bottom of the page).

A bit about this site: it uses a custom WordPress theme (naturally), which took me about 20 hours to design, and another 25 to code. As another way to keep me honest, I’ve been tracking my hours with Toggl. I probably could have launched a more basic site using one of the many launch page builders, but my product is for WordPress designers and developers, so it makes sense to do something custom. At least that is the justification I’m using.

Plus, I used this opportunity to try Bootstrap 4 for the CSS. I rather liked the structure Bootstrap provides, and definitely see the appeal of using more utility classes, which I found faster to implment than my standard strict semantic mark-up. I’m less enthusiastic with the sheer amount of CSS though. This site has 190kb of CSS, which is a lot for such a small site, and lot of it is going unused.

Newsletter

When I redesigned my personal website nearly 4 years ago, I stuck a newsletter signup form in the footer (that’s what all the cool kids were doing). In the entire time it has been up, I received a total of 5 subscribers – and one was my wife. Not exactly the hot ticket in town. This is probably just as well since I never actually sent out a newsletter.

The crazy thing? After posting my ClientSage announcement, I added 54 new subscribers!

So 60 subscribers doesn’t sound like much, but after publishing here and there over the last few years and adding practically zero subscribers, this feels pretty good to me. This was also with almost no marketing, just sharing on my personal Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Why the owls?

Since Ancient Greece, the owl has been a symbol of wisdom. Athena, the patron goddess of Athens, and the goddess of wisdom, had the owl as her symbol. Even in modern Japan, owls are regarded as lucky and it is not uncommon for someone to keep an owl charm close for good luck. Plus, owls are stunning, and sometimes hilarious, creatures.

What’s next?

Many of ClientSage’s features exist as preliminary sketches in code, which I need to organize and start building as production ready components. I’ve been eager start on this work, but wanted to make sure I had a solid marketing foundation first. With this site launched, providing a place to share my progress and build interest, now is the time to start hacking some code.

I’m excited to share what’s coming next, so make sure to subscribe to the newsletter below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *