Failing the One Week SaaS Challenge

Failing the One Week SaaS Challenge

Phew, this one’s going to be a long one, so I’m going to post a TL;DR for those of you without the time that I have to write this.


Failure is often a forced conscripted binary that we place on ourselves or our situations to constrain the possible outcomes or identities therein to be either a failure or a success in their entirety. I failed the One Week SaaS challenge that I set out for myself (I wrote a blog about my plan at the beginning of the channel here) in the sense that I am not going to be launching my product tomorrow. I succeeded, though, in many more, far more important ways. I learned, I became uncomfortable in a multitude of productive ways and I specifically learned about tech stacks I’ve never used before.

Still here? Good. Let’s chat about the One Week SaaS Challenge.

First off…

I’m currently editing a longer-form, off-the-cuff vlog style video on my YouTube channel so if you want a closer look on how the week went, definitely check it out there. It should be getting released tomorrow.

If you’re not familiar, the One Week SaaS Challenge is something I started last Friday to challenge myself to plan, design, build and launch a SaaS product in one week. It was ambitious from the start, even moreso when I lost two days to the flu, but I thought it very possible. I still think it is, even if I eventually failed the challenge, but we will get to that in a bit.

What happened?

Basically, it was too much “new” at once.

I had never really had to worry about deploying a web application with user authentication baked in in a secure way. Most of the stuff that I’ve actually deployed has been hacky and had either limited or no user authentication involved, and I didn’t have to worry about security in those cases. I’ve never deployed anything with payment processing before. I’ve never used Firebase in prod, and there are a lot of React concepts I needed to use (multi-level state passing, for example) that I wasn’t very familiar with and needed to know at a deeper level than I do now.

I became overwhelmed, and with life-setbacks and normal coding setbacks, that snowballed into something that I just didn’t feel comfortable releasing in a week.

Now, am I going to give up and throw it in the bin? Hell no.

Going forward

I’m being tight-lipped about the specifics of what I built because I’m still going to release it. I believe it’s a useful (and potentially lucrative) application that I can absolutely release soon. I just don’t want to see what it will look like if I try to release it tomorrow.

Going forward, I’m going to take a lot of time to genuinely learn more about the front-end to back-end relationship and focus on becoming a better “full-stack” developer. I think I know a lot about front-end and a lot about back-end, but I know very little about how to put them together.

I’m also going to take some classes on design. This is one of my biggest weak points, and something that I genuinely never even got to this week because of all of the other issues. I think if I can get good at marketing and design, I’ll never have to worry about money or a job again… but I’m not there yet, frankly.

That’s really about it, honestly. I think this was an incredibly useful learning experience, and I think I’ll eventually give it another try again later on down the road. Thanks all for following the journey!