Tell us how did you earn your first $ online

It's amazing to see so many people successfully established their online businesses or side hustles and reaching their goals but I always ask myself, what was it like accomplishing this and how did they actually did it.

So, tell us how did you earn your first dollar online, and feel free to dive deeper into your process of doing so and your next goal.

  1. 3

    In 2006, I was 16. Created a website where people could download all videos of the top "French Idol" (tv show) contestant of the time. I got the videos from illegal download sites (these were recorded straight from TV). I put ads averywhere and made like $1600.

    The year after I wanted to go industrial, made a website for every contestant. After a couple weeks I got a letter from the network's lawyer telling me to drop it 😬.

    Good times 😅

    1. 2

      😂😂 That's like illegal netflix.
      It looks like you code for a long time now, what are you working on nowadays?

      1. 2

        Yeah that was it 😂

        In the following yeads I worked a lot as a freelance dev / designer. Until a couple of years ago when I left it all to build my own product (legal this time).

        I’m running logology.co with my wife as a cofounder. She does the design and I do the code.

        It’s a tool to help makers get a designer quality logo (all designer by her) for their mvp, automatically and in a few minutes.

        I’ve come a long way 😅

        1. 2

          Fantastic design of the website!

        2. 2

          That website is 🔥🔥

  2. 3

    Got a gig to format and convert a docx draft into a pdf ebook. A lady working in the relationship niche had posted a requirement in Yahoo answers. ( was in 2011/12 I guess)

    Had no expertise in it TBH. Googled all the way through and got it done. She was my first ever client and can't thank yahoo answers enough for that.

    1. 2

      That's a real hustle. Thanks for sharing!

  3. 1

    Last year I launched sheetsms.com in the middle of June.
    I started to make some ads on Facebook and to post where I could and suddenly randomly in the middle of the day I received an email from Stripe telling me that someone from Thailand bought credit to use the app. Something pretty small it was only 10$ gross but what a feeling!
    I just realized that it was true, that it was finally possible to make money online! One year later I am addicted to these Stripe notifications and I feel bad when I don't receive them for a day.. I understand that things won't be easy and to build something valuable, it takes time and a lot of dedication but I am trying to do it!

    Going from 0 to 1 is really hard but you just have to do it and try ! I think it s actually easier than what most of us think. It is really just going to the market and trying to create something people need.

    Going from 1 to 1000000.. well I would really like to know how to do that :)

  4. 1

    I used to "play" an online game called Habbo(.fr) when I was 14.
    There was a "casino" section where we could play with dices and gamble with each other.
    You could get rare items, sometimes with only 4/5 units available of this specific item. The rarer the item, usually the more expensive.

    I was lucky enough to become among the 3 "richest casino-man" in the hotel quite quickly reaching 20 000 Lingots (Habbo's currency)

    Habbo, the platform, was selling 1 Lingot for something like 8/10 euros.
    We were selling it in the "black market" for 0.5/1 euro. Usually through Paypal, audio tel codes, envelopes with banknotes.
    People used to send me their watches to get the rare items I would win gambling. Crazy times, really. I was feeling like a genius.

    If you type my IndieHackers pseudonym + "habbo", you'll find several fan-generated articles about these times.

    To this day I also have an account worth a lot that was unfairly "banned" from the hotel in 2011. They said that the account would get "unbanned" in Dec. 2021. Nevertheless, the game is dead and it's unlikely that I would get customers to buy what I still have inside.

    1. 1

      Gambling at the age of 14? That's different 😂

  5. 1

    Registered as a Shopify Partner long time ago and totally forgot about it. 2 years later got a Shopify freelance enquiry, somehow realized I am a Shopify Partner. Zero idea how to setup Shopify store, but googled my way through the project anyway.

    My first internet dollar is when Shopify started paying me a monthly recurring cut of my client's subscription once the project went live.

  6. 1

    It was 2015 and we found an insurance company with a data monitoring problem. I was already consulting for companies like this but I wanted to stabilise my income by building and selling a product with recurring revenue. I has just read Steve Blanks's StartUp Owners Manual and was inspired by the Lean approach and collaborative customer development. We built a slide deck and pitched our idea to the insurer with an ask. If we built an MVP that met their needs, would they help fund a v1 product build? They agreed and even provided a letter of intent. It wasn't legally worth anything but it gave me some confidence.

    I spent £15,000 of savings building the MVP. It was pretty horrible and had a SharePoint front end. But it absolutely demonstrated the value.

