🎉 It's a new decade!

20791
indie hackers are starting
profitable side projects in 2020.

Start Your Own

indie • hacker

noun

  1. person building an online project that can generate revenue
  2. person seeking financial independence, creative freedom, and the ability to work on their own schedule

It's 2020, and the future is indie.

Whether it's $500/month on the side or $10,000/month to quit your job, it's easier than ever to draw an income from your own projects.

Follow the steps below to get started!

1 Commit to a goal

9,990
have set a goal for themselves.

Before you get started, chart a course. How do you want your life to look? What does success look like? And what would make the journey to get there enjoyable?

People Sharing Their Goals

  1. rod

    Hey friends and indie hackers!

    I've been searching for a community like this and am glad to have found you here!

    I'm excited for the coming months of sharing ideas, resources, and making connections with people in this community.

    I'm from Vancouver, Canada and building a business around helping entrepreneurs and creatives unleash their creativity, lower their stress, and break outside the mold of 'Normal'.

    Looking forward to chatting more soon.

  2. chatscope

    Hello, i've been talking with my cousin about our "million dollars" plans and he told me about Indie Hackers. I'm still reading yours interviews and listening great podcasts. I definitely love this place!

    I'm from Poland. I'm working on my open source project which will be released this month. I'm glad to be the part of this community.

  3. hamda_abdi_

    Hi Everyone. I'm Hamda. I'm a writer and pharmacy student based in England.I've recently started learning to code and want to build an online community for students. I'm very new to the game and am excited to learn as much as possible.

  4. kktraneur

    Hello Indie Hackers, I am from Arizona, working as software engineer aspiring to be an entrepreneur. I have been searching for community like this where I can learn from similar growth oritented people.

    Especially planning to find few partners to pair up so I can learn the process of startup in better way. Penning down about me and my interests so I can find better match to work together.

    I have experience mostly on backend programming using Java, python, JavaScript. In addition as someone who always like to be on top of latest technology developments, took few Coursera courses on ML/DL to keep myself up to date in this space though no real experience doing this.

    Other than my programming day job and AI/ML learnings, I closely follow markets. If I’m given a chance to go back in my career, probably Entrepreneurship/Technical Analysis & trading is what I would choose.

    I recently read somewhere that we need to design our life for at least 3 life’s instead of one.

    In my case that would be - - Keep doing and continue excelling my day job. - Trading with Technical Analysis.
    - Entrepreneurship.

    Coming to my weaknesses- procrastination is the biggest one. but once I start doing, generally hustle towards it irrespective of what comes in my way.

    Looking forward to learn more from this wonderful community of innovators.

2 Find a partner

1,613
are looking to partner up.

Many people thrive when working alone, but sometimes it helps to find a partner to complement your skillset and keep you motivated. What's right for you?

People Looking for Partners

  1. Celyn Brown

    Looking for a CTO who wants to make a difference in the world!

    Is anyone looking to use their skills to make a difference in the world? We're looking for a CTO to join our startup team. We're building SaveForward, an app that helps socially-conscious millennials on a limited budget to save toward making a microfinance loan - so they can see the direct difference they make in someone’s life, while parting with very little. These loans empower an underbanked individual to start or grow a business, and lift themselves out of poverty. You can see the difference you’ve enabled someone to make in their life - changing the future for themselves, their family, and their community.

    • The Role - We already validated an MVP web prototype with users, crowdfunded our first few loans, and are in the process of building a native app for a public launch. We're looking for someone who is willing to code (React Native, Node JS), help strategize, and eventually oversee the development team. We're backed by the MaRS Start program and the Metaii Accelerator.

    • Our Story - I travelled to Nasik, India, and saw firsthand how predatory lending had become detrimental to the community. The orphans I worked with had lost their parents to suicide because of over-indebtedness and poor farming conditions. I wanted to change the world through financial inclusion, but wasn't sure how.

    Meanwhile, during my masters, I realized I was spending upwards of $40 on snacks and coffee that I didn’t need. I wanted a quick and easy way to divert the money to someone in need, the moment I resisted spending it. This sparked the idea for SaveForward, an app that motivates you to save redirects a portion of the savings to an ethical microfinance loan. My friend, Chris, joined me in developing the initial web platform.

