Why My First Startup Failed: 5 Lessons Learned by@ufocoder

Why My First Startup Failed: 5 Lessons Learned

An indie hacker started working on his first startup of the year, but his startup failed. The failure rate of startups is more than 80%. It is tough to land a winning idea on the first attempt. This article will summarize my story and point out five reasons why my first startup failed.
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Kazi Rabbany HackerNoon profile picture

Kazi Rabbany

Tech Entrepreneur; Coder; Building in public; 12 startups in 12 months in 2022. Follow me to ride the journey with me.

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To kick off this year’s “12 startups in 12 months” challenge that I’m building in public as an indie hacker, I started working on my first startup, but my startup failed. Some important lessons were learned.

What is the percentage of startups that fail? The failure rate of startups is more than 80%. It is extremely difficult to land a winning idea on the first attempt. Someone has to be really lucky.

In this article, I will summarize my story and point out five reasons why my first startup of the year failed.

The First Startup — Mixio (No Code Landing Page Builder)

To find the idea for my first startup of the year, initially, I wanted to build a generic no-code tool that could be used to build any web application. But the scope of this project would be too much for one month, and also it’s always better to focus on a narrower target audience when starting a project.

In the end, I decided that indie hackers were my target audience and chose to build a tool that validates startup ideas faster.

Eventually, my product became a tool that entrepreneurs or startup founders can use to validate as many ideas as quickly as possible. I wanted to make the experience less time-consuming and to the point where it would be easy for someone new to start building landing pages.

I used David’s six criteria for selecting my startup ideas for this challenge. And it did tick all the checkboxes.

Has product-market-fit been proven by something similar? 
Is it B2B? 
Can the MVP be developed within ≤ 3 Months (max)? 
Can it be managed without employees? 
Can it work without making active sales? 
Can I identify myself with the product? 

My “Market Research”

I pitched my startup idea to some fellow community members of Wannabe Entrepreneur Virtual Co-working Space and also created a poll on indiehakers.com to see which of my ideas are the most popular.

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IndieHackers.com Poll Result

In the indiehackers.com poll, it was the second favorite idea. If it had been logical, I should have started with the most favorite idea for my startup. Since I’ve decided on my target audience already, I chose the second-best idea anyway.

Landing Page of my Landing Page Builder

I quickly created a landing page for Mixio using the bare minimum of information necessary. I needed user feedback, so I created the page as quickly as possible.

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The initial landing page of Mixio.net

The signup link was just a Google form. The users had to fill out the information about their product in order to generate the landing page. It was a manual process.

I only managed to get one user to sign up for my Google form. This is the landing page of my first user that is created by Mixio — nuxo.org.

Launched Improved MVP

The current version of the landing page is not converting, which means that the MVP needs to be more convincing in order to get people to convert.

I started building a minimal working version of my landing page builder so that the users would be able to see the generated landing page right away.

I launched my MVP with the bare minimum features needed for my users to get started. You can start using my landing page builder right away, without having to sign up.

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Building your landing page is a breeze

This is an easy-to-use tool that does not require any coding or design skills to build a landing page.

The other notable landing pages generated by Mixio are CollabClub.co and LabSocial.com.

Traction

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Photo by Slidebean on Unsplash

I have not seen the classic hockey stick growth in my data, unfortunately. I’m using an analytics tool called Heap to track my user behavior. It’s not looking good — the engagement and conversion rate is really low. Even though I didn’t do much marketing, the conversion rate tells, and the number never lies.

As of today, only a small number of people have signed up for the service. And around 36 landing pages are being created by both registered and non-registered users.

Status — “Startup Failed”

Even though I think this startup is a failure, I won’t give up on it. My goal isn’t to give up after one month of a project — I want to see what happens in the long run.

Also, I may have a better idea to pivot to something else in the future. You never know. And my goal for taking this challenge was to try out many ideas that could become a profitable SaaS startup.

At least, I will be able to quickly build landing pages for my next 11 startups in this challenge. 😉

Lessons Learned

So why did my startup fail? I will outline some reasons why my first startup of the year-long 12-startup challenge failed. The lessons are based on the feedback I have received from my target audience so far. These may not be the only factors at play.

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Photo by Sarah Kilian on Unsplash

1. I didn’t choose the most popular idea

This one is obvious. It would’ve been better to go with the most popular idea from the market research poll that I did on indiehackers.com. I see a lot of potential in the idea that the audience chose.

2. I asked the wrong questions

I wasn’t able to read my customers’ minds because I didn’t ask the right questions. The key to finding out the truth about your potential customers is to ask the right questions. To find the truth it’s important to ask questions that will get you accurate information.

3. The market is saturated

There are many landing page creators available on the market, which makes it difficult for new businesses to compete in this market. I don’t think I could compete with the big players who are already offering free services, and new tools are coming out every day.

4. Entrepreneurs are emotional about their landing pages

Some entrepreneurs or indie hackers find building landing pages to be an emotional process. They want to design it themselves and make it perfect.

5. Technical entrepreneurs are comfortable with HTML templates

If the founder is a developer or designer, they may be more comfortable hosting their own landing pages with HTML5 templates. I learned this lesson the hard way. 😞

What’s Next to My Journey as an Indie Hacker?

I don’t consider this a failure at a personal level, as most startups are supposed to fail! And I may still have plans for Mixio in the future, as the no-code movement is growing rapidly.

I just want to try as many ideas as possible before one really sticks. The first startup I attended taught me a few important lessons and helped me improve myself so that I could execute any startup idea better. That’s the whole point of this 12-month long fun experiment.

My next idea is obviously the most voted one — a Twitter growth tool. It’s called LabSocial. Feel free to sign up if you are curious about this tool. 🤗

Follow My Journey of Building in Public

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Photo by Ricky Kharawala on Unsplash

If you want to see how my story unfolds and want to support me or just want to come along for the ride with me, please subscribe to my newsletter and . It means a lot to me.

If you are a maker yourself or want to dive into the journey of , please feel free to shout out to me on Twitter.

Also published here.

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by Kazi Rabbany @ufocoder.Tech Entrepreneur; Coder; Building in public; 12 startups in 12 months in 2022. Follow me to ride the journey with me.
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