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29 Comments

Charge money.

So much free stuff out there. Start charging for it.

That's all I wanted to say.

  1. 12

    I'll also add: charger earlier.
    Do you think your product is not ready? It will never be ready enough. As long as you provide value, charge for it. You won't believe what few dollars can do to your mental and motivation.

  2. 3

    What if you want to be a social network type of product? I totally see the value in charging, but most of the products we use all the time don't charge directly because it raises the barrier to entry. That seems like an unpopular idea nowadays. And I can definitely see the appeal in making money sooner than later. But I don't think it makes sense for every type of product to charge for usage.

    1. 2

      Anna, for sure, some products you cannot charge for upfront and they require users to grow. I applaud anyone who takes on those kinds of challenges, they are tough! My comment is aimed more towards people who are building tools and feel they are not worthy of charging, or charge too little.

      1. 1

        Yes, I'm trying to build one! Thinking about making maybe $4/1000 user impressions is starting to bum me out. I often wonder how Pinterest decided to go with ads. Do you start a company and find out how viral it is and then decide on what revenue model you can pull off? I'm not on track to have 10k users in my first year, so I wonder if I'm deluding myself in thinking I can build an ad based product. I want to build a free product, but not sure if it can be big enough to be free. Seeing as you're a growth designer maybe you have thoughts. :) www.tryprism.co

        1. 1

          Prism looks cool!

          I have seen similar tools gain traction through browser extensions. They build a tool that lets you bookmark the sites, but ultimately lead you to a platform (I'm guessing like yours).

          Some ideas to try:

          1. Make only the public boards free (let Google index them). Force people to give a title and description (like Pintrest). Show a description of each bookmark by default (for free users that is). This will in effect create thousands of pages that will rank for odd terms like "Cool color tools" or something. The key is to make it so the pages are substantive on content and rank well.
          2. Lock private boards with a paid membership (or limit the number of private boards to something very small and require signup for more boards access)
          3. Start a blog post curating all the best boards you see in the public. Write about them, make images, watermark with your brand (let Google pick you up in Google Images and start showing your branded results, which will lead people to your blog and ultimately to Prism)
          4. Build an extension - make it free for public boards. Promote premium benefits right in the extension. (More effort but could be worth it).

          There are just the things on top of my mind right now. If you haven't subbed yet, please check out growthinsider.substack.com (this is my newsletter). I will help find growth strategies for as many of my subscribers as possible.

          I hope this helps!

          -- Oh I assume you've done a PH launch already?

          Generally speaking, you will want to investigate how Pinterest is growing / grew, and reverse engineer their path to success.

          1. 2

            Those are fantastic suggestions! Thank you! You’re hired. ;) Those are exactly the things I’m thinking about. We do have an extension. We do ask for a title and description for boards (Not required though so that’s a good point), though not bookmarks themselves yet. Many people have requested tagging. I like the idea of charging for private boards. I hadn’t thought of that. Pinterest is definitely the model we’re looking to follow. Good point on the blogging about other people’s boards. I’ve been sharing content from sites I’ve bookmarked as a way to promote the boards on social. Definitely off to a slow start there. My understanding of them is that they blew up by finding the right audience. And everything is easier when you have PMF.

            1. 1

              If you can build in a viral share mechanism, that might help. Maybe a function that lets people easily share the page with their friends / networks (like push to twitter, facebook etc.. or grab a link) - not sure if you already have this. Sorry just been super busy here.

              1. 1

                Yep we have that. However you have to sign up to view boards, which is something I'm working on changing. Thanks for your thoughts! Really appreciate the feedback. :)

          2. 1

            And yes we launched on PH last October after we put out the mvp. Right now that and betalist has brought some decent traffic. I also started sharing some boards that have been getting some circulation, like a board for female-friendly VCs I collected.

    2. 1

      If you can't charge your users off the bat, try to charge someone! If you plan on making ad revenue - build in the ad revenue - just as much as you need to prove your product value, you should try to prove your business model too!

      1. 1

        Yes! I happen to be building such a product, and I'd love to be able to prove out the business model, or at least start trying. My understanding is for an ad driven product the "proof" of whether it's viable is in having a TON of users. But I'm curious if you have any other ideas on testing ad revenue as a model. My product is www.tryprism.co.

    3. 1

      Wether or not you should charge depends on you business model, most social media products use advertising as their primary revenue stream, so charging your users probably wouldn't be appropriate in this case.

    4. 1

      Agree with this! Would love to hear others perspectives here.

  3. 3

    YES.

    I started charging for a new experiment I'm trying and the implied ARR is hilariously great. Makes it hard to finish that lower-priced book I announced...

  4. 2

    Thanks for the reminder @genemachine

  5. 2

    Have you started charging? 😇

    1. 1

      Yes, the real question is when will people pay? :) haha. My product is new, no way to buy it yet, but soon!

  6. 1

    I started my business with all free alexa skills a year ago. I was hoping amazon would pay me for the usage of the skills and hopped I would attract enough users.

    That didn't pan out.. luckily my patience was short and I started creating Alexa skills with a free and paid version. 100% of my income is from the paid skills. Just passed $2,000/month in revenue with 99% margins :)

  7. 1

    Amen to that 🙌

  8. 1

    Should you still charge money if haven't yet got all your features done? 🤔

    1. 2

      My personal opinion is YES, you should. As long as your product provides some value and the core features satisfy a pain (time, money, headaches saved) then yes.

  9. 1

    Charging users is probably not the only way.

    1. 1

      If you've raised VC funds or have sufficient savings to coast while you try to grow, sure. I think most of us here are not in that boat.

  10. 1

    Easy to say when you get traction!

    1. 1

      Get initial traction by charging less but still charging. Easier in B2B than B2C.

      Figure out how you're going to differentiate from those initial customers.

      Users who will never pay for your product don't count. They're saying your product isn't good enough yet to deserve their cash.

      Freemium only works if your customers will eventually grow into a paid plan.

      Only VC-backed companies can afford to lose money supporting customers on free plans who may never convert.

  11. 1

    This comment was deleted 6 months ago.

    1. 2

      indiehackers.com shouldn't be free. I have gotten a lot of value here. Last year, I made my first $ through this community. Now I am making thousands of dollars monthly all because of IH.

      People are getting a lot of customers by sharing their milestones, commenting, and posting stuff here.

      Ironically, @csallen always reminds us to charge early and charge more but he doesn't charge.

      I will forever be grateful to @csallen and Stripe 🙏

      1. 1

        I think IndieHackers has a very different goal since it was acquired by Stripe. I am sure @csallen would be thinking about various ways to monetize this community if it hasn't.

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