    They loved it and committed £30,000 to helping us create a version 1, paid in stages to reduce their risk. I think it was £10k at the start, £10k when the product went into user testing and £10k when it went live. In return we received valuable customer input, retained all of our IP, and launched with a leading brand as our first customer. We've since built out an indie enterprise focussed SaaS with many users in this space that continues to grow steadily.

    I think the learning here is that (i) there is not one playbook. There are many routes to building a profitable, independent, online business - even for hard to get enterprise customers (ii) Some luck helps. We were really lucky finding a company that was prepared to take a chance on a ropey slide deck :-) .

    1. 1

      That's an authentic first ££ online.
      Did you code it yourself? How far did you grow it?

      1. 1

        I'm a non-technical founder but the £15k helped me team up with an experienced engineer I'd worked with previously. We are currently at $1.5M ARR and growing slow and steady....I'm still running it.

  7. 1

    I build a quick copycat of boxbrownie.com for real estate french market.
    I was selling at 1,5€ an image enhancement and buying it at 1€ from boxbrownie (or even getting it free from their 5 photos free trial period).
    I don't made a lot despite very agressive outbound emails : approximately 100€.
    But still it was my first real money from internet before I focus and scale another SaaS project.

    1. 1

      Cool, what SaaS are you scaling?

      1. 1

        A Travel agency software for Travel agencies that sell tailormade trips and craft custom proposal/quote.
        It starts to kick in.

        1. 1

          That's cool, did you develop that yourself or built a team for it?

          1. 1

            I develop it by myself for the most part untill 2-3k MRR.

            Since then I recruit 2 interns and I plan to offer them a full Time job at the end of their internship if we maintain our growth targets.

            I have an associate on the business side who have also some interns to help. Our first full Time sales rep is comming tomorrow.

            We can bootstrap easily so far since 70% of our customers pay the yearly plan

            1. 1

              That's great. Keep up the great work!

  8. 1

    I think it was selling some stuff. Let me tell you the story.

    It was during my college years, I think it might have been toward the end of my second year or maybe first. I walked down the hall and there was super long table with a ton of things that people didn't want to take home, etc. I saw a stack of books, and then I remembered that the book store would buy these books. So, I just grabbed one that I thought they would buy and took it there, they paid me like $3 bucks (gamestop style lol). The lightbulb went on.

    I ran back to where the books where, grabbed a box and put them all in it. As I was walking toward the bookstore, for some reason I though, "wait a minute, let me check how much they would sell for online"... I went and scanned pretty much each book, the ones that were worth it, I went ahead and listed them (I think on Amazon).

    After a day or two, I received a notification, and saw a money sign. I was ecstatic. Someone had purchased one of the books for $60! All it took me was maybe and hour or two to scan these books and put them online. I think after a couple of weeks I had sold maybe $200 or $300. And that was it. I could have tried to go and find more books to sell, but I don't know why I didn't.

    So yea, I think that's how I made my first $ online. Currently still making $ online through freelancing, and also some digital video assets (but this is still a work in progress.)

    1. 1

      Nice, what website did you use to sell these books? ebay?

      1. 1

        I think it was on Amazon.

  9. 1

    Created weblister.co, uptime and traffic monitoring site, then had my first sell in November 2020, it was amazing.
    Now it is growing monthly by 2 customers.
    You can add your site for monitoring for free.

    1. 1

      That's great. Wish you all the best growing it.

  10. 1

    Like if you mean going waay back in time to about 2007 and up.

    • It was by selling Anti-hacks for certain games.
    • Another was training game accounts and selling them
    • Youtube channel from 08/07 maybe just creating videos and becoming partnered with Machinima network. I remember my first high view video was around 300,000 views and that was about $350. I felt like I was ontop of the world.

    The list goes on but none are related to SaaS like it is now.

    1. 1

      That's awesome, what games did you sell anti-hacks for?

      1. 1


        If my memory serves correctly it was:

        • Habbo Hotel
        • Gunz The Duel
        • Runescape

        I just logged into the website forums I use to use to do this stuff. Here's an image from one person from my inbox. https://imgur.com/a/ykxDLHD

        Those were the days. Hosting servers for myself and others, protecting servers, creating programs. How fun to reminisce.

        1. 2

          Cool memories 😎Keep up the good work!

  11. 1

    Approach 200 clients and then got one clients who paid us $200.

    1. 1

      Cool, what was the service you were selling?

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