Colleen wants to rebuild her documentation instead of improving it. Michele finally gets going on that podcast book tour that Colleen challenged her to go on.
Searching for SaaS: https://searchingforsaas.com/podcast/ep25-local-restaurant-app-to-geocoding-as-a-service-michele-hansen-from-geocodio/
One Knight In Product: https://www.oneknightinproduct.com/michele-hansen/
Indie Hackers: https://www.indiehackers.com/podcast/224-michele-hansen
Michele Hansen 0:01
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Colleen Schnettler 0:51
Michele Hansen 0:54
How are you?
Colleen Schnettler 0:56
I'm good. I'm good. How about you?
Michele Hansen 0:58
How goes week three now of doing Hammerstone and simple file upload.
Colleen Schnettler 1:08
It's going well, today, I'm going to dedicate most of the day to simple file uploads. So I'm pretty excited about that. I'm finally back into my theoretical four days client work one day, my own thing and never really works out that way. Because I make myself way too available. But I have a lot of plans. But I do want to talk to you about something. Okay. I am I have not had any new signups in six weeks. Oh, yeah. I mean, I'm not in the pit of despair, because I'm just generally pretty happy about everything else. But I haven't been really on top of I know, six weeks. Right. That's really. I mean, I
Michele Hansen 1:54
I hate to say it, but that does give me a little bit of like trough of sorrow vibes.
Colleen Schnettler 1:58
Yeah. I mean, I honestly, I hadn't even really noticed, which is a different a different thing. Has anybody been canceled? I don't know. Because I, yeah, so I don't track that as well as I should. And I think with everything that's been going on, I have been so busy that I haven't. Honestly, I've just been letting it run itself. I checked my email every day, but no one ever emails me, which is nice, by the way. So I hadn't checked it in a while a and I checked it in preparation to do this podcast with you. And I was like, Oh, crap. I haven't had a sign up since July. This is September 2.
Michele Hansen 2:39
So have I mean, has your revenue gone down? Like?
Colleen Schnettler 2:44
No, actually, it hasn't. So I've been pretty consistent. So without doing a full churn analysis, I don't think people are churning. But they're not signing up. Okay, that's not okay. Let me stop. That's not entirely true. People are putting their email address in and then bouncing. So people are still finding my website. But yeah,
Michele Hansen 3:12
I feel like it was like the people who are paying you is that mostly people from Heroku? or from your website?
Colleen Schnettler 3:19
It's mostly people from Heroku.
Michele Hansen 3:21
So are you still getting that like you had this problem where people were like, signing up on Heroku, but then not actually activating it? And like starting to use it, like, Are people still doing that first step on Heroku.
Colleen Schnettler 3:37
So people are using it. I actually had one person respond with what he's doing. So that was cool. In terms of like a new signup. So people are using it that sign up on Heroku, which is good. It's just a lack of new signups is really confusing to me.
Michele Hansen 3:55
Did you ever get that work done on the homepage like and Roku site like we were talking about the code pen and improving the documentation? And like, did did all that happen?
Colleen Schnettler 4:10
So I have a whole list of great things I'm going to do so what I have done this week last week is I actually started writing a piece of I wrote an article right, it didn't take that long. I should have what it doesn't matter what I should have done. I did it. So that's good. So I have seen on Google Analytics said that is getting a decent amount of traffic. Today, literally today. I'm going to get that freakin try it now on the homepage. That is my plan to do that today. Nice. I'm speaking it into existence. The documentation is a whole different animal because I don't think I mean, I really need to redo the documentation. But that's like a whole thing. Like it's not I need to add some things. I think I need to take it in baby steps because I added some things to the tech side that are not reflected in the documentation that are kind of cool. So I think, but of course, instead of just adding that to my existing documentation, which I don't really like the way it presents, like, I just don't like the way it looks. I want to tear that all down and make a new app just for documentation, which I will do someday, but
Michele Hansen 5:17
so it kind of sounds like you need to put away your laundry. But you don't want to do that. So instead, you're going to completely build yourself a new closet, but
Colleen Schnettler 5:26
my closets gonna be so pretty, and so organized.
Michele Hansen 5:33
Yeah, I'm sensing a theme where like, you have a task that you don't want to do, or it seems overwhelming to you or you don't feel like it plays into your strengths. And so your way to do it is to make it something that is one of your strengths, which is actually just throwing more hurdles in front of you actually doing the task.
