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88 Comments

I bootstrapped a JavaScript Image Editor to $20K MRR → AMA!

Hi Indie Hackers!

Rik here! I'm a 39 years old front-end dev, I live with my wife and 2 young kids in the south of The Netherlands (GMT+2).

5 years ago I took a 70% pay cut and stopped all my front-end dev consulting work to pursue the dream of earning a living by selling web products. It took me a while, but this year I've finally reached the point where my income from products has surpassed my income as a consultant.

Pintura is a JavaScript Image Editor SDK. It's compatible with all popular frameworks and helps your customers upload better imagery. I develop Pintura publicly on Twitter and Indie Hackers by sharing challenging situations, work in progress shots, and sales figures.

Pintura started out as a commercial plugin for my free file uploaded component FilePond. After the initial launch I quickly adapted it so it could stand on its own feet. I've been expanding and improving the product ever since.

Today 1000+ companies use Pintura in their products, among them familiar names like Dropbox, Square, and ConvertKit.

The name "Pintura" might not ring a bell right away. You might be more familiar with its previous name "Doka Image Editor". Learning about trademarks has been one of many interesting learnings on this journey. 😅

Alright, let's get to it! AMA!

  1. 7

    Can you talk a bit about distribution channels?

    Specifically:

    • Where did most customers come from at different stages of the journey?
    • What channels have worked for you and what haven't?
    • Anything channels you are planning to try out in the future?

    Congrats on your epic journey! Amazing 🎉

    1. 4

      Thanks @alexwest : )

      Where did most customers come from at different stages of the journey?

      Initially most customers came from me building FilePond in the open on Twitter. When I started building Pintura they showed interest in purchasing. So when I launched I immediately had some traction.

      I then advertised Pintura on the FilePond GitHub repositories (multiple repos for different frameworks) and product site.

      I'm now focussing on content marketing and affiliate partnerships.

      What channels have worked for you and what haven't?

      1. Side project marketing in reverse, like FilePond → Pintura.

      2. Affiliate partnerships are perfect to bring in good leads. I've partnered with a couple developers of open source projects in the same space.

      3. Content marketing, it's a long process, but pumping out articles slowly increases traffic and eventually makes the domain relevancy increase as well.

      What didn't work was ads. It's just difficult to measure. Devs don't purchase Pintura on the spot. I mainly focus on creating awareness so that when they run into an image editing problem sometime in the future they think of Pintura.

      Anything channels you are planning to try out in the future?

      I want to get back to FilePond. I think there's more there. So planning to create a totally new version based on all learnings of the past 3 years. Should increase its popularity and thus yield new sales.

      Additionally I haven't experimented with YouTube, should probably create an example integration video just to get my feet wet :D

      1. 3

        Probably a pretty good opportunity for a wordpress plugin here too - a lot of the plugins are cloud delivered solutions rather than integrated.

        1. 2

          Certainly! I've launched a WordPress Media Library version at the end of 2019 but it never really got of the ground because I was too scared to actually launch it.

          Honestly I was scared that it would accidentally mess up someones library. The WordPress space is so big and it's super difficult to integrate with all the popular third-party plugins. Add that to that I'm not very active in the WP community and the project just kinda got away from me.

          I decided that it's probably be better to license Pintura to third-parties to build plugins for Shopify, WordPress, and other platforms. (If anyone is reading this and identifies as such a developer and is interested, let me know!)

          I'm currently in talks with a third-party that's going to release a WordPress plugin using Pintura.

          1. 1

            That makes a lot of sense actually. After I posted I thought that managing the users of WordPress would be its own beast entirely. With plugin ecosystems that are absolute nightmares to work around conflicts etc. By licensing it you're delegating that overhead to someone else - very smart.

