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How I earned over $10k in a year selling my apps on an online marketplace

A little over a year ago, I started selling my apps on an online marketplace, and I’ve recently reached the milestone of $10,000. So it’s a good opportunity to share how I managed to earn this amount, which isn’t bad given I’m a one-man-army indie dev, and the whole project is my side hustle.

I sell my apps on the LiveChat Marketplace through their Developer Program. For those of you who haven’t heard of them before, LiveChat is a SaaS company selling customer service software with online chat capabilities. Why there? The answer is simple. Their Marketplace is relatively young, and there’s lots of room for new apps. If you’ve ever tried publishing in App Store or Google Play, you surely know those are highly competitive marketplaces. For an independent developer like myself, it’s much easier to squeeze into a market that doesn’t burst at the seams.

I’ve managed to reach $10k with 3 applications published on the LiveChat Marketplace.

Revenue

The majority of my income was generated by one app, Rich Messages Configurator. It’s an app that automates and simplifies using rich messages, a functionality natively supported in LiveChat.
Another significant portion of the revenue is brought by my integration with Stripe which was a bit more advanced in development. Antivirus is my youngest app, and so far, it hasn’t been selling so well as the other two.

I’ve recently released my fourth application that integrates LiveChat with WhatsApp. In terms of technology, it’s by far the most advanced one of all four integrations. If you’re a beginner, I recommend starting small, though. You can LiveChat on a trial period and see how it could be extended with the API they provide. Also, you can check out the list of app ideas in Developer Console (your own panel for building and managing integrations) and see if there’s something right for your skill level.

At this point, I’d also like to add that as a developer, you need to pay a 20% commission from each sale, but membership in the LiveChat Developer Program and using their APIs are free. It’s a huge advantage if you plan on building a big-scale app that would make a lot of API calls. You might still need to pay for other services, such as hosting or using a third-party API, but at least in the case of LiveChat, you can save some money on the membership/resource usage fee.

  1. 2

    congrats dude!
    Did you build these products based on your needs or did you see a trend in the market?

    1. 2

      The products I made were pretty obvious choices once you get into the LiveChat industry.

      Again, the benefit of the small marketplaces is usually a lot of obvious gaps to fill :) The downside is a lower volume of customers than on the big ones. I guess the LiveChat Marketplace is in the perfect spot for indie hackers right now.

  2. 2

    Thanks for sharing Lukasz, and well done.

    I've got a small list of marketplaces to help promote a SAAS service I'm creating, so I've just added LiveChat to my list. Thanks!

    Andy

  3. 2

    Congrats! That's a big achievement considering that you are a solo developer and these apps are only a side hustle. How much time do you spend on supporting and maintaining them?

    I can see that your WhatsUp Business app has been featured on the LiveChat Marketplace page. That's another reason to celebrate! 👏🎉

    1. 1

      The LiveChat team is very supportive in terms of promotion. But again, it's another benefit of a small marketplace - it's easy to get to the front page :)

      Development of an app is the biggest slice of time I spent on each of them. WhatsApp is a bigger one in terms of support - it takes from 20min - 1hour a day to handle all the communication. This is something I really like about integrations - they solve one, small problem and it's easy to make it feature complete. After that, the maintenance is pretty easy.

  4. 2

    Congrats on reaching the $10K milestone! Do you have any advice on how to sell an app properly through LiveChat? Do you know what makes a sale as successful as Rich Messages' or what could explain the difficulty Antivirus encounters?

    1. 1

      I guess it's always the same - solve the right problem for the customers. In the case of Rich Messages, I developed a configurator that was missing in the product itself. The special rich message type of message was only possible with custom development. I allowed to manage them and easily send them during the chat.

      Regarding Antivirus, there is no need for the product because the problem is solved in another place. Usually, the workstations are secured with some antivirus/antimalware software on a system level. I did not think through this before.

      As for advice, I think it's work to take a look at the LiveChat ecosystem as a central place where the agent works the whole day. What does he need there? What can you offer him to improve support quality, marketing opportunities, or customer satisfaction? There are many areas where you can improve people's work there: CRM integration, communication channels, a simple ticketing system, payments right in the chat, etc.

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