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Thank HN: My SaaS paid my rent this month
800 points by frits1993 on Jan 20, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 187 comments
Running a profitable SAAS has been my dream from the moment I wrote my first line of code.

Here on HN and IndieHackers I've always looked up to the people who pay their bills with recurring revenue from their tools.

I've tried, many times, to do the same, without much success. A couple of rather successful HN pitches, but none of my projects ever even paid me a beer (let alone my rent).

Until this month! Last year I built myself and my girlfriend a tool. Even though I did build it for other people to use it, I had never thought someone actually would. Long story short, half a year later I provide my service to more than 5000 (fully organic) users.

This month is the first month in which revenue is high enough to pay my rent with it. Disclaimer: I share my rent with my girlfriend, but it does sound cool to say.

Looking back at the proces, it does match with a lot of other success stories I read over the years in the HN community. The main lesson which I can now confirm: build something that scratches your own itch.

So... Thanks you guys, for keeping me motivated and inspired.

congrats! mind sharing your story?


Last year June, I built a small online tool for me and my girlfriend to manage our IPTV playlist. I bought a domain name and put it online because our IPTV player needed to access it through a URL. A couple of months later, and 7 users found the tool and were actually using it (keep in mind that that's pretty impressive for a tool as not-user-focused as it was back then).

So I then decided to spend more time refining it. Building more features, introducing paid plans, and making sure everything worked as user-friendly as possible.

It basically all started growing organically from there. This month so far I have a Stripe balance of €620 (roughly 687USD) after fees, which is my 5th full month of running with pricing plans.

As you can imagine, I'm super excited to see if it can keep growing like this!

So it’s software people pay for to make managing their pirated tv content easier to browse?

IPTV is not necessarily pirated content. Many countries have commercial offerings although I don't know of any company doing so in North America.

What tech do you use? Really like your website btw, friendly, clean and clear

Thanks. It all runs on a Laravel codebase, and the SaaS part is handled by Laravel Spark. UI of the landing page is a template I bought, the dashboard is own tinkering.

It is awesome that you used Laravel! Have you needed to do any tweaks for performance?

cool. it gives me a lot of confidence to hear these stories :-) Where did you initially "advertised" (I don't mean paid) ?

That's the cool thing, it got its first users without any promotion what so ever. I had used it myself for a couple of months, and only after 2 months I logged into the database and saw these 7 users who simply found it (maybe by URL). They not only registered but were actually using it in the same was as I did.

After that, did post it on some forums, and on the IPTV subreddit, which did give it a boost.

But I have not been posting it anywhere for the last few months now, it seems that the steady flow of new users just keeps pretty constant no and the most active users are the ones who just find it through Google.

may be this is something you can find out and try to put in some more time there. This will improve your userbase. also +1 for organic growth

How you got your customers?

mind sharing your website?

Pardon my complete speculation, but I bet your success factor is "I built ... my girlfriend a tool."

My only successful product to this date is an app I built because my wife asked me to. It is in an non-technical domain which I knew nothing about. I thought it was rather non-promising, but, since it was a pet-peeve of hers, I gave it a try.

It was an awesome (and very bonding) experience - she explained me the problem(s), and I tried to simplify and structure it (didn't think gardening could be so complicated). Both of us were in their respective element, and from back and forth an app was forged.

To this day I only half-jokingly call her my product manager. The app has brought in 5 digits last year and is rising.

Last week, she briefly mentioned another problem, in another hobby domain of hers...

Lucky you. I tried to make a game with my (then-girlfriend, now-) wife and it kinda fizzled out. Sure, took on too much, I'm not the best with bringing projects to launch, but whatever.

I really can't say who spent more time (she did graphics, I wrote code) but to this day it's a bit of a sore point to talk about, just that we were both absolutely not happy with the outcome and see it as completely wasted time.

Thanks for the sobering counterpoint to my perfect formula for success :)

A game is really a tough one though.

a game seems less about solving a problem though. Educational games can semi help with solving the problem of learning specific topics, but often hard to pull off well.

I'm sure you've tried but you might want to try and find another perspective. I did a similar joint project with my wife. At more than one point we butt heads. It was pretty tense to say the least I don't want to embellish. On the other hand we did create something and learned much about each other along the way. If you finished something that is a success.

I'm not saying it can't be a positive experience, just telling a story how it absolutely wasn't in this case.

We've got a ton of those stories, but creating a piece of software is probably not on the table in the next 1-2 decades. :)

My wife and I also started making a game. Though the game didn't go far, I ended up learning new technologies specifically for the game to be scalable that landed me a nice job in another country.

I remember giving an "advice" on this in one of my comments: developers can discover amazing things once they step away from their day to day stuff,where there are already so many things created that it's pretty hard to come up with something unique. Gardening fits the bill pretty well in this case.

My wife works in fashion and sometimes has SaaS ideas that fill a niche in her world, and which I never would have thought of myself. Unfortunately so far my programming skills are not up to snuff to fulfill her needs. But I’m working on it!

The ideas generally fall into “my company is paying lots of money for some really powerful, complicated software, and we use about 5% of what it offers. Why not create cheaper software that just does the 5%?”

what kinds of ideas?

> "I built ... my girlfriend a tool."

This also strikes me - After I live with my girlfriend for a while, I (or she surprisingly) found I have no interest in social media apps, discounts, traveling, eating tasty foods, mainstream movies/TV series...

Being immune to popular things is nice sometimes. But not being able to have empathy with most people is a great disadvantage for product development, since markets which are too niche mostly cannot easily afford rents or just don't worth it at all. It's much nicer to "build ... my girlfriend a tool" TBH.

