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How to Come Up with Profitable Business Ideas (indiehackers.com)
986 points by ChanningAllen on May 18, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 143 comments

For a B2B SaaS company, the easiest/most likely[1] algorithm to succeed[2]:

1) Be embedded in the industry for a while

2) Make lots of connections, build credibility

3) Build SaaS app to solve key pain point you experienced in #1

4) Sell to the folks you know from #2

5) For bonus points/de-risking: find 25 potential customers (from #2) and reach out to them and validate this idea (Jobs-to-be-Done). Get a handful of them to commit, even verbally, to buy this when you've got an MVP built.

[1] Clearly this is not the only way to be successful, but "I have a random idea lemme build it" is a great way to be not successful

[2] Succeed = your business that makes enough revenue to support you and a reasonable lifestyle, equating (and/or eventually surpassing) what you would typically make at a W2 gig, from a diversity of customers and not trading your personal time for money.

This is exactly the recipe I used and sold a company for $10m. Also, I am a absolutely terrible programmer and v1 of the product, with which this recipe was executed, was full of copy pasted code, unhashed passwords, all of the hallmarks of terrible programming. I got to $100,000 revenue before a friend of mine joined who actually knew how to program and rewrote the whole thing (literally zero lines of my original code were preserved).

Can I ask a little more please?

How much of the company did you own when you sold it?

How did the sale happen - did someone just turn up and offer you money, or did you go find a buyer?

Was there negotiation from a higher price down to $10M?

Did they buy the entire company from you or just buy the software assets?

How long did the sale take from when the buyer turned up till money in your account?

How much money did you end up with after paying tax on the sale?

What did you do to celebrate?

What did you do next - another business, get a job, sit at home watching TV?

Would you have handled the sale process differently if you could do it again?

I’m not the poster here but I’ve been involved with the sale of a few businesses like this and I consult for a VC. I’ll answer a few of these.

I’ve seen owners (either single or partners) who own between 5% and 100% of the business when they sell it. Unfortunately, most of them seem to own between 5 - 35%.

Most of the sales I’ve been involved with are the company trying to find a buyer. However, occasionally a VC will flat out ask if the company is for sale. Though it’s probably 10 to 1 in my experience.

There’s usually some level of negotiation. There is a “SAAS multiplier”. Right now the VC I consult for looked at about 3 - 5 times EBITDA. This gives you a healthy negotiation range.

People should absolutely consult an accountant and an attorney when figuring out what to do with the money they make. Often if you handle it right you can pay significantly fewer taxes. Taking stock or equity is a good way to handle reduction of those tax burdens.

I’ve seen people celebrate by buying multiple very expensive cars. A house on the beach in Hawaii. Huge trips. I’ve seen people blow huge amounts of money very quickly. The fastest was two guys who blew through $3,000,000 each in 6 months. It was stupid.

Most of the sales i have been involved in kept the former owners in a working capacity at the company.

I hope this helps a bit. Obviously it’s just my observations.

I made just over $1m because we raised a bunch of money for growth that didn’t pan out. Because LOL California the money went straight into a house. I still have a mortgage and a day job.

And I guess the moral of the story - don’t raise money if you got to $100k+ revenue alone by yourself?

Bigger lesson is to buy a house as soon as you can. I’ve made more money on paper living in this house than building the company.

I kind of needed to raise the money. The wheels were falling off the bus because the software was so bad and it needed to be professionally written. I should have raised less and sold sooner though.

Unless you live in Japan where real estate depreciates.


Post an Ask HN. There are many people on here who have sold their companies (me included).

If you're at all interested in adding your story to this list or future lists, let me know! Sounds like something we could all learn from. I'm courtland@indiehackers.com

Hey, it's the founder of indiehackers.

When I first saw indiehackers, I was in love with it. The execution was fantastic. You did a great job.

Then it got bought, and changed. Now it's forum-first, interviews second, and half of them are sort of locked.