    The first loan we crowdfunded empowered Gladys, a single mom in Kenya, to improve her crop farming, meet more demand in her village, and upgrade her living conditions. We're passionate and excited about evolving the app and making an even bigger impact.

    • Contact Me - Please email [email protected]

    Check out our website: www.saveforward.ca

  2. David

    Looking for partners to build a side project in 1 month! 🚀

    Hey fellow indie hackers,

    I'm David from Georgia. I'm starting a challenge to build 12 side projects in 12 months.

    I'm passionate about building things and this is going to be an awesome experience.

    I'm looking for partner for the first project. I will be crowdsourcing ideas from the community each month and partnering with people who proposed each idea I picked for the project.

    Please post Ideas and lets build something great together.

    If you'd like to follow the progress please subscribe to the newsletter.

  3. Nicholas

    WANTED: Long-term Partner, CTO, & Co-Founder | Budgeting & Bill-Pay platform (Thoughtful designs that challenge Mint & Quicken)

    If you think we're a working match...that's great! Please reach out via email (Address is in my IndieHacker profile). I'd love to talk with you, get to know you, and share more details.

    MY WORK HISTORY / ABOUT ME: -Created multi-billion dollar proposals for a global multi-billion-dollar, publicly-traded, wind-turbine supplier. This was a cool experience, but I’ve learned that the corporate culture is NOT for me.

    -Co-managed $800,000 of my school’s endowment fund. This was also a neat experience; however, I’ve realized I don’t like being in the business of consistently outperforming arbitrary benchmarks.

    -All of the books from Jason Fried, DHH, and Ryan Singer’s (creators of Basecamp.com) have deeply impacted my thinking about how to run a company and treat my co-workers. Those guys are responsible for me wanting to own a remote, private company that encourages people to work a MAXIMUM of 40 hours per week. Consider reading their books. They’re incredibly awesome people, and I admire their work greatly!

    WHAT I REALLY WANT TO DO. MAYBE, YOU WANT TO DO THE SAME?: -I LOVE LOVE LOVE personal finance and great, simple design. I’m a firm believer that well-created, simple products should not require manuals. So many companies today create edgy designs that are not obvious. Not cool. So…the Venn diagram of these 2 categories is to build a non-clunky, and “Oh yeah, I get it!” personal finance tool that is a one-stop-shop for younger people to best understand/manage their finances and pay ALL their bills.

    -Because I love the product design role so much, the main designs have already been created, and I have a clear vision of what our “Version 1.0” will look like. These designs just need to built by someone. Maybe that’s you? Also, designs are fluid over time; just because the main designs have already been created today does NOT mean they will be used 10 years from now. We’ll work together and implement our new, vetted ideas as they come to us.

    THE CTO PARTNER I’M LOOKING FOR: -You’re self-directed. You’re also NOT just another “coder” or “engineer.” You want to understand the business/marketing side as well. You really want to sink your teeth into a serious project. You want to see the financials of the business. You’re someone who is always respectfully, brutally-honest with their co-workers, and deeply cares about understanding our future customers. You have a passionate voice about helping people save their money and want to share it publicly.

    -You know how to code in HTLM, CSS, Ruby on Rails, & can create custom graphics that elegantly present customers' data from Plaid.com or MX.com.

  4. Jonathan Cai

    Developer looking for marketing/growth help!

    I'm building MyDeskTour (https://mydesktour.com/). It's a place to share desk setups and find inspiration! It's basically r/battlestations with Amazon product tagging, and potentially an upcoming newsletter.

    Pretty much only launched on HackerNews 2 weeks ago and got their hug of death (traffic slowed my site to a halt 🤕 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24101444 haha).

    Stats: ~8k visitors, ~20k page views, 40 registered users, 13 pieces of user-generated content.

    It's one of the first projects I'm trying to build an audience for, so I'd love to hop on a call sometime or just email and discuss with someone who might be able to help me grow the site!

    Thanks in advance y'all!

3 Brainstorm an idea

2,807
are discussing their new ideas.

Coming up with an idea is easier than you might think! Check out the resources below for some inspiration and top-notch guidance.

