Coronavirus, quarantine and progress

It’s been 3 months, from which 2 we’ve been in quarantine. All the plans and our lives changed from one week to the next. Suddenly there was thousands of worries in our minds and it was difficult to focus in anything other than the next day. This, of course, is not the only reason why I am 3 months late in my already late plans of putting a first version in hands of the artisans. But in fact it did affected and a lot. Anyways, no more excuses. The MVP is ready for artisans to use and I already want to hear their comments and suggestions.

In the end it’s been almost 6 months since I started this project.

People that has created products like this advise not to let that much time to pass without users having access to it and play with it, because you risk making a product nobody wants. I couldn’t avoid it. Before yesterday, the product couldn’t do the full flow that I am trying to automate: register as an artisan, create a course, do searches for interesting courses as an apprentice, enroll and pay it.

And yes, it took me 6 months. It was very hard and very tiresome, besides the emotional roller coaster, but here I am. Maybe someone else would have made it in less time. Maybe other person would have made other decisions or used other technologies. But this is what I did and the decisions I made and the technologies I used. And now I have something tangible.

In my point of view a lot of things are missing. Just looking at it I know what things I could have made better or what things I have not yet done, but if I continue this way I will never publish anything because it will never be perfect compared to what I imagined the day I naively started this project.

Maybe it is late and I created a product nobody wants. I am well aware. I hope it is not. Now I need to hear the opinions of the artisans instead of my own ideas about what the product should do.

Next step: put it in the artisan hands.

First release

Ok, at last I have something to show. This is the first version of Artisan Crafts.

In the video below you can see the course search process, either by category or free text; add to shopping cart and payment with card.

This version will be shared with a small group of artisans that will help me with their feedback and suggestions to improve this tool so that it is perfect for them.

If you’re an artisan and want to be considered to have access to this first version and help me improve it and adapt it to your needs, please register here and I will contact you.

Progress

I have been busy this week doing the non-code tasks I have in my release to-do list. Mainly, setting up a landing page with a subscribe button that I will use to promote the site in several artisan groups that I know of.

I also set up the email accounts, the mailchimp account, google analytics.

I am working on the edit course feature and finishing that the only remaining thing missing will be the apprentice buy button on each course page.

I can see the end line (for this initial release at least).

Late, late, late

This is taking a lot more time than expected. Is that because of me being over optimistic or just because I am not up to the task? I’d like to think it is because of the first but a lot of times I think it is because of the second :'(

I have the artisan subscription working at last, that took more than I expected. I also have an minimal artisan dashboard working. The more I look at the app the more features I think that are missing and that the product is not worth releasing without them. That’s the eternal trap of the solo entrepreneur when doing the MVP. It is dragging me. I don’t want to fall in this trap and I am falling into it and I know I am falling into it 🙁 🙁

Anyways, lets continue, one small step each day, even if I am more than 3 weeks late of my official deadline.

Right now I consider that the only two features missing are:

  • Apprentice signup to a course
  • Course editing for the artisan (dates, course description, pause, publish status)

And the deployment tasks, of course.

I need to keep going. I won’t give up. I am close.

Deadline missed

🙁 The january 2nd deadline came and passed and I didn’t finish. In retrospective I was very optimistic regarding this season. I finished the image upload, did some refactors in the backend API, I studied the documentation for the payments integration so it was not completely a miss, but anyways.

The only major thing missing and that I am working now is the payments integration.

Will report later.

Slow progress

I couldn’t dedicate time to work on this project the last week, so the progress is slow. I worked on allowing images to be added to a course but is not finished.

The good thing is today I started my end of year vacations so I could dedicate more time to this and make up for the time lost.

Progress report

I wish I had more time. The progress is slow but constant.

On the backend side, the API is ready to create users, create courses, get lists of courses by category and to search courses.

On the frontend side I have a home page with a hero generic phrase and a search box to find courses. I have the login page for artisans and the artisans can create courses using markdown and preview them.

Next thing I think will be to add some way to allow the users to register to a course.