Going deeper into the waters of entrepreneurship, I am launching a new project on September the 1st : Road to Ramen, 6 months to reach ramen profitability from making bootstrapped tech products as a one-person business while living in South-East Asia.
I am a software craftsman. Creating software products is not only a job or an impulse, it is a need. If I spend more than a few days just consuming or doing nothing, I feel drained. Creativity is like a fire : you must release it, otherwise the energy ends up burning you up.
I cannot execute all of my ideas under Justinien, the startup I cofounded in January, because 1) those projects have nothing to do with our core legaltech business and 2) they are deeply personal, I do not wish to impose them on my partners. Consequently, I decided to open a one-man business that would allow me to launch all the tech products I am dreaming of, in order to confront them with reality.
Two months ago, I decided to start planning a dedicated umbrella project, Road to Ramen, with the aim to ensure the success of this new venture : reaching ramen profitability - cover my basic expenses - from building indie tech products. Over the last six years I learnt that a project’s success is about three things : community, accountability and a great execution. Road to Ramen aims at being the enabler to all three.
I need people. Humans are social animals. I know I cannot do this alone, one-man business or not. Selling is all about people. If you don’t add value, you cannot sell. Before selling a product, you need to sell yourself : people need to know your business. More importantly, they want to know your values, your vision. More than selling products, it is the societal responsibility of the craftsman. Nowadays, communities are built around common values, expressed throughout the creation of content : blog posts, pictures, tweets etc. I love sharing my knowledge, and I love writing, so it is only natural to grow Road to Ramen as a way to document the whole process of building a business, from ideation to launch. It is a sort a making-of, to understand Why and How I did things, so that I can help and/or inspire my readers, and thus build an informal community.
Road to Ramen is accessible from three social networks (@roadtoramen on Facebook, @basilesamel on Twitter and @road2ramen on Instagram) and a mailing list (subscribe here). My content is for now divided into three categories : pictures (published on instagram, linked to my Facebook and Twitter pages), logs (short texts describing what is being done / done) and articles (essays, technical articles and notes hosted on my blog towardmastery.co). I am thinking of adding live coding videos hosted on Youtube or Twitch, but that will be for later.
A community originates from trust, from a social pact. Accountability makes sure the pact is respected. I have to be accountable to stay aligned with my objectives. Road to Ramen is an open project : transparent and publicly accessible. Being transparent is not only being respectful of my users / community, it is also a way to include them in the journey. A progress page (basilesamel.com/r2r) will describe all the objectives, and the metrics used to follow-up on them and to validate them : costs, gross revenues, monthly-recurring revenues ...
Finally, a well-planned project and a great community cannot help a bad maker : I have to execute well.
Over the past seven months I have experimented on possible manners to maximize my personal productivity for the sole purpose of becoming a great software craftsman. I developed a personal routine to support both a smart and hard work. I tried my limits in a remote work environment, in Warsaw, Budapest and Paris for a total of three months. I learnt a lot about myself, and the next step is to relocate to South-East Asia, to use travel as a tool, an enabler. On one hand, reducing the amount of money I spend per month makes my end-goal (ramen profitability) more achievable. On the other hand, solo-traveling to a location where I know no one allows me to be fully dedicated to my mission, to develop a laser-like focus. A project would not be one without a time limit, thus I decided to give myself six months : just enough time to get results, make it challenging and fast-paced.
I greatly admire makers such as levelsio. Makers are opening a path to a more ethical and sustainable way of building businesses. Following levelsio’s release methodology, my products will be launched as minimum viable versions that took a few days to build, in order to quickly validate an interest, and so that I can ditch the software or grow it from there. I willd document every step, then repeat the process till I gain traction.
In one sentence, Road to Ramen is a six-month project spent solo traveling to build indie tech products, with one goal in mind : ramen profitability.
My first product is called PyroHabit, a personal finance app, and it will be released from Bangkok, Thaïland.
The journey starts on September the 1st, but I will share how my preparation process is before that : how I prepare for a trip far away and for an extended period of time, but also how I registered a business in France.