The project described here was never finished. The site has been archived for posterity.

Last week, I wrote about my motivations for getting (back) into physical products. Soon, I'll tell you about the next product I'm working on. But for now, let's stay with motivations for a bit. Because I have some that I haven't talked about so far. Ulterior motives, so to speak?

In this post, I'm going into the reasons I started this website, the strategy I have for it, and how that strategy relates to the physical products I'm going to create. This look behind the scenes is available to paid members only.

The big picture

Let's do a quick overview on how I'm thinking about this website:

  • The intended audience are people who are interested in designing, making, and selling physical products, just like me.
  • The goal is not to market my products here, although that could be a welcome side effect.
  • I have no idea if paid memberships are going to be successful, but maybe they can help offset some of the hosting and prototyping costs.
  • While I figure out how to earn a living from physical products, I'd like to sell services to my target audience. Software development (which is my strongest skill), and maybe coaching and consulting to complement that.
  • I also hope to connect with other physical product enthusiasts, online and in person. For the sense of community, and to explore opportunities for collaboration.

That's the gist of it!

Choosing an audience

I think choosing an audience is important. In writing, but also in business. Knowing who it's for just makes everything so much easier. I've long been interested in creating physical products, and I've long thought about what a suitable audience for them could be.

I need to like that audience, care about the things they care about; or it will be hard to stay with them long-term. I need to be able to reach them, so I can learn about them and their problems. And I need to be able to actually help solve those problems, or there won't be a product.

This is very important, but it's also difficult. There is a lot of room here for procrastination, for self-doubt. Which audience should I serve? Can I stay interested for long? Can I even help them? I have so little experience with physical products. It would take so long to get anywhere!

And so, while I've dabbled, I never really got started. Until I had an insight.

Yes, I have little experience with physical products. Yes, it will take very long to get anywhere. Yes, it might be unlikely that I can stay with the same audience, product after product. But there has been one constant for me all this time: my interest in physical products itself.

So that's where I'll start. I'll use my journey of learning and exploration as a catalyst for serving an audience of people that care about the same thing I do. I'll help those people solve problems using skills I already have (software!), and I'll build more relevant skills to use as I get farther along.

And the physical products? Those now exist as a means of learning, and to provide content for my primary audience. That takes a lot of pressure out of it. I can just choose to follow whatever path seems most suitable to take me to the next milestone. No more big questions to hold me back!

Balancing short-term and long-term goals

Developing physical products costs money. Living life costs money! And I don't expect to be financially successful selling physical products any time soon. And while I certainly hope to live very comfortably doing that at some point, I need something else until then.

I already mentioned that I want to sell software development, or related services like consulting and coaching, to other people creating physical products. If this works, I expect it to mesh very well with my long-term goals, on top off making me money in the short term.

It will help me meet like-minded people. I will get to work on their products, gaining insights I might not have learned on my own. I will gain experience from that, which will help me with my own products. And the experience from my own products will teach me more valuable skills, to help my audience with, in turn.

On partnerships

I know it's possible to design, make, and sell physical products fully on your own. People have done it. Are doing it. I'm trying to do that for my initial products. That doesn't mean it will always be my preferred choice.

Partnering up with others, pooling your skills and resources, can make things easier. Or a product more successful. Or it could allow me to go for something that I couldn't achieve on my own.

I don't know what this would look like, specifically. Maybe I could partner with people that have similar skills, doubling down to create something that is very strong in one area. Maybe I could be part of a team with complementary skills, giving us better coverage over the whole process.

Maybe I could take care of (most of) the development, but then partner with someone who has access to the product's target market.

There are lots of possibilities, and the details don't matter at this point. But opportunities can arise from joining a community of like-minded people.

That's it!

I hope I've managed to convey the thinking that has led me down this path. And I hope that maybe I've given you some thoughts that can be valuable to your own work!

But be that as it may, please let me know what you think! A lot of what I'll do will be public, but I want to keep writing these posts for my paid members, to provide more detail, and more of my thoughts. Your feedback can help shape what that's going to look like.

So, what's the plan?