Colleen Schnettler 6:00
Oh, yeah, totally. I mean, that's, like, it's funny, because before we got on this podcast, my plan was still to rewrite the whole documentation and make it its own site, blah, blah, blah. And as soon as I spoke those words to you, as I do, I've really is that really a super high priority, like, the higher priority should be getting the fact that like, I emit events on, you know, successful uploads, that's cool. People can use that. It's literally nowhere in my documentation that I do that. So I'm probably the priority should just be getting it out there with what I have. And then someday, when I have more time, I can rewrite the whole documentation site.
Michele Hansen 6:39
This is your problem with the documentation that it's ugly, or that people email you telling you that it's janky. And, like, difficult to use documentation specifically, or is it just an eyesore? It's
Colleen Schnettler 6:53
a it's an eyesore. I don't like the way it looks. I don't like the way I navigate with tabs. I don't like the tabs. Like I think you can still find everything no one has emailed me saying I don't understand how to use this. Hold on.
Michele Hansen 7:05
I need to like I'm I'm pulling look at it. So now
Colleen Schnettler 7:08
Yeah, pull it up. Okay, so if you go to simple file, upload.com, and then click on Doc's documentation,
Michele Hansen 7:15
you got that calm, like,
Colleen Schnettler 7:17
I know, I win it names. So if you look at it, I was like so I also bought unrelated simple file. Wait, what did I buy? I bought simple image upload calm. Hmm, I haven't done anything with it. I just snagged it. I was like, okay, that seems like what I should have. Okay, so look at this documentation page. Like, I just don't like the way it looks.
Michele Hansen 7:40
I mean, it's not the ugliest thing I've ever seen. Like, it's basic, but like,
Colleen Schnettler 7:45
it's fine. I mean,
Michele Hansen 7:47
it like has a little bit of an old school README file vibe, but totally does. That's not a bad thing. Because that's how documentation was distributed for, like 20 years. And it's still sometimes distributed that way. Yeah. I mean, the other thing is, is like, I think it's okay to like, give yourself that space to be like, you know, like, this is ugly, and I hate it. I'm throw the content in there now. But also, when it comes time to build the documentation, like, there's so many tools for this, like, Don't design your own documentation to you know, like, like, if you're going to build yourself a new closet for all this, like at least buy one from IKEA, and then you just have to assemble it, like, don't go actually go out and buy the two by fours. And you know, like,
Colleen Schnettler 8:42
do yeah, you're doing, I don't actually know what tools are out there to build documentation. So what do you guys use? Do you remember? Cuz I know you're right. This has got to be a thing. Like, you're absolutely right. I
Michele Hansen 8:57
think I know someone who, like just bought a documentation tool.
Colleen Schnettler 9:02
This is interesting.
Michele Hansen 9:04
Because, like it definitely I don't I don't remember what the name is of the thing that we use. But we've actually we've actually had people reach out to us saying that they really liked our documentation and wanted to know where we got it from. Like, I think we just got it somewhere. Well,
Colleen Schnettler 9:19
this is an interesting thing. I didn't actually I didn't even think about that. But absolutely, you're right, I should there's there's a better way to solve this problem than me. Does that make rewriting this whole thing? So what you're looking at now, the here's the real reason I want to redo it. What you're looking at now comes through the application page, and the application app does not use tailwind. My. My marketing site does use tailwind so that my thought would be to rewrite all of this documentation, put it on the marketing site
Michele Hansen 9:52
using tailwind because would you design it yourself with like tailwind elements or would you grab a template from tailwind.
Colleen Schnettler 10:01
Oh, totally. I pay for whatever that thing is with tailwind where I can just copy the code and put it on. I bought that. Yeah.
Michele Hansen 10:09
But it's worth it. It was totally worth anything is worth it. Totally Great. So yeah, there's I don't know, I don't know, read me.io. Right. Like there's all sorts of, is that what we use? That kind of looks like our docks?
Colleen Schnettler 10:23
See, I didn't know that. I
Michele Hansen 10:24
don't know. I don't think I'll have to ask Mateus. Right.
Colleen Schnettler 10:28
So this is this is a good point, though. I should, because I don't need API documentation too. So I need to think about, yeah, readme.io has a whole documentation tab. Ooh, this looks fun. Oh, all right. I'm totally gonna check this out after the podcast, maybe that is the right answer.
Michele Hansen 10:46
I don't know how much it costs. But yeah,
Colleen Schnettler 10:49
well, it's gonna be cheaper than five hours of my time. Right. Right. Like, there's no way it cost that money, your
Michele Hansen 10:55
time is not free. And this is See See, this is I always say that, like, you know, I studied economics and undergrad. And I'm always like, Oh, you know, it was interesting, but it doesn't really relate. But here is where it does. Because, yeah, opportunity cost is a very real cost. And that is a perfect distillation of it that your time is worth more than spending five hours rolling your own documentation. thing when this is like already a solved problem.
