Common Struggles

You should know that Building in Public is a commitment to yourself.

It requires accountability and patience until you can reap the benefits. Throughout the journey, stay true to yourself, take baby steps, and find like-minded people to support each other.

1. It can be hard

In the early days, you are going to be talking to four walls. Soon, you'll ask yourself "Why am I doing this? What does Building in Public bring to me?"

This is a normal feeling and it happens to everyone who is getting started.

It is only going to get harder if you’re not rewarded for your commitment. When people start to read your content and follow you, you're moving your product forward. And this makes you feel good about yourself and motivates you to keep you going.

Having taught and coached 100+ entrepreneurs myself, I’ve gathered here the 4 major reasons why students are not getting the traction they want:

  • Reader - who are you writing for?
  • Profile & Positioning - can people understand what you do and what you talk about in under 3 seconds?
  • Content - are you telling your stories or are you throwing out wisdom bombs?
  • Interaction - are you inviting people in with your words and behaviors?

Don’t just throw out your work, stories, and updates. You should also spend some time on these things.

2. You’ll doubt yourself

You might not know whether you have the ability to do a good job in Building in Public. You imagine yourself standing on stage facing thousands of audiences. You think you're not qualified.

This is called the impostor syndrome and about 70% of people experience it. The first thing you do is to acknowledge that it exists, then you can follow these 10 steps to overcome it.

I can tell you that you're totally capable of doing it with the right mindset and approach. When you start to see progression every day, your level of self-doubt will start to fade away.

Being clear can also help you overcome the feeling. You must know your goals, your audience, and what value you bring. This discovery process takes time and you should find other entrepreneurs to exchange ideas.

If you're afraid of people judging you, know that 100% of things in our world attracts fans and haters at the same time. People will show up and challenge you, but the good thing is that all of them will move on with their lives very quickly. This is how our modern world works, so the earlier you embrace it, the further you’ll go.

3. Celebrate small wins publicly

Entrepreneurs have trouble with motivation to keep up with their routine in Building in Public. Let's take a look at the definition of motivation: "a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way."

The root cause of lacking motivation comes from having no clear vision in the Why. At this point, you must ask yourself - why are you doing this?

Do you want the marketing benefits? Do you want accountability? Do you want to get out of your comfort zone? Also, how does Building in Public add value to your life?

Spend some time thinking deeply about the Why and lock down your goal. Break it down into measurable small steps so that you can aim for small wins. For example:

  • Get 10 people to read each piece of your sharing consistently.
  • Once you get there, curate 30 people who enjoy your posts
  • Once you get there, get 50 people to read each piece you write
  • And so on. Small goals make things a lot easier.

I've written a blog post about goal setting - how you can set achievable goals, trick your mind, and measure them with visualization. It’ll help you be more accountable to yourself.

4. What is success?

The truest measures of success are the ones that you define for yourselves. No one can tell you whether your effort has reached that definition or not.

And how you define it depends on what goals you set. You don’t have to compare yourself to people who are many steps ahead of you. Because when they first started, they were in the exact same spot where you are today.

Take runners as an example. How do runners motivate themselves to train consistently everyday? By beating their yesterday's personal best. It has nothing to do with other runners.

5. Don’t fear copycats

Entrepreneurs, especially the ones working on small-scale products, fear the risk of getting their ideas stolen by other entrepreneurs if they start to Build in Public too early.

This is true. There have been examples in the entrepreneur's community.

However, once your product is launched, everyone can also reverse engineer and copy it. This means that the risk of your idea being stolen is always going to be there, whether you Build in Public or not.

So we should look at it from a different perspective. If you have been Building in Public for a while (let’s say years), you’re establishing a strong trust between you and your audience. They know that you’re a trustworthy person and that alone will convince them to stick with you.

One day, when someone shows up with a better or cheaper product, your audience is not likely to give up the trust just to save a few dollars.

A trustworthy personal brand is also lifelong. Even if your 1st product fails, because of the relationships you’ve built with these people, they’ll continue to be there for your 2nd to 10th product.

This essentially means that you’ve built yourself a supportive channel that can have sustainable impact, no matter what you do.

It is a long-term game.

6. Don't fish for glory or traffic

Building in Public is all about transparency and authenticity.

If you're showing off, making up stories, or posting only to drive traffic to your product, people will notice, and they'll unfollow you.

Such an approach does more harm than good.

Andrew and Jeremy from the community explained why you should be honest and share the ups, downs, and key learnings.

7. Don’t label all stories #buildinpublic

Some entrepreneurs love to put #BuildingInPublic on everything they do:

  • I am writing a free guide on SEO  #BuildingInPublic
  • I installed a new plugin in my product #BuildingInPublic
  • I read a new book called The Almanack of Naval Ravikant #BuildingInPublic
  • I just set up my blog #BuildingInPublic

This daily-journal style of sharing tends to welcome other entrepreneurs with the same mindset but turn away anyone else that can potentially be your audience.

Why is that? Because no one is interested in every detail of what you’re doing. With a shorter attention span and a busier lifestyle, most people only care about things that add value to their lives.

Now you might be asking: “Is it worth the effort to use two different platforms? One for my support group and one for my target audience?"

Generally, I wouldn't recommend it. You should ask yourself: do you have enough time to commit to doing both? Would it be better to start with one?

Next: Cheatsheet

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