Why do you now have to sign up for a forum to view the older product interviews? It's super annoying, so I just stopped reading. It also seems detrimental to the people who gave interviews early, they wanted press, rather than being hidden behind a sign up thing.

Is there any interest in reverting from this pinterest-style login-wall, or is that just too costly?

If this sounds blunt, it's only because I'm disappointed that a site a loved became less fun to use.

Walling off the content directories was an experiment to boost community membership signup, as community members are far more active than anonymous visitors. It's worked — people have joined the community at a much higher rate — but the downstream results haven't been significant enough for this to really be the backbone of our growth strategy. I will likely revert it soon in favor of other approaches, for example, creating search engine friendly evergreen content like this article.

Slightly off-topic, but what happened to indiehackers? I liked the page more before the redesign/stripe-takeover.

The page was more clearly arranged and you could browse it without being logged in or having an account. There is also this ridiculous "stripe-verified" badge for businesses doing business with Stripe now, which is not that interesting for indie hackers I guess.

It also seems the interviews are not that important anymore, but being some kind of community is - but I don't think that people want that, because we have that already here or at reddit - the nice thing were the interviews.

>> you could browse it without being logged in or having an account.

That's a fair point I hear quite a lot. Not sure what the reasoning is there (assuming it is the case).

>> It also seems the interviews are not that important anymore, but being some kind of community is - but I don't think that people want that, because we have that already here or at reddit - the nice thing were the interviews.

Have to really strongly disagree on this point... The IH community is - without a shred of doubt in my mind - the single most impactful thing Courtland has built at Indie Hackers. Happy to believe that you don't want that, but there are a lot of founders and lurkers on the IH forum who really do want it...

> That's a fair point I hear quite a lot. Not sure what the reasoning is there (assuming it is the case).

That it's incredible inconvenient? I don't want to do discussion there, but just read what other people tried and did.

The result is that I just make throwaway accounts for such websites to get to the content and I appreciate if I don't have to do that.

Sorry, you misunderstand me. I meant I'm not sure what Courtland's reasoning for walling off the interviews/articles is.

Oh, sry, I see.

I guess that it's just a Stripe marketing channel and the number of sign-ups supports some metric.

I personally liked the interviews and now it’s just a summary :(

The interviews haven't gone anywhere: https://www.indiehackers.com/interviews

What do you mean by summary?

I think the confusion is that the design of this page:


is closest to the old layout where each block linked to the founder interviews. I basically wrote the site off until today because it looked like the interviews had been walled off.

That’s a wild and wonderful story. Thanks for sharing inspiration.

Care to share what the company was?


I read this story exactly the opposite: it doesn’t have to be perfect at the start. You just build something people want, and then hire a team to improve the back end (without destroying what people wanted it for in the first place).

Major companies have had security issues (such as Adobe) but that doesn’t make them a fraud.

Don't see whats fraudulent about building something people want, use and presumably get value from.

"Really nice person who wants you to succeed."

Well they have already succeeded so we're good here.

You seem the opposite of "chill".

I'm a NYer.

What is fraudulent about that?

Plain text passwords.

Plain text passwords are a poor security practice, not fraud per se.

There’s no sense it was intentional, nor that any customers were impacted.

I used the Adobe example since 38 million customers had personal information exfiltrated in 2013 (including me).

Adobe knew better (or should have). But that still is not fraud.

They have enhanced their security practices since then, and I am still a customer of theirs.

FWIW, at that time Adobe was already properly handling the password - what leaked was an old backup. Where passwords were hashed, just not properly.

Adobe did mess up on that one - it's just not on the same level, not even close. The main thing that makes it worse was that Adobe has a lot of customer data (likely unlike this guy, who probably didn't have many customers)

I didn’t have any idea what I was doing. When my cofounder arrived and looked at the code base... he looked like he was going to puke. Took him less than 5 minutes to decide that there wasn’t even a line worth keeping.

I don't think you understand the definition of the words that you are saying. Consider looking up the definition of e.g. fraud

I'm not bound by your rules, but thanks.

