A See-What-Sticks Approach to Product Development & Parenting

‘It’s okay to just try something and see where it goes and see where it sticks, and it doesn’t have to be perfect when you launch it into the world. It’s never going to be perfect. It’s always going to be a work in progress.’

When Michele Hansen and her husband started planning for the birth of their daughter, they quickly realized that the high cost of daycare—a whopping $24K per year—was going to require an additional income stream.

So, they created an app called Open Nearby as a side project. In the course of building that business, Michele and her husband uncovered a need in the market for geocoding software that translates addresses into latitude and longitude coordinates. They built that product too.

Four years later, Geocodio has grown to become Michele’s full-time gig. She has adopted a see-what-sticks approach to business, using jobs-to-be-done interviews with customers to improve their product and initiating meetups to support fellow entrepreneurs AND combat the loneliness of working from home. And the whole process happened organically.

Today, Michele sits down with me to explain how the expense of daycare inspired her entrepreneurial journey. She offers insight around how being a parent has made her more efficient with the use of her time and how Geocodio grew from a side project to become her full-time work. I ask Michele what it means to be a ‘product person,’ and she discusses the value of customer feedback in making business decisions. Listen in as Michele shares her efforts to help during Hurricane Harvey by creating a disaster relief map and her work-in-progress approach to entrepreneurship and parenting.

The Startup Pregnant Podcast Episode #057

Some quotes from the episode

  • “Daycare is more expensive than state college tuition in a majority of states.”
  • “I wouldn’t say it was a straight sprint from that second when we recognized we needed more money and we had this way to do it [with an online business]. It was not nearly that organized or efficient.”
  • “There’s this really amazing thing that happens when you have a child and you have no control over any of your time… When you do have time to yourself, it becomes so much more important to make the most out of that time.”
  • “I found that having a child made me so much more efficient at work.”
  • “[The business] grew organically. On the one hand, we were very lucky that we haven’t had to run much in the way of ads. On the other hand, we created a product that people needed and … that does a lot of that job for us.”
  • “The other thing that I expected and didn’t know how to deal with—and still don’t know how to deal with—is the loneliness of [working at home].”
  • “Those [customer] interviews are a crucial window into understanding how people use your product.”
  • “Doing the [jobs-to-be-done] interviews not only gives me more ideas about things to build but solidifies my commitment to the work we are doing and the importance of it.”
  • “It’s okay to just try something and see where it goes and see where it sticks, and it doesn’t have to be perfect when you launch it into the world. It’s never going to be perfect. It’s always going to be a work in progress.”
  • “Life is inherently unpredictable.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT MICHELE HANSEN

Michele Hansen is the co-founder of Geocodio, a software product that supports high volume geocoding. Prior to becoming a full-time entrepreneur, Michele worked in financial services and political consulting, serving as Product Development Manager for The Motley Fool as well as Technical Project Manager for Engage, LLC. She helped organize the DC Jobs to be Done Meetup for the purpose of supporting businesses in her areas of expertise—product development and customer discovery.


RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

THE STARTUP PREGNANT PODCAST & HOST

EPISODE SPONSOR & SPECIAL OFFER

Thank you to the sponsor of this episode: Aeroflow Breastpumps. They are dedicated to making the hassle of getting your breast pump a little bit easier—actually, a lot easier! Head to www.aeroflowbreastpumps.com/startup to have them help you qualify for a free breast pump through insurance.

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