🎉 It's a new decade!

4699
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

1,605
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?

2 Find a partner

368
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. Matteo Mosca

    Looking for a Cofounder - Painland 🌴

    Hi everyone, I've recently launched Painland (https://pain.land), a community of lean entrepreneurs who focus on problems instead of ideas.

    Here the result on Product Hunt https://www.producthunt.com/posts/painland (257 Upvotes).

    I'm looking for a community manager (co-founder) to moderate and motivate people to share their pain points and comments.

    Email: [email protected]

    Best, M

  2. bat_man

    Looking to work on an interesting/impactful Idea as a Co-Founder/CTO.

    Hey Guys, been lurking around IH for a while now and saw so many great people helping each other out which is amazing!

    I have been working as the sole Founder/CTO of my Startup - QueNews, which is a News Summarization and Narration app for more than 5 languages. QueNews will be shutting down in Mid-Feb due to lack of traction. A great leasson in my opinion, towards success.

    I can help you build your Product as a CTO/CoFounder.

    Lets talk about any Ideas you have!

  3. Rachel Zamore

    Anyone want to build an amazing company together?

    I'd love to find a fabulous tech cofounder or CTO for my early-stage startup.

    CaregivingHQ is building a collaboration app and information management system for family members coordinating caregiving for an aging or disabled loved one. As someone who has been on that path myself, I realized it didn't have to be so complicated, so I set about creating a more streamlined solution for myself and the 40 million others who are in the same situation!

    I'm a (for now) solo non-tech founder, and already have a small, enthusiastic local team of a UI/UX designer and a full-stack developer who are helping me get to a working prototype. But I want an experienced tech lead as my co-conspirator and co-creator -- a software engineer with experience growing and leading a team who is a positive person and creative problem-solver with great communication skills.

    This is a B2C SaaS product, but with some exciting potential for B2B sales, as there's a huge financial incentive for insurance companies to support the $470 billion in unpaid caregiving services provided by family members each year, and employers have an incentive to support reduced work absences, which are a documented problem with family caregivers. Early interest by potential users has been strong, and I've gotten some encouraging signals in being selected as a finalist for a regional incubator program with a mentorship program that launches tomorrow, and receiving an invitation to a selective VC event in Boston that also happens this week.

    I'm based in southern VT, and would ideally love to find a cofounder in or near New England so that we can meet in person somewhat regularly. But anyplace in the US is fine. I imagine building the company as intentionally remote from the get-go. Key qualities I'm seeking in a cofounder or CTO are personal maturity and great communication skills, in addition to being experienced getting a product built and to market successfully, and growing and managing a tech team. "Impressive" credentials would be helpful as far as securing investment and applying to top accelerator programs, but personal fit is most important. Some personal experience with caregiving would be helpful, as well as interest in our mission of making caregiving easier and more sustainable for families. Women, POCs and LGBTQ folks especially encouraged, but all are welcome. Check out caregivingHQ.com for more info about the company/product.

    As for me, I have a degree in Public Policy from Brown University and another in Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I have built and grown several successful businesses in the past, and created and run a number of programs in the nonprofit sector, but this is my first tech startup. I'm committed to building an amazing company and doing so in a way that also takes great care of those of us working on and in it. (My last career was as a therapist and I'm 100% committed to having a healthy functional organization that supports amazing outcomes and growth, but also wellbeing and a positive journey along the way.) If you think you might be an appropriate match, please reach out to me at rachel @ caregivinghq.com. Thanks!

    Rachel Zamore

    P.S. If you're a caregiver yourself, please visit caregivingHQ.com/survey and take our Caregiver Experience Survey to help us make sure we're on track... thanks.

  4. Melanie Goel

    I'm an ex-Tesla marketeer & UI/UX designer. Have some time on my hands to support small businesses. Interested?

    Hey you, my name is Melanie. I'm an ex-Tesla marketeer and work as a UI/UX designer. I've got some spare time on my hands and would like to support small businesses in their marketing & design efforts.

