Days 2&3 – Building my new personal branding oriented start-up

What am I doing? Short recap: I am doing 3 days long sprints, 2 days allotted for picking up an idea and building a product/service around it and 1 day to promote the minimum viable product that results from the first 2 days. In the first day I settled on an idea based on online personal branding and to offer a service consisting on creating profiles on more than 50 social media sites.

What a beginning today: went to Namecheap in order to buy a new domain but their service was lagging and throwing 502 errors towards my way. As for the name of my new domain, playground for my experiments, I settled on 72startups, it’s pretty clear why 72, 72 hours duh. I did an internet search and got to https://status.namecheap.com/. From that page it seems that today 24 October there is an “NAMECHEAP.COM EMERGENCY MAINTENANCE”:
“Dear Customers,

Our site namecheap.com is currently undergoing an emergency maintenance to upgrade our systems in order to better serve you.
You may receive Cloudflare or 500 errors on the site.
We apologize for any inconvenience during this short outage and thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.
Our development team is working on addressing this issue.
Once we have any news we will update this status post.

Kind regards,
Namecheap Support Team”

Not a good start. The problem is finally solved and I start working towards the goals of the day with a detour first: I have to buy new domains and hosting ($30), to install WP and setup my main domain stefantesoi.com and to do my first blog post. This took me more than I thought and should be a lesson for me to learn to plan things better next time so I can fully concentrate on the days’ goals. The next step was for me to sign up and add my info on a bunch of social media in order to have a good estimate on how much time this process would take and thus to have a good estimate for the price that I will charge for the service, this step should also help me build the value proposition that I’m offering to my customers. I got a bit carried away in completing this step, I ended signing up on 60 social media sites and the process took me longer than I expected, part of the reason being that I didn’t had any previous experience with most of the sites so I had to go through a learning curbe and to learn each site’s intricacies and quirks. The fact that most of these sites are optimized to keep you hooked also contributed to my distraction, in some cases I had the tendency to check out more of what they had to offer rather than just creating my profile and running away. Once this step was completed I started towards the next one: setting up the site and the landing page. As a software developer I have the tendency to start from 0 and to throw a bunch of code at a problem but I decided that in this case it would be wiser to just go with existing solutions, there is not point in reinventing the wheel, what is needed is a only a landing page, nothing too fancy. So I just installed WP and searched for a nice theme and found it: Illdy.

night

Day 3
Time to customize the WordPress theme and whip it into a decent landing page. This too proved to have a learning curve with a higher time cost than I thought. The problem is that once you settle on a ready made solution you also have to face its issues as well, in this case the theme being no stranger to bugs. No matter what I would do, the theme would show the footer section and I considered it to be redundant, I didn’t need links again to the homepage, FAQ or to the blog, they are already shown in the top of the page. I get my hands dirty and edit the script files that were causing the problem. I get into the software developer thinking mode again when trying to install the Paypal button, the theme is not properly showing it, it shows it either too small or too big, so I try getting my hands dirty again by editing the script files responsible with showing the section in cause. The editing turns out to be problematic, I’m not getting the results that I want but fortunately I snap out of the developer thinking mode and realize that there must be some plugin out there that should do what I want to do. I find the plugin with ease and solve my problem. This concludes Day 3. The plan was to have some time left, at least one day in order to do some marketing but things turned out more time costly than I thought. It’s not all that bad, at the end of 3 days I have a new domain and a personal blog, managed to do some personal branding on 60 social media sites, and I also have transformed an idea into a domain with a landing page ready to take orders.

Lessons learned:
1. Better organization before an operation begins, I should have information and the tools I need to complete a task more readily available.
2. Planning fallacy: “is a phenomenon in which predictions about how much time will be needed to complete a future task display an optimism bias and underestimate the time needed.” I’m now aiming for a 3 day build sprint during which I will build a Minimum Viabil Product (MVP) followed by a 3 day promotion sprint. 2 days of building and 1 day of promotion seems unrealistic and limitative.
3. The KISS principle: Keep it simple, stupid! I tend to overthink and not see that are already-made solutions to my problem or to see the simpler solution, there is no point in reinventing the wheel each time.

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