Lessons Learned From Failing My First Product Launch

Last Sunday, I launched my first ever product to the world. I've made several products before this one, but a fear of failure and perfectionism always prevented me from hitting the launch button. Looking back, I realize those fears only inhibited my learning and cost me potential revenue.

To be honest, the launch was a mixed bag. While it didn't go as well as I had hoped, it also wasn't the complete disaster I had feared. In fact, I didn't make a single sale. And while that may seem like the worst-case scenario, I'm actually glad I launched anyway. Why? Because it opened the door to a whole new world.

After the launch, I couldn't help but wonder: "What did I do wrong? What am I missing?" And already, I've identified a few missing pieces of the puzzle:

  • Not having a well-defined target audience - On my landing page, I was speaking to everyone and therefore speaking to no one in particular.
  • Having a complicated pricing structure - don't make people think, and certainly don't make them have to bring out a calculator. I think my pricing structure is very complicated and it'll make people think - will it be enough for my use case, is the value I am getting worth the money I am putting in, etc. I made people think too hard about the value they were getting and whether it was worth the cost.
  • Not giving a free trial - I thought I have some screenshots and a gif on my landing page, and people have used these products already, surely that's enough to convince them, right? Wrong. The people don't know you, they need to see it to believe it and to know if they want to pay for it. There are different ways to do a free trial - time restricted (7 day free trial), usage restricted (Notion block limit for example), or both. There are costs to providing a free trial, but that needs to be considered part of the CAC.

So, I've taken off my developer hat and put on my marketer hat. I'm now diving into what makes people buy things and how to speak to potential customers. I'm researching landing page best practices, marketing frameworks, and mental models.

Now I'm looking into simplifying my pricing, giving a free trial, and figuring out my positioning and target audience. I'm looking into landing page best practices, different marketing frameworks and mental models, and so on.

My failed launch was actually the best thing that could have happened. It's forced me to learn a whole new domain, and I'm grateful to everyone who has provided feedback, been an early user, and supported me along the way.