Jakob from Opportunities here with a new business idea report.
"There are only two ways to make money in business: bundling and unbundling." - Jim Barksdale
- When an online business grows horizontally and starts to get big, it becomes ripe for unbundling into vertical niche businesses.
- We have all heard about the great unbundling of Craigslist and also the Unbundling of Reddit.
- Today we take a look at three more online businesses that are ripe for unbundling right now. And of course, we talk about the signals and opportunities around them.
Slip.so is nearing $4K MRR in 6 months
- Web development and data science are two of the hottest niche topics to make a living as a developer.
- Lambda School' which runs on the model of Income Share Agreements runs 3 courses right now exactly on these topics - Full Stack Web Development, Data Science, and Backend Development (which includes Java among other topics)
- According to Lambda School's H2 2019 report - the median annualized salary of its placed students is $65K.
- This data checks out on Payscale.com as well - Web Dev, Data Scientist
- Clearly there's benefits to learning these skills, and they can be learned online easily. But completion rates for online courses are terrible.
- The average completion rate for a Udemy course is 10%. For MOOCs in general it's 5-15%
- There is a massive underserved need for quality online education.
- That also explains the rise of Cohort Based Courses
- Kenneth Cassel built Slip.so specifically for running interactive programming courses.
- He saw success with his standalone course vim.so which taught students how to use Vim (a text editing tool for unix based computers)
- With Slip, any developer can host a niche programming course based on their expertise.
- Last month Slip got accepted at Y Combinator.
- Study the most-popular categories and courses on Udemy. Then brainstorm how it might be possible to unbundle them by building niche course websites.
- Optimize for credibility over credentials. No one cares about made-up online certificates.
- Let instructors showcase their credibility in non-traditional ways. For example, let entrepreneurs and developers plug in their Makerlog updates, Indie Hackers posts or Twitter posts into the platform.
- "Design" is a popular course category on Udemy. Figma is the modern design tool that's web based, preferred over legacy desktop based design tools.
- Build a platform for design courses which integrates Figma into the course structure.
Unbundling Indie Hackers
Indie Hackers is a website for bootstrapped founders to come together and learn to build profitable internet businesses from the community.
- According to SimilarWeb , the Indie Hackers website received 990K+ hits in the last 6 months.
- They do no paid advertising, all of their traffic is organic. Their sources are primarily direct referrals, social and SEO.
- They have more than 85,000 people on their email list.
- The Indie Hackers audience is primarily developers building bootstrapped SaaS products.
- Indie Hackers has groups (like subreddits) to talk about specific topics.
- Their top 3 groups are "Developers" (29K members), "Ideas and Validation"(28K members) and "Growth" (25k members)
- The Indie Hackers audience comes together to seek help and support, find new ideas to work on and to validate the ideas they are building.
- "Looking to Partner Up" group has 16,000 members - Indie Hackers try to find co-founders and collaborators to work with.
- It mostly has tech founders looking for marketing partners or Marketing founders are looking for tech partners.
- Opportunities to unbundle Indie Hackers include niche communities, content sites and productized services.
- Groups that are growing like crazy right now include Community Building, Ideas and Validation and Landing Page Feedback.
- Opportunities.so is in a sense unbundling the ideas and validation part of Indie Hackers.
- Oliver Meakings bootstrapped his Roast My Landing Page productized service to almost $20k in revenue during good months by posting in the Landing Page Feedback group on Indie Hackers.
- What similar productized services could be created around "Community Building" or "Ideas and Validation"?
- "Growth" is another huge group on Indie Hackers.
- Example 1: Marketing Examples is content site that talks about the different growth channels that indie hackers can use.
- Example 2: Swipe Files is a content site + course + community to master marketing and growth for your business.
- "Looking to Partner Up" can be turned into a niche job-board where founders enlist their skills and the projects they are working on. And find other partners with complementary skills to collaborate with.
h/t Shaan Puri for talking about this idea last month on the "My First Million" podcast.
Etsy has more than doubled it's gross merchandise sales in 2020.
- Out of the top 10 Etsy sellers 7 are in the craft and and handmade items. (Source)
- The number 1 Etsy seller PlannerKate sells niche productivity tools like holiday planners, custom weekly planners, stickers, binders and albums. She has sold more than 1.7M items as of date.
- The number 2 Etsy seller CaitlynMinimalist makes custom Jewelry and has sold more than 1.2M items as of date.
- The most competitive keywords on Etsy search are variations of "custom gifts" , which means sellers are trying hard to rank for these keywords.
Growth of r/EtsySellers
Growth of r/somethingimade
Growth of r/planners
- Etsy is a marketplace to buy and sell unique items - often hand crafted by individuals instead of large corporations.
- More and more people will indulge in arts and crafts. They will discover their unique talents and would want to monetize them.
- They will discover custom gifts as a lucrative way to monetize their creations
- Etsy is the best platform for them to sell their unique products online right now.
- But it's hard to rank high on Etsy if you're new - like most online marketplaces Etsy can become a winner-take-all game.
- Build a niche marketplace for custom gifts.
- With the holiday season around the corner, "custom Christmas gifts" will be crucial category.
- Promote the marketplace in subreddits like r/Crafts r/EtsySellers and r/somethingimade.
- Curate the best posts from r/Gifts to give product ideas to creators. For example, this year's top post in the r/Gifts subreddit is a custom pet pillow with an image of someone's cat.
- Build a marketplace for custom planners and physical productivity tools.
- Get people building planners as a hobby in r/planners to sell their creations.
- Integrate "Print on Demand" solutions like Printful and Printify in the platform - so creators just have to focus on creating the templates of the planners.