Announcing my next project as I restart my indie-hacking journey
Who I am:
I am Digital Product Designer by profession. I have been designing for companies for over a decade now and have designed a ton of interfaces to solve user problems.
But at heart, I am a maker first. I have been doing DIY stuff since I was a kid. During my college days, I started my digitial "indie-hacking" journey and have made a few online tools with a few of my developer friends so far.
For most of my previous indie-hacking projects, I never focused on monetizing them. Or you can say I failed to monetize them. Either way, it was one of the things that I wanted to keep as one of my core focus if I ever were to start building something again.
Fast forward 10 years into designing interfaces, last Novemeber 2021, I left my design job where I was leading design for a U.S. company to take a personal mini-sabbatical.
The idea was (& still is) to relax, do things that I'd like, work on any side projects I might have in mind, & go back to a full-time job in 4-6 month's time because I still need to pay my bills and making money from side-projects takes time.
Why I am starting my indie hacking journey now?
During the first 2 months of my break, I didn't do any thing productive so to say. I watched a lot of Netflix series and consumed online content. After 2 months of doing nothing & feeling relaxed + recharged, I started reading books, articles that I had bookmarked, and started hanging with the indie hacking community on Indiehackers.com (IH) and on Twitter.
Since I was on a break, new ideas was striking me more than usual + The IH community seemed really strong and supportive. That inspired me to build something again. I had abundance of ideas but wanted to start building something that can be validated early on, prefrably with a simple landing page & not by actually building the product.
What I am building
TLDR; I am building buildwithframer.com, which is a templating solution built on top of a design tool called Framer. It’s targeted at anyone who doesn’t know how to code or doesn’t want to code their website. Users can use one of my pre-made fully-responsive templates, replace content with their own, and ship their website in just a few hours.
The idea came when Framer.com launched their new tool called Framer Sites. As a designer, I have been using Figma, but also have used Framer in the past. With Framer Sites, you can directly design on the canvas, add browser breakpoints, tweak some more for tablet and mobile, and you're ready to ship directly from the tool.
No more designing and then coding your designs. I knew immediately that Framer Sites would be a game changer and it'll replace a workflow of designing in a tool like Figma and then either hard coding the site or using another no-code tool like Webflow. Framer Sites was eliminating the use of two tools with one.
The idea was to build a templating solution using Framer sites. I've seen other creators build templates for Notion, Webflow, etc. and they all do quite decent moentorily for templates. So I wanted to jump on to this opportunity.
Here's why I was excited about the problem:
- Creators have done the work but showcasing their work isn't easy i.e. publishing any kind of work on to a website isn't as easy as it sounds even today.
- Even with all the no-code tools present, learning curve of these tools are a lot. Framer's UI felt easy to use to be able to focus only on the content.
- Wordpress & other blogging platform works but they lack a project-focused UI. Their dashboards are more tune towards writing content.
- To make a site live, one has to take care of design, domain, hosting, coding, responsiveness, etc - making it harder to launch
My hypothesis here is that if creators:
- Start with a project-focused template, they can focus on the content and add their work faster.
- Focus more on getting the content right & doesn't have to code, find hosting, etc, they can launch faster.
- Can ship with just 1-click, barrier to launch their ideas will be less.
BuildwithFramer.com - Get ready-to-deploy templates for your next project & ship your site in just a few hours.
To make my templating business successfull i.e. users buying & using these templates, I'll have to focus on making these templates:
- 100% fully responsive - so users don't have to worry about breakage isses on desktop, tablet, or mobile.
- Highly customizable content & design - so users can edit as little as the content to ship faster. Or edit as much as the design itself to make it suit their brand to 100%.
- Video and/or community support - so users can get the help needed in case they get stuck somewhere.
I’ve launched my 1st template for designers as "Designer's portfolio". I did some initial research and saw a lot of interest from junior / senior designers. Started a pre-order campaign on Gumroad and to my surprise, 8 designers pre-ordered it - validating the need of such templating solutions.
I've released another Early Access Landing Page template earlier last week, targeting creators, founders, or indie-hackers who want to test their ideas quickly in the market. You can check it here: Early access landing page template.
Going forward my plan is to keep releasing new templates catering to different use cases. A few examples are:
- Developer's portfolio page - targeting developers who wants to showcase their projects but don’t want to code or the hassle of maintaining a website through code (yeah, I see the irony :D ).
- NFT portfolio page - targeting NFT artists and collectors who wants to showcase their art creations or collections.
- Personal brand page - targeting influencers who wants to showcase their best content and/or their affiliate products.
The templating avenues are endless for this project and I am glad that there's no limit to it as it falls inline with my indie-hacking project criteria i.e. work on projects that either have very well defined niche or can offer multiple solutions.
I am super excited to finally announce this to the world. I have a few more ideas that I want to execute this year and see if I can make them profitable & make meaningful progress towards my lifestyle business goal.