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✨$10k MRR in five months!

Software Ideas launched publicly on July 5th of this year. 145 days later, it officially hit $10k in monthly recurring revenue!

$10k is the milestone that I think most founders have their sights on when they launch their company. This is the milestone that I was looking forward to the most!

I'd like to share some thoughts of what I've learned throughout the experience:

1. 💡 Ideas are as important as execution

I started Software Ideas with a strong focus on building a product that people already wanted and were willing to pay for.

That focus was a huge piece of the puzzle for creating a rapidly growing product.

I did this by asking for pre-sales up front, so that I knew if someone really was going to pay. I've shared more details about the pre-sale process here and here

2. 🔥 Distribution is MORE important than development

As a developer, I came to the bootstrapper community thinking that my profession was the most important part of building a company. Now, I view that as dead wrong.

While building a quality product is important, it's just the starting point.

The biggest piece of a business, which bootstrapped founders tend to overlook, is your ability reliably get your product in front of new potential customers.

As a early-founder, your job is to quickly find a model that allows you to reliably put your product in front of new people, and then to have an offering good enough that they reliably purchase.

I see so many people, including readers of my newsletter, who go straight to building an MVP once they have an idea. They don't realize that they are skipping the most important step of figuring out the distribution puzzle piece.

The fact that Software Ideas was able to figure this out from the beginning led it to reaching $10k MRR so quickly.

I hope this inspires people to give distribution much more thought!

3. 📈📉 Be prepared for the emotional roller coaster

One of the toughest struggles throughout this journey has been in how high the highs are, and how low the lows are.

The problem is, the lows hurt a lot more than the highs help, and that's something that you need to prepare yourself for.

I clearly remember my first unsubscribe. The first hateful email, the first time I was sworn at because I didn't respond to a customer email within 24 hours. Even though the positive comments outnumber the negative ones 10:1, you'll get stuck on the negative ones if you let yourself.

I've found that gratitude is key in keeping yourself sane, and so is letting yourself feel down and upset every now and again. These negative things are inevitable as you grow, and I don't think it's realistic to say that you can just overcome them emotionally. Sometimes you just need to let it hit you, wash over you without completely consuming you, and then let it go and move on.

Conclusion

To the 500+ readers of Software Ideas, I can't express my gratitude enough. The support you've all shown this project is amazing and I am excited for all of the cool things that are coming up in the next few weeks!

  1. 2

    @kevcon80 Congrats. Huge achievement and thanks for taking us along on the ride. Perhaps even more inspiring than you can imagine.
    The emotions part is something most will not anticipate and it can be a factor with a huge impact on a solopreneur. Luckily there are shared stories likes these and this wonderful community to soften the bumps in the road...

    Keep going strong!

    1. 2

      Thanks! Yes, I'll be sharing more along this shortly too :)

  2. 2

    That's an insane growth curve, possibly the fastest route to $10k MRR I've ever seen on IH for a solo founder... or any startup of any team.

    Totally and utterly inspirational.

    I also like how you share growth bites and lessons learned instead of just gloating (trust me, I've seen milestone posts with way-less impressive growth that's just endless self-flagellation).

    Keep it up, Kev.

    We all look forward to continue learning from you.

    1. 1

      Thank you! It means a lot to me to hear that these are valuable. I feel I've learned a good bit that's worth sharing, hopefully someone can avoid the more painful mistakes that I have made.

  3. 2

    Congratulations on the milestone @Kevcon80! Hitting $10k MRR is an absolutely sense of achievement. Keep up the progress!

    I have been working on building a subscription based model for my product app.ruttl.com as well. Can you share any experience of how you managed to get those 500 subscribers for your newsletter? It might help me out in my marketing process.

    1. 1

      Thanks a ton! Happy to offer some specific advice, but here's some in-depth writing I did on the subject: https://www.indiehackers.com/post/how-i-grew-software-ideas-to-6k-mrr-in-three-months-4b6598f378

      1. 1

        Thanks for sharing this Kev!

  4. 2

    Super inspiring Kevin, and great takeaways. I can totally relate to approaching building a company and thinking software itself would be the most important part :)

    Congrats on your milestone! 🥂

    1. 1

      Thanks a ton Monica!

  5. 1

    Hi Kevin

    Awesome product and idea - been following your journey for a while

    I'm a beginner on here and looking to learn coding - may i ask what languages/software was used to build this and what is hosted on?

    Would be great help - thanks :)

    1. 1

      Thank you! I am using umso.co for the landing page (no code), but for the membership site I use Phoenix/Elixir - big fan of those languages, although I wouldn't recommend them as a starting language for programming, because it is a functional language and not an object-oriented one.

  6. 1

    you're doing great! love following your path!

  7. 1

    Congrats! How are you nailing the distribution of Software Ideas? Can you share any more thoughts on distribution?

    1. 1

      Thanks! I've talked a lot about how I've grown Software Ideas in previous posts, but it basically boils down to:

      1. Thinking of a new way of reaching customers

      2. Trying it with a small experiment

      3. Works? Double down. Doesn't? Move to the next thing.

      It's going to be different for each business, but if you're looking for a list, check out the book Traction.

      1. 1

        I actually have the audiobook of Traction but it doesn't seem to talk about traction at all all. And it seems focused on super big companies.

  8. 1

    Replying to hateful emails won't get you far in terms for MRR.
    So, let's focus on DISTRIBUTION. Aside IH, Reddit and ProductHunt posting, which other distribution channel you use to acquire new users?

    1. 1

      I've never done a ProductHunt post! Probably should do that...

      I've explored a number of them at this point, with a ton more left to explore:

      Explored, didn't work:

      • Cross-promotion
      • Newsletter Sponsorship
      • Reddit ads

      Exploring

      • Referral programs
      • Affiliate programs
      • SEO
      • PPC

      Explored, working

      • Twitter
      • Organic search
      • Communities, such as IH, subreddits, etc.
      • Word-of-mouth referrals
  9. 1

    Hey! Well-researched ideas is smth that is very appealing for the startapers, which resulted in such a big number of subscribers you have. Do you have any success stories of people who built successful products out of your ideas? Please share if you have. Thanks!

    1. 1

      Hey! There are a few people who have done some cool things with the ideas from the newsletter so far:

      • Chris Davies built Rentify.store, which is currently doing a deal on AppSumo.

      • Will Ronco is working on a FullStory competitor, focusing on exposing UX errors just like other applications expose code errors

      • While the idea didn't come from the newsletter, one reader recently sold his project that happened to launch the same week I wrote about the opportunity!

      • And there are a number of others who are just starting to explore products!

      I expect to see a lot more opportunities in the next few months, now that the newsletter has a sizable following! And I'm sure there's even more that I don't know about, these are just the people who reached out to me personally to ask me a question or to let me know they were leveraging an opportunity.

  10. 1

    Congratulations on the milestone - a question around the churn rate for revenue in your dashboard - is that monthly or annual churn?

    1. 1

      Hey Glenn, thanks! That would be monthly churn, which is a really big opportunity for the newsletter in the coming months! Lots of plans to get that down to about 5%

      1. 1

        So you have roughly 70% revenue churn over a year? Will be interesting to see how this develops.

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