Growth October 20, 2020

Making $10k/month, what indie hackers said about it

Minh-Phuc Tran @phuctm97

Hey friends,

Yesterday, I made a poll https://www.indiehackers.com/post/3-ways-to-generate-10k-month-what-would-you-prefer-683fc40fe1 to learn from indie hackers. Other than the number, there were some interesting insights, so I made a summary and think it's worth sharing:

  • Most indie hackers avoid charging $200/month. At that price, customer support is a big deal, you'll probably need a team.

  • Most indie hackers go for $10/month + 1000 users because of 2 reasons:

    • Customer support is not a pressure, can stay indie.
    • 1000 paying users is a good share of a market.
  • Instead of $200/month, $50/month is a magic number for indie hackers in B2B. $200/month is a little too high touch for indie hackers.

  • Very few indie hackers like to have 2 products. Don't have a clear reason for this yet.

  • B2C is more for indie hackers, especially when we want to keep it $10k/month and stay independent.

  • B2B is more for startups, when we want to minimize churn, have better & faster iteration on the product and scale further. We'll need a team.

  1. 9

    Regarding building 2 products in parallel - building even a single product as an unfunded solo founder (or even with 2-3 founders) is quite the challenge. You have to lead engineering, design, product, growth, support, accounting, etc, etc. The odds are already against you even if you give it 100% of your time and effort.

    There are certainly IH'ers out there with multiple products, but I'd be willing to bet that they built them sequentially, not in parallel. They built one, focused on it for quite awhile, developed repeatable processes with heavy automation, and then moved on.

    1. 2

      Got this. So it was my mistake that I didn't make it clear enough. What I mean 2 products is to build them sequentially, but you set a threshold for how many customers you want in a product until you move on to the next one. Conversely, in the one product model, you'll focus on more customer acquisition of a single product.

      1. 1

        Oh gotcha, makes sense!

      2. 1

        Thanks for the clear up! Gonna follow this strategy for Growthunt before I move on to other passion projects!

    2. 2

      💯💯💯

      It's all comes down to direction and effort. It's hard to focus on two things at a time and in terms of effort, we have a limited capacity. Sequential makes more sense.

      I actually wrote on this recently here:
      https://thestartup.substack.com/p/focus

    3. 2

      This is the right answer. Small wins add up to big wins.

    4. 1

      I've sometimes wondered if I made a mistake by making my first product a content-based membership site. I pretty much need to keep putting time into making more tutorials for it, which makes it harder and slower to make a second product.

      This is a major reason why my second product, a starter kit, is still in alpha.

    5. 1

      I'm growing two products at the same time. Built a team to help out though.
      One is B2B and has one helper. One is B2C and has 3 helpers.

  2. 3

    I would like to know if anyone who thinks 1000 customers means "customer support is not a pressure" actually has any experience serving 1000 concurrent customers.

    My guess would be no.

    I enjoy these thought exercises as much as the next hacker, but I worry that the results can be misleading since a large segment of people replying are doing it from a hypothetical standpoint, not from real world experience.

  3. 2

    I've tried a number of different pricing variations. $10 a month products often have a higher support volume than $50 a month products. <$20 a month attracts a different user - requiring more hands on support, a lot more fickle, does not stick around. You definitely hit a sweet spot in the $20-$100 range of customer quality, lower support volumes and LTV.

    In regards to two products - I think that many founders do actually work on multiple products/projects, but the overall success rate of even one startup is so low, that often even a successful founders will fail on their 2nd, 3rd, 4th ties etc. So you don't here much about it, because it's actually just hard to build consecutive successful products.

  4. 2

    This was really insightful. Thanks for sharing!

  5. 1

    Fascinating. Thanks for doing this MPT

  6. 1

    Heey cool, thnx for sharing the info! 🙌

  7. 1

    Most indie hackers avoid charging $200/month. At that price, customer support is a big deal, you'll probably need a team.

    That has not been my experience so far.

  8. 1

    I picked $10/month + 1000 users because, at that point, it's obvious you've unlocked a repeatable marketing channel that you can scale up at the turn of a knob.

    Also, it makes your income sources a lot more diversified.

    It's easy to see once you take it to the extreme: 1 customer paying you $10k/mo is very risky; ergo, 1,000 customers paying you $10/mo is a lot safer.

    But we'll need to shoot for something higher than $10/mo, as I believe there's a lot of consumer surplus that's unharvested when you charge $10/mo.

    Ideally, I'd shoot for something around $20-25/mo for 400-500 users.

    That seems to be the sweetest spot that I'm trying to bring Zlappo up to, but not before I add massive value to the current iteration of the product.

    1. 2

      Have you experimented with price testing?

        1. 1

          lmk if you need help

            1. 1

              Copy that! Will get back to you asap

  9. 1

    Since I don't have enough experience on entrepreneurship. I've picked the 2x products thinking if one sinks I can focus on other and vice versa if one shines I can abandon the other. Just trying to expand luck surface in my mind. Also I'm trying to come up with ideas that doesn't require additional work. Especially support. Time is quite precious, if I lock myself on support how do I suppose to build.

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