Agreed, but there is a slight twist to that I have seen be even more effective.

1) Consult in the industry as a contract developer at X/hour rate.

2) When you find a problem that they're facing that you might be able to turn into a business, offer them 0.75X/hour while you work on it in exchange for the right to commercialize it.

Obviously this doesn't work for everything, but it's a non-obvious way to get paid while fixing a real problem and build a business.

2.b Be independent contractor. Carefully work on side-biz on your own time. Have good documentation and git-log in case someone at the client ends up caring when you worked on it (zero risk if it's not core biz for them and they aren't assholes). Don't tell anyone what you're working. Don't use proprietary data in your product. Profit

Again, every situation is different. But the benefit of bringing the client in is that they can act as your first reference client (the hardest to get), and that it's not job+sidebusiness, but a hybrid so your time is more efficiently spent.

Good advice. I have a B2B lead gen system that I offer - built on 19 years of experience - for 75% of the price of someone who has 2 years experience.

" but "I have a random idea lemme build it" is a great way to be not successful"

I should print this and frame it in my home office. You rock!

I think they call it an Entrepreneurial Seizure.

1 through 3 is 100% correct in my experience. I left my job recently and after a short break I called 3 friends from the industry side and 3 friends from the customers-of-that-industry side and said "if I do this will you pay me?"

This has nothing to do with comming up with idea like the title suggests. And it's because having ideas is overated. You find good ideas everywhere, all the time. the execution matters the most, which is part of what you describe.

Extremely well stated. Thanks for taking the time to write this.

Nice and succinct. This is exactly what I did for DNSimple.

Business models of the companies with over $240k ARR:

- outsourcing to humans

- asset acquirement leverage

- education

- outsourcing to ai

- event organizing

- adding a missing feature to a platform

- internet marketing saas

- copied a website and added a missing feature

- micro feedback as a service

Copying a website and adding a feature is great for someone who spends their time becoming a better software craftsperson.

Micro feedback as a service is a fascinating market I had never considered. Exceptional creativity there. Could be applied generally to many domains. PullRequest is doing code review as a service which is a great example of applying it to another specific domain.

Edit: formatting.

The business model of the first company I worked for was a simplification: take a complex (hardware) product with many features and release a version of it that only consists of the most important feature.

I was wondering if there was a way to see (or just ask for) the most used features of existing SaaS apps with $100k - $1m MRR and make a whole product that is just that feature with no frills.

One way to get this data might be to contact the person at the company who signs off on the saas purchase and asking what the 80% use case for the product is. LinkedIn might be enough to find such a purchaser.

The people using them often gather in certain forums or conferences. You could try there asking them directly. If contact info is available, there's a marketing opportunity.

I'm a little confused. The companies from the post that dealt with feedback had far less than $240k ARR. Which "micro feedback" companies are you referring to?

The revenue listed in the article is per month. The above appears to correlate with the subset whose monthly revenue is >$20k.

I think SubmitHub

Exactly. SubmitHub states 55k/MRR.

A interesting one Ive come across recently are technical founders that run a solutions company where a retired exec of a large company in a particular industry is an advisor/investor and assisting with leads.

Screams of corruption but in practice not really so. The exec knows there industry well, finds out where they struggle to find solutions, passes info down to the company. The company then creates specialised software to deal with it and joins a tender. As they have a trusted person on board it assists in getting in the door. Also the competition will usually not be very technically advanced.

Revenue streams are variable from rev-share to cost + maintenance. In a lot of cases the same solutions can be sold to others within the same vertical or outside it. Anecdotal but founders Ive met in this area seem far more successful than those on a more traditional VC / bootstrapping tract. Perhaps because a lot of the hard part of enterprise sales is solved by the advisor.

This may be an asia-specific style of business, not sure.

This is not exclusive to Asia. I know more individuals whom have found success doing this than attempting to sell software which is the result of a one-off idea.

It might seem rare in the States, but only because 1) the entrepreneurs heading these ventures do not want to give away profitable niches in the market and 2) they are not as fun to talk about as startups with lofty billion dollar goals.

