Open Startup

Should I Publish my App to Betalist?

And is it worth the $129 price tag?

9/13/2019

Pine Beta is close to opening. A week ago I deployed a small homepage with a signup form for anyone interested. The next step seemed quite obvious - publish to Betalist. What's the benefit of that? We're about to find out.

A quick note on Open Startups

Pine is not really a startup. I'm not looking for venture capital, a big team or quick growth. Pine is a fully bootstrapped one-man show. However, the idea of an open startup is very dear to me.

An open startup is simply a product that shares its numbers. Users, revenue, expenses, employees, you name it. Spending all this free time working on a product can be daunting, especially when you have no idea what returns to expect. Open startups can give you a glimpse of what can happen as well as some well-needed encouragement.

It was the open startups and the indie maker community that made me realize that building a product may just be worth the effort. This is why I plan to share these kinds of details about Pine.

Ok, so what about Betalist?

The three big numbers to reveal today are:

  • 👥 640 unique visitors
  • 🙋 250 signups
  • 💰 129 dollars

The part about the dollars was a surprise to me. I assumed you just submit things to Betalist like you'd submit things to Reddit. While there's a free tier in Betalist, you'd need to wait for a month or two for your submission to appear. The money bypasses the queue and guarantees you a place in the newsletter.

So was it worth it? I'd say hell yes!

  1. I got 250 highly interested users for what is essentially the price of 50 cents per user. (insert rapper joke here)
  2. While the number of site visitors isn't all that high, the percentage of people signing up is incredible. More than a third of all visitors signed up to try out Pine.
  3. Even if just one of the beta testers signup for a paid plan - I'll get my monies worth with time.
  4. I received several emails from people personally asking for beta signup. That's one hell of an encouragement to keep coding.
  5. I've worked on Pine for almost two years now without any market testing. That's way too long. The percentage of signups, the comments, the personal messages, they're all proof of interest. And boy does it feel good to have that.
  6. People are still coming to the site and signing up!

I'm making a product. Should I pay for Betalist?

I'm more than happy with the results. I was hoping to get around 100 signups and got 2.5 times that. However, $129 can be steep for many early businesses. Waiting is absolutely an option, you just need to be more strategic about timing.

The good part is that even if you pay and don't end up getting the results you want - Betalist has a money-back policy, where all you need to do is ask for a refund. They'll send you your money back and won't even remove your site from the list.

Some conclusion

Knowing that your product is useful to someone is important. It's best to know that as early as possible. The reason I've spent such a long time on Pine before publishing anything anywhere is simple - this is a tool that solves my own personal problem. So even if no one else will ever use it - I'll still have a tool for myself. But honestly - I don't think I'm special in any way, so my problems are someone else's problems too. And if Pine is useful to me, it must be for others too.

250 signups may not seem like a lot. Only a part of them will turn to full-time users and only a small part of that will turn to paid users. But the thing is that you don't really need a lot of users to have a profitable business. My goal is to eventually get 1000 customers. That's what I need to fully sustain Pine and myself.

This number is somewhat magic. Its basic math, but it can provide an incredible amount of inspiration. Just think about how achievable 1000 users are.

I'll leave you with a link to Kevin Kelly's blog post 1000 true fans. This article made me consider starting something of my own a few years back, and if you're on the verge of building something, maybe it will give you the push you need too!

Ok, bye! ❤️