Side project growth experiments
I’ve been getting back in the swing of publishing Indie Bites regularly recently, even scheduling a few episodes. I’ve got a good routine with some accountability for publishing every Wednesday. This was the first problem I needed to solve with Indie Bites and it was a pretty fundamental one. Now I’m happy I’ve got a regular publishing schedule I’m focusing my efforts on how I can grow the show. I thought I’d write down my thoughts on the experiments I’m planning to run over the next few months.
I’ve also got my handmade wallet project I’m spending a little time on. I’m less sure on the direction to go with this, but I thought I’d write down what I’m thinking anyway. I’ve only got Mondays, evenings and the weekends to spend on these, so I’ll be interested to see the progress I can make.
Indie Bites has been the first project I’ve seen any moderate success on and stuck with for a while. It’s been incredible fun to create and the messages I get from the whole community inspire me to keep going. It’s been nice to have some validation and earn some revenue while I’m at it, but it’s time to step up and turn this into my full-time gig.
My best month ever was March 2021 when I published 4 strong episodes and sent out a summary blog to my Indie Bites series, which has over 500 subscribers. Since then, I’ve only spluttered out a few articles and it’s too inconsistent.
So the first experiment will be posting written summaries of each episode on this blog and send it out to my Indie Hackers series’ subscribers.
I’ll then take that blog and turn it into a Twitter thread I’ll publish alongside it. It will be a shortened version but still keeping all the value.
My next experiment, one that I haven’t tried yet so is unproven, is to post 5x podcast clips per week on Twitter from that week’s episode. I’ll create the clips using Descript while I’m editing and then schedule them using Typefully.
Then onto YouTube. I’m not sure if I can class this as an experiment because it’s not going to take me any additional effort. In fact I setup the YouTube channel at the weekend using Transistor.fm’s integration and it uploaded all my previous episodes. It will now just publish new episodes to YouTube automatically. The thinking behind this is pretty easy; YouTube is the second largest search engine so when people search for guests or the show I’ll rank higher. There will also be an auto-tweet on the Indie Bites Twitter when a new episode is published.
An experiment I’ve dabbled with in the past (although again it’s not really an experiment) is adding transcripts for each episode. I’d like the show to be as accessible as possible while also reaping some of the SEO benefits of having a text accompaniment to the audio.
The final thing (a genuine experiment) is “podcasting in public”. You see a lot of people building their products in public, and I spoke with Blake Emal about this in episode 29, but I’ve never seen anyone show the growth of a podcast in public. So I thought I’d give it a crack for a few months with Indie Bites. I’m planning to just show my revenue numbers (copy.ai style) and what progress I’ve made during the month. Sharing updates on Twitter etc.
Indie Bites membership
I was surprised while I was doing my 1 year podcast review that the Indie Feast membership accounted for almost 30% of revenue, despite only having £63 MRR. This is also my first ever MRR so I’m pretty proud of it.
So I started looking more and more into content memberships and I was shocked at how much success some people have had with it. I’ll post some more of my findings here.
Over the next few weeks and months I’m going to revamp and optimise my membership product to increase subscribers and grow every month. I’m most likely going to increase the price too, so grab the for-life bargain price of £4 p/m.
Whitstable Craft Co
I call this my hobby project because I don’t make any profit from it, I have the least amount of time to spend on it and I have the most fun while doing it (especially when I make sales). That last reason is why I’d like to put a little more time and effort into growth. Now I’m not worried about this making money, it’s my sandbox for trying new ideas and, most importantly, having fun! Far too often I start things but then end up hating them once I start monetising (a la video production).
This month has been my best ever making a whopping £84.50 online and another £50 at in-person markets. Mainly due to my buddy James So the baseline for growth is pretty low (peep the 168 monthly visitors, most of which will be me and my mum).
I’m not entirely sure where to start with growth, but I know I need to get more traffic to the site. I’d ideally like to do it for as little money as possible so thinking learning about e-commerce SEO could be smart. I understand SaaS products SEO with landing pages and blog posts, but not entirely sure how I apply that to a physical product, 1-time purchase model. So, experiment #1 (?) is learning and implementing some juicy SEO.
Then I’ll get into something I know a little better. Making content. The site needs to convert better and I’m not sure I do a good enough job of showing people the products in situ. So thinking of doing product videos for the 4/5 most popular. These will be less than a minute so should be easy to do in an afternoon.
I’d also like to build more of a story around the site. I truly believe everyone who carries a large wallet should switch to one of these smaller, handmade ones that is going to last you forever, but I’m better at convincing my friends in person than I am communicating it on the site.
Actual experiment #2 will be TikTok and YouTube. I’ve seen some crafters get some exceptional success on TikTok, so I’m just going to do the same as them. ASMR videos of me making the wallets and see if the sensational TikTok algo can send me some traffic. Not bad viewage on the first 3?!
So, TLDR. I’m running some some experiments for growth on my side projects Indie Bites and Whitstable Craft Co..
- Written summaries
- Email IH subscribers
- 5x clips per week
- “Podcasting in public”
Whitstable Craft Co
- Product videos
- TikTok & YouTube