The main issue with going after random ideas, is that suddenly 3 months down the process of building some proof of concept, you lost so much of the initial thrill and focus (build B in order to build A, build C in order to build B, learn D in order to build C...) that you've eaten all the energy, end up burned out, depressed and browsing TC and sites like this one to reflect on what went wrong.

That is a huge issue indeed, but it usually gets a bit better if you manage to overcome it once or twice as well as understanding where that thrill comes and feeds from. Learning to become better at your own 'thrill-management' is actually a super-important skill, i.e. knowing that you better build that prototype in two or three days rather than the next two or three months (no excuses, almost ANY SAAS prototype can be built in a week or less -- it's all about prioritising what you can do manually, fake, or add later), as well as knowing that, inherently, a lot of us here are problem-solving fans, we like to figure something out and once the challenge is completed, or we see the finish line, we want to move on to other things. A good tip I picked up from writing is to stop working not when you've finished a big package of work, but instead, right in the middle of it when your brain has already started thinking ahead of your next two or three steps. That's where you leave it, and it'll be MUCH easier to continue next morning.

What also helps, of course, is past experiences -- I've built a product that requires little to no maintenance (now), the prototype took one looong day and then another weekend to roll out, and it randomly picked up Toyota as a customer in its second week. New customers kept the thrill going, and when times were calm, I just let the website 'exist' on its own -- it's made over $100k and while those kinds of projects are my daily work (compared to an 'an actual job'), the time it required to maintain would've easily been available next to a moderately demanding job. Much like other things in life, even with software, it may need to simmer for quite a while before it really starts shining. There's no single recipe of success, but people tend to forget (while looking for big dramatic SEO-guru growth-hacking insights) that getting a few basic things right will improve your chances of success dramatically (managing motivation, knowing when to let things simmer (getting from 0 to 10, and from 10 to 100 customers can often take depressingly long), knowing when to let users guide you, stuff like that).

This is called Yak Shaving and happens all the time when building complex systems, especially by yourself. It’s happened to me many times: you start out wanting to do “simple” thing X, and end up with a tree of task dependencies 20 layers deep. After spending a whole lot of time, all you have to show for your planned mansion is a pile of foundation.

But it's great, because once you have all that foundation you can quickly iterate on your top layer and quickly discover new pieces you are missing and must build before completion.

Except by the time you get there, you need to figure out how to make a living (bills don't suddenly disappear when you are in "sabbatical" mode.) Trust me, I am in this right now as we speak.

That's your experience, but far from reality. You're right, it's not easy, but that's why we're here. You also have to realize discipline > motivation. Everything you just said is a personal problem, not something inherent to the process.

Over 10 years I have had about half a dozen side enterprises whilst doing a very demanding full time job.

Several of these made money, most didn't. The best one was an ocr app which netted around usd 24k before the market got saturated.

It's very difficult to manage work with a side job and a family!

However, unexpected to me, the biggest benefit from these side gigs is that I am better at my day job. I have learnt new techniques and skills vs my peers. I am able to manage new situations better than others and make better predictions on outcomes. This has been the biggest benefit.

There's a lot to be said for companies that allow employees to officially pursue other (non conflicting) interests.

The reality of business is you don't have to be innovative. A lot of successful businesses are not even new ideas. Of course there is the whole concept of the first-mover advantage but in the world of SaaS there is plenty place for competition. Making a 30% improvement on one specific feature of a popular product or service can very well be a business on its own. I think a lot of people get held up on the idea that it's unethical to just steal an idea so they try and start something brand new. Innovative businesses are the riskiest.

Exactly. Look at the largest, most successful IT companies. They have some innovative products or product features, but none of them invented anything completely new (even Apple and certainly not Amazon, Oracle, Microsoft...).

The CSE I founded (and sold, allowing me to retire comfortably) was neither original, nor particularly innovative in 1997 when I started (pricewatch.com existed etc.), and it's extremely profitable to this day.

