Three core ways indie creators/hackers are making $$$

Using an analogy, I mapped the indie hacker / creator economy value chain to help me understand what’s going on and how people are making money. Here we go…

The creator economy is the indie entrepreneur frontier, made up of:

  • Topical niche planetary systems. E.g. Business building
  • Creators are building niche worlds within these systems. E.g. B2B SaaS marketing strategy
  • And are attracting other settlers and building settlements of exchange. E.g. selling a course on B2B SaaS marketing strategy

In this frontier, indie hackers are making money in three key ways:

1. Arm the pioneers

  • The people who got richest in the gold rush sold picks and shovels
  • What do you indie pioneers need? Tools that help to package and distribute their value prop
  • I’d argue Indie Hackers is an example of this, arming the pioneers with a community

2. Facilitate exchange betwee value chain layers

  • Organize the supply side, capture the demand side, and provide value-add services to both
  • An indie entrepreneur’s ability to package their unique value into a product is getting easier and easier
  • Distribution, however, is still very hard and presents a big opportunity for facilitators
  • Product Hunt is an example of this, helping to match app suppliers & consumer demand

3. Stake your claim as an indie pioneer

  • Build/find your niche settlement and carve out a place for yourself there
  • Build and monetize apps, content, etc. specific to your niche

I’m just starting my own IH journey creating concepts like this every week… an outlet for me to learn and better understand internet business building. Feedback welcome. What do you think?

  1. 2

    Nice way of thinking about the ecosystem.

    "Arm the pioneers" why did you pick that over "Arm the creators"?

    The term comes from Shopify right? "Arm the rebels"

    1. 1

      Thanks! Yes influenced by Shopify. Calling them pioneers to fit in with the “frontier” analogy I used, but yes arming the creators is the idea there

      1. 1


        It is something I think about a lot.

        I also like Stripe "Increase the GDP of the internet"

        1. 1

          Absolutely! I think that spot in the value chain is where a lot of big companies can be built. You capture a lot of the tailwinds of the market trend there

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