4 Create an MVP

1,978
are building new products and services.

No matter what you're creating, it's best to start small. What's the minimum viable product (MVP) you can get out the door and start testing on real customers?

People Sharing Their MVPs

  1. avaj

    How much MVP is enough? 🚀

    So I have hacked together this image background remover tool ( https://www.removeit.io ). The functionality is 80% done but I'm not sure if I should give product hunt a shot already. I feel like only products with a perfect landing page and UI get upvoted. So what's your take on this? Launch as sool as possible or make the product shiny before you put it out in the wild?

  2. Richard Antao

    Emails not going through to initial users

    We're getting ready to kickoff our Beta and our confirmation emails to our initial users are not going through. I am using SendGrid, which is claiming that the emails are getting delivered, however I have user's claiming they have not received any emails (spam folders checked).

    Has anyone dealt with this problem before with a new email domain, and if so, how did you resolve it?

    Also, in general, any tips for improving email deliverability?

  3. Rosie Sherry

    Share your elevator pitch!

    Have you practiced explaining your business concisely?

    Would you like to get feedback on your pitch?

    This is your chance!

    Post your concise and short elevator pitch below then give back by giving feedback on someone else's pitch.

    PS - I'll be choosing great pitches and tweeting them out via Indie Hackers. Be creative! Add pictures! Add links! Go, go, go!

  4. pklvn

    Show IH: SaaS Formulas

    Hi,

    I just released a bunch of simple calculators for SaaS metrics. It's free, nothing to buy, I just needed it myself.

    If you want a specific calculator that could be useful to others, please let me know and I'll add it.

    Take a look and tell me what you think :)

    Thanks,

    https://saasformulas.com

5 Find your first customers

1,940
are finding their first customers.

Just because you've created something doesn't mean people know about it. It's time to get the word out, build an audience, and grow your customer base.

People Discussing Growth and Marketing

  1. Iiro

    How I Got My First 10 Paying Customers - Without Spending Any Money On Marketing

    Like all of us, we develop a lot of cool business ideas in our heads on a day-to-day basis. Personally I collect my ideas to a Notion table. Then I let the ideas sit there and once the "heat of the moment" has passed and if I still like them, I start executing.

    Building these ideas into a functioning product is often time consuming and hard. Getting customers to actually pay money for them is REALLY difficult. Getting customers to LOVE your service is next to impossible.

    Here's a story of how I got my first 10 paying customers and customers sending me thank you letters after my service was delivered. One of them even wrote a blog post as a kind gesture of customer satisfaction! With a direct quote: "Wow, you should ask more for your service!".

    I started www.honestfeedback.co to build the best possible service to get honest landing page feedback.

    There are forums like Indie Hackers and some Reddit channels where quality feedback can be gained, but it's almost always in a text format and usually only length wise only a sentence or two. Testing out, UI, UX, copywriting and the conversion requires quite a bit of knowledge as well..

    We have all have built a lot of services and products. And we know: feedback is crucial for improvement. People also have a tendency to sugar-coat feedback or give constructive criticism instead of just being honest. This is due to our subconscious psychological need of wanting everyone we interact with to have a positive mood. I wanted to change this.

    Now, how did I get those DAMN paying customers?!

    Well this is exactly what I did.

    I scoured through this list: https://www.notion.so/Where-to-post-your-project-bc6ce54240884770b2467c3b0f7c1624

    My strategy was not to blast to every single forum with: "BUY MY SERVICE!". Rather, I took an opposite direction. I figured, only a highly curated request to a highly qualified audience would create initial conversions.

    TIP NUMBER: 1. Quality over the quantity!

    I opened a posting on YC forums. This posting was simple:

    "Post Your Website -> I will give you HONEST landing page feedback - AMA

    Hi YC People!

    It's Friday, and I would like to help fellow builders, by giving you honest website feedback FOR FREE.

    If you are interested post your website below!

    If you would like comprehensive feedback on your website please check out my company: www.honestfeedback.co"

    Only about 15 minutes after:

    I got a an email to my personal gmail account from a person who had seen my service, and telling me he was interested. As there was no posts I think he felt uncomfortable to ask the question using a forum post?