    Please feel free to text me at [email protected] Looking forward to working together!

3 Brainstorm an idea

567
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.

People Discussing Their Ideas

  1. Yusuf Qabil

    Would you pay for this webpage builder? And does the pricing seem fair?

    Hey guys, I'm building a simple webpage builder that is designed for brands, businesses, teams, and projects that want to create quick landing pages or about pages.

    Would hoping to know what you'd think of it?

    Here's the website: https://oneprofile.team

    Thanks!

  2. Peter Elbaum

    Validate: Platform for sharing learning strategies from real devs

    Recently at work, a bunch of engineers were sharing tactical tips for learning certain technologies. This had me thinking.

    What if there were a platform that shares actionable strategies for learning specific technologies via stories from real devs. i.e. Sarah passed the AWS Solution Architect Exam by first reading X book then taking Y course and studying Z materials.

    This could comprise a learning "stack" if you will, and perhaps could be searchable so that you could see how others approached a particular technology that you want to learn.

    Would love to hear your thoughts!

  3. Lukasz Wiktor

    Is it a good choice to build a Shopify app? 🤔

    Inspired by this post:

    https://www.indiehackers.com/post/best-resources-and-tools-for-building-a-shopify-app-282d1f4243

    I thought it will be valuable to share my experience with other indie hackers. I've built a Shopify app that is currently making over $1.3K per month and I'm planning to create another one. I'm going to share my experience through a newsletter. In fact, I've already sent a first email (first ever newsletter in my life!) to 8 valued subscribers 😁 I wrote about why I think it's a perfect choice for an indie hacker to build a Shopify app:

    1. You can start small. It's enough if your app solves just one simple problem.
    2. It's a great market. Shopify is growing like crazy. There are already over 1M stores running on Shopify.
    3. Shop owners are willing to pay. If your solution brings them more money or makes their life easier, then they will be happy to pay for your app. They are already used to a monthly subscription for the Shopify account, and app payments are part of their monthly bill.
    4. You don't have to care too much about marketing. Shopify App Store is the main distribution channel. It's not easy to get your app listed there, but it's worth the effort.
    5. It's a really nice development environment. Your app communicates with shops through a REST or GraphQL API. In fact, your app is a micro-SaaS implemented in your favorite language and running on a server of your choice.

    What do you think? Do you agree or am I too optimistic? Have you tried building a Shopify app already and gained another or similar perception?

    If you are interested in learning more then please sign up for my newsletter https://mailchi.mp/12bb129961ce/build-shopify-apps

  4. John Allen

    Anyone follow stocks closely? Building the stock news feed that I want.

    So I have been a professional investor since 2006 or so. I've always wanted to build my own tools for stock research, and back in 2014 had a company stockbase.com. Ran it for a year then shut it down to focus on my financial advisory company at the time.

    Anyways, I am rekindling this project (wow all those features that I built back then and not much public outreach to users! haha).

    I want to check here to see if any IndieHackers are interested in stocks, and if so, what tools you use and what unsolved problems you may have.

    Some details about what I'm building:

    • Basically it's a news aggregator that filters all of the low quality news
    • Makes it super easy to see your portfolio news in one place (which is difficult if you follow dozens of stocks)
    • Will show social media posts too (only high quality of course)
    • Other tools to make tracking down the latest regulatory filings super easy (logical, repeatable url structure)
4 Create an MVP

395
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. N00B_27

    Looking for feedback on my MVP. I am feeling stuck right now

    I am a professional designer that has been working for more than 10 years. The story begins while I was in advertising, at that time I saw there is a lot of people who don't have design experience is struggling to create a simple blog post or social media post. Sometimes they just ask creative team / designer to do small stuff for them which is not very effective.

    With that idea in mind, I try to build small tools to help people with zero design skills to be able to create simple blog post image / social media images using free stock images, text editor and simple image effect.

