The Marketing Techniques Involved in Growing to $4,000/mo

Tell us about yourself and what you're working on.

I'm Adrien, a 26 year old software engineer / hacker who's very curious about everything. I graduated from Epitech in 2012, and since then I've been working for a Paris based startup alongside my personal projects, like is a very simple website monitoring service. It checks your websites periodically and alerts you when there's a problem. My customers range from individuals to small- and medium-sized companies who want something cheap that they can setup in seconds and forget about.

How'd you come up with the idea for

After studying the market for a monitoring solution for myself, I found that existing solutions were often too expensive, too complex, had bad UIs, or were even unreliable. I thought, "Well, let's build my own and see if I can do better." It started as a side project made just for myself, but I decided to make a product out of it after I realized that others were in the same situation I was.

What convinced you that others needed the same solution?

When I would talk about the service that I was building for myself with coworkers and friends, a few said things like, "I also have the same issues with existing monitoring solutions" or "Can I try it?" So I thought, well, it might be a good idea to experiment launching a SaaS product I care about and which is useful to me. I'd learn a bunch of stuff, and maybe even generate a few extra bucks.

What was it like building the initial product? started as a small side project in July 2012. I worked on it a few hours a week in the evenings and over the weekends. (Meanwhile, my main job was providing me with the money I needed to live.) I started by hosting it on my cheap dedicated server, so there was no additional recurring cost — just a lot of time invested.

It took 3 months to build the base product before releasing a beta version. I then spent another year running and improving upon before taking it out of beta and starting to bill customers in November 2013.

What was it like to start charging for

When I started to monetize, it was a year after the beta started, and of course it caused a big (80%) drop in usage, as most users were just testing it out and weren't ready to pay.

I chose a very simple and cheap pricing model: buy credits, where 1 credit = 1 request. That allows me to bill fairly, because you (as a customer) don't have to buy the most expensive plan just because you need this or that feature. It also allows you to monitor some important sites faster than others without having to pay the same price for all of them.

I also choose to not offer any free plan (though I offer free credits), which was the main reason for the 80% drop. However, it was also a big help with making the service sustainable, so I didn't have to "race against" resource consumption too early on.

I've kept the costs of running the business pretty low by doing everything myself and avoiding the expensive hype tech (AWS, Heroku, etc). As a result, I currently have less than $60/month in hosting costs (4 servers + email provider) with $1500/month in revenue. This has allowed me to run the service for years with very few users (now 1500 active users), so I've been able to slowly grow the user base as I add features. was profitable 3 months after monetization.

Did you ever incorporate?

No, I have a simple "self-employed" French status which I intend to keep as long as possible, because it's so easy to deal with. I also have my girlfriend helping me with legal stuff.

What've you done to grow your user base?

At first it was just word-of-mouth: my friends would show it their friends. Having a nice-looking product helped a lot with this, because sometimes even people who hadn't used it would share it simply because it looked new and cool. I ran a small Google ad at some point (1€/day), to try the platform and burn the 75€ free credits that they wouldn't stop offering me. The results weren't very good. There were lots of bounces and a very low conversion rate (~1%).

Later, I purchased some more targeted ads in the RubyWeekly and WebopsWeekly newsletters. Those had a 5 times better conversion rate, and most importantly were hitting the right people. I didn't renew the ads, because I think hitting the same people again would be counterproductive. Finally, I tried some Twitter ads too, which had a better yield than Google, because it's easier to target in my opinion.

The best marketing returns I got were free, and there were 3 of them:

  • Hacker News: I got to the front page in late 2014, which got me more than 100 active users.
  • ProductHunt: Someone posted without me knowing, and this also got me more than 100 active users in the following weeks.
  • Slack Platform: I was one of the first apps to be a part of the Slack platform when they launched in late 2015, and this drove a lot of users to (more than 500 active users).

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

I'm pretty comfortable with technical stuff, so for me the biggest challenges lie elsewhere: dealing with customers on the human side, marketing, advertising, explaining what I do to other people, etc. I'm pretty sure at some point I'll manage to help my parents understand what is. ;-)

What's gone well? Has anything been super helpful?

UI. Unlike most developers, I like design, and I hate using awful interfaces. I spent a lot of time working on's UI/UX, because I wanted to make it not only cheap and simple, but also good looking. And, surprisingly, many more people than I expected noticed my effort and really liked because of this. This has been not only rewarding for my work, but it's also helped adoption through word-of-mouth.

Also, I've tried to offer outstanding support with my product, as this can really help gain your customer's trust when you're a new product. It's working great so far, as people have been so happy with the support that they've shared their experiences on Twitter.

Finally, and this wasn't under my control, but being part of the Slack platform has been really helpful for attracting new customers.

What's your advice for aspiring indie hackers?

I'd say take your time, and don't set high expectations. Keep your costs low, so you can try to learn everything at your own pace, and use your project to experiment. It's a wonderful experience working on whatever you want to without pressure.

Where can we learn more?

For a bit more about me there is my personal website. Otherwise, I would suggest contacting me directly or leaving a comment below:

Adrien Jarthon , Creator of

Want to build your own business like

You should join the Indie Hackers community! 🤗

We're a few thousand founders helping each other build profitable businesses and side projects. Come share what you're working on and get feedback from your peers.

Not ready to get started on your product yet? No problem. The community is a great place to meet people, learn, and get your feet wet. Feel free to just browse!

Courtland Allen , Indie Hackers founder

  1. 2

    Great Job! is a neat tool and the naming is great :) May I ask what stack you're using?

    1. 1

      Today, there are a lot of tools for automating email newsletters, you can study several programs and choose something really convenient for yourself. Marketing professionals know that using the right tools is critical to creating scalable campaigns. For example, my wife has a small confectionery factory, and she creates very delicious and beautiful cakes and pastries. There are clients, but I would also like to start a page on social networks so that as many people as possible know about her talent. I decided to promote her page on social networks, but it seems to me that I did it badly, because I have absolutely no experience in this area and besides, we decided to send our customers information by mail about new products and promotions. After searching for information about agencies, I came across Appiloque and decided to work with them because of the good reviews. My wife was very happy with this . Sometimes you need to contact a professional to promote your page.

    2. 1

      Thanks ! I'm using Ruby and Rails, my specialty :)

  2. 1

    Marketing informs your customers about the products or services you're offering them. Through marketing, the customers get to know about the value of the products, their usage and additional info that might be helpful to the customers. It creates brand awareness and makes the business stand out. That is why I monitor all social media by myself with the help of onlypult and their blog

  3. 1

    Hey Adrien!

    I arrived at IH through signing up for from another channel (ProductHunt I think?), then I noticed the link to this page from within the about section. Anyway, awesome to see that you're an IndieHacker. Product is looking really great and I can't wait to use it.

    Wishing you all the best!


    1. 1

      Thank you Joe ♥

  4. 1

    Perfect name. Congrats =)

  5. 1

    Great Interview! Thank you Adrien!
    May I ask right now are you working on this full-time?

    how many income source you have?
    are you doing + doing some freelancing? or?

    1. 2

      You're welcome ☺
      Sorry for my late reply, I didn't get any notification for your question. I am definitely not working full time on this, I'm working full time at another company ( and is still a side project (though I can do stuff from my work if it's urgent).

      1. 2

        Thanks for reply at all haha!

  6. 1

    This comment was deleted 9 months ago.