Update February 26, 2013: I have since this post sold Freelancify.com to a new owner
After teaching myself Ruby on Rails the last 8 weeks with 10 hour days (another post to be made about how I did this coming soon), I finally launched Freelancify. To give some background; I had this Freelancify idea since June 2011 and I put up a splash page and SEO’d it out to bring in some organic traffic. So during the last 7 months, I was collecting emails from those who happen to stumble upon Freelancify in various ways. Ended up with about 310 emails total.
Anyways, (if I left anything else out, feel free to comment and I’ll reply with answers), here’s how my day went yesterday.
I didn’t sleep at all so I had been up for about 20 hours at that point. But I finally wrapped up on coding and tweaking the last feature bug I felt like I had before I could launch. I then took the next two hours or so and got the SSL and all implemented into Heroku. Tested the site a bit, then pushed a new empty database in.
Opened the website up officially to the public!
Time to get to work. My Goal: GET TRAFFIC, TONS OF IT, AND FAST! My startup is a pretty much a marketplace. And with marketplaces, there’s the chicken/egg factor I have to solve in order to get anywhere off the ground. Lifeblood for any internet startup is traffic, traffic, and more traffic.
I logged into my MailChimp and spent about an hour formatting/writing out a good catchy email about the launch.
Clicked Send. Okay, cool. So 310 emails were just sent out. Hoping that brings in a few freelancers to sign up for their accounts at least, and maybe even a couple projects to be posted. I then go back to my site and see if I can find any more bugs.
8:00 AM –
I GET MY FIRST USER!! *Fist pump*
POW, I get two more freelancers to create profiles. Cool. At this point, my excitement gets rid of any sleepiness or hunger I have.
9:00 AM –
I need more traffic though. So now I go to Hacker News and post ‘I taught myself Rails in 8 weeks, and launched this: Freelancify’ and link it to Freelancify. Wasn’t expecting much in upvotes or any serious traffic from it. After posting that, I also remembered I am an organizer for a meetup I started here in Nashville called GrowNashville, and so I shoot an email out to that entire group announcing my launch; about 220 people.
Getting slightly sleepy at this point. But suddenly a surge of new freelancer accounts are created! A new project as well!! I am now at 8 freelancer accounts, Great!! This erases any thoughts of sleep and food, and I pop another Pepsi Max. My first emails start pouring in. 2, 3, 5, 7. Most of them are congratulations from my meetup members. However, those same congratulations contained crucial things I need to fix with my app ASAP. The setup I had with SSL and Heroku were giving Certificate errors to any visitors not visiting the www. domain. I get to work fixing it with the thought in my mind like ‘how many visitors are turning right away once they see this security warning’ as I go to work on it.
Working with some urgency, I got it squared away. During the hour or so spent, I get about 3 more emails telling me the same problem. I go to check if there’s any more freelancers or projects created. Yes! I am now at 13 freelancers and 2 projects! But more importantly one of the project’s discussion board actually has a comment on it. Made me happy that people actually found it useful. My post on Hacker News got a couple comments as well; so I go back to answer those.
For the next hour or so, I checked the site maybe every 10 minutes to look for new users. At 15 freelancers, and still 2 projects. While trying to concentrate enough to get more fixes done; I’m also getting more emails and find myself a bit overwhelmed keeping up with different errors or users having problem getting something done; and also focusing, mind was wondering around quite a bit.
I go to have a celebration lunch for finally launching. And I get absolutely stuffed! Hmm… lunch special fajitas.
I come home with the expectation to hop on the computer and go at some more coding again and then CRASH! Burn out… (looking back at things, it was a terrible idea to launch with no sleep knowing things would come up; lesson learned)
Woke up from a power nap and immediately went to the computer to check on the site. Whoa. I’m at 27 freelancers signed up and 4 projects. And tons of emails. The rest of the day/night was spent answering emails and fixing things that needed immediate attention.
THE DAY’S RESULTS
Total Traffic: My final numbers: 389 unique visitors. Got about 160 from Hacker News and various sources associated from that posting even with it never getting no where near the 1st page. The rest come from the combination of emailing out the 310 people mailing list and 220 person meetup group.
Total Emails: 18
Total Freelancers Signed Up: 28
Total Projects Created: 4
All in all, not a bad launch day. Lots of excitement that people signed up and giving me confidence that what I’ve been dreaming of for the past 7 months is going to be worth it. Also, thankful for all the support and blessings from the Lord, family, friends, and meetup members. Last but not least; thankful for all the emails about errors, suggestions, and things missing. This further lets me know that people see some potential and care about the site. Can’t wait to see how this journey goes….
Thanks for following,
– James Fend
p.s. – I’ve had many requests asking when the blog post documenting my path to learning Rails so quick will be posted; it will probably be later this week. The best way to be notified for those interested would be to use the form on the right-side and get an automatic email when new blog posts are up.