    But after building this tool for a while, I feel like stuck and thinking that this tool doesn't enough value for users. So I am looking for feedback for you people, something to improve or anything.

    This is the website https://opsin.app/designer

  2. Ana K

    My side project has a copycat... should I be flattered? 😂

    I won't link directly, but today I noticed a guy posting on Quora about a new add-on called Apipheny.

    I clicked to his site and it is virtually an exact copy of my API Connector. It's not just the idea that's the same -- he's copied the user interface, the list of upcoming functionality (I don't think he's actually implemented it all yet), my descriptions, even text from the testimonials from my site! 🙄

    Competition is fine, but what to do about a wholesale copycat?

  3. Syed Faraaz Ahmad

    Who's using Ruby on Rails?

    Ruby on Rails seems to be fading in popularity these days among developers due to a number of reasons. But I think what Ruby lacks in speed of executing code, Rails makes up for it by DRASTICALLY decreasing the development time, which in my opinion makes it perfect for use in startups.

    So, are you using Rails?

  4. dennispaag

    Stuck on deciding on a name, any tips?

    I'm stuck on deciding on a name. I know it's irrational and the name doesn't really matter in the end, but I still can't decide. All ideas i've had don't really feel 100% what I want the name to signal. I want it to be at least a little bit descriptive, not too boring, also not too cute.

    Happy to hear tips on how to overcome this and get going :)

5 Find your first customers

294
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. Felix Wong

    1.5 million subscribers, 40% open rate... magic growth?

    Morning Brew, theSkimm, Scott's Cheap Flights... I'm sure you're familiar with these names

    Giving a shout to some of our members here like No code coffee, Growth examples, theHustle, gymsushi, album daily, makerlist etc...

    • How do you see newsletter/ inbox based businesses?
    • Are you also building a similar project in another niche?
    • Any secret sauce behind your growth engine?
  2. Vivek Nair

    We worked remotely on top of a U-Haul

    Hey IH folks -

    I thought that I would share a recent PR stunt that we tried last week to promote our remote work product Pragli, a virtual office for remote teams. Might be valuable information for other indie hackers.

    Long story short, we worked remotely on top of a U-Haul 🚚

    Here’s the full article, but if you're short on time, here's the tl;dr summary below 👇

    Motivation

    We've been building and marketing Pragli for the last 9 months as a bootstrapped company. As a new startup, we spend a lot of time experimenting with different marketing strategies. This was our first attempt at a “PR stunt.”

    Our decision making process wasn't too complex. Doug and I spent some time generating a list of different stunt ideas and got super excited about working on top of a U-Haul in a busy area.

    Preparation

    We decided to rent a 10’ U-Haul and designed Pragli banners that would fit exactly on the side of the truck.

    We used a 30’ ratchet tie-down with a 15’ strap extension to surround the perimeter of the U-Haul. Once we firmly secured the banners, we were ready to start the stunt.

    Stunt execution

    We parked the U-Haul at 7 AM in South Park, San Francisco. The location has a decent number of technology influencers with large follower counts, and we hoped that they would tweet the truck and that the stunt would go viral.

    Everyone who passed by definitely noticed the stunt and a few started conversations with us. But, the foot traffic wasn’t great, and we switched locations at 1 PM to a higher density area in SoMa.

    More people noticed the stunt in the new area, but the impressions weren’t directly translating into product sign ups.

    When the clock struck 3 PM, we decided to take the truck to different landmarks in San Francisco and take pictures of us working on top of it. We figured these would be valuable for future email and social campaigns (like the cover photo in the linked blog post!)

    Investment for the stunt

    Cash investment: $535.22 Time investment: 34 hours

    We estimate that we can reduce these investments now that we have most of the materials/knowledge for setting up the U-Haul.

    Cash investment for next time: $139.32 Time investment for next time: 14 hours

    Spreadsheet with costs

    Takeaways

    🥁🥁🥁🥁

    Our original hope with the stunt was that people would tweet us working on top the U-Haul, and the stunt would go viral. Viral interest would then translate into product sign ups.

