This Sunday morning, as we were sipping our morning chai at our new home, Yogini and I realized our life had changed so much in the last year and what a beautiful journey it has been so far. We started Peerlist "just as a side project," how far we have come along and how fortunate we are.
If this blog was a movie (assume), it's flashback time. Taking you back to where it all started -
How Peerlist started
If we go back in time and you had asked whether Peerlist would ever be a startup, and we will work full-time for it? The answer would have been, "hahaha, what are you smoking?"
As a designer + developer couple, we always dreamt of building something together. All the critical skill sets are in-house, and living with the cofounder 24x7 has its perks :) But so many things were happening in our personal lives, and we used them as an excuse to hold us back.
Then came the pandemic (sigh). Like almost everyone, we were confident that the situation would return to normal soon, and we would all return to our pre-pandemic life. But we all know what happened. Like everybody, we also spent our first lockdown following social trends and challenges. Remember dalgona coffee? (It's an open secret that I am better at it, but Yogini agrees to disagree 🙄).
The second wave hit harder than the first one! Like most of us, now we thought this might be the new normal. We also started thinking about our life decisions and taking things seriously, personally and career-wise. We realized this precious time should not be wasted following online trends and challenges. Many of us started doing what we always wanted to do, from pursuing an old hobby, learning new things, writing, etc.
Yogini started sharpening her coding skills during the second lockdown and shared her learnings by writing articles on DEV. As a side effect, she built an audience on Twitter and LinkedIn. It also brought some new opportunities for her (recruiters started reaching out). She had to update her resume and share her work links. EVERY BLOODY TIME. Her work was distributed on different platforms, like Github and DEV. And her LinkedIn profile was useless to showcase her work. Building a personal portfolio website was not feasible, as she was busy with coding assignments and interviews.
We thought this might be a problem faced by many others as well. It can't be troubling just Yogini. So, as a product designer, my first instinct was to do, and we did - a people survey to validate this hypothesis. To our surprise, we received responses from more than 200 people (thank you, folks! ☺️), and many strongly resonated with the problem we wanted to solve. People's most common problem was how traditional resumes and LinkedIn profiles are inefficient for showcasing their work!
And that's how we got our first problem to solve, work profiles! We quickly designed some prototypes and shared them with those we had surveyed.
People loved it, and we started building our side project. Peerlist!
We started working over the weekends. It was March 2021 when we wrote our first line of code.
By May 2021, we launched our landing page and opened our waitlist. We just wanted to know how many would join the waitlist by reading about our idea. More than 600 people joined in just two months! It was a good signal for a weekend side project.
If anyone had asked us why we were building Peerlist back then, the answer would have been "just for fun!"
Coming back from the flashback to the present time (Don't forget this is a movie, not a blog).
Why are we building Peerlist?
1️⃣ We want to redefine Professional Networking
This used to sound absurd initially when we just started. But now we are much more confident that we can do it. We're focused on this ultimate goal!
"It’s just as hard to build a mediocre company as a transformative one. Both will take 100% of your time. So you might as well work on a bigger idea."
- James Currier
The way we network has changed significantly in recent times. Credibility and proof-of-work are the most critical recruitment factors and became significant since remote work is a norm. Companies don't hire just by your past work experience or academics. We enable you to showcase your work more effectively and expose you to new opportunities.
2️⃣ We are building something people want!
We started receiving overwhelming responses just after launching the invite-only beta. Our early adopters started adding their Peerlist profile to their Twitter profile bio, in their resumes, sharing it with recruiters, and recommending it to their friends.
Peerlist is growing significantly month-on-month, and all our new users are joining us by word-of-mouth. We haven't spent a single penny on marketing till today. All the growth is organic. We are taking this as a signal that we are solving the right problem.
3️⃣ We are enjoying it!
We launched our invite-only beta on 5th Aug 2021. What a day it was and what response we got! We still can't forget that day. We were nervous like hell.
The adrenaline rush of shipping your side project is something else. The response we received from our community was just excellent. So we decided to continue working on this as a side project.
People considered celebrities in the startup world started reaching out to understand what we are building. Soon, we realized there is so much more to building a product than developing and designing. Remarkable growth numbers brought the conviction that we were looking for. We took the leap of faith and now are on Peerlist full-time. It's our baby now.
Yogini and I embarked on this incredible journey after considerable contemplation. Though the days come with ups and downs, we enjoy this journey. And hence we are confident we will keep growing from here - getting better at what we are doing, helping more and more people, and solving more and more problems.
Our journey has just started, so stay tuned 😊