Developers January 17, 2021

How did you get your first users? (share your secrets)


I'm wondering how everyone got their first users.

SITE: share your website
EXPERIENCE: Your experience and how you did it. (your secrets)

  1. 4

    For this I'll explain first paying user, I've got nearly 300 sign ups and they just trickle in.

    SITE: Portabella, Privacy friendly project management
    EXPERIENCE: Culmination of a lot of effort but what tipped the first customer I think was going the open startup route ( That got me a lot of attention on Twitter which is where they found it.

    1. 1

      So the takeaway here is having to add a sort of reward system attached to your site/product . That i think will be appealing to a lot of users. Besides in the early days of GitHub they gave out shirts and mugs to get users.

      That’s a solid one ;)

  2. 4

    SITE: Hive Index
    EXPERIENCE: Hive index organizes online communities by topic. After curating a topic, I would go to some of those communities and share the whole list with them. It's a bit meta because my product is also my distribution channel. I found that the whole list of communities for a topic were received very well by the communities I'd post in, as people in these communities are open to learning about new communities to join as well.

    1. 2

      It’s like a community aggregator. That’s a really nice experience.

      1. 1

        Yeah exactly. Thank you!

  3. 3

    SITE: Metronome
    EXPERIENCE: I got lucky! I had launched an earlybird program, to acquire an initial cohort of users. I posted about this on IH and on talked about it here and there on Twitter. Then, somehow the Podnews newsletter picked up on this and featured Metronome on one edition, back in December. That post got me my first 36 users!

    1. 1

      So having to put your product out there and give insight about it gets you started and who knows, many people too might get lucky!

      Thanks for sharing

  4. 3

    SITE: Dont Text
    EXPERIENCE: I built an app that I thought would be super helpful to a large target audience (my app blocks spam text messages), so I just started sharing with my friends and family. I posted my app on Twitter, and occasionally include a link to it on a relevant post on IndieHacker. I get about 5-10 downloads everyday now.

    I think the key is finding your target audience and putting it in front of them. For me, I feel like everyone with a phone needs help blocking spam texts, but find the people on twitter complaining about it, or tell your friends who have the same problem, share a blog post that promotes your product in a relevant discussion online.

    1. 2

      So primarily the key is

      finding your target audience

      Nice one

  5. 3

    SITE: -Not public yet-

    EXPERIENCE: Well, in my case I have to say it was pretty easy, I already had a community.

    I have a Twitter account where I share content related to programming and marketing, so all I had to do is to send an email to my email list and that's how I got my first few paying customers (I didn't even had a proper product).

    That will always be my tip for people that want to start from 0: building a community is probably the most important thing, you can then leverage it for ANY product you want to launch.

    1. 1

      Follow-up question: how did you get your first Twitter followers/email subscribers? (Or put another way, how/why did your programming and marketing content gain traction initially?)

      1. 2

        I use a simple Python script to automate Twitter accounts as a lead magnet, so I just started sharing my knowledge and interacting with other accounts, so eventually I got some traffic and email subscribers.

        Then I used that email list to promote my product :)

    2. 1

      It’s really nice having a community prior to the product lunch.

      Thanks for sharing

  6. 2

    SITE: Simple Dev
    EXPERIENCE: I got my first free user by posting in a local coding meetup's Facebook group. My second free user came from the Indie Hackers milestone I posted about getting my first free user 😆. Since then I've gotten some friends to sign up and the rest seem to come from Google and social media. I only have 20+ free users at the moment, so I still have a long way to go.

    1. 2

      That's a good experience though, keep it up

      Thanks for sharing

  7. 2

    I'm not sharing my personal experience but I've recently discovered this newsletter and I'm sure some of you will be interested. Each week, the writer delves into a successful entrepreneur, and investigates how they managed to get to where they are.

    1. 1

      Either way, it'll give insights to getting your first users

  8. 1

    Giving away free stuff. When I created the social media accounts for my product, the first thing I did was raffle away about 250$ worth of product and the post got around 500 likes.

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