There are plenty of good ideas out there and much more existing, profitable businesses in need of a slightly better competitor.

"good entrepreneurs copy ideas, _great_ entrepreneurs steal ideas"

> "good entrepreneurs copy ideas, _great_ entrepreneurs steal ideas"

Worth mentioning that the original quote was "artists". There is a lot of valuable inspiration to be derived from other creative professions in this industry. "Measure twice, cut once" is one I've quoted a lot, originating from carpenters.

It is amazing reading these tbh, always wanted to start a non-physical business, but the real world is always in the way.

Right now I sell spare parts salvaged from home appliances headed for scrap, it is surprisingly profitable, so much that 2 people can't keep up with it (having full time jobs, though). Selling to small repair shops and directly to end users. Would be a great full time business, but unless an investor is interested, it will take a while.

This is fascinating to me. I know when buying replacement car parts, the first place I always used to look was the junkyard, but I figured this was a very thoroughly exploited field. (I used to, in my more shoestring and duct tape phase, build my server racks out of secondhand parts too, but I rapidly learned the power costs/lack of computational/hardware modernity bit me in the ass, so there's also my question of what sort of salvage doesn't fall prey to this?) My gut feel was broadly that it's cheaper to buy something new on digikey than to spend the man-hours cutting/heatgunning the part out of some junk.

Clearly I'm wrong, so take this comment as a "I'd love to learn more if you're willing/able to talk about it"

Others are questioning some of your choices around this so I thought I’d weigh in a little with my experience.

I never sold directly but I did work for a company earlier in my career that served high amp tractor trailer generators, power distribution equipment (later the department I ended up bootstrapping for them), lighting, and grip equipment to the film industry.

Early on my time there I was tasked with unloading and either stripping down or full on demolishing multiple 50 ft tractor trailers stacked to the ceiling loads of old stands (scrap metal), lamps (scrap metal, wiring, ceramic housings, aluminum housings, electronics), and high-amp ballasts for old Xenon and HMI lamps (a lot of electronics including some pretty hefty transformers. I have a stupid story about almost killing myself crippling a 20year old capacitor in one of those things...).

I worked on that for at least 60hrs a week for many weeks at not a great wage but they willingly paid me a lot of overtime to do it.

A lot of those parts weren’t going into new products but repairing high value equipment that the longer it all lived the more profitable it was. They’re probably still using some of that stuff.

I would have never thought to have started a business doing it though! I think most places are more willing to exploit young employees for it.

There's a huge market in repairing and retrofitting capital equipment. I've been working with someone doing just that for a while now as he gets his customers to validate the device I built.

Just like we'd use a bit of code to glue software utilities together, the same concept exists in hardware. Build simple interfaces to connect bits of hardware that were never designed to work together. A common, and cheap example are the USB to Serial converter dongles.

It's a great way to fix a 40 year-old machine that you can't get spare parts for: figure out a way to interface it to a more modern controller at a small fraction of the cost of a new machine.

I've definitely done it to interface with old scsi drives externally by cannibalizing old power supplies and connectors — and also because I was cheap... [read: poor].

I knew a person a few years back who's business was selling scrap electronics to a company in Russia. They would salvage all sorts of electronic equipment, strip them down and sort everything out and send it all to Russia in a container. It was a pretty lucrative business, at least it appeared so.

You need to be very careful in that space to not run afoul of ITAR and other export compliance regulations. Not worth it for a side hustle imo.

Here are some questions I thought of while reading your short description.

-Is selling to repair shops a big part of your business? If not, why are you doing it? Seems like it might be a time suck. You might be better off just putting all parts online and letting those small repair shops buy through that.

-Can you hire someone to do the grunt work (pulling parts etc)? I was always worried about hiring someone and then I realized that 1. you don't have to hire them full time, many people want part time work and 2. if you are profitable enough, they should be paying for themselves and then some. So don't be afraid just to hire some local labour.