            1. 1

              Exactly! But it's very tempting, because my god it's a huge market, and where Pintura is a slow selling product, you don't buy it on the spot, that's different for WordPress plugins. I'd love to sell a product like that one day. : )

              1. 1

                You may be limiting yourself with your belief that pintura is a slow selling product. I think your pricing does that. Many products as they're being developed will know they need a solution. Wordpress helps productise your offering, and maybe not so much as a front-end for customers to upload and see, but rather a back-end tool for site creators to manipulate and manage their images. For example an image compression plugin is an automatic install on all my sites, it automatically compresses massive jpgs when I upload them. A tool like yours really could be deployed on each site 'in advance' of ever actually needing it if you positioned it a bit differently. Dunno - some food for thought :P

                1. 1

                  Agreed, I think the subscription model is causing that, and that's fine.

                  What you describe is exactly what input I got when soft-launching the WordPress version of the editor a year ago. Certainly a market there :)

      2. 1

        Hey @rikschennink, thanks for the valuable insight!

        Mind if I get in touch to do a quick summary of the strategies mentioned? Love to add these into GrowthHunt.co

        Cheers!

        1. 1

          Feel free at to add them!

      3. 1

        Congrats Rik! Not sure if this was addressed but it seems natural that you could extend this to build an editor product like Photopea or something. Is that something on your mind?

        1. 2

          It's tempting but I suspect it would be very difficult to pull of doing that with the same live/animated/interactive interface.

          I think Photopea is an amazing project but it's not aimed at the casual mobile user, it's a graphics editor, not a photo editor.

          I'm trying to stay in the casual photo editing experience niche and offer a great near-native experience on both mobile and desktop. With the state of the web that's a big challenge already :D

          1. 1

            That makes sense. I agree Photopea is a pretty intense product to compete against haha. But there is a space even within the casual editor niche such as Canva (no code friendly photo editing). Then there is photo editing catered to certain groups like Bannerbear which focuses on optimizing photos for social media and ads.

            I do think there are a lot of niches in there to be looked into. Would be interested to hear what kind of affiliate or other type of partnership you were thinking off. Maybe we can build a tool/product that sends traffic to Pintura.

            1. 2

              Certainly, lot's of use-cases for this SDK.

              I've decided to focus on the SDK itself and have others find ways to be successful with it, because there's simply too many directions to go with it otherwise.

              For many product ideas the normal software license is enough. For products aimed at developers, or products that compete with Pintura an OEM license is required and both the partner and I profit from the success. These I discuss with the other party and often this ends up being a certain percentage of quarterly sales.

              Then there's affiliates that refer traffic to the Pintura site, they get a 25% cut on each subscription for as long as it's active. Some make up to $500+ a month which I think is pretty nice as it's literally passive income.

              Please do reach out if you have ideas! I'm always happy to discuss opportunities.

  2. 5

    Hey Rik, it's awesome (and a little jealous-making!) following along with your journey!

    1. Was there a bit of content marketing you did that caught you by surprise on how well it did?
    2. If you didn't work on Pintura, what would you work on instead?
    3. Do you have to prevent yourself from working on "the next cool thing"? How do you keep yourself in line?
    1. 1

      Excellent questions :D

      Was there a bit of content marketing you did that caught you by surprise on how well it did?

      What I find is that the best performing articles are those that I base on Stack Overflow question popularity. I'll usually decide to write one if I end up on Stack Overflow instead of a site with a definitive answer. This article on converting a file to a base64 DataURL is the perfect example. It's incoming traffic has slowly grown over time.

      Other articles I write are based mostly on fun CSS techniques I encounter when building my products, they're usually hit/miss, but solely doing content marketing gets a bit boring so I want to just write about the weird stuff as well knowing that it will probably not make much of a difference :D

      If you didn't work on Pintura, what would you work on instead?

      I mentioned somewhere else in the comment section that I released an iOS game in 2011 (I worked on it for 2 years). When the game was released I decided to start building and selling web components because I felt it would be the more natural thing to do being employed in the industry and being more proficient with JS than with Objective-C. Additionally, a web component/plugin has a much shorter development time, so less risk and a faster way to learn what works and what doesn't.

