10 lessons learned launching 7 SaaS and generating $200k+ total revenues
Being an indie hacker and entrepreneur is not easy, let’s see how you can improve your journey.
This is a special issue to celebrate the launch of Shipped on Product Hunt, today.
As you may know, if you’re an assiduous reader of The Solopreneur on the Road to Freedom, I started indie hacking in 2019.
My solopreneurial journey has been full of ups and downs, mistakes and successes, and I generated decent revenues as well.
In this article, I want to sum up 10 lessons I’ve learned throughout my journey. Let’s get started.
The problem-solved counts
This seems obvious, but most people underestimate it. The main money-maker products help people make money. Directly or indirectly. SEO tools (bring more traffic = make money), social media inspiration, and content scheduling (bring more traffic = make money), lead generation products are evergreen.
Clear persona in mind
You need to know who you’re solving the problem for. It’ll make writing copy that resonates easier and with the right wording. It’s even better if you are part of that niche (powerful situation). Another advantage is that you can come up with ideas on how to find those people much more easily (communities, paid ads, and so on).
Paid ads are not the holy grail
There are entrepreneurs making money with paid ads. If you can find the right copy, right images, right format, and platform, it’s a powerful traffic maker. But the ROI needs to be positive, and usually, it takes time (and therefore a lot of money) to fine-tune the advertising. It’s good for SaaS products or funded companies with a budget. Much less for indie hackers.
Find your communication style
If your voice is unique and creative, in terms of style, visuals, and even video content, the social communities will reward you with engagement and extra visibility. There’s no secret sauce to finding it, make many trials, and see what works for you and what resonates with your communities.
Keep making experiments
You’ll never know in advance what works, especially in terms of marketing and communication. So you need to make experiments. Try as many things as possible, and see what works. Observe what others are doing, try to understand why it works, try to make it yours, and use your personal touch while replicating it.
Your mental health counts
Especially while working solo, you need to protect yourself, both mentally and physically (both are connected anyway). I always try to balance work and life, I don’t want to burn out, I’m playing the long-term game here. Plus, if there’s someone negative on social media or in your friendships, simply avoid them (mute on social media, skip in real life). You don’t need negative thoughts, this journey is already difficult by itself.
Indie hacking is a rollercoaster
Running online businesses is hard, especially if you don’t have experience with marketing and sales. Many things you’ll try will not work or provide immediate results. Make a plan, and try to stick to it for as long as possible.
Platform risk is real
Never underestimate platform risk. Building on a platform has big advantages, but remember that each platform you’ll use will own 100% of your business. Not the entire revenue, but they can drop the faucet, and you’ll remain with nothing. It happened to me with my two successful Twitter-related products. Twitter increased the API pricing to $42k/month, leaving me with no choice but to sell or shut down my 1.5-year-old businesses.
Marketing is everything
It took time for me to understand this. But marketing must consume 80% of your time, building 20%. The reason is very simple, the more people know your product, the more probability you have to find customers and make money. It’s as simple as this. Do marketing.
Focus on traffic
It’s very rare to be able to bring the right traffic from social media (there are exceptions of course). And the first problem you’ll have is: how do I bring traffic to my product? So once you have validated it (like after 10 paying customers) focus on writing content for SEO, keyword research, free tools, and launches on different platforms. You need to have a long-term strategy to generate traffic, consistently, to your landing page.
I hope these 10 rules help you succeed as an indie hacker.
I built 7 products in the last 2 years, and I decided to help indie hackers like me to build and ship more products easily.
That’s how Shipped.club was born, a lean Next.js Boilerlate designed for indie hackers and solo entrepreneurs to build and launch products, validate them, and generate revenues — in a few days.
I simply wish Shipped existed when I started indie hacking!
Today, Shipped is on Product Hunt and I'd love your support—it means a ton to me 🙌
As always, see you next Sunday.