-Why do you need an investor? Run the profits back through the business or put in some personal capital. $5000 will get you a part time employee working 25 hours a week for a few months.

Hit me up - email's in profile :)

How much do you need?

Another tip for finding business ideas: be good at ms excel and offer people with a non technical background your help with their existing spreadsheets. As far as I see it seven out of ten spreadsheets contain at least one idea for a simple saas product. Those spreadsheets have often been tailored to fulfill exactly the needs of a certain industry but the people who created them know they are far from perfect and are often willing to pay for a more convenient solution.

These filtering options make me tear my hair out. Please don't use radio boxes... almost ever. Users are almost always interested in some but not all or none, and minimums / maximums. There is no way to see "everything that isn't free or advertising based", or "more than $4,000 / mo", which is probably what most people are interested in.

I have pondering of an idea, which encourages local economy. Products, services or goods would be preferred of the local area. This is to allow visibility of local businesses and encourage spending locally. This also would provide jobs for the local people. Its frightening that globalised economy while beneficial takes jobs or sucks out of local economy. What do you think?

Building a marketplace for local (usually small) businesses is super hard. If that’s what you have in mind.

hey, me too!

me three

sir, what’s your background? me ux/ui research and market research

lets do it :P

programmer :)

me too. programmer. Love to work on SMB product.


So proud to be included in this. A lot of solopreneurs started with WordPress and moved to SaaS. I went the other way and still see so much opportunity in WordPress plugins, plugins-as-apps, and SaaS.

What about WordPress as a web app development tool for non-programmers ? Is it possible now ? Or could reasonable scale plugins will make it possible ?

Obviously, it depends on the app you're trying to make. But I recently worked with a founder who found a niche, used Gravity forms to collect data, Gravity view to display and export the data, (your basic CRUD in programming parlance) and this solved the basic needs of the problem.

I presented on this a couple years ago at a WordCamp, and am giving the updated version in a week at WordCamp Belfast. https://wordpress.tv/2017/06/05/corey-maass-rapid-web-app-de...

I've been thinking about this market lately, have you done something similar?

I found WordPress plugins to be a bit of a race to the bottom for many ideas (eg: something is already doing it for free) but I imagine there is a great market for enterprisey plugins.

There are also some excellent plugin markets for most eCommerce platforms if you've got the drive to develop in them. Companies using an eComm platform are likely to be actual businesses so they are willing to spend more money for a quality plugin.

Yes, the low hanging fruit has been plucked, sometimes a dozen times. But if you think of WordPress as a very simple method of self-hosting, there are lots of apps that have yet to be built.

The other option is building a SaaS app and using a single WordPress install or WordPress multisite as the platform. I thought this was a crazy idea a couple years ago. Now I know of dozens of apps that have WordPress as the back-end, and it works well.

I will add make a product focused on the decision maker, not the needs of the business. Make their life easier, or make them look like a genius, and you will have a successful idea. Don't fall into the trap of making a product that saves the customer money, but makes life more difficult for the decision maker.

I don’t know about this but I have an interesting marketing idea. Pretend you’re making a lot of money and go around talking to a lot of different people who might be interested in your product and saying what a successful business it is.

Simple truth is that any successful business person does not go around talking about how much money they make unless they have to because it just encourages other businesses to copy their features.

It's kind of amazing how many ideas are framed in terms of a "problem" as though it is divorced from people. A good place to start for building anything that people will want to pay for is Cindy Alvarez's book "Lean Customer Development".

Shout out to Cindy and her book. She is a former colleague and I’m a big fan of her work.

If you don't have a clue as where to start in finding a profitable idea:

Ramit Sethi had an interesting article a while back about finding profitable ideas. TLDR; look for reoccurring themes in the types of tasks/data/processes people are requesting in UpWork's marketplace (UpWork use to be oDesk).

Researching there has the built-in advantage that these are obviously things that people care enough about to pay money for, so that can serve as some preliminary validation.



Yes but they are not paying a lot of money. I think a lot of those upwork postings are from hobbiests, arbitragers and really tightass businesses.