      I've always wanted to get back to game development, the plan was to make sufficient income from web products and then give it another go. Somehow that goal totally got away from me and it only resurfaced at the start of 2020 when someone asked me "what do you plan to do when you reach 10K MRR". It's good to keep an eye on the ball and don't forget what you're doing it for, it's easy to just go with the flow. At the moment I'm just having too much fun doing what I'm doing.

      So to go back to the question, I think I would actually be working on a new game, the creative freedom in that space is just amazing : )

      Do you have to prevent yourself from working on "the next cool thing"? How do you keep yourself in line?

      I've walked into this trap a couple times. Namely with the WordPress version of Pintura. It quickly spiralled out of control resulting in me not having enough time to work on Pintura itself (which at a certain point I desperately wanted to).

      It thought me to very much way the pro's and cons of a project before giving something new a go. I currently write down new ideas for when the time comes that I want to explore other options. I think the fact that revenue is still climbing gives me enough energy and focus to stick to this problem space for now.

  3. 5

    Impressive journey and congrats on your $20k MRR milestone! 💪

    I'm about to experiment with a similar approach for MagicPattern.design (a background generator) and license the core editor as an independent component for large companies/organizations.

    My question is kinda "technical" but is bothering me for a long time:

    How do you make sure that a customer won't buy Pintura and re-sell it as their own product (or even open source it which is way worse)?

    No worries, if you have a system that you don't want to share for security reasons!

    1. 1

      Thanks Jim!

      Damn love that product site, and the tools all look so well designed. 👍

      Honestly I have nothing in place for that, there's no way that I can prevent it. I'm kinda leaning on my audience to let me know if they see the product used in a way they think is sketchy.

      I've thought about adding a call-home thing, but that would have security/privacy implications and would require me to set up something that handles the ping.

      I currently offer the package as a zip and have been thinking of a way to add a hidden unique id to each package, something like lyrics websites do with hidden spaces. Still as it's JavaScript that could be easily removed, either manually or via minification.

      Considering the additional risk and hassle you potentially introduce for actual clients (bugs etc), I don't think it's worth it, similar reason why I don't have a domain key, it's just superficial.

  4. 3

    don't take this the wrong way but is this just a front end library? I don't understand how you would even monetize that let alone to this degree, are there not a million libraries that do this kind of thing for free?

    1. 5

      I did say ask me anything, and even if I didn't, this is a perfectly valid question : )

      In theory this is indeed "just" a front-end library and there are a lot of open source alternatives out there.

      In reality none of those open source image editors/croppers come close to the UX (and most of the functionality) Pintura offers.

      I differentiate mainly on user experience and focus on a native like look and feel, on every device. Most open source solutions are very web-like and don't work too well on mobile devices.

      There's so many little gotchas in this problem space. Some companies understand that having a developer use an open source solution and then modify it to their needs is WAY more expensive than paying $649 a year for a solution that is not only constantly maintained but also includes direct and fast support for when things go wrong.

      My challenge is to convince all those other devs :)

  5. 3

    Hi Rik!

    I've been following on Twitter for a while, love the technical updates and attention to detail. Your journey is very inspiring.

    Can you elaborate a bit on the name change - what specific issues did you run into and do you have any advice regarding naming/trademark in light of your experiences?

    1. 3

      Hey!

      I received a trademark violation letter at the end of December 2020. They aren't fun. In short, the name "Doka" was already in use by a big corporation I should stop using it.

      "Doka" is a photography abbreviation for "Dark Room" in Dutch. I did search around a bit when I picked the name initially but didn't find any comparable products.

      After hiring a lawyer and sending some letters back and forth my lawyer advised me to back away as they did have a case. I'm not sure if they had a strong case but I did not have the energy to pursue it any further so decided to rebrand.

