Private Beta Launched!

I’ve been working like crazy this last week trying to get Bidsketch into private beta. I’m exhausted and I worked till 5 AM twice this week, but I’ve managed to launch the beta! Woohoo!

I’d be more excited if I wasn’t so exhausted 🙂 I’d like to take a break but being that I need to get my merchant account squared away, I can’t.

I applied and was approved for every part of my merchant and payment gateway accounts; all but one — my website. I received a checklist of things that I need to do on my marketing site: privacy statement, refund policy, SSL cert, etc. So it looks like I’ll be working on that stuff for the next few days.

Dashboard Screenshot

As I’m wrapping up my first product I’m also gathering valuable feedback from several friends and a few designers that I selected for the private beta. 

I don’t have Bidsketch ready for use yet, but I’ve been taking screenshots and videos to help get some of that extra-early feedback 🙂

So I wanted to write a quick post and share a screenshot of the Bidsketch dashboard (click for full size):

Bidsketch Dashboard

Private Beta Update

These days I’m pretty busy wrapping up Bidsketch so I’ll just post a quick update on how I’m getting ready for the launch.

Initially I was going to launch to a public beta, slap a feedback form on my product and hope for great feedback. Two weeks of feedback and bug fixes/small enhancements would then put me in a place for the actual launch. 

A couple of things were making me uncomfortable about this. One of them was pricing (when to introduce or talk about it), the other was getting enough quality feedback. I’m enrolled in the Micropreneur Academy, and Rob has done this stuff a hundred times, so as usual I went to him for advice on this one. 

After talking it over with him, I came away with an awesome launch strategy. I’m even more excited about launching now; I can’t wait!

One of the things that came out of that was that changing it from a public to a private beta might help get the sort of feedback I was looking for. 

Slight Problem

One minor issue was that I recently added the option for people to opt-in to the beta when Bidsketch is ready. I found that 34 people had made their way into this list. That number is much higher than I expected, being that I added this option not too long ago. It’s actually very good thing, it means someone might actually pay for this 🙂

What was the solution?

I sent out the following email to the beta list:

Bidsketch is nearing private beta and I’m sending this email because you asked to be notified. Unfortunately I’ve received more signups for the beta than I had expected so I only have six available spots left.

If you’re really interested in giving feedback and testing the beta, please respond to this email. Everyone else will receive exclusive pre-launch access to Bidsketch before it goes live, but after the beta period.

Thanks and I’ll see you in a few weeks!

Ruben Gamez
Bidsketch – Simple proposal software made for designers.

 The responses I received back from that have been great — people are excited about it! I have to say that it’s extra motivating at this point to get that sort of response.

Too Much to Do

Ok, I now have a couple of weeks left and I still have an incredible amount of work to do. I’m going to have to remove some incomplete features to make my deadline or I’ll never make it. The good thing is that a lot of the code is there so I have a head start once I add those features back. So I’m pretty much launching with a barebones feature set. I have to.

Still, there’s about 25% left of the app to finish. Outside of that, I still haven’t touched any of the stuff I mentioned before (sales site, billing stuff, etc.) Maybe I shouldn’t have taken on  a rewrite of the most important and largest part of the app. I’m sure it’ll be worth the effort, though my timing could’ve been better.

On the bright side, my email list has grown to 120+ emails! Most of those have come in the last two months, I had an awesome increase of signups by doing a couple of simple things. I’ll post more about that when I get some free time. Now, back to work for me!

Three Weeks to Go

I think the fact that I have less than a month to go before I launch my product is just starting to sink in. I’d probably feel a lot better about things if I was further along than I am now.

As it stands, I’m rewriting the proposal creation process which is the largest, most complex, and important part of my app. Outside of that I have a ton of work: sales site, merchant account/payment processor setup, etc.

So, this is just a quick post to say: yikes!