I've been working on a web application as a hobby for the past couple of years. It's been challenging and I've learned a lot. Now that I am done and actually have something up and running (shrData.com ), I seem to have lost some motivation. I don't know if it's because I'm not sure what the next steps are in getting my startup going, or if it's because I'm not challenged and solving problems anymore. Has anyone gone thru this? Any advice, suggestions, or motivational speeches will help. Thanks...
From my perspective it is pointless to spend any time marketing your software when your web site isn't ready for "prime time". Say you spend 100 hours marketing right now. Virtually all of that time is going to be wasted if 95 out of 100 people leave your site because it doesn't convince them that you are serious.
Your web site needs to explain exactly what it is you do and how this will benefit your customer. Your web site needs to convince your potential customers that you are a real business.
Once you have your web site and pricing ready, then you can worry about marketing. Make a list of the tasks that need to be finished and work out a schedule to complete each one of those tasks.
There is nothing more rewarding than getting out there, talking to potential customers, and having someone pay for your service. You need to start figuring out how to move this from a hobby to a real source of income (assuming that is what you intend to do). Do some marketing, attend some events, e-mail your friends...whatever it takes. Once the interest and orders start to materialize, I think you'll notice your own interest level will pickup substantially.
This is something that all people in a startup experiences at one point or another. Every time I feel down and seem to have lost my motivation I turn to my friends and family, it helps to get away from your startup life and projects for a few days... re-connect with some friends, go out, do stuff not related to your startup, that is what I do and it helps a lot!
Doing what I described above, re-energizes me and gets me motivated again... that works for me.
It's tough going it alone.
Joining a community of people who are facing similar challenges is always a good idea.
I've seen others post about their experiences with http://startuptodo.com - perhaps others can chime in about how effective it is.
Also - if you read messages tagged motivation, you will find some good advice there as well.
I went through he site quickly..I see some things you can do to make it more user friendly..also your FAQ's needs help... gimme a few hours and I will give you a more complete answer. Thanks
Market and itterate from customer feedback. (Everyone else has given great insperation but you aren't done yet unless your getting all the income your looking for.)
I'm not following the pricing concept as being realistic. So if you are already getting customers to buy in at the pricing plans you have then ignore this feedback but if you don't have any sales relook at the tiers or even rethink how you can price it all together.
So while you are low in sales have no fear to change things. I'm speaking from experience where I put something out got a total of 3 sales and was scared to change anything to make it worse. Of course completely not rational but I froze because of how much work I had already put into it. So my main suggestion is now is the time to experiment not hold back. Market it out, get customer feedback and improve the sales funnel.
If you want challenge/kick in the pants, try adding this feature:
I don't think any of your competitors have this. You're either going to have to focus on a niche market and provide specific functionality for them, or stay on your general data entry path and offer something different.
Maybe re-brand yourself?
When I saw the name "shrData" I pronounced it "s" "h" "r" "data". I don't know if that was your intent, but as soon as I changed the capitalization in my head I pronounced it as a word. That is, "SHRData" became "shared data". Maybe just "SHR Data"?
I really don't know how helpful that will be, but just something I thought about. To me, in its current state, the name looks like a bunch of random letters prepended to "data". If you pretend to make it an acronym (unless it already is?) it sounds/looks better.
Just my 2 cents.
Your product is a little too generic. Who are the people you are selling to? Carve out some niches you can tailor your product to. Do customer development interviews to help you figure those out. I would recommend reading Steven Blank's "The Four Steps to The Epiphany" to help you on your way:
As I understand it, this was all sweat equity (ie, you invested your time and effort but not too much upfront Capital) if that's the case, you have something quite impressive here. I am looking at your side purely from a developer's perspective. I think it is quite impressive. As someone who is in the same boat myself I can relate. I am trying to get a new IT Employment Career site/business going ( http://techhotbed.com ) and hitting some rough spots. Let me tell you these are just bumps in the road and with a little bit of persistence, you shall overcome. Nothing good comes easy.
I would strongly advise you to try to give it all away for free. Build a customer base, get customers stored their data, then slowly but surely switch to a paid model. Now, I completely understand that this easier said than done. But believe me it works. It worked for me in a previously self funded startup. The nature of your business lends itself to this model. People are very reluctant to moving data around from host to host. They tend to stick and work with whoever is hosting their data. Just think about it from the perspective of switching your Hosting services from Rackspace to another host. It is quite a hassle. Customers feel the same way.
Keep up the good work! and Best Luck to you.