Colleen Schnettler 11:31
You're absolutely right. 100% agree with that. You're right. I didn't think about it that way. But that is a true statement.
Michele Hansen 11:39
But first, I'd really just like tell people about the stuff you may
Colleen Schnettler 11:44
think. Okay, so like, let's get actionable. Because AI, today is my day to work on simple file. So I think the first step, okay, I don't love the documentation I have, but I need to get the information out there. So the first step is just add something that's set like this things that people can use, like these event callbacks, or emitting events, like, that's useful information. So I'm just add it, you know, just adding it'll take all of 15 minutes. And like, I don't want to, you know,
Michele Hansen 12:11
I don't want to be like standing on my, like, high horse here that like, you know, oh, we tell users everything we do, because actually, something we were just talking about this week was like, oh, like, we need to, like, send out an email to people and like, tell them about the features we've added because we basically stopped sending product updates, email, like, we never so. And then also like MailChimp shut down their pay as you go at one point. And, and then we're like, migrating and all this stuff. And I think we sent out like one email since then. But like, we were just talking about this the other day, that's like, oh, like we added support for like, geocoding a county, like if you know, you like have like a street address plus, like Montgomery County, Maryland, for example, like in places that like, use the county rather than the city name. We haven't told anyone about it, because we haven't sent any product updates, email, and God knows how long so I'm all this is to say that I am. I also need to take my own advice. And maybe other people too, maybe there's somebody out there, you know, just tell people about the thing you made. The thing you made? Yeah. Just tell them. Don't Don't think about you know, marketing stuff and ads and get all in your head about that. Just tell people. Yeah, even if it's a plain text email, just tell them just Just tell me advice I'm trying to give myself and I'm, I am trying to manifest it into existence that we will do that whole step to send out an email to get people to opt in. And then after that, we send out an email that tells them with the stuff we did, maybe that can be one email.
Colleen Schnettler 14:42
Yes. So people tell people got it. I like it. That's good advice, your marketing advice. That's my marketing advice for the day I get to tell people. Yeah, so that's kind of what's up with me. I'm going to try And get those things implemented today. So hopefully that'll move the needle a little bit on signups. It was Yeah, it's definitely been a very trough of sorrow six weeks though I was like, Wow, that's a long time. eek.
Michele Hansen 15:13
So I mean, there's the reason why there is that product lifecycle, like chart that has the trough of sorrow on it is because the trough of sorrow is normal.
Colleen Schnettler 15:27
is normal. Oh, okay. This will be interesting.
Michele Hansen 15:31
Yeah, yeah. There's like this whole image that's like the I didn't know that. Okay. Yeah. No, I when I said trough of sorrow, I was referencing something. Okay. I'll have to, I'll have to find it and send it to you. And also put it in the show notes. So everybody else who's like, What is she talking about? And then like five products, people listening are like, Oh, my God, I know that. I forget where it comes from. I think it might be like, it might have been a business of software talk at one point. That
Colleen Schnettler 15:57
Okay, oh, no,
Michele Hansen 15:58
I think it might be the constant contact. Founder person.
Colleen Schnettler 16:03
Has she interested in her? I don't know. Okay.
Michele Hansen 16:07
Yeah, I'm gonna find it. It'll be in the show notes. So listening does not have to, like wonder
Colleen Schnettler 16:13
what it was to go dig through the internet to try and find it
Michele Hansen 16:16
like normal to have, you know, periods when you're like, Okay, like, nothing happened. I mean, granted, you said that you kind of weren't really doing anything with it. So the fact that your revenue didn't like crater even though you basically didn't touch it for six weeks, like, that's awesome.
Colleen Schnettler 16:36
Yeah, that's super awesome. Like,
Michele Hansen 16:39
again, you know, to our conversations of like, if you ever wanted to sell this thing, like the fact that you didn't touch it for six weeks, and it kept making money. huge selling point.
Colleen Schnettler 16:48
Yeah, yeah, it's super. so far. It's been super low touch, which is awesome. It's so funny, because years and years ago, I used to obsessively read. Do you know, Pat Flynn is smart, passive income guy? No. Okay. He's got this whole empire built about trying to teach people how to build passive income on the internet. Okay. And I used to obsessively read his blog. I mean, we're talking like 10 years ago. And here I am with kind of sort of passive income ish. And that's kind of cool. Yeah, you did anyway. So, yeah. Tell me about how things are going with the book and your podcast tour.