    I immediately replied to him and gave him the best possible feedback, I could craft highlighting all the problems he had on his customer journey hurting his conversion.

    I was slightly nervous, this was still kind of a nerve-racking situation even though I offered my service for free that night.

    This is what happened next:

    The person who I had helped emailed me back. The message went like this: "Wow, I am speechless, this is such an awesome help for me. I will write a post to the YC forums stating how happy I was with the service, and if you are okey, I will as well share your work to the others? Thank you so much once again!".

    Well after that positive review went on the forum. The requests started flooding in. I received over 60 requests to help different people out within 24 hours of the initial post. After that I had to call it, and start asking people to actually pay for my product.

    TIP NUMBER: 2. Do some free work in exchange for positive public reviews and recommendations!

    Well that would have been fine, except I got an email from my client stating my Stripe checkout wasn't working! I had wrong format on my redirect page and my customers were actually not able to pay! After I fixed it, I sent him a message thanking him and asking if he could try to pay again? That was such a humiliating feeling, but somehow he paid! First customer in the bag!

    TIP NUMBER: 3. Make sure your payment gateway works!

    I spent an insane amount of effort trying to make sure my service was the best feedback ever. I returned my work to the customer, again, nervous as hell. What happened next was unbelievable.

    My client sends me an email: "Wow thank you, you should ask more for your service! I would definitely use this service again for my other websites. I will as well post a review to make sure others know how good your service is!". Again this testimonial boosted my business, and I was able to gain the next two customers through this testimonial on a public forum.

    As I had some early success with the forum posts. I started repeating my strategy, but learned from my mistakes. This time I asked people to "signup on my landing page and post a comment and I will review their website".

    TIP NUMBER: 4. Collect those emails and send personal messages!

    This allowed me to actually start collecting email addresses, which ignited my next strategy: customer retention.

    After a person signed up, but did not purchase, my next step was to give them a bite, a seriously valuable, yet a fast service over the email, ending with a request for the customer to order the full service. This worked miracles! I actually started to gain customers and getting positive reviews! This way I was able to reach first 10 customers. My pricing point for my service is low which helped, but I truly believe that if you repeat these steps, you can definitely get the first 10 paying customers in almost any vertical.

    I hope this helps and if you are wondering how to improve your client acquisition checkout my service, sign up and I'll be happy to give you pointers!

  2. Karol Lewkowicz

    Remember your first sale and first customer? 💬 Share a story!

    Hello IndieHackers!

    I would like to hear about your first sale and first customer. How it happened and how you felt about that?

    Let me start with my story. I remember well my first sale because it was yesterday. I don't know if you felt that way but I was thrilled and excited. Three days ago I launched my project (https://mileofads.com) here on IndieHackers. I am selling inch-height advert slots, the first one was bought by my sister so I don't count her as a proper customer(sorry sis!). And yesterday's night I woke up, checked my phone, and there it was. New advert on my website! I was so thrilled I couldn't sleep for the rest of the night. It feels good and weird - someone who you don't know from another part of the world believed in your idea... I hope you get used to it over time :)

    Can't wait to read your story! Karol

    !First two adverts!

  3. Growth Bites

    Tip: Get more clicks by adding a profile image to your emails

    A simple but oft-forgotten way to increase the efficacy of your emails is to add a profile image. Yep, that's it. Boost your clickthrough rate by adding your logo (or face) to your accounts.

    Adding a profile image to your emails can increase your clickthrough rate by as much as 25%. What you use for the image will depend on the voice of your brand, but a good rule of thumb is to use your face for promotional emails and your logo for transactional emails. Your recipient's email client will determine where the image is pulled from, but Google and Gravatar will cover most of your bases. So set up accounts for both with the relevant email address(es), then add your image.

    More 30-second growth tips?

    Every day we share a tiny, bite-sized tip for growing your business. Click here to see more and get Growth Bites in your inbox 👌

  4. Lisa Jiang

    What's the best way to get professionals within B2B SaaS companies to do a 30min discovery call?

    Hi! Wondering if anyone else is building a product for B2B SaaS companies and has found good techniques to source interviews from professionals working in this industry. I'm specifically looking for Engineering Managers and Product Managers, if there happen to be places dedicated to those roles.

