I've recently started learning how to bootstrap and launch sustainable online businesses. I don't quit my job; this is my primary side project, and I will be sharing my findings along the way.
I'm a software engineer. I have no problems building stuff, but I have a problem with selling. Selling is scary. Why? Because it's a point of judgment—people will judge you and your work. It's scary to find out your ideas are not good enough. It's scary to realize you have to try harder. It's so uncomfortable that giving away yet another small thing you built for free sounds like a good idea.
Free price makes you feel safe and comfortable. But it's not. If you want to learn to sell products, you have to do so. It's rare to make your product free and then start selling it without losing your audience, who expect it to be free. There is no way around it.
Here are a few reasons why you don't want to make your product free:
- If people genuinely need your product, they will pay for it.
- Paying customers is the best accountability system you can afford.
- When you charge money, you want to serve the best quality product to your customers. With a free product, it's less likely the case.
- Earnings from paid product gives you more room for future project development.
- You're more involved in developing a paid product; it's not just a hobby.
- Getting paid for your product motivates you to continue maintaining it.