    Sadly, that didn't happen. But, we got a healthy bump in impressions on Twitter and LinkedIn that increased our follower count.

    Twitter impressions: 1,500 video impressions LinkedIn impressions:  2,261 video impressions Sign ups: no significant uptick on Friday

    Even though the stunt didn't go viral, we received so much positive feedback about it that we do believe there's a way to execute the stunt that generates more virality. Here are a few modifications that we would make:

    1. Notify influencers/press outlets beforehand 2. Target a high foot traffic area (e.g. Salesforce Tower), not influencer density (e.g. South Park) 3. Make it more funny or ridiculous: One idea we have is to rent a U-Haul trailer and put a standing treadmill desk on it... But more work to do on that front. 🙃

    General sentiment

    Perhaps the most unexpected benefit of doing this stunt was my mindset shift. I feel more willing and excited to experiment with out-of-the-box distribution methods. 🧘🏽

    And besides, I had a s%$t ton of fun working on this! I'm sure the second time around will be even more fun.

    Reach out!

    Let me know if you have any questions about how we did this! Would love to help out other indie hackers with their stunts.

    Full article link again, including a ton of pictures/video!

  3. Konrad Dunski

    One piece of advice, please.

    Imagine a 30yo human, who wasted last 10 years working a job he hates, because of "convenience". Knows HTML, CSS, bit of Wordpress, bit of sales, level 14 knowledge of "Mean Girls" on QuizUp, witty, speaks mostly sarcasm. Close your eyes and imagine that person.

    What one piece of advice, an ACTIONABLE piece of advice, no matter how small, would you give this person? (learn "this", speak to "this", kind of thing)

    Asking for a friend.

  4. Zeno Rocha

    I made $3,149.37 in less than 24 hours

    Yesterday I launched my first paid product: https://draculatheme.com/pro

    Dracula PRO is an overnight success... 7 years in the making.

    Here's what I learned so far.

    #1

    Open source monetization is a real possibility. It's not only for massive projects like RedHat, Elasticsearch, MongoDB, etc.

    You just have to reflect on what is the best way to position your project.

    #2

    People are not used to buying color schemes. If I positioned the product like that, it would fail.

    Instead, I had to identify the core pain.

    What I found is that people use different code editors, color schemes, and fonts to be more productive.

    That's what I needed to solve - how to be more productive.

    #3

    About a month ago, I added a form on the site and asked people to subscribe. The result? 1,032 subscribers.

    This was a critical piece of the entire launch. My last email had a 69.5% open rate and a 51.3% click rate.

    Email marketing is still relevant.

    #4

    The US market is incredibly important. More than 60% of all sales came from here.

    But don't limit yourself to one particular region. Go global.

    #5

    I was only able to monetize now because I was maintaining this project for 7 years.

    If I had given up, I would lose this whole opportunity.

    There is no such thing as an overnight success.

    Don't give up.

6 Build in public

2,838
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. Adriaan van Rossum

    Simple Analytics hits $4k MRR (showing numbers)

    From this month on I will start a monthly update on the progress of Simple Analytics. It will include profit, revenue, costs as well as updates on product level.

    January. In this month we hit $3999 in monthly recurring revenue. Almost 4k. We also started to put other metrics on our open page. Since then we did hit the $4k.

    See simpleanalytics.com/open.

    We are very happy to have Dave on board. He is helping out with our never ending roadmap. In the graph you'll see a big chunk of red in our last month. Most of it is directly going to Dave a.k.a. to new features!

    In the month of December we also had quite some freelance expenses, this is because we paid our candidates for their projects they needed to do as part of our hiring process.

    Last months we moved our servers from Iceland to Amsterdam. We paid $382 for hosting last month. This is because we have bare metal servers now and we still have some servers running in Iceland. We are moving them away (most of them are already), but we didn't turn them off yet.