      Some advise:

      • Don't communicate with the other party yourself. Have a lawyer handle it. As far as I understood, if it comes to a court case, your own words can be used as evidence. This is different for communication handled by a lawyer. Disclaimer, I'm no lawyer.

      • Before picking a name search BOIP Trademarks register for EU trademarks and United States Patent and Trademark Office for US trademarks. Make sure existing registrations are in very different markets.

      • Check different ways of spelling your brand. Make sure it's different enough in translations as well.

      • You can request a trademark clearance search to get a sense of how realistic it is your name is still "free". These are usually done within a couple days. The trademark registration process itself takes months.

      1. 2

        Thanks, very good advice and I just checked my product name ("vendure") against those 2 registries - 0 results in the EU and 1 unrelated, abandoned one in the US. Phew!

        1. 1

          Smart move! How intense was it to press that search button :D

          1. 2

            Basically I was that sweating man with the red buttons meme :D

            Nah, I already knew the name is quite unique based on googling when I was choosing names, so it wasn't too intense.

  6. 2

    Hey big fun! what stack did you use guys?

    1. 2
      • Svelte / TypeScript for the component itself + custom Rollup build to output adapter components for different frameworks
      • Eleventy + ConditionerJS for the product site
      • Lunr for documentation search
      • Gumroad for payment
      • Simple Analytics for tracking
      • Sentry for error tracking
      • PHP + MySQL for customer portal (Switching to SvelteKit + PostgresSQL)
      • Render for hosting
      • Sidemail for transactional email
      • Affinity Designer and Sketch for design work
  7. 2

    Hey Rik!! Awesome milestone!!
    Congratulations! 💪💪

    I've been reading almost every answer so I have very few questions left to ask!
    But here's a few:

    • I see they can keep using the product for ever even when they don't keep on paying for the subscription. So, the subscription is actually just for them to get support?

    • How do you deal with support? Any third-party services you use?

    • What does the "Manage developers" mean on the pricing page? 🤔

    1. 2

      Thanks mate!

      I see they can keep using the product for ever even when they don't keep on paying for the subscription. So, the subscription is actually just for them to get support?

      Yes, the license is perpetual. The subscription is there for access to support but also updates. I found the latter is the only reason developers will renew payment.

      It's mainly a subscription because I use Gumroad and haven't had time to streamline the back office yet. I have a "we'll never raise your price" guarantee, and the subscription model is the easiest way to set that up within Gumroad.

      I'll probably switch to "pay once + renew license at previous price point within 3 months" when I've rewritten the back office.

      How do you deal with support? Any third-party services you use?

      It's all email for now. Not perfect. But works well enough for the handful of daily tickets.

      What does the "Manage developers" mean on the pricing page? 🤔

      The Small Business and Enterprise license owner can give developers on their team access to the license so they can submit support tickets and download the software. The Hobby license doesn't have this as that license is aimed at indie hackers and hobbyists that mainly run things on their own.

      Should probably explain that a bit better 😄

  8. 2

    Congrats! Just followed on Twitter and took a scroll too. What do you use to create your gif images while sharing in public?

    1. 2

      Hey! I use Kap and then optimise via ezgif

      1. 1

        I see Kap is Mac only. Darn! I use windows. But I'll give ezgif a try. Thanks!

  9. 2

    The design aesthetics are beautiful and the animations feel great, nice UI. Thanks for sharing and good luck!

    1. 1

      Thanks! So much effort went into the UI and UX so it’s great to hear that feedback : )

  10. 2

    It's so beautiful. I love the app! Very happy for your success!

  11. 2

    Wow that's awesome! I really like the feel of your site. I do have a weird question that's not really related to how you've built this.

    Have you thought about having a sort of short video explainer produced for it?

    I am asking because I was thinking about creating a series (maybe a few episodes) of the process of creating an explainer video to upload to my youtube channel. And I think that if you need one made, it could be a great fit for the series. If you think you could use one, I'd love to make it for you. If not, that's totally cool too!

