I sold Pingr, and it doesn’t belong to me from now.
After more than a year of working on Pingr, I got an offer from a random person who wanted to acquire it. And I accepted the offer. And decided to put all my offer to my passion
Honestly? I just saw uptimerobot and didn’t like its UI. So I thought that I could make the same product, but better. 🤷♂️
I was building it for several reasons.
First, I always wanted to make a product in the way I think it should look. At my full-time job, I have to agree on the rules of the game, meaning if a customer wants it to look some way, I have to make it as he wants.
Second, I tend to feel attached to the things I do. It feels almost like in a computer game when you enhance your hero. I thought I’ll stay with it for years.
Third, I indeed believed that I’d be able to get great revenue in the market of uptime monitoring services. And I still believe it’s possible.
Many things prevented me from the successful growth of Pingr.
First of all, it’s my first attempt to build my own SaaS product. A year ago, I didn’t know who indie hackers are. I didn’t use Twitter, didn’t know such abbreviations as IH/HN/PH, barely heard of Reddit. So it took some time to dive into this atmosphere, into the spirit of indie products.
Second, I have a full-time job. I don’t consider it’s a big obstacle. But in the beginning, when I was developing the product most of the time, it was okay, but when I started to shout about it, I needed much more time.
Third, the offer was quite good. I cannot disclose the final price due to agreement, but I’ll be able to make a living for quite a few months. Notice that at this time, I didn’t get profit from it, only expenses, even though I had some paying users.
Fourth, I made a lot of mistakes in marketing. I’m a developer, and I know nothing about marketing. Many people out there were almost screaming about my weird pricing :)
Last but not least: my passion is building interfaces. I’m not a designer, but I had some practice before, and I think I have potential here. I love the aesthetics of user interfaces. I hate bad interfaces both in real life and in digital life. So I announced that I’m going to write a book, but I haven’t done it. Because developing Pingr + promoting it + writing a book + working full-time = too much. Really.
I’ve already shared some numbers in the beginning. Now I want to share some stats. Here are traffic stats for all the time.
On the first of September, I launched on PH, so I got most visitors that month.
So as you can see, I could get some traffic from IH, PH, Twitter, HN, Reddit, dev.to, betalist. Another curious thing is that I got some traffic from productschool.com because someone wrote an article about useful tools and mentioned Pingr.
Another interesting note: 12.65% conversion for clicking on Price. So, 1 of 10 persons is interested in Pricing.
ProductHunt: ~3K uniques
I was able to take the product of the day, and it brought me the most number of signups and lifetime deals sold. So it worked well for me.
Reddit: ~600 uniques
I’ve written one article only, which got some traction (~500 upvotes) in r/webdev. It brought about ~40 signups and a couple of lifetime deals too.
Hackernews: ~1.1K uniques
I posted many times here. Show HN gave me about ~500 uniques, a few sign ups and a lifetime deal sold.
Another article I wrote got to the front page, but it was a blog post, not a frontpage of the app. So the blog post got really a lot of traffic, but only a small part of it went to the product, and I got only a few sign-ups.
IndieHackers: ~3.6K uniques
IndieHackers community is great for providing support and feedback, but it doesn’t convert well. I made this conclusion by looking at other indie hackers I talked with.
It’s indeed a really great community and a must-have for getting support, but don't expect many conversions.
However, I sold a lifetime deal here too.
Dev.to: ~350 uniques
I wrote a big article about the architecture of Pingr and got quite a few signups here, which is great.
Twitter: ~2K uniques
I cannot be sure how many signups I got from Twitter, but I think this is one of the most important channels for indie products. Along with HN.
Actually, I didn’t. He found me via the chat widget on my landing page. I’ve never thought that someone will want to buy a product with zero revenue, but it turned out that it’s possible. I asked the price which covers my development hours.
We negotiated a little bit about price and quickly agreed.
Listen to others, but make your own decisions. After I posted on Reddit, I decided to change my pricing model, but it turned out to be a mistake. I listened to others.
Every time someone will be happy with your product and pricing, somebody will be sad. It’s okay. You should make mindful and reasonable decisions. Not emotional ones.
Despite many people talking about idea validation, I still think that if you start a product, and there are many competitors - then you’re okay. If you don’t have any - then you’re at big risk. Meaning, don’t stick to some super unique idea.
You should focus on a small feature-set. Your MVP should be indeed MVP. I think I shouldn’t have worked on status pages since alerting that your site is down is the core functionality, and I spent quite a lot of time messing with status pages. So my MVP shouldn’t have included this and probably some other features
On the one hand, you should have a unique selling proposition, the USP. On the other hand, it’s not that easy to think of something unique that competitors don’t have. In my opinion, you’re still able to grow your product without an initial USP. But you should not just blindly copy other products. I intended to make it more pleasant and easy to use, so I focused on design.
You should make a landing page and start collecting emails as soon as possible, I didn’t make it. I have a funny joke over this… Sadly, but true: https://twitter.com/vponamariov/status/1293717405500235776
Don’t use the top-notch tech stack. Use the stack you know. However, make sure your core features work good because I had problems with it. It turned out the product was way more complex than I initially thought.
I always wanted to make beautiful things. Even though I’m a developer, I really care about how things look.
When choosing between a cheap product that looks bad and is hard to use, and an expensive product that looks good and easy to use, I’d probably choose second.
So I decided to dive into the UI/UX sphere in detail. For now, I’ll focus on learning this sphere and share what I learned in my newsletter. Later on, it might turn into a blog with detailed use cases, but for now, I’m doing this on Twitter, getting more practice.
If you want to get tips on making your design better, especially user interfaces, I would love to share my experience in my newsletter. It's really something new for me.
But taking into account the reviews I made on Twitter, I think that I might have some potential here: many people thanked me for my job.
@rosiesherry for being a wonderful person
@alexanderisora for being my friend and inspiration
@stojkovic for being a nice friend with a good sense of humor
@feriforgacs for being one of the first indie hackers who I chatted with and who helped me a lot
@asitwala for being a very kind person
@brainless for helping me with the tech mess (you're not brainless!)
@jamesmkenny for making a good coffee and photos :)
@brunor for giving me awesome feedback
@kpalovic for good critics hehe ;)
@markosaric for such an inspiration!
@itsbalal for being a cool guy
and everyone else, I cannot mention everybody =(
Because indie hackers are special!
I believe MVP is not equal to a shitty product. Make your products look good and pleasant to use. Let’s make the world a better place to live in. At least, the digital world.