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Pingr / Monitoring / Russian Federation

Story of Pingr - an uptime monitoring tool by Victor

Hello ! Who are you and what are you working on? 

Hello!

My name is Victor and I'm working on Pingr.

Pingr is an uptime monitoring tool, which checks that your site is up and running and notifies you in case it isn't.

What motivated you to get started with? How did you come up with the idea?

Actually, I always wanted to have my own product or business. I've been thinking for years of what can I do, but I was always putting the start off. Not sure why.

But the older I became, the more I realized that I need to find a way of breaking out from the salary circle when you only get paid by working for somebody.

I literally can't see any other opportunities in my case.

Apart from that, I saw a lot of examples of successful SaaS founders. By successful I mean not those who get like $100k/month, rather $5k/month.

I think it's better to go with small steps, so for me even $1k/month is a good step.

Now, regarding how I came up with the idea. I was talking in a programmers chat, and someone asked something about uptimerobot (my competitor). I went to the site and instantly got the idea of what it did. Then, I checked out how it looked and was shocked: the UI was pretty bad.

So I thought that I was able to make the same product but with better implementation.

That's it :)

Can you tell us the story of your business from idea to where you are now?

I started working on Pingr in October of 2019.

I've been working for the whole year till I launched on Product Hunt in September 2020.

So the story is pretty trivial: every day, after my full-time job, I went to different places (mostly cafes) and coded Pingr :)

Here are the places I worked at:

However, during the process I constantly had burnouts, and I've described some therapy techniques I applied in order to cope with bad mood:

Initially I thought that I'll be able to finish my product in 3 months. But it took about 11 months instead.

I constantly put of the PH launch date. At first I planned to launch in the beginning of June but ended up at 1st of September.

Right now I have few paying users (not that much), got initial revenue from lifetime deals and now I'm experimenting with pricing models, building brand awareness, handling feedback I received and fixing bugs :)

What has been your biggest failure or struggle?

In technical point of view: the implementation of core infrastructure. Small typical tasks are not hard, while making the core functionality took a lot of time. I redid it many times and yet I'm not sure if I've done it right.

In psychological point of view: burnouts/depression/bad mood. It's hard to keep motivation for working the whole year. Especially if you have full-time job. You literally don't have any holidays at all...

How many hours a day do you work on average & can you describe/outline your typical day?

During the year I tried different approaches

1. Wake up early (6-7 AM), work for 2-3 hours on Pingr, then go to the full-time job. After full-time work go to gym or work on Pingr

2. Wake up lately (~11 AM), go to work, after work work on pingr till the late night

More or less both approaches worked. During lockdown I used the first one, and it worked really well for me.

And what has been your biggest achievement or success?

Top #1 on Product Hunt for sure

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

I haven't yet found a stable source of traffic.

I'm was able to get some decent traffic from Reddit, HN, IH, PH.

PH: most converstions and signups. Way better than others

Reddit: less signups

HN/IH: almost no signups, poor conversion.

IH: easy to get some traffic, but not much

HN: hard to get some traffic, but it's huge traffic. However it doesn't guarantee that the traffic will convert

Describe the process of launching the business. 

For me, the word "Launch" is almost equivalent for PH launch. Otherwise, I don't know what should we define as "launch". Publishing landing page? Committing to git master branch?

Nothing special. You just prepare for the launch during some period of time, then post on PH and get your first users and feedback :)

Did you use Betalist or PH or other Startup Launching Platform for Launching ? How was that experience ?

PH - The best source of signups

Betalist - I tried, barely get ~300 uniques and maybe 1-2 signup.

So PH is a must for me.

What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?

This is what I'm struggling with.

In my area there are two business models.

1. Classic subscriptions. When user pays for monthly subscription

2. Pay per usage, or pay as you go. Since I'm making a lot of uptime checks, I can charge for them.

I'm in the middle of deciding which one to use. I tried the first one, but now I've switched to the second one.

Since I don't have much revenue I cannot compare which one works better.

The only thing I can tell that Lifetime deals more or less worked for me, but I decided to shut them down since it's not a long-term revenue. Just got some initial boost and that's it.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome? What are your goals for the future?

Well, I've already answered regarding challenges and obstacles. Implementing the core functionality and coping with burnouts.

As for future goals:

- I plan to launch on PH with new version

- Decide which pricing model to use and stick to it for sometime

- A lot (really a lot) of new features, ~200 in backlog

- Start writing more content. I've already started, now it's time to switch to marketing as well

Let’s talk about your marketing strategy -- how do you market Pingr and grow the service?

For now I use only social networks and trying to get some traction and brand awareness there.

I don't use SEO or paid ads.

So from time to time I post on Reddit/HN/IH/Twitter and that's it.

Recently I started a blog, which I'll use as a single source for main articles and I'll move the traffic from social networks to this endpoint.

Do you have a model to get product feedback? What’s your favorite way to get product feedback? Did product feedback help you get the results you hoped for ? 

I got a lot of feedback via social networks, especially Reddit & PH. But others worked too.

As for signed up users, I just sent them emails from time to time + use crisp to communicate with new/existing users.

Yes, the feedback provided is really valuable.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

After starting the business I got in touch with dozens of beautiful people who I learned from a lot of stuff.

Starting from coding, ending with marketing.

I realised that having online presence is really cook and advantageous. literally, I'm excited how my number of followers grow, it's kind of a game of conquering the IT world :)

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Laravel/VueJS/MySQL/Redis.

Paddle, Mailgun, DigitalOcean, New Relic, Twilio, Crisp

Maybe something else, I don't remember everything

Who’s your most inspirational CEO or founder?

This guy

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

IndieHacker :)

What’s your advice for fellow aspiring entrepreneur who are just starting out?

Most people would tell you something about idea validation, like this is important etc. In my case the idea was already validated.

I'd recommend to try to narrow down list of features you are ready to make before launch, just not to distract too much.

Ah, and yes, you should:

1. Read this

2. Look at this

3. Read the first point again

4. Look at the second point again

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