Michele Hansen 17:26
Oh, so they're going so I think you had challenged me to be on 10-20 I feel like it was 20. I feel like
Colleen Schnettler 17:37
I mean, it's been a while, but I feel like it was more than 10.
Michele Hansen 17:41
So okay, so I have been on a couple at this point. So I was working, I was on searching for SaaS with Josh and Nate which sweet By the way, so of like people like our dynamic of like, you know, somebody like who has a SaaS and then somebody who's like trying to start one and like different phases, you would totally love searching for SaaS, because Josh has been running his business for, like, quite a long time, referral rock, has employees like, and then Nate is kind of has like consulting and is trying to figure out a SaaS. So I was on searching for SaaS, they were my first one. Um, and I'm so glad I did one with like, friends, because I was so nervous about the whole like, and I'm promoting a book, but it feels like self promotion, and I just just like is uncomfortable for me. So. So so I'm really glad I did it with them first, and then I recorded another one. That's actually they told me was not going to be out for another three or four months. So we'll hear about that one when it comes out. Is
Colleen Schnettler 18:45
that a secret?
Michele Hansen 18:47
No. I mean, I just, I'll just tweet about it when it like comes out. But that counts, right? That's two. Yeah. And then I was on one night in product with Jason Knight, which came out a couple like, yeah, a couple days ago. That was super fun. Because that's like a podcast for product people. And we like really like dove deep on some of the different books and the differences and like, my fears around like people using this to like manipulate others was really it was really good. Um, so that's three and then I was on indie hackers, that that just came out. So that was kind of fun. I feel like I feel like I don't know like, I feel like it is like so legit. Like I don't know, it was kind of it was kind of wild. Indie hackers. Yeah. Being on the indie now.
Colleen Schnettler 19:46
Did you talk about Geocodio or do you talk about the book or both?
Michele Hansen 19:49
we talked about Geocodio a little bit but mostly about the book. Just kind of Geocodio as background.
Colleen Schnettler 19:58
Okay. Yeah. Oh yeah, getting on Indie hackers that's basically making it. Like, that's amazing.
Michele Hansen 20:05
Yeah. Like, can I be like, starstruck at myself for like,
Colleen Schnettler 20:09
yes, you totally can. Like, I just think like, that's like, you know, that's like my life goal. No, that's not really a life goal. But I'm like, someday I will be on indie hackers. Someday Courtland will ask. I know, if I just take a couple more years. No, I love that podcast. I think that's wonderful. And yeah, yeah. Now you're kind of famous like, totally. Once you're an indie hackers, you've made it.
Michele Hansen 20:33
I know, you're so funny. So like, I you're talking about this a little bit when when we add Adam on a few weeks ago that like, you know, I for a long time, like, like, so I didn't know that this whole community existed and that I knew about it, but I didn't feel like, feel like I was like, legit enough to like, be there, which was not true and was just my own imposter syndrome speaking. But for years, I had this like, sort of self policy that I would only go to conferences if I was speaking at them, because then people would come up to me and have something to talk about. Otherwise, I would be like standing in the corner, like not talking to anyone and like feeling like super out of it. Um, and so now I'm like, Okay, you know what, like, now if I like, go to something like, I feel like there's a good chance that like, one person, like, knows me, and we'll have something to talk about.
Colleen Schnettler 21:29
Yeah. Yeah, that's great. I mean, that's a benefit of sharing your work, I think the way you have been. Yeah,
Michele Hansen 21:38
yeah. So um, okay, so wait, so I lost count. Okay, so searching first as you're coming out in a couple of months. And Indie Hackers. Oh, wait, I think I forgot one. No, no, that's four. And then I recorded one yesterday. So that's five and then I am recording another one. today. So Wow, six. And then I'm scheduling another one. like trying to get that one on the calendar. Um, that person is also on pacific time like you and dude, it is so hard for me to schedule things with pacific time. Like, yeah, that nine hour time difference is required at the top planning. So I guess that's that's six I have either recorded or in the hopper. And I think there was more people who reach out to me, but I think they DMed me and I need to like, cuts through the jungle morass that is my DMs.
Colleen Schnettler 22:48
That's great. I mean, honestly, 10 would it be spectacular? Colleen said, I have really 20. I know, now that I'm actually thinking through the logistics? That seems like a lot. Let me out of this. That's really great. So my next question would be, have you seen any, any impact yet of being on these podcasts? In terms of sales or community engagement or anything like that?
