Have you ever felt frustrated when you see successful Makers on twitter appear to be overnight successes?
Exhibit A. Traf: Launched a digital product and make 6 figures in sales in 6 days.
Is Traf an overnight success?
Spoiler alert, the truth is Traf had indirectly preparing for this moment for over 7 years. It turns our Traf had created his digital icon product 7 years earlier. And when the winds of market opportunity suddenly changed directions, Traf was ready to take advantage of it.
Lucky timing you might think.
I think differently. The luckiest people I know, also happen to be the hardest working. You create your own luck and let opportunity find you.
That’s how opportunity works. You don’t know when it is going to happen, but that is why you prepare like it’s going to.
Traf is proof that hard consistent work over a period of time is a formula for success. His story is remarkable. The maxim rings true.
You can’t predict your future or when this might happen. But consistently ship value over a period of time and you’ll cast a wide net for an opportunity to just seemingly fall into your lap. That’s what I’ve learned from Traf and I am delighted to share some additional insights that are nuggets of pure wisdom.
I love Traf’s story because it is proof of hard work, consistent quality and value over a period of time and you will be rewarded.
But how can you learn from this and apply it? That’s what this exclusive interview is about.
1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your story.
Traf: Moved to Vancouver when I was 19 for a short graphic design program, where I discovered I was horrible at art. Moved back to Montreal, got a design job that barely lasted a month. Created a weekend project with a few guys called Spoil. Got into Y Combinator, moved to Silicon Valley, raised $500k. Helped run that for about 3 years, but ran out of money and was forced to move on. Moved back to Montreal and started freelancing. Hated the idea of trading all of my time for money, so started building digital products & software, and have been doing that ever since.
2. Can you tell us how you got started with Super.so and Icons.tr.af and why did you choose no-code?
Traf: Super started out of a personal problem. I use Notion for almost everything, and I wanted to share a public Notion page, but couldn’t get over the fact that it came with a horrendously long URL, their logo and branding (instead of mine), and a page that was close to impossible to truly customize. As a designer these are pretty important things when sharing anything online. A month later, we launched a V1 that solved for these.
I never make a deliberate decision between code and no-code, but rather a decision between flexibility and speed—amongst other things. Products built with no-code tools may not be as easy to customize or as flexible in some cases, but they’re undoubtedly much faster to put together. It’s also not yet possible to build *anything* using no-code. Software like Super is a good example of this. In fact, most (if not all) no-code tools are built with code.
3. Can you give any insights to your framework for building your next thing?
Traf: One thing I try to do often is look for edge cases in already existing products. If people are using it in ways it wasn’t intended for, it would likely work better as its own product. Relating to Super, I was creating my own edge case without realizing it. If I had that problem, others likely do too.
4. What is your stack to create Icons.tr.af?
Traf: The only thing my icon pack really needed was a landing page and an e-commerce integration. It was built using Notion, Super, and Gumroad, and you could read the whole story here. Since this entire product was based on my initial tweet, getting something out there as fast as possible was important to capitalize on all the hype, which is why I chose no-code tools. It wouldn’t make send to go and build a custom, hand-coded website and custom Stripe checkout integration if no-code tools would get me 90% of the way there in 10% of the time.
5. Did you start off with this stack or did it change while making it. If yes, please give insights into what you discovered?
Traf: I haven’t changed a thing since launching it.
6.Can you share your experience using this stack; any insights, advantages and disadvantages, things that surprised you, disappointed you for each tool:
Traf: Notion is the world’s best CMS. Paired with Super, it’s like building a website using a notes app. Truly magical. Outside of ease of use and ultra low-friction publishing, Super adds quite a few really cool features outside of just custom domains, like static site generation for significantly better performance & SEO advantages, custom fonts & themes, and integrations which allowed me to easily embed Gumroad to sell digital products.
7. How do you handle your purchase flow and handle giving authorized access to membership pages?
Traf: Many of our Super users do use (Memberspace) to gate content on Notion. Here’s a guide on how it all works.
8. Where do you see Makers/Startups/Businesses missing opportunity?
Traf: Opportunity is everywhere. Being a maker is sometimes just finding opportunities to leverage your skill-set. You might think there are no more opportunities in any given market, but there will always be opportunities to make things simpler, nicer, easier to use, more rewarding, more inclusive, whatever it may be. People will always be willing to pay for things that make their lives even 0.1% better.
9. Can you share about what are key things you did in this project to generate sales with $0 in marketing? Could you talk about using the strategy of side project marketing?
Traf: Before talking marketing, the most important thing here is to make something people want. Doesn’t matter if you’re spending a billion dollars marketing something, if no one wants it you won’t make any money. One of the best ways I’ve found to make something people want, is just to make something you want, then find more people like you.
I think one tactic that works well for marketing are side projects. These could relate to your project or could be totally unrelated, but side projects are like marketing tactics with a longer shelf life. A real world example of this, is linking to the Super website from the footer of my icons page. We got about 180 new Super customers (+$2k MRR), all from a link in a footer of an completely unrelated project.
10. What are you excited about that is to come with Super.so?
Traf: Making the easiest website publishing platform on the planet.
11. Can you share what was your initial feature set for Super, how you determined what features to start with. Where did you draw the line so that you could just ship the thing.
Traf: We literally started with a single feature, which was custom domains for Notion. It’s important to note that there were already existing solutions for adding a custom domain to your Notion pages, but they were difficult to use for most people. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel—providing a simpler experience is a lot of the times enough of an ‘edge’ to justify doing it.
Hi👋🏼, I'm Michael.
The maker of this site