    Has anyone found specific communities that these professionals might use frequently or are particularly vocal on? Or even a community of people who are comfortable with phone/zoom mediums versus just online chat?

    Things I've tried that have worked fairly well are:

    • LinkedIn Sales Navigator
    • Conferences specific to the space

    Things that I thought were great ideas but didn't work well:

    • Blogs written about the problem I'm trying to solve
    • Quora / Q&A spaces

    Thought this would be a great space to brainstorm ideas with others!

6 Build in public

10,393
started building in public.

Being an indie hacker is a lot more fun when you're talking to others. Get support and feedback from your peers by sharing your journey in public.

People Sharing Their Milestones

  1. Marko Saric

    We've reached $4,000 MRR and 600 subscribers!

    Our crazy growth seems to be continuing! Plausible Analytics is now on $4,159 MRR and 672 paying subscribers to be exact! Yesterday was our new record day with 14 new subscriptions (previous record was 13 subscriptions on July 18th)!

    Every time we think that this fast growth cannot continue, we get surprised. We went from $3,000 to $4,000 MRR in 21 days (previous best was in 32 days) and from 500 to 600 subscribers in 14 days (previous best was 15 days).

    Don't think it will be possible to beat this fast growth this time around but we will try to do our best and see where that takes us. There are no major changes in the way we do our marketing and communication. We will continue doing what's been working until now:

    • Product updates to make Plausible Analytics more useful and more competitive with Google Analytics. Our recent updates included visit duration, referral drilldowns and page drilldowns. You can see the current state of the product in our live demo. All these updates make Plausible a more viable GA alternative for an increasing number of sites.

    • Publishing the best content that we can on relevant topics including web analytics, privacy, startup growth and open source. And then we share and syndicate these posts to different communities. This is one of the main ways people hear about Plausible for the first time.

    • Explore any new avenues we can. We launched on Product Hunt last week and it was a success driving more than 2,700 unique visitors. There's a blog post here with our learnings. This got us in front of more people and even got us several interview requests.

    Thank you for all your support and trust! Indie Hackers keeps being our main community full of great support and one of the sites always towards the top of our referral sources list (number 2 last month with more than 2,300 unique visitors).

  2. Zeke Gabrielse

    I Quit My Job

    Man, it's been awhile. I have some news. Today was my last day at my day job. Moving forward I will be focusing on Keygen full-time. After almost selling my business twice over the past 12 months due to burnout, I am now more determined than ever to make this work. I have quite a lot of work ahead of me, but I'm super excited (and nervous!) to give Keygen, a project I started nearly 5 years ago, 100% of my time and effort.

  3. Thibaut Patel

    I'm shutting down DecisionBee

    After a good month of hard work, I'm shutting down the app I was working on.

    I have written more about the context and what I've learned on my blog: https://thibpat.com/blog/shutting-down-decisionbee

    The main lesson is that I've been building something that address a problem that isn't important for my target customers. I was lucky to find this out during during the first month of operation, thanks to customer interviews.

    More than ever I strongly believe in these Y Combinator mantras:

    1. Make Something People Want
    2. Write Code, Talk to Users

    Off to work on the next idea!

  4. Charlie Ward

    Weekend Club hit $750+ MRR 📈

    11 months in, Weekend Club (weekendclub.co) is now on $777 MRR. We're a bootstrapper support network and accountability community built around remote, Saturday co-working sessions.

    I'm delighted at how this community is maturing. It started out from friends I made running the IndieBeers meetups in London. People started asking me for a weekend co-working club with other bootstrappers, which we did in physical spaces. Then after COVID hit, we went remote. And here we are!

    The main channels for growth were:

    • building a newsletter/Twitter audience first through IndieBeers (which was later merged with indieldn.com)
    • members inviting their friends
    • the Indie Hackers site itself of course

    That was enough to get to this stage, but for continued growth I'll need new channels. Now that churn has been at 0% for over 3 months, I'm ready to make this my next big project.

    I'll share my learnings as I go.

    Oh yeah, and if you want a limited, free 30 day trial, you can sign-up on weekendclub.co :)