Michele Hansen 23:15
Yeah, I mean, I guess the the biggest bump was definitely product times. Um, like, I think I saw like that day, like, I sold like 20 something. Or like, almost 30 copies, I think out of, I don't know, because I'm probably at like 350 now, or no, actually, it's more than that. Almost 400. So, oh, wait, maybe I'll be at almost 500 soon. That would be fun. Yeah. So So yeah, so there was definitely a little bump out of that. I did look this up for Josh and Nate from Searching for SaaS. And I sold three copies a day that one came out. So they were pretty pumped about that. I mean, I think it's the kind of thing where, like, not everybody, like listens to a podcast on the day. It comes. Yeah. Like, I was, like a regular listener of us. And like, they were like three episodes behind, because, you know, you've listened to it whenever you can. And there's other stuff going on. So in many ways, it's like, it's not really for the immediate hit of that in the same way that say like product time was,
Colleen Schnettler 24:27
um, yes, yeah, yeah, long game.
Michele Hansen 24:30
The long game there we go. Looking for. Um, so I mean, I guess we'll see. Right, because it's like, this is you know, this is not a like Big Bang. Launch. Right. Like, this is like the the book is hopefully designed or like written in a way, you know, to be a book that people recommend to other people they buy for their team. Like it's not like it's not particularly timely or relevant to like current events? So it's okay, if it doesn't, you know, sell like a bajillion copies in the first two months. Like, that's totally fine. You know, it's funny I was I was, I came across a tweet by our mutual friend, Mike Buckbee this morning, saying that, you know, validation for something is when you're getting stranger money. Like people who don't know you, they're not your friends. They're not the people that follow you. They're just like people who, you know, come across it for a reason. And then they buy it, and they're happy with it. And the book is definitely getting stranger money. So
Colleen Schnettler 25:42
Michele Hansen 25:43
Yeah. So So I so I think that's kind of a sign that it's, it was like, I mean, it was actually getting that in the presale. So. So I think that's a sign that, you know, things are in the right track, but it's just like, this is gonna be a slow burn.
Colleen Schnettler 25:59
Michele Hansen 26:00
Yeah. So I mean, I'm happy with things, you know, again, like considering that, I think it was like most self published books only sell like 250 copies lifetime. And then most published books sell 300 copies their first year. Um, I've already, like smashed that. So anything on top of that, basically, is gravy. And but again, like those numbers, like are kind of like I look at that I'm like, Yeah, cool. Okay, like, but mostly, it's like, people tweet out, like, somebody tweeted out this morning that, like, they had their first customer interview, and it was delightful. And they learned so much. And like, they had scheduled it for 15 minutes. But at the customer's insistence, it went on for almost an hour. And they learned so much. And it was like, and I was like yes. Okay, like this. Okay, the book did what it was supposed to do like that. Yeah, that is what makes it feel like a success more than Yeah,
Colleen Schnettler 26:49
that's anything that's really cool. Well, in the money. I mean, you know, I was thinking about, like, what motivates you Because for me, I want life changing money, you could get life changing money, any, anytime you want it like you You, you could just snap your fingers because you have a successful business. So that's something that I assume does not motivate you, because you kind of already have it. And so you know, when I think about the book, and like how you've been motivated, it really feels like helping people like really literally helping people learn how to be empathetic is what has driven this passion project for you.
Michele Hansen 27:27
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, it's been a very, like, personal sort of mission, because it's not just about talking to customers like, and, and I guess what I mean, so one of them's actually this will be coming out the same day. So I guess I can talk about it. But I was talking about this a lot with Justin Jackson, on on Build Your SaaS about how, like, he was reading the book, and it made him realize like, oh, wow, like, I can actually use this in my personal life too. And like, it's like, not just a business book. And I was, you know, saying to him how, like, I think I've told you how, you know, people don't put be more empathetic on their daily to do lists, but they put, write the landing page, improve the documentation, get more sales, like, stop churn, figure out if people can use the thing I bill, like, that's the stuff that ends up on your to do list, and you can use empathy to solve those problems. And then in the course of doing that, you realize that you can transfer some of these skills to your personal life as well. Then it's like a double win.
Colleen Schnettler 28:38
Wow. Yeah. So the other day, my 10 year old asked me what empathy was, and I literally handed him your book. Like, read this book.
Michele Hansen 28:48
Let me guys this because this is the question that I get from children and adults, but children generally their first question, why is there a duck on the cover?
Colleen Schnettler 28:58
He totally asked that. Yeah.
Michele Hansen 29:03
Love it. Love it. Well, you know, you can tell him that he will find out when he gets to let me just flip through it here. I believe it's chapter 34. Um, you know, never accused me of burying the lede here. To get 138 pages, you will discover why there is a duck on the cover.
It has been fun talking to you, as always, you too.
Colleen Schnettler 29:45
I'll talk to you next week. All right.
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