We shut down our second project after it went to production
A few weeks ago I posted about Booking Fellow (an online appointment booking service) going to Beta then going to production. I was very excited about this project, I spent a whole year to develop it (not full time, I also developed new features for Bookmark Ninja parallel). In September 2018 my wife joined me and she worked 6 months on designing and coding the entire UI of Booking Fellow. We put a pretty big amount of effort into this project.
Today I shut down the server — Booking Fellow is not live now
Wow, it sounds unreasonable, right? Why did we do this? Here are the reasons of the big decision.
The launch of Booking Fellow didn’t go smooth. We ran Facebook and Google ads. We managed to achieve a pretty high CTR, but users didn’t sign up. There were Facebook campaigns that brought literally ZERO signup. Something was very off. The target audience was set properly, the Facebook ads were ok, too, people clicked on the ads but didn’t signup. It was something to do with the the landing page.
My original idea was to create a general tool that can be used by a broad range of professionals. This was of course emphasized on the landing page. Maybe I was wrong, it might have been better to create a more customized service for a narrower range of professionals. I don’t know.
There was another problem, too. Users were supposed to go through a 3 step process to setup the booking service: (1) Add services (2) Add service providers with their availabilities (3) Customize the Book Now page. Most of the people who finally signed up stuck at step 2. I wanted to design a very simple, easy to use tool but it seems this product is not that simple and easy to use after all.
Of course, the problems described above can be fixed. But why don’t we fix them and give it another try? See reason #2.
Our first project Bookmark Ninja (online bookmark manager, launched in 2016) sells very well. There is a constant increase in the volume of subscriptions and signups. This is awesome! But because of this the project requires more and more attention. These are mainly support related tasks and developing new features and improvements requested by the Users. 2 years ago I wrote about this in the You Launched Your Web App — Can You Lay Back And Relax? post. The bottom line is that Bookmark Ninja is the #1 priority project. If we continued working on fixing the Booking Fellow problems described above, it would jeopardize Bookmark Ninja in the long term, which I absolutely don’t want.
Even if we didn’t have these problems with Booking Fellow right now, after a successful launch and ramp up, this project would require the same or even more effort as Bookmark Ninja does. Which is quite obvious that we couldn’t handle. The only solution would be bringing more resources on the board which I don’t want at this time. I think the right decision is that we both continue focusing on Bookmark Ninja.
Am I sorry cancelling Booking Fellow?
No. Not at all. Things always change and you need to adjust. When I started Booking Fellow I didn’t know how much additional effort Bookmark Ninja would require because of its growth and I didn’t know that the launch of Booking Fellow would not go smooth, either. Good thing is that we both learned a lot during coding Booking Fellow and there were developments that I could already utilize in Bookmark Ninja, too.
Booking Fellow has been put on the shelf now. Of course one day we might get back to it and give it one more try. But now the focus is on Bookmark Ninja and we continue putting our 100% effort in it.