    I just haven't made the post here on IH yet because there's a couple of things I was thinking through of how to set some pre reqs, since I'm sure many would love to get one done for free, so I have to make sure it is a project that is already having some sort of traction.

    Anways, congrats again on your success! Really inspiring!

    1. 2

      Hi! I've indeed been considering this, see this comment about YouTube :D

      I'm interested. Please send me a PM on Twitter when you want to explore this further :)

      1. 1

        Oh haha, I hadn't seen that one. But yea, I will definitely get in touch then.

  12. 2

    Hey Rik, I just want to say I use FilePond as the exclusive file uploader for my platform site https://scriptmime.com!

    Thanks to you it was a reality. FilePond is a really great tool. I'm sure Pintura is as well. You deserve all the success you've earned.

    1. 1

      Thanks! It's always awesome to see my products in production, glad to hear it's a good fit for your project.

  13. 2

    This is great! Where did you get that sales graph in the main image showing your 20k MRR?

    1. 1

      It's the Gumroad sales chart. I've added the logo and a line at the 20K mark. Used MacOS Preview because for some reason it felt like it was too much trouble to open Sketch.

      1. 1

        I leverage macOS preview heavily. Very cool! Congrats, btw!

  14. 2

    Congrats!

    I am wondering about this:

    5 years ago I took a 70% pay cut and stopped all my front-end dev consulting work to pursue the dream of earning a living by selling web products.

    Does it mean you already covered 30% of income from this project? What brought those 30%?

    1. 1

      Thanks! I made around 20K a month doing consulting work as a freelance front-end developer + around 1K to 2K selling products on CodeCanyon.

      I said goodbye to that income when I started work on Flip (cool product but not something people want to pay for, no idea why I chased that :D) and then FilePond. I had an 8 hour a week accessibility consulting job on the side and the rest of my time was spend on building FilePond and eventually Pintura when I learned a commercial file upload plugin wasn't gonna work.

      When Pintura reached around 4K MRR I ended the accessibility consulting contract and went all-in.

      1. 1

        Cool. Thanks for your detailed answer.

  15. 2

    Congrats! I remember watching your interview on Nathan L. show.

    Q: Do you have multiple environments to test in? sit, uat, beta? If so, how do you perform testing/qa while managing all other roles?🤔

    1. 1

      Ah yes! That was my first podcast ever. I should've prepared, had no idea about the format of Nathans podcast 😄

      Excellent question! I use BrowserStack to test multiple devices and browser versions. Run automated unit and integration tests for each build, which I expand regularly.

      It's probably far from as thorough as what a big company would do it but it covers the most important aspects and contrary to most "big companies" I can release hot fixes and new updates very very quickly.

      And even these big companies don't cover everything. I noticed a weird bug in Apple's iOS photo editor this week. When setting the crop aspect ratio to a square, initially it doesn't apply the selection and then suddenly it does. Makes me feel a bit less bad about introducing the accidental bug now and then.

  16. 2

    Wow... Dropbox and Square use your Image Editor. That's fantastic. One question. Can you recommend us some resources(websites, books, people) that you learned about trademarks?

    1. 1

      Yeah it's kinda crazy if you think about it!

      I search around on the web a bit, but there's so many articles on it, I wasn't sure what to believe. Honestly the conversations with my attorney were eye opening so I'm planning to publish some of the things I learned in a near-future article. Analysis of my attorney, claims from the other party, should be interesting I think.

      1. 1

        Thank you Rick. I will take a look when you publish it

  17. 2

    Wow Rik, this is a nice product! The demo and the landing page are on point.

    I have two questions for you:

    • How many revisions did it take to get the copy and landing page to what it is now?
    • And, I’m a huge JS fan and I’ve been wanting to build something like Pintura along (Not an image editor, but a SDK tool for many JS environments on the frontend). Was the process to find a valuable problem/solution?
    1. 2

      How many revisions did it take to get the copy and landing page to what it is now?

