Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I've spent a ton of time as a developer trying to make money from various side projects and businesses. So most of my top "wish I'd discovered this earlier" list revolves around tech+business stuff:

* Strategy #1: Charge more. patio11 has been shouting this from the rooftops for years, but it didn't sink in until after I started Indie Hackers[0]. If you charge something like $300/customer instead of $5/customer, you can get to profitability with something like 50 phone calls rather than years of slogging. It's still hard, but it's way faster.

* Strategy #2: Brian Balfour's four fits model[1]. It's not enough to think about the product. You also need to think about the market, distribution channels, and pricing, and how each of these four things fit together. I imagine them as four wheels on a car. It's better to have 4 mediocre wheels than 3 great ones and a flat.

* Book: The Mom Test.[2] Amazing book about how to talk to customers to research your ideas without being misled, which is a step I've stumbled on before.

* Tool: Notion. I just discovered it recently. I use it for all my docs and planning.

[0] https://www.indiehackers.com - my latest business, and the one that actually worked

[1] https://brianbalfour.com/four-fits-growth-framework

[2] https://www.amazon.com/Mom-Test-customers-business-everyone/...

The mom test a million times over! When people hear the name, they assume it's about usability (i.e. make something easy that your mom understands it), but it's not - its' the best book on customer development that exists. I recommend it to every startup person I meet.

This is exactly what I was looking for. Mom's test purchased and going to read and implement the same.

how does one find business ideas that you can charge 300/customer? is it 300 per month or per year?

I'd err closer to $300/month.

How do you find ideas in this category? Simple: Just look at what people are already paying lots of money for.

Off the top of my head, consumers spend lots of money on education (courses, seminars, books, classes, workshops), events and experiences, travel and vehicles, rent and housing, clothing and accessories, food, hobbies, etc. Businesses spend lots of money on recruiting and hiring, hosting, advertising, marketing tools, analytics tools, productivity, real estate, etc.

I know tons of indie hackers building businesses that help others learn to code, for example.

Off the top of your head what are some of the more successful ‘learn to code’ indiehacks?

Wes Bos, Adam Wathan, Joel Hooks of Egghead, Quincy Larson of freeCodeCamp, Jeff Meyerson of Software Engineering Daily, Ben Halpern of DEV, Jessica Chan of Coder Coder, arguably Ben Tossell of Makerpad.

Any B2B idea should run 300/mo easily. Finding those businesses to sell to is the challenge.

But perhaps it's easier selling 300/mo to X businesses than selling to 5/mo to 60X consumers? You decide.

They also require very different strengths & skillsets in founders. B2B products are usually sold, not bought. Sales skills in the founder are paramount, as well as a personality that can take rejection well and find win-wins and value-adds for the customer.

B2C products live and die by viral growth and word-of-mouth, because margins are not usually enough to support a consultative sales process or any sort of intensive advertising. That requires a founder that's really good at reading the zeitgeist and identifying needs that customers never knew they had, and that understands human psychology on an unconscious level. Often technical skills (on the founding team) matter more for B2C markets as well, because it's more critical to stand out from the competition.

Timing also matters more with B2C. There are some time periods (now, dot-com bust, or the late 80s & early 90s) where there are basically no viable B2C ideas available. There are also time periods (early 80s, dot-com boom, 2009-2013) where they are abundant. Unfortunately you often don't realize this until hindsight reveals all the people who kept working on their B2C ideas throughout the bust.

> There are some time periods (now, dot-com bust, or the late 80s & early 90s) where there are basically no viable B2C ideas available.

What leads you to believe that? I know plenty of people with healthy B2C businesses started recently. Heck, my business is B2C and while niche, it's viable for me.

Interesting analysis, but why isn't b2c viable anymore?

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact