Last week I interviewed Michaela Greiler (@Madamdo) about how her podcast, Software Engineering Unlocked, has driven growth for her consulting business and helped her match her salary at Microsoft in her first year.
Listen to the full podcast here: https://share.transistor.fm/s/801684b7
How did you get started as an indie hacker first off?
I had a startup in college that didn't end up working out but introduced me to that world. After I finished my PhD I went on to work at Microsoft Research. The projects my team worked on were very successful within the company, ultimately too successful because after a few years we had more and more maintenance to do and less research which is what I liked.
Eventually I decided to move back to Austria to a small town without much in the way of local job opportunities.
How did you get your first clients for your onsite training business?
Before I left Microsoft my manager introduced me to my first client. The law in Austria, where I'd already moved to by then, makes it legal to moonlight as long as you have your manager's approval.
I tried not to take on too many clients at first so that I could productize my service and make something more scalable.
Why did you decide to start the podcast?
The Software Engineering Unlocked podcast was started in order to get access to software engineers working at many companies and find out how they thought about code reviews and testing. Basically market research. The first episode got 500 downloads and it's grown steadily from there.
I don't do much promotion, just post the latest episode on Twitter. A few months in I tried launching it on Product Hunt, but that wasn't ultimately worth my time to do.
How do your clients find you?
My clients mostly find me mostly through the Software Engineering Podcast, referrals from previous clients or co-workers, or finding me somewhere else on the internet.
I don't do much sales, it's something I'm trying to get better at and I recently joined a mastermind group in order to learn how to do sales more effectively.
And the podcast itself is making money now as well?
Yes, I just had my first advertiser and have another lined up.
To get that first advertiser I announced that I was looking for a sponsor on the podcast itself, on Twitter, and to my email list and then they reached out to me.
I'd had three companies in mind that I thought would be a good fit as advertisers, but none of them got back to me when I reached out.
The second sponsor also reached out to me after hearing the first one advertise on the podcast.
How large is your business at this point?
I can say that in the first year I've matched what my salary was at Microsoft.
I put off registering my business formally until I was making too much money such that the laws in Austria forced me to register, and by then I had enough money to hire an accountant and do it properly.
I'm developing a code-review analytics tool. In the short-term the tool enables my consulting work. The next challenge is to see if it can work for other people without having me directly in the loop, so far it seems like the answer is yes.
I also would like the podcast to be a much larger part of the business.
More interviews with Indie Founders here: https://feeds.transistor.fm/indie-worldwide