      I'm constantly updating and fine-tuning copy. There's been a lot of version and am slowly learning how to sell value instead of features. Which was one of the first things I did wrong. Still learning because as a dev, features are on my mind :)

      Currently measuring (in a privacy friendly way) if visitors use the desktop/mobile toggle button, if they don't, I'll extract the phone preview because it's kinda important to show that it works on mobile just as well.

      Was the process to find a valuable problem/solution?

      I'll copy paste my process from another response:

      I published my first products on CodeCanyon. Learned what worked and what absolutely didn't work. After a couple average performing products I figured I needed to find a better way of finding what to build because the investment in time wasn't paying off. Instead of "just building what's cool" I decided to search for products that were leading their product categories on CodeCanyon and then pick one I felt I could do better / or in a different way. That approach worked.

      In short. You don't have to be original. Try to find a niche where you can outperform the established products in a different metric.

      1. 1

        Thanks for the answers Rik! Best of wishes on your future with Pintura!

  18. 2

    The immediate thing which came to my mind is, how come this looks very similar to Doka Image Editor.

    What is the reason for changing the name? I am curious to know the trademarks issue.

    Goodluck

    1. 2

      Haha yeah that's why I added that little entry in the post :D

      In short, the name was in use, and the big company was also doing something with imaging (not related to image editing or photo editing but scanning and managing constructions plans something) so the imaging part was in their trademark, it was filed around the same time as I started using Doka.

      Not sure if it would've held up in court (not a lawyer) but didn't have the energy and funds to pursue it.

      See this comment:
      https://www.indiehackers.com/post/i-bootstrapped-a-javascript-image-editor-to-20k-mrr-ama-549b24b9f2?commentId=-MduiUHfZrccAiZm0Acu

      1. 1

        Thank you, its very informative.

  19. 2

    Nice, I wish I'd known about this at my last corporate job - looks great!
    How many employees do you have now?

    1. 2

      Zero! It's a one man operation, I ask my wife for advise occasionally 😄

  20. 2

    That's a good product @rikschennink. I have a few questions:

    1. Did you perform any research on the market before you started working on this? If yes, how did you do?
    2. How did you find the first customers?
    3. How did you make your website SEO-friendly?
      Thank you!
    1. 2

      Did you perform any research on the market before you started working on this? If yes, how did you do?

      In 2009 I build an iOS game, finished it in 2011 and it did okay. Being a front-end dev I figured I could try to use my skills to create and sell plugins on CodeCanyon (a web plugin marketplace).

      So that's where I published my first products. Learned what worked and what absolutely didn't work. After a couple average products I figured I needed to find a better way of finding what to build because the investment in time wasn't paying off. So instead of "just building what's cool" I decided to search for products that were leading their product categories on CodeCanyon.

      That's how I landed on image cropping and uploading. There was a plugin that was selling and I felt I could create one that was at least 10x better. I built Slim Image Cropper and started selling it. It indeed did great. So based on the response to Slim I figured there definitely was a market for image cropping / editing.

      I wanted to expand the product but the licensing and average price points on Envato didn't really allow me to (back then prices averaged around USD 15 for JS plugins). Envato also creates a lock-in situation. You can't access your customer emails and they've got all sorts of stuff in place to make it difficult to leave.

      So I decided to launch my new products on my own, better to rip the bandaid of and get it over with. Building in public on Twitter helped me build an audience of my own.

      How did you find the first customers?

      Initial customers for Pintura were developers that were already using FilePond. 5 minute install and they had image editing capabilities. I think the PH launch helped create some additional awareness. A lot of developers learned about the product on Twitter which helped as well.

      How did you make your website SEO-friendly?
      Thank you!

      As a front-end developer I know a lot about HTML and how you should structure it, good HTML and good keyword use has a big impact. I also learned simply by reading lots of articles and then experimenting on the production site.

      1. 2

        That's a fantastic adventure. Thanks.

