It's important that I share the story on how I sold my no-code application as I feel that it will help many no code & indie makers across many backgrounds, experiences and nationalities as others' stories of acquisition has helped me to to reach to this point.
I started seeing an exit as an option when I realized my GPT-3 microsaas built on bubble, virtualghostwriter.com, was making money every week but I just wasn't able to carry it to that next level ($10k/mo, 100k users etc) on my own based on my circumstance at the time. At this stage, virtual ghost writer had generated about $2500 in revenue and was making about $200 per month. I just needed a little bit more cash at that time rather than later on in the product's life and I just was not equipped to bring the product there (Many indie hackers may find themselves in this position as well).
I must say that I was also averse to partnerships, raising funding rounds and employing people to come onboard because I prefer to bootstrap and run a time flexible venture on my own. This preference is based on the vision that I have for my own entrepreneurship experience. I prefer to control my own time and not have anyone dictate per say how I should manage my own time/ use my time out of a feeling of obligation to bosses, people who work for me or investors.
You also must understand that I am fully bootstrapped. I left my Chemical Engineering job at a process plant to pursue my dream of making money online; freeing up my time to serve people, being there for my family, being an involved husband and Dad (hope to be a Dad soon).
I eventually ended up in the no-code space after 1 year of dabbling in domain names, wordpress site design for clients and a 8 month stint as a remote customer care rep. That 1 year of runway of dabbling used up all my savings and I was dependent on what I was earning online to pay my bills month to month.
Stupid decision to leave my solid job? Maybe for you it seems that way but time would fail me to tell my full story now. I may have to write a book about that soon :).
So I started to seek an exit for virtual ghost writer. I needed the cash and I needed someone to take it to the next level.
But how could I announce that I wanted an exit without losing leverage that my product was still great. Why would I be selling something that was so great and so profitable? I never wanted to give up that leverage so I was hoping that someone would just come along and make me an offer.
That offer never came in organically!
I had received interest for investment and inquiries from persons who wanted to buy my GPT-3 licence right out and would have paid quite a bit for it but to me that was just illegal and I couldn't compromise on my values for money. I had to find a way to sell my full application.
So this became my new problem. How could I sell my bubble app for an exit that is not huge but is significant enough for me to feel that the work that I have put in on building this app to this point was worth it.
I went to twitter to see what my peers thought about this problem:
So persons recommended Flippa, IndieMaker and MicroAcquire.
I saw a lot of founders talking about MicroAcquire and I saw some of them getting exits there and I thought wow, maybe I could get an exit there. So I started to explore MicroAcquire publicly on twitter to get more insight on my problem:
Oh WOW, the onboarding process at MicroAcquire was really great. The site was great and virtualghostwriter.com got approved in less than 24 hours. I listed for $25,000 initially.
Within a day I had gotten 10 requests to view my private information and I was super excited... Maybe I was going to get this sold soon.
I was going to go all in on the acquisition space and this was the validation I needed:
I started realizing that the inquiries to view my private information wasn't resulting in many meaningful conversations and I was being ghosted after I gave persons access to my site URL.
I started to think that maybe my project may be competing in a space where the buyers were looking for something in a category that my project was not qualified to be in. Maybe the buyers were looking for projects that were way more valuable and way more successful were just not interested in acquiring my app.
I realized that there was a market below that of micro acquire's; a market that requires a tiny acquisition.
I wanted a tiny exit for a no-code bubble app built by a maker that was inherently valuable with a 5000+ email list, tiny revenue ($200/mo), and clout in the no code space (#5 product of the day - Product Hunt, Nominated for Golden Kitty Award - AI category).
So I started dropping the price, I went from $25k to $18k to $13k within a few days to see how the conversations would change. In this time inquiries were still coming in.
In the end I got about 60 inquiries with no deal; two dead end 4 figure offers, signed 3 NDAs and almost closed a deal with one interested buyer who ghosted me last minute. I really enjoyed the experience at microacquire but I realized that there was still a market out there for indie makers, no-code makers and creators who may need a tiny exit in the 4 figure range.
This is how TinyAcquisitions.com was born:
Why Tiny Acquisitions?
Tiny Acquisitions is a company founded to remove the friction from buying and selling small web based projects built by creators.
The 'maker' mindset was painstakingly considered during the development of this application. The indie maker, no-code maker (creator) builds a great, inherently valuable tiny web based project such as an app, website, newsletter, community, product, productized service, course, platform etc.
The maker eventually gets bored, wants to focus on something else, wants to earn a little more money or doesn't necessarily want to maintain this project in perpetuity.
There arises the need for the maker to get a tiny exit and maybe hand the tiny project over to another creator, business or entity that can take that project to the next level or integrate it into their own projects.
Tiny Acquisitions solves the problem of bringing buyers and sellers together for the sole purpose of the acquisition of their tiny project.
By June 3, 2021 someone bought VirtualGhostWriter.com directly from me through Tiny Acquisitions right there in the chats. Sent over the funds via stripe and I transferred domain, bubble app and some other assets within the next couple of hours. The deal was done and it happened on my own site?!?! 🎉
I solved my own problem!
If this isn't validation IDK what is. Yes, I sold my app on my own site that I created to solve the problem of no-code makers/indie makers needing a means of a tiny exit 😵
Here is how the chat went:
And that's it I got my no-code tiny exit only 3 days after I launched Tiny Acquisitions and this project now has my full attention until I need an exit 😉... This one might not be so tiny.
Follow my journey on twitter: @stepocampbell_