I think he's suggesting finding a common need. You're not going to do the work on those sites for pocket change. You're going to create a solution then sell it Xtimes to multiple business who need it.

I would strongly recommend watching Jason Cohen's presentation on MicroConf 2013 (https://vimeo.com/74338272).

TLDR; The most earnings are generated by software that solve problem for a niche of entrepreneurs/companies who don’t have programming knowledge/programmers in house.

Interesting and possibly exceptional counter example here.

I worked for a product company and I was supposed to add a set of new features to the product.

The way the company was setup, we were able to setup demos/calls with existing customers quite quickly.

Two of the existing customers are industry giants and as I walked them through the demo, they were able to actually name the exact API calls I would have been using for the demo. And then one of them actually effectively said "take my money already and ship it"

I quite lieterally asked them if they had such fine grained information on what we were going to sell them, then why are they even bothering to buy from us ?

The answer was, getting a well packaged solution as a feature set in a product they are already using is far more useful for them than to have to spend time themselves writing ad-hoc/free-standing programs which do the same things even if they have the resources to do it themselves.

I'd add that by outsourcing it to you they've done two things:

1. They've transformed a capex project to a single, monthly opex line item, and

2. They've eliminated a host of risk management -- if anyone asks about any of a myriad of risk factors (password storage, gdpr, DoS attacks, whatever...) they don't say a word, they just point at you.

Yeah there is probably politics etc. that disable a "industry giant" from spending their human resources on certain projects, but they may have the OK to pay an outsider to do the same. That's the situation the big consulting firms love.

It's more than that too. Sometimes the companies have the knowledge and skill, they just don't have the time. Their engineer might have a list of 15 things to do, and if there's a tool that accomplishes #15, just pay for it and take it off their list.

Raygun springs to mind.

If you can solve a very specific issue for any enterprise, there is usually money to be made. Enterprises have very specific problems, often problems that only exist in that that enterprise, and they have huge amounts of cash to throw at solutions.

It's not the greatest sign that some of these great, profitable ideas go to 404 pages. Not all of these companies made it.

The 'free eth' business is booming cuz twitter is too inept to ban domains that spam its site and ppl are too stupid to know better.


This is awesome! Here’s a list of companies with over $240k/year in revenue:


Huh? Isn't that just the same page?

It adds the filter of over 20k MRR.

Oh, that makes much more sense. Thanks! That's a very cool site.

I have a bunch of app ideas if anyone wants to build one with me. I am a UX/UI designer, would need a developer (probably iOS or Android, but web would be helpful too). Reply with contact info if interested.

I should mention that I will be validating these ideas before proceeding so we are not building a junk app. Cheers.

How to reach you?

If only the people who need certain functionality knew how to express themselves and to speak up, we wouldn't have to go through the messy and risky process of looking for business ideas all the time.

If only you knew how to communicate with those people in their own language, you wouldn't have to go through the messy and risky process of looking for business ideas all the time.

People who need stuff say it all the time. You know what happens when non-technical people say, "I need xxx" on a developer forum?

- They're told "just google it"

- They're told (implicitly) that they're stupid.

- Devs pretend not to understand what they are asking for because it isn't phrased exactly how they'd like to see it expressed.

I've made money from simply hanging out on certain forums, listening to what people want and then approaching them politely to offer a simple solution, asking questions along the way. It ain't rocket surgery, people!

Still, it's the opposite of what you'd want. Instead of those people asking if you could help them, you have to go out and find forums where people might need your help. Imagine that doctors had to find patients like that. In fact, perhaps I should start a consultation hour for people in need of IT solutions.

which forums? I know how to speak human

These are fun/interesting to browse through.

Finding pain points is perhaps the easiest way to get business ideas. But as always, ideas are only a starting point, the implementation is what matters.

For startup founder, just master the concept of leverage.

The opportunity exists in the business world because when companies become successful is when collective leadership becomes most focused on maintaining success. Usually, leadership tends to see more risk in the downside of the current plan and than upside in taking on new things.