    We paid $273 to services. We use the following services to monitor our websites: Hyperping, M/Monit, Browserstack, and Twilio. We never want to loose any of your data.

    We use Helpscout for customer support and GitHub for code collaboration. MoneyMonk for our Dutch tax administration.

    We added reminder emails for expiring subscriptions and when trials are ending. We expect a higher subscriber churn rate. At the moment it's 4.9%. We do think it's fair as an ethical business to inform your customers upon renewals and ending trials.

    Since mid January we opened our doors for students. We welcomed 302 students in those days alone. We didn't expect much extra work because our tool it self-explanatory and we have our documentation, but you never know. For now it seems very doable.

    Our newest feature with live page views in your dashboard has to wait a little bit. We saw a drop in page views with the that script. We were forced to rollback.

    We are writing heavy browser tests to find the problems in that version plus all future versions. It feels way more mature how we work with our critical code now. With more and more customers, those parts get more critical every month.

    Speaking of customers, we now have 322 paying customers. We connected quite some cool ones in the last few months including banks and governments and some extra customers from the UK because of PECR.

    Take a look yourself on our new /open page and let us know what we should add for next monthly update.

    Have a good one!

  2. Daryl Shannon

    First PAYING customer!

    To get to this stage was not an easy process but I am over the moon to have got my first paying customer! Thankfully my rookie mistake of having the test stripe key rolled out to production didn't scare them off. Doh!!! Quickly resolved and verification from stripe came through. Phew.

    It is amazing what a boost to moral getting this first customer has been. I launched about 5 or 6 weeks ago after about 5 months of development - early mornings, weekends and evenings. So, this very small win makes it feel worthwhile.

    If I can give you some advice for those working for their first customer, don’t loose heart. Stay focused and give it time. Things don't usually happen overnight.

  3. Dawid Cedrych

    First Reddit post - 268 points, 14 new subscribers

    I have never been a Reddit user before and wanted to give it a shot as many fellow bloggers/newsletter geeks suggest it as a great channel for visitors' acquisition. On the flip side, I was just curious about the result, will they roast me or the welcome will be slightly warmer?

    I worked hard to get my 10 comments karma in r/entrepreneur subreddit and be allowed to submit my first post. My goal was to post my content in a way users find it worthwhile and helpful. Having in mind that direct promotion is not an option- here is what I did:

    1. Took this article https://altabits.substack.com/p/2-pick-the-right-market and copy-pasted its content with minor tweaks (deleted mentions of my previous articles)

    2. Came up with a new title as "Pick the right market" sounds too vague. I went for "A piece of advice that helped me stop worrying that my business idea already exists."

    3. Added the following closing section for authenticity "This piece of advice changed my approach to new business ideas completely. I used to be like "Ohh, something similar already exists" and ditched the idea right away. Now, I don't get discouraged so quickly - I think of the market size and what I could do better than competitors to claim at least a chunk of the right market."

    4. Held my breath and clicked submit

    Luckily, the first comment submitted under my post (and eventually most upvoted one) referred to the concept I described in my other essay, so I shared a link in my reply. I thought this is not going to be seen as direct promotion, and I was right. No one complained and got a few upvotes on that comment.

    It was Friday around 2 PM CET. Until 6 PM the post received around 20 upvotes, then from 7PM - 11PM likes started flowing in (over 200). Finished with 268 points.

    It resulted in circa 350 new views and 14 new subscribers to Alta Bits!

    Reddit post: https://www.reddit.com/r/Entrepreneur/comments/f09b6s/a_piece_of_advice_that_helped_me_stop_worrying/

  4. Allison Seboldt

    Shipped it!!

    Finally! After a frustratingly slow year, Fantasy Congress 2.0 is live! It's 2am, I'm exhausted, and all my plants have died from neglect, but I couldn't be more proud of what I pulled together in the last few months. Excited to participate in the community more now that I have something launched!