Table of Contents
- Tell us about your product and what inspired you to start it?
- How long did it take you to acquire your first 50 customers, and what was your growth strategy?
- Which technology stack are you using and what challenges and limitations does it pose?
- What are some of the most essential tools that you use for your business?
- What have been some of the biggest insights you've gained since starting your entrepreneurial journey?
- Your recommended books/podcasts/newsletters etc.:
Hua Shu is the co-founder of Typogram - The perfect logo design tool for founders!
Typogram started as a tool for professional designers to create typographic designs. However, during our initial user tests, we also met many business owners who needed quality branding design to launch their businesses. For these new business owners, creating branding design was a pain point. Finding freelancers can be difficult and costly, and there aren’t any simple and easy-to-use design tools explicitly dedicated to logo and branding design creations for beginners. Many of these business owners tried to create logos themselves using Office tools, like Microsoft Powerpoint, and were not satisfied.
We saw a need for a simple and beginner-friendly design tool specifically for designing logos and brandings that make people feel creative, confident, and excited to launch their businesses! That’s what we want to create.
Our first 50 customers came from a pre-order we launched on Product Hunt a year ago and our two newsletters. For our pre-order program, we set up a home page with a demo video and launched on Product Hunt. At that point, we wanted to test the interests first and validate monetization before we code the entire software. This was a great decision and got us our initial paid customers.
Currently, we write two fantastic newsletters: First, our build-in-public newsletter takes readers behind the scenes of our startup and joins us in the learnings and failures. Second, our design newsletter, FontDiscovery, shares design and typography tips for design beginners. They have been perfect tools for getting the word out and converting people to try our product.
Furthermore, we have achieved remarkable marketing success through our engineering-as-marketing initiatives. One notable example is the creation of "coding font," an engaging tournament-style game designed to assist coders in discovering their ideal coding font (goodbye eye strain!). This project gained substantial traction and earned recognition on prestigious platforms such as the front page of Hacker News, Reddit's r/programming community, and prominent technology blogs like Boing Boing.
Lastly, Reddit serves as an exceptional platform for discovering potential users and customers. In my experience, I have found it useful to share what I've learned throughout the process of developing Typogram and growing the newsletter on relevant subreddits.This content not only provides valuable insights to others but also acts as a catalyst for driving interest towards our product. When individuals find the shared information useful, they are more likely to explore and engage with our offering.
We regularly communicate with our paid customers through monthly product update emails and in our discord community.
Though my co-founder and I are both engineers, we love to use no-code tools because they enable us to build, test, and prototype rapidly in every aspect of the product. Tools we regularly used were: Notion, Webflow, Retool, Stripe, Google Sheets, Tallyforms, Zapier, and Make.
For Typogram, we used Notion in the initial user testing process. A key feature in our app is mini, integrated lessons to help users learn logo and branding design. To test quickly, We build out initial features using Notion and Webflow.
We also set up a back-end system to collect and organize user feedback. We connected survey responses to a custom notion template, so responses get mapped and recorded automatically to our feedback database. This enables us to save time and access user feedback quickly.
Last but not least, when we launched our pre-order, we used no-code tools to build the payment system, connecting Stripe and Google Sheet to process payment and generate license codes.
Tools we regularly used were: Notion, Webflow, Retool, Stripe, Google Sheets, Tallyforms, Zapier, and Make.
What have been some of the biggest insights you've gained since starting your entrepreneurial journey?
James Clear once said, “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” Spending time building and having an excellent (project management) system helps me stick close to my goals and roadmap in creating content and shipping products. Although sometimes this can be time-consuming, figuring out your process and setting up the system to plan is vital to habit building and success.
Also, It can be lonely and challenging to start your own business. When I worked for someone else, I had co-workers I could talk to. Now that I work for myself, I had to find my tribe of entrepreneurs so we could motivate each other to stay in the game. To overcome this, we started Build-in-Public on Twitter and a newsletter to find and create a community around us. We use our startup journey newsletter to share progress, highs and lows, and use Twitter to make new friends and connections.