I started over a year ago with the work on Sponsorgap. It was profitable from the early beginning on and in the last months I passed 500$ MRR. It sounds like a success but to tell the truth, it is really hard work and often comes with some ups and a lot of downs. Here are some learning lessons for me so far and things that have worked for me:
Instead of just posting and sharing stuff, I also try to provide value and offer help with my posts. E.g. I regularly offer on Indiehackers, FB groups, or Reddit to send everyone a customized list with potential brands willing to buy ads or sponsorships in their industry niche.
Nothing new here but stick to what you already know or the tools you are familiar with. If you run a subscription service be very careful what tool you use for handling the SignUp/ Payment process as it could come with some restrictions.
That is maybe the most valuable lesson for me. From the beginning on, I tried to talk to everyone who was interested in Sponsorgap or who was already a customer. I offered to everyone to chat with me and I really had great calls with people letting me know what they like or didn't like and above all what exactly they were looking for.
This was/is also a mistake I made at the beginning. While talking to different customers I noticed that I had two user personas with different needs. On the one hand, the creators looking for sponsors, and on the other hand brands looking to sponsor a creator. I started to add features for both sides which is not working at an early stage. So focus on one user persona and build one or two great features for them.
This was really bothering me at the beginning, as people started to copy my idea, even some wording from my landing page. In the end, I decided to just ignore it as I think that they can't copy your creativity and vision of the product.
Ok, here I am failing miserable - not sure if there are a lot of people working on side-projects, having a full-time job, and having two kids...but I am one of these. The only thing which I can recommend here is to block a time slot where you exclusively work on your project. For me, that is mostly in the evening when everybody is sleeping.
The last thing which is really helping me also with the MRR is building partnerships with other makers in your niche. E.g. I teamed up with Pete Codes to offer a discount for his newsletter course on how to monetize your newsletter and with Andrew from Pigeon I am currently running a deal where you can get a one year access to his CRM and Sponsorgap