Today’s interview features Harry Che, a software developer who created his own software business. As is the case with many software creators, Harry’s software product, GoalsOnTrack, started as a personal project. He was able to solve his own problem with this application, and knew that many others would probably benefit from this product as well.
Thanks to its success, Harry now works full-time on his software business. In this interview, we talk a bit about his GoalsOnTrack application, why he thinks it’s been successful, and what the product’s most successful marketing strategy has been so far.
Let me know what you think in the comments!
Harry, I’m really intrigued by the online application you’ve built with GoalsOnTrack. It seems like an excellent way to stay organized with goals and to help a person achieve them. Tell us a bit about your background and journey.
How did you get the idea to create GoalsOnTrack? Do you have a background in creating software, and if so, do you have anything else developed (or is there something else in the works)?
Eric, thanks for this opportunity to do this interview. GoalsOnTrack was started first as a personal project, as a simple tool to replace the paper and pen system that I had used for tracking and managing my own goals.
As I got more experienced with goal setting and goal achieving, I realized that one of the keys that helped me stick to my goals was to really understand and see that I was actually making progress, even though it may not look like it on the surface.
But tracking progress on a paper based system is a real pain and I could never get the kind of visual feedback like when I was looking at an animated progress bar. So that’s the initial motive for me to create GoalsOnTrack, to show how much progress we make on any goals that we work on and make it visual and motivating.
I’ve been a software developer for many years, ever since I graduated from a computer science program in the university. I’ve worked on many different kind of software and web projects since, but mostly for other companies. GoalsOnTrack has been something I’ve independently created and I am glad it has made it to where it is now.
What do you consider to be your greatest success (or successes) so far with your business?
I think the greatest success so far with my business is when I get emails from people telling me what a great program that I’ve built and how it has helped them get more organized and truly make progress on their goals. Sometimes it’s hard to put a dollar amount to that.
But money-wise the business is doing great, and has been growing consistently over the past few years. I am glad that I was able to grow it past the level where I could stop doing everything else and focus all my time and energy just on this business. I believe this is going to be a great product and what I’ve done so far is just a beginning.
Congrats on what you’ve done, and it’s great to hear that this is just the beginning. What’s on the horizon for this product as well as your business overall? Can you share with us anything you’re currently working on or developing?
Currently we are focusing on launching two new mobile versions for this app, supporting both iOS7 and Android. It will also support offline mode so people can truly work on their goals wherever they go. Also we’re constantly getting input and feedback from current users, so new features requested will be gradually implemented into the product.
On the business side, we are also looking at opportunities to expand our current reach, both in terms of locale and languages other than English. Our goal is to create the best online and mobile goal achieving software in the world and help millions of people make positive changes in their lives.
What have been some of the greatest challenges you’ve encountered with GoalsOnTrack? Were there any valuable lessons that emerged from overcoming these challenges?
Like any businesses or products, there is always this challenge in balancing what you want to build and what the people actually want. GoalsOnTrack has gone through many revisions in the first two or three years, or pivots, as they say. For anyone who is working on a software product, or trying to make a business work, my lesson is, don’t get discouraged that if it doesn’t work at the beginning, even in the first two or three years. Because that’s normal. As long as you’re interested in the concept, or the idea, the longer you can keep at it, the bigger success you will make it.
Online tools and resources that focus on goals and productivity are very popular, as I’m sure you know, so I imagine there is a fair amount of competition. What is it about your web software that helps it stand out among its competitors?
I think what’s unique about GoalsOnTrack is the visual aspect of showing the progress of all your goals in at-a-glance kind of view, and the features where it ties in your daily tasks with your goal progress so that you have a direct understanding between the action you take and the progress you make on the goal.
We also try to integrate many personal development and success principles or best practices into the program, so that you can use a combination of different ways such as chunking down bigger goals into sub goals, visualization, habit building, journaling, time tracking, etc., all working together to help you achieve goals.
There’s no doubt that a software business can be highly rewarding if you have the right skills (or can outsource the right skills) and customer support capabilities. Marketing, on the other hand, seems to be something that can be a big obstacle. What have been your most successful and effective marketing strategies for this product?
I guess the best marketing is word-of-mouth. That’s a big part of how we keep growing every year. But we also tried SEO and Google Adwords, affiliate programs, email marketing, and social network marketing. They all worked to some extent, but I think for a software business, the best marketing is simply doing everything you can to make the best product there is.
As we often see, our biggest growth periods are when we launch new features and major upgrade releases.
Looking generally at becoming a successful entrepreneur: If you had to take your best advice or inspirational thought and put it into one sentence or phrase, what would that be?
Make learning into a habit and put in the time building something people have a use for. [Click here to tweet this]
What are your favorite online resources – ones you can’t live without?
Gmail, Tweepi (for managing your Twitter campaigns), Aweber (for email marketing), and Hootsuite (social networking tool).
Finally, where can people find you online?
For goal setting and personal development advice and articles, you can find our blog at http://www.goalsontrack.com/blog.
We share some great tweets on Twitter at @GoalsOnTrack and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GoalsOnTrack. Thanks again for the opportunity to do this interview. Love your site and wish you more success in 2014.
Thanks Harry, I appreciate your time today!
What did you think about this interview with Harry? Leave a comment below!
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