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Indie Entrepreneurship: Maximize Profits by Minimizing Mistakes

Hey there,

Before I start today's issue, I'd like to personally thank the 24 new founders who recently joined us to be part of this journey!
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In this week’s issue:

  • 💡 Improvement: Success through subtraction and refinement

  • 🤿 Essential indie entrepreneur tips for being profitable

Reading time: 7 minutes

A Fresh Point of View

Sharpen your mindset

In many cases, improvement is not about doing more things right, but about doing less things wrong.

James Clear

Picture this: You're a founder, and you're eager to reach more customers, boost your MRR, and make your product a household name in the world. It's a common aspiration, but sometimes, the pursuit of more can lead to overwhelm and burnout.

Now, let's shift gears and consider improvement by subtraction. Instead of constantly pushing for more marketing strategies, features, and expansion, you might take a step back. Look at your existing customer base and your current marketing efforts. Are there any inefficiencies, bottlenecks, or mistakes that need addressing? Perhaps you find that a portion of your marketing budget is being spent on strategies that yield minimal results. By eliminating or optimizing these underperforming areas, you can not only save resources but also refine your approach.

Similarly, within your SaaS product, instead of continuously adding new features to attract customers, consider refining the existing ones. Are there any bugs or usability issues that cause frustration for your users? By focusing on eliminating these pain points, you'll enhance the overall user experience and create loyal customers who stick around and generate more revenue over time.

In the world of SaaS, improvement by subtraction can mean a more sustainable, less stressful path to success. It's about fine-tuning what you already have, making it work flawlessly, and then, as a natural consequence, attracting more customers and increasing your MRR. So, remember, sometimes, the key to growing your SaaS business is not about doing more but about doing less of what doesn't work and making your existing foundation rock-solid.

The Dive Deep

Learn practical methods

I hate to see Indie Entrepreneurs burn their savings. So here is my free marketing playbook. Simple and non bullshit tips to get profitable in 2023.

1. Start small

Your first product will suck. It will fail.

You can’t change it. So why spend months building it if you can spend days?

  • Instead of building a productivity app, create a Notion template.

  • Instead of building a marketing platform, launch a Productized service.

  • Instead of building SaaS, launch a One-time payment app.

Focus on ONE use case for ONE target audience.

  • Bad: AI-powered tool to generate Spotify playlists

  • Good: Create Phonk workout playlists with AI

Don’t try to change the world with your first product.

Try to earn the first $ online.

Start small. You will always have time to go bigger later.

2. Charge one-time payments

Yeah, getting monthly subscriptions feels just like getting a paycheck.

But getting $2000 MRR is x100 harder than getting $2000 in one-time payments.

And if your goal is to get profitable, start with lifetime deals. You can add subscriptions later. Indeed, you will need to find new customers every month.

People are tired of subscriptions. Anything <$39 is still an impulse no-brainer for USA / Europe. Leverage it.

3. Focus on one acquisition channel

Don’t try growing on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram simultaneously. Especially when you have 100 followers there.

You need time to master marketing channels. The more you defocus, the longer it will take you.

  • Your audience hangs out on Twitter? Ignore other marketing channels for 6 months.

  • You want to try side-project marketing? Launch a new tool every 2 weeks on Product Hunt.

  • You have a juicy keyword for programmatic SEO? Create new website pages every day.

Focus ruthlessly. Be everywhere — be nowhere.

4. Aim for harsh feedback

The indie community is awesome but listen to its feedback with a pinch of salt.

Most people will root for you just because they want you to root for them. They have no skin in your game.

You need anti-BS people who will give your unfiltered, honest feedback about your business.

Slide in DMs. Ask people to roast you. 9/10 will agree.

5. Build an email list

One day your #buildinpublic tweet gets 10k impressions. The other day it gets 100 views.

You need a marketing channel that YOU control.

Start a weekly newsletter. Create useful freebies for your audience.

Build a healthy email list. It will change the way you do business.

  • Product Hunt launch? These people will support you

  • New feature? These people will give you feedback about it

  • Juicy discount? These people will buy because they trust you

Nobody has ever said, “I wish I started an email list later”.

6. Stick with free tools

Paid tools are distractions in 80% of the time.

  • You don’t need a paid tool to build an audience on Twitter.

  • You don’t need automation with 5 paying customers.

  • You don’t need fancy icons with 30 website visitors.

Keep it simple and cheap. Use free tools until you can’t.

7. Talk about your product non-stop

You don’t talk enough about your product. Even if you think you do, you don’t. Most of your followers have no clue you got a paid product.

Want to get traction? Be your biggest promoter.

Share your product authentically and non-intrusively AT LEAST once a day.

It will still not be enough. But this is a good start.

8. Focus on revenue 24/7

I am sorry to tell you this but nobody cares about your personal website.

Or your privacy policy. Or fancy footer.

Don’t build features that feel nice. Build features that move the needle.

Imagine you are building a no-code website builder.

  • A/B testing feature will make an impact on revenue

  • Adding more templates will make an impact

  • Getting 100% on Core Web Vitals won’t

Wake up and spend 100% of your time improving your value proposition. Every single day. Hit profitability. Then you are free to do whatever you want.

9. Know when to pivot

My first product earned $8000 in 12 months but I knew it didn’t have the potential to earn more. It was good but not GREAT.

That’s why I’m working on a new product.

The lesson is simple: some products are better than others. You can’t produce hits every time.

If you stare at $100 MRR after 6 months, it’s better to launch another product and earn money.

Starting from scratch is not a failure. Ignoring the reality is.

10. Learn marketing

No one cares about your development skills. Not a single customer bought the product because they liked the code.

People buy products to get the job done. Even if the product is written in a terrible programming language with no unit tests.

No one was born a good marketer. You were not born as a good developer too.

So stop finding excuses for not doing marketing. Indie Entrepreneurship is not a fairytale for infantile adults. It’s a harsh journey.

Spend 2 hours every week improving your marketing skills:

  • copywriting

  • marketing funnels

  • content marketing

  • word-of-mouth

  • positioning

It will have more impact on your business than trying another shiny framework to make your app 0.1s. faster.

That’s it for today! 🙌

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Thanks for reading and see you next week,