Few things companies doing regularly:

1. View a temporary trend as a competitive advantage. 2. Focus on building reputational momentum. 3. Believe it’s easy to span across generations. 4. Love being right. 5. Love the new idea, not new way of thinking.

Being right and staying right is totally different. Doing well reduces the incentive to explore other ideas, especially when those ideas conflict with your proven business model.

The idea is not important as thinking. And knowing how your idea evolving is more important to have a good idea. Because you will realize how to generate your own point of view.

Usually, the traditional Business Thinking Process is:

Dissect the dominant business model in your industry. How big is the remaining market? Find a way to get in.

Instead, in order to master and beat the odds, you should just totally ignore “the market things” and think about:

What’s the business model other people can’t/hard to clone? What’s the opportunity cost of building it? What’s your advantage to build that business?

First, why can you ignore the market? Because Which market does not depend on you, it’s on the user. You’re not in the market you think you’re in – you’re in the market your users think you’re in. Most failed companies made the wrong “Awesome product” by choosing the wrong market and following the wrong standard.

If your business fits in a market design by someone else, your dead. Pepsi never catches Coke. Bing never catches Google. The real question is can you design a market that you can dominate.

Second, market-size is not important at all. Numbers are about the past if you wanna create new things, you need to focus on what’s the one that can’t be copied and people don’t know they need it yet.

If you thinking about market-size, the market you are talking about is old and full of competitors. Market means buyers not a customer segment or existing category.

So. Igore competition.

Create your own category.

Original post(https://github.com/functionalflow/brains/blob/master/_posts/...)

What products have you built following this philosophy?

I have a small business building training data sets for neural networks. Struggling, not very sure anymore.

Maybe you’re early. Can you PM me your MVP? This is a problem I will be encountering soon.

Hw many people in the world do you estimate would want such a thing?

Another risky way to setup an extra income source is to invest capital setting up blockchain services that give rewards.

Mention anything about working with blockchains on HN and you get downvoted. I'm not sure how this place became so close-minded, or if HN was always this way and I changed.

A side project is risk. It's time and money that you invest into something. Working with chains requires technical and engineering solutions. You can build dapps, tokens, chain integrations, or just set up some mining/nodes.

My guess is that the hype is over and nobody cares about blockchain anymore.

Step 1) create value Step 2) make sure cost of creating value < value created Step 3) profit

These are primarily SaaS businesses. You missed the "grind" step.

Startup opportunity? Grind as a Service? (GaaS). Not kidding, although the acronym might make it seem so.

I mean, paying a middleman (the GaaSer) to do something better / more cost-effectively than you (aka any SaaS startup founder) can (if it is an area they can specialize in, and so achieve economies of scale). SaaS's (and other cos.) already use many SaaS's anyway - at least some of them do, I've read. It's like why we pay e-commerce companie like Amazon, rather than scouting for each item we want to buy at separate vendors or vendor's sites.

Isn't that's either: a consultant if you get paid in money, or a co-founder if you get paid in a share of the product.

I was somewhat speculating, hence the 2 question marks in my comment. But to make it more clear: I don't think that it needs to be only either a consultant or a co-founder. I was thinking (maybe an unconventional approach, I know) of a GaaS company that has studied and has experience with, and then specializes in removing the obstacles (of the 'grind' - word from original comment I replied to) that startups commonly have trouble with. Could be with customer acquisition or customer retention or other areas, and they provide this as a service. In fact I would not be surprised if there already are companies doing this - there probably are. At least for different aspects of marketing I know there are.

wtb ,emanresu nh ecin

Downvotes must mean the truth hurts.

Growing mrr is a grind. It’s just the truth.

Oh is the news not out? Ideas are a dime a dozen. Ideas aren’t the problem. Execution.

Ideas can be a problem. Like the guy selling disposable SMS. Sure to land themselves in legal trouble.

How so?

Because the disposable SMS are probably being used for illegal activity and it is illegal to support illegal activity?

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