Today's the day I'm making the decision to close down Maker Threads, my first profitable side-project.
I took the time to share my thoughts, reflections, and experience in this post here.
The end result 👇
💰 $2,539 total revenue
💰 $513 in pofit after all expenses
Huge thanks to everyone who had ever purchased some Maker Threads swag, shared a tweet, or even just sent a message of support 💕
It's been real ✌️
Maker Threads has finally passed $1k in total revenue.
It took me 2.5 years to generate my first $1 online (I recently wrote about it here, then just 2.5 months to hit $1000.
Compared to some indie hackers, this number is minuscule, but I'm proud to say that I've finally achieved this milestone.
Throughout every failure along the way - which there were many - I almost started believing that I just wasn't cut out for this.
Despite a pandemic destroying my last product, then having to start again from scratch, I've showed up every day and worked hard to reach this milestone.
My biggest takeaway from this experience has been around the process of idea generation.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, there's nothing innovative about my product. I literally sell shirts to makers and founders.
Despite what I'd always believed, this lack of innovation has been the key factor to my progress.
The concept of buying a shirt is nothing new. People are accustomed to exchanging money for clothing all the time.
By building off this validated concept, it helped me streamline the entire process of finding product/market fit.
If you're new to indie hacking and you're looking to get a run on the board, remember to start as simple as you possibly can.
This might not be the product that helps me reach my bootstrapping dreams, but it's taught me so many valuable lessons along the way that I can apply moving forward.
Let me start by saying. September was a slow month for Maker Threads.
You’ll soon learn why…
First, let’s see how the past 30 days stacked app against August.
Website sessions: 377
Twitter followers: 16
Website sessions: 1,021
Twitter followers 54 (70 total)
Although both traffic and followers grew comfortably, revenue was down by half.
What caused this?
I intentionally let it happen. Hear me out.
I recently shared an article about my 2 year journey to finding product/market fit.
When I’d finally generated my first dollar in revenue, Maker Threads ended up doing $400 in the same month.
Following this run-rate, you’d imagine that September would have also been promising.
Well, to be transparent, I was completely burnt out.
After my 2 year journey, I finally decided to take some days off.
Honestly, I took more than a few days off.
I wanted to recharge and reward myself.
Despite my time off, I still managed to launch a new series of no-code tees throughout the month.
My launch wasn’t anything spectacular, but most of this months revenue was generated through this.
As I move into October, I’m excited to start working on some collaborations with makers.
Maker Threads August performance:
Website sessions: 377 📈
Twitter followers: 16 📲
Revenue: $410 💰
After my 2 year maker journey, I not only managed to generate my first dollar in revenue, but ended up driving $410 in less than 30 days.
How did I do it?
By learning to prioritise validation instead of innovation.
With a background working in tech startups, I’ve always valued innovation above anything else.
After spending two full years failing to gain any product traction, I realised this was my greatest weakness as a maker.
By choosing to build a product that’s already validated, it helped streamline the entire process of finding product/market fit.
After building an MVP in less than 24 hours, launching to Product Hunt, then generating my first sale, Maker Threads has exceeded all of my wildest expectations.
Maker Threads is a clothing label designed specifically for passionate makers like myself.
The product is certainly nothing innovative, but the demand for t-shirts has been around for centuries.
After launching the product, the initial feedback I received was positive. This made me determined to get the product in front of as many target users as possible.
This was only possible by leveraging my network.
I’d spent the past 2 years sharing my own journey as a maker - both the highs and the more common lows.
By openly sharing my own journey, it helped me build some valuable relationships with like-minded people across the industry.
Whether it helping share the product, or becoming a customer themselves - my network has been detrimental to the adoption of the product in month #1.
Add value, then value will be returned.
I can’t wait to continue growing Maker Threads. I’ve got plenty of ideas in store, but for the meantime, I’ll be keeping things as simple as possible.
If you’re a maker, I’d love to hear your thoughts or feedback on the product.
You can check it out here: https://makerthreads.co
After failing to quickly validate ideas in the past, I've finally understood how to optimize the process.
Last year, I'd spent 6 months trying to build a complex product to validate a simple idea. Now, it only took me less than 24 hours to build an MVP, ship it, and get generate my first revenue ($140 with $50 profit).
As a maker myself, I've always had an affinity for startup tees. When I was recently updating my wardrobe, I had trouble sourcing well-designed startup shirts that were discrete enough to wear throughout everyday life.
My product solution
I wanted to design my own personalized tees that catered to my interests as a maker. Unlike most bold startup tees, these shirts were designed to match my everyday wardrobe. I wanted these to look like designer shirts that I could wear to any occasion, not just industry hackathons.
After printing my own designs, I gave it a name and shared the collection with the Product Hunt community to see if this also solved anyone elses problem. I quickly built a free Teespring store and uploaded my designs.
With my history of launching products, I didn't have any expectations, but was surprised to wake up the next morning with 4 product orders.
Compared to my previous products that have failed, I noticed some key trends about this launch that made it much more successful than anything in the past.
1. Building a product that's already validated
There's certainly nothing innovative about a t-shirt store. To my advantage, I already new the overarching product was validated. At the end of the day, the real validation was about the designs in my collection.
2. You can always start simpler
I'd initially thought that I'd create a simple Shopify store to validate the idea, but soon realised that even this would be too much.
Instead of wasting time buying a domain and configuring the store design, I decided to use Teesprings pre-built solution. There's was nothing special about this storefront.
I hope this advice can help anyone on their journey to validating a product.
I'd also love to hear any feedback you might have about the product. With my target market being makers, I'd love to know if there are any designs you prefer, or if you even have suggestions for future designs.
You can check out the site here
I've always had trouble sourcing well-designed startup shirts that were discrete enough to wear throughout every-day life. Maker Threads is a collection of tees that cater to the interests of any passionate maker.