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Mailing Lists was originally research for myself - I was looking for my next software project. I shared it with some Indie Hackers, who loved how I do research, and the rest is history.

December 15, 2020 11k MRR and 600 customers!

Software Ideas hit $11k MRR and over 600 active customers!

It's crazy to think that I started this project less than six months ago. I hope the progress of this project shows people that you're closer than you think to hitting your goal - whether that's ramen profitability, $10k MRR, or beyond!

As Software Ideas has grown past the $10k mark, it's become more and more important that growth is coming from scalable channels. As such, a large part of what I'm working on now is in building these scalable channels. Specifically, I'm working on:

  • SEO and organic search rankings
  • PPC optimization
  • Referral and Affiliate programs

These four channels are hopefully the next step in Software Ideas' growth that will take it to the next level!

November 30, 2020 โœจ$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. ๐Ÿ’ก 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. ๐Ÿ”ฅ 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. ๐Ÿ“ˆ๐Ÿ“‰ 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.


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!

November 23, 2020 ๐ŸŽ‰ $9k MRR in < 5 months!

Over the past weekend, Software Ideas hit $9k MRR!

This growth has been due to some finding some organic success with some long-tail SEO keywords, as well as the awesome readers of Software Ideas who continue to share the newsletter around. I'm incredibly thankful!

Just 4-ish months ago, I was deciding if this was an idea worth pursuing. I hope my progress inspires people, especially if you've been grinding for a while now.

All it takes is one product that people are willing to pay for, and a way to reach customers!

November 17, 2020 ๐ŸŽ‰Hit $100,000 ARR in just over four months!

I'm a little late on posting this, but just recently Software Ideas hit $100,000 in ARR!

This is mostly a vanity metric, but it's still really cool to see the newsletter hit 6 figures!

I think the biggest take away from my story is that it's possible to see these kinds of numbers in just a few months' time. There's nothing special about me, I just happened to find the right mix of a product that people are willing to pay for and a number of channels for people to find out about the product. That's all it takes!

Next up - $10k MRR!

November 3, 2020 ๐ŸŽ‰ $8,000 MRR in Four Months!

Software Ideas has just hit $8,000 in monthly recurring revenue!

Getting into the high thousands is a super cool milestone, and it's very cool to be getting close to the magical $10k mark! One thing I've definitely noticed now is that Software Ideas requires less 'hands on' effort to make a sale. I think that's happening for two reasons:

  1. Better product offering. Now that Software Ideas has over 50 opportunities in the archive, I think it's easier for people to buy.

  2. More readers = more word-of-mouth.

Thanks to everyone who has checked out Software Ideas, and a special thanks to the 400+ readers who continue to let me work on this super fun project!

*PS: If you're looking for more details on how I grew Software Ideas, check out this post for an overview!

October 26, 2020 ๐Ÿ“– 400 paid readers of Software Ideas!

Over the weekend, Software Ideas hit 400 readers!

I'll be honest, I never expected to hit 400 in under four months. When I started, I was probably hoping to hit 500 within a year, and I would have considered that ambitious!

I think the main reason for such rapid growth has been all the work I did early on in making sure I nailed the positioning of the product early on. If you'd like to read more about that, you can check out my summary here

I'm eternally grateful to the 400+ people who are supporting this newsletter, and I'm excited to keep growing Software Ideas to 1,000 readers!

October 22, 2020 ๐ŸŽ‰ 4,000 email subscribers!

Today, Software Ideas hit 4,000 free email subscribers!

This is the secret sauce to the success of Software Ideas. Each week, the free preview of the newsletter goes out to 4,000 people, and pushes many over the edge to becoming paid subscribers. With nearly 400 subscribers, you could say that the Software Ideas email list converts at roughly 10%.

With so many people looking forward to receiving a weekly update, it really keeps me motivated to keep on delivering high-quality content every week! Thanks to everyone who's already checked out Software Ideas, you've made this project a reality in only 3.5 months!

October 19, 2020 ๐ŸŽ‰ $7,000 MRR in 3.5 months!

Software Ideas has hit $7,000 MRR from over 350 amazing readers! The growth has continued to climb due to efforts from a few places:

  1. Twitter - I'm sharing daily updates and talking about business in general, which is attracting people who don't know me from Indie Hackers

  2. Indie Hackers - My goal is to write more high-quality posts like these to share what I've learned in creating this project, so others can see rapid success as well.

  3. Word of Mouth - This one is new. As the number of people who know about the newsletter increases, the amount of new people who are finding out about the site through friends is also skyrocketing!

I've long been a fan of this talk, "How to negotiate the long slow SaaS ramp of death", where Gail Goodman talks about how growth for Constant Contact wasn't like a hockey-stick, but a slow, steady grind upwards.

That has definitely been the case for Software Ideas, even though it may not look it from the outside. Growth has been linear for the ENTIRE lifetime of this product, but the "slope" has slightly increased every time I found a new marketing channel that worked.

So if there's one lesson to learn from my growth, it's that you shouldn't expect a hockey stick, exponentially increasing MRR. Instead, plan around something more linear, but that has spikes in growth as you find and unlock effective marketing strategies.

It's a very exciting time for Software Ideas, and I'm so close to the "magic number" of $10k MRR - at which point I'll be seriously considering going full-time on this project.

Here's to the next 3.5 months!

October 9, 2020 ๐Ÿ’ฐ$20,000 in sales in three months!

Hit a cool milestone today! Software Ideas has officially hit 20k in revenue after three months of business!

That revenue is broken down like so:

325 customers on the quarterly plan
3 customers on a referral plan
1 customer on a custom monthly plan (no longer a thing)

If you're curious about how I've grown the company to allow for this type of growth, check out this post, where I talk about every stage of the business so far, what I've learned, and what worked for me!

October 6, 2020 โ˜‘๏ธ 300 paid subs in 3 months

Just a few days ago, Software Ideas hit the 300 reader milestone. This is just a few days before the three month milestone, meaning that the business has consistently had around 100 new subscribers per month!

So far, the growth of the business has been almost completely linear. This month, I'm focusing on expanding the number of channels I'm active on in order to increase that growth.

More info on my daily update post here (warning - huge read!)

You can also check out all of my metrics here was originally research for myself - I was looking for my next software project. I shared it with some Indie Hackers, who loved how I do research, and the rest is history.