  21. 2

    Thanks for the share Rik, quick qn: what was the process to use customer logos? did you ask each of them for permission, was it one of the signup T&C's, or something else?

    1. 2

      It's in a section of the software license. Only one company asking me to remove it from the license before purchase. Haven't had any issues with it so far.

      1. 1

        Oh nice! I’ve always wondered how that process went! Thanks for sharing

  22. 2

    Hi Rik!

    Congratulations on a fantastic journey, truly inspiring.

    How big is your team and how did you adjust to remote working conditions? Any key challenges you faced?

    1. 1

      Thanks! My team is me 😄

      I do design / development / marketing / support, all of it. Only hires so far are lawyers. I've been thinking about hiring someone to build out the customer portal but I kinda like working on that as well so haven't really decided yet.

      After I quit my job as a consultant I've been working from home. Last year we built an office in the garden to make things a bit more official, was working from the attic before that.

      I did occasionally (about once a week) work from offices run by friends and am very much looking forward to resuming that once the world re-opens. I always felt I could do this alone but now that these occasional trips haven't been possible I notice that I very much miss the opportunity to meet people.

      1. 1

        Haha, your achievement is all the more amazing then. I echo the same feelings though - you really do miss meeting new people offline. Hope the situation gets better soon. Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

        1. 2

          You're most welcome, thanks for asking! :)

          Offline and online really leverage each other, nothing like meeting online people offline for a drink, it just makes the whole experience better. Hoping along with you : )

  23. 2

    Hello @rikschennink very impressive 👏🏽. I have a few questions.

    1- What’s your approach selling your product ?
    3- do you have any advises for someone launching for the first time ?

    Thanks

    1. 3

      Hi! Thanks!

      What’s your approach selling your product ?

      I use FilePond as a stepping stone to Pintura. FilePond is free and makes uploading files and images easy. At a certain point it is going to be useful to allow customers to edit images before upload (for example to lower time spent curating image quality in the backend). Installing Pintura at that point will take no more than 5 minutes so it's super cost effective. Additionally I try to write a lot of articles related to keywords in the image editing space.

      do you have any advises for someone launching for the first time ?

      Make sure your launch material is top notch. IMHO marketing material of too many products on PH is sub-par. Hire a designer if you're not a designer yourself. Shouldn't take them too long, so probably a smarter move then doing it yourself (if you're not design savvy). Reach out directly to people you know on Twitter and ask if they would like to help spread the word (never hurts to ask but make sure you don't ask out of the blue, should already have had some earlier contact). Enjoy the moment, even if the launch doesn't go well, it doesn't mean anything. The Pintura launch yielded 2 sales. It's just not a product you buy on the spot. So know what kind of product you're selling and set your expectations based on that.

      1. 1

        Very instructive. Thanks 🙏

  24. 2

    Hey Rik,

    I'm always wondering: when not working in a team, what motivates you on a day by day basis to keep working on pintura? Also: how much do you work on it and did you set yourself some fixed working hours?

    1. 2

      I've worked in teams my entire career and definitely miss hanging out at the water cooler or drinking beers with colleagues on Friday afternoon. I would sometimes work in co-working spaces before covid and plan to get back to that when things open up. Am in a couple Slack groups and WIP.chat to help me stay connected to the world.

      I love building nice looking interfaces and thinking up flexible APIs. I think Pintura is at the cross-section of that technical and design challenge. This keeps it interesting for now. Also, when the sales ball started rolling and you have customers asking questions and features it sorta helps get psyched about growing the business even more.

      I try to regularly switch between design (product interface, logos, brand, marketing material, etc), development (product code, back office, sites, build scripts, etc), and marketing. This keeps all areas interesting. I think constant programming would burn me out but after a week of marketing related activities I can't wait to get back to it :D

      I work a max of 32 hours a week, sometimes a little bit more. I've had RSI for 15 years so there's just not a lot of additional time I can spend before things get unconformable. More importantly, I don't want to miss this time with my kids, it's a privilege to be able to be there with them.

