Colleen and Michele move their previously-private weekly coffee shop conversation about their businesses to podcast form. Here's what you can expect from this podcast.
COLLEEN SCHNETTLER: and I'm Colleen Schnettler.
MICHELE HANSEN: And this week we're giving you an intro to what this podcast is about and who we are and why we're doing this and why we're hoping you'll join us.
COLLEEN SCHNETTLER: So Michele can you start by telling us a little about your software business?
MICHELE HANSEN: Yes, so I am a co-founder of Geocodio (https://www.geocod.io/) which is a software as a service company. We do geocoding for US and Canada as well as data matching, and my husband and I started it about six and a half years ago now as a side project and we have run it full-time for the past three years.
COLLEEN SCHNETTLER: So you're basically living the dream, is what you're telling me?
MICHELE HANSEN: Some people would say that, I bristle at that a little bit, there's definitely a lot more dream to be had. But yeah, people do say that to me, especially people who are looking to create their own software businesses. Which is kinda the boat you're in.
COLLEEN SCHNETTLER: Much like myself! I am a Ruby on Rails developer, I've kind of had a varied career. Always in tech. I started as an electrical engineer, stayed home with my kids for a few years, and then I started learning Rails and I built up a really successful consultancy. And that has been amazing, and a really wonderful journey for me, but I have always wanted to start a product business. There is just this dream of having a product business that you are in charge of your own life and your own business, you get to make your own decisions. That's something I've always wanted. And man, it's hard!
MICHELE HANSEN: It is hard!
COLLEEN SCHNETTLER: Right? You know, I read a lot of startup content. I have read a lot of books and I follow a lot of successful startup founders and there's so many stories out there that make it seem like -- I mean you don't hear about it until they're successful, so it makes it seem like it's easy, and I'm at the very beginning of this journey, and you know, I'm just getting started! So part of my impetus for doing this podcast with you is obviously to learn a lot about what you can teach people who are in the early stages of their business, and also to stay inspired and to share with people what it's really like to start a business.
MICHELE HANSEN: I don't think you give yourself enough credit, Colleen, in saying that you're just at the very beginning. You have been working intently on this for over a year now -- I remember it was last summer when you came to me and you were so excited about an idea and this passion you had that was leading you to toward that idea, and you started doing user research on it, and having something that you're passionate about, and doing the work to see if there's legs to it, and then realizing that there aren't -- that is work. That is valuable productive work.
COLLEEN SCHNETTLER: I hope so! Because it was quite a lot of work. And so just a brief overview, I had an idea to do something with the childcare industry. And I had a founder, someone I was going to work with, and she and I interviewed quite a few people who would have been in our target market. So we kind of took the steps you learn about with idea generation and honestly the truth is -- we put in a lot of time and effort and found out it really was not a profitable business idea. So it's hard to get really excited about something and climb that mountain and then realize -- up! no one wants to buy it.
MICHELE HANSEN: Right
COLLEEN SCHNETTLER: You know? At least we found that out before we started writing code.
MICHELE HANSEN: Right
COLLEEN SCHNETTLER: Didn't you guys have some side projects before Geocodio?
MICHELE HANSEN: Oh, many. And we had many projects in between that, too, that we've launched in the interim. And it's -- there's no lying that it's hard to find something that sticks, and as you said, no one cares about something until you're a success -- which is a really really lonely place to be for a very long time. You know, our first month we launched Geocodio, we made $31. We thought we were a ridiculous success because we were shocked that anybody wanted to pay us. We thought our product was pretty terrible. And we were we were truly -- we were so shocked that we hadn't even written the code that would tell Stripe to bill people. That was how surprised we were that anyone wanted to pay us. And we worked on it as a side project for a very long time. And it wasn't until just before I went full time, that people started kind of noticing what we were doing and asking us to talk at conferences or, or being a podcast. There's that was a very long time. Where Yeah, exactly like you were saying, you don't hear a lot of those stories. You only hear the stories when people are successful. And I think what we're hoping to capture here is some of that granularity that goes in week by week when you're launching something. And then also the kinds of things you face on a daily basis when you have launched something and it's gotten to the point where you can work full time on it, what what are the kinds of things that you might be facing at that point, and and how do we tackle them
MICHELE HANSEN: Oh, absolutely. And so I guess you know, in, in closing with this podcast, what we're hoping to do is bring you in to our conversations, conversations like this, that Colleen and I are having regularly anyway. And considering the different stages that we are at, and how that plays off in one another. Maybe you'll find this helpful. Maybe you're looking to start your own business. Maybe you're looking to branch out into other things. Whatever that might be, we want to invite you to sit at the table with us. We take the name of the podcast from a great little coffee shop in Arlington, Virginia called Northside Social where we used to meet up before the pandemic and, and so we're inviting you to Sit at our table and and listen in and hopefully share your own thoughts with us on on all of this.
What is Software Social?
Two software founders -- one transitioning from freelancing, and one with an established business -- invite you to join their weekly chats about their businesses.