      1. 1

        Thanks for your insight! I feel like I always have to switch between projects to keep myself engaged, but I guess switching between design, marketing and coding is kinda similar.

        Wishing you all the best with pintura, I think it's a great new name :)

        1. 1

          Thanks! 🙏

          Yeah it's exactly that, the scope of the business just grows and the diversity in work can be found within.

  25. 1

    Congrats on your success! I always believed that such models, where one great free product promotes another premium product is one of the best models to grow company.

    I have checked the license and noticed that there are no free tier for starters. I believe it may help to have one, let's say for stripped version like crop or basic image adjustments. I myself was so many times hooked on products, because it was free and then started to pay for additional functionality at one point or another. Just look at Canva now. )

    1. 1

      Thanks!

      It's kinda the role FilePond plays, it automatically resizes / crops images, then the next step is you want to give your users a bit more control :)

      I've experimented with a trial version last year but it didn't really make a difference in sales. Of course that's different from a free limited cropping-only version, so I might definitely experiment with that later on.

      1. 1

        You know your business better and what experiments to try with sales. But also take into consideration that the real money may be somewhere else, I see this often.
        As an example, lets say you distribute base version for free without support and then sell other add-ons like support plans, integrated CDN, image size reduction, auto profile image centering, bg manipulation, overlay and etc.
        But again, you know your current subscribers better. )
        Anyway, good luck!

  26. 1

    Hi Rik, as a fellow Netherlands resident (originally from Portugal), congrats on the 20K.

    I personally I'm looking a doing the same, move away from my day job as a sotware architect to become a full time entrepreneur.

    Any lessons that you learned on that shift to you would do differently looking back ?

    1. 2

      Thanks! I can think of two big ones

      • Don't over engineer, I love good software architecture and I would constantly refactor and rewrite everything. Basically this added zero value for my customers and the only thing I was doing was scratching my own itch and wasting time. Try to get it done as fast as possible. Don't worry about code duplication or not having the perfect name for that Class, there's plenty of time for that when the ball starts rolling.

      • Get started on a small project and finish it. I would constantly build stuff and then put it in the fridge when I thought of the next awesome thing to build. Which is basically related to the previous point, I'd basically move to the next thing/idea when the initial programming challenge was complete. Actually finishing something, launching it, writing documentation, building a product site, putting something you made out there for others to critique, that's where you can learn a lot.

      I wish you good luck!

      1. 1

        Hi Rik, thanks for your reply.

        I'm definitely guilty of the second one, always building something new but not launching the existing ones.

        Build probably 10 projects but so far only launched 1.

  27. 1

    This is inspiring. I love how you leveraged your audience from your open source project.

    That’s actually part of the strategy I’m implementing at https://motionbox.io. We recently released a video editing SDK in private beta.

    I’m building tools and partnering with companies to create cool examples and case studies. One example I’ve recently build is a Twitter bot that automatically turns a Tweet into a video and shares it.

    The bot is open source in hopes to attract devs to try it out and build video templates within the app.

    Here is the repo for the bot 🤖 https://github.com/bluematter/motionbox-twitterbot

    1. 2

      Looks great, but it’s not and SDK, right?

      Can I download the Editor and integrate it in my project? I only had a quick look but it seems like service?

      1. 1

        This is actually the client side js SDK https://github.com/motionboxio/motionbox-js with this package you can call await motionbox.render and you'll have a callback that gives you a progress bar. All you have to do is point it to a template and pass dynamic data.

      2. 1

        That's one thing we're experimenting with. We had an integration in the works with a social media planning tool that ended up falling through because they got shut down by Facebook.

        As we experiment we are trying to understand the needs of the segment who may want to do an integration with the UI.

        If you're up for it, I am happy to take this offline into the DMs https://twitter.com/michaelaubry

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