Any chance we could check it out?

Sure: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/veggie-garden-planner/id132992...

Suggestions are always welcome.

My friend is also working on an Android version, though it doesn't have feature parity (yet).

I'm not into gardening myself, but looking at all of the other comments people responded with I can see that you have done a great job -- and also, you know, the fact that it's been doing so well too ;). Nice work :)

Nice App! Love little niche Apps like this that work well for their sole task.

Shows there is a need for paid Apps!

What a coincidence, you're in the same small town as the company I work for! ;)

Great app btw and congratulations on last year's success :)

The world is a small place! I once worked for a startup, one of our investors was from Herford, apparently got rich off Bitcoin. We visited their coworking space, it was pretty fun.

You're probably talking about Oliver Flaskämper, right? We're renting an office in his coworking space!

Hah, we might have met then!

... and just last week we were thinking about utilizing exactly that co-working space. Small world indeed :)

That's pretty cool! Have you thought about making it into a PWA and ditch the proprietary ios/android ecosystems and just allow anyone with a browser to use it? It doesn't seem like there is much in this app that NEEDS to be a "mobile" specific app. It looks like you could do it all with html/js and some local storage. I'm a big believer in open crossplatform systems, when it's possible. Obviously if you need access to hardware sensors, etc, it wouldn't work very well.

For a big portion of the app, I would agree (arguments about native feel aside).

But well, there is the virtual planner feature that makes heavy use of carefully tuned iOS gesture recognizers for zooming, panning, dragging, tapping and holding, all in combination for a smooth and useable editor on a small screen.

Not that I have actually tried, but I suspect I would have to lay more groundwork to implement the same experience with the browser DOM. This could of course just be a lack of knowledge on my part, but my time is finite :)

Hi, web app dev here. It’s possible to do. Whether it piques your interest or is worth your personal effort to do is of course up to you, but it is doable. Some may scoff, but I’d even say it’s possible to do it elegantly.

Can you give some examples of simple open cross platform systems that make money?

I like my apps to be apps and a lot of the "Apps" that are HTML/js are janky cross platform and are tricky to pay for (vs one touch on ioS)

"Make money" is a misnomer, but successful PWAs tossed around here include Uber, Starbucks, etc...

Sorry - but Uber is very much a app first app. Most people using it are coming through the "proprietary" ecosystem parent wants to get rid of.

I don't use starbucks, but I wouldn't be surprised if it also had a proper app store app and didn't require users to use a web browser to access the app.

If anything - this proves the user preference for apps vs websites.

This is a totally random suggestion but, I used to work with a Marijuana company that wanted something almost exactly like this to track their plants between different strains, lifecycles etc. that were on a grid system. This was a few years ago. You might want to check out that market and might be able to re-use a lot of this feature set?


That looks really nice! I work for a competing Garden Planner, it's really good to see some more effort put into this space

Very cool. My girlfriend (and probably her father) would love this, but they're both on Android. Any plans to port it?

Didn't link it before, but my friend is on the task: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bentosoftw...

Really neat! Have you considered a cross platform framework like Flutter or React Native so you could deploy to both?

Looks nice! As someone thinking about building an app, how are you balancing the app's free functionality with paid functionality? That's the tricky thing — you want the free functionality to be useful, but you also want as many people as possible to upgrade.

My girlfriend and I share a couple raised beds at the local community garden. We talked about building a similar app like this together, looks like you beat us to it! Will check it out!

I would use it. My wife would use it. Then I read the comment about being iOS only.

Fingers crossed for the future of your friend's work.

I didn't word my above post clearly, but the Android version is actually already available as I said here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22100642

Most notably though, it doesn't have the virtual planner yet.

My mother will love this. I bet she had no idea she needed it as well!

As a gardener myself... This looks super handy :)

<humour> There’s no ‘e’ is potato</humour>

Dan Quayle has entered the chat.

This does not seem to be it. GP was talking about something to do with gardening.

Edit: I see, you linked without reading what we were talking about, so you linked to the thing OP made, not the thing GP made.

Or they accidentally clicked the wrong level and linked there, since it was a little bit irritating that the OP did not provide a link - I mean I was about to ask for one.

Sry for the confusion my bad, too late to edit unfortunately. As pointed out this is the link to the OP post that was missing initially as well.


eBay started as a website to sell Pez dispensers for the founders girlfriend.


Yeah. That really was some PR story, completely fake. Omidiyar admitted it later on. I think the first thing to ever be listed on eBay was a broken laser pointer.

How interesting! Thanks for posting, I had no idea and bought it even though I've been aware of other similar sorts of submarine PR stories.

Do you have a link to the debunking?

Sorry I don't often go on HN. I believe this was in an interview of Pierre Omidyar, although it may unfortunately be in French. He has not done much of these, so I think I may be able find it, I'll check.


This is it, a link to the video and the transcript, just type laser on the and you'll find it !

It makes sense that building something that other people want to use is going to be more successful than building something primarily for yourself. Particularly if "other people" means "non-technical people", because anything you can build for yourself, any other technical person can also build for themselves. (Just look at the crazy number of javascript build tools and dependency managers.) But building for non-programmers, well, that's a potential customer base.

  > Pardon my complete speculation, but I bet your success
  > factor is "I built ... my girlfriend a tool."
The first unicorn in my country was born the same way.

I guess this is the tool, from OPs submission history: https://m3u-editor.com/

I might be living under a rock, but what is IPTV? Even a Google search on it makes me scratch my head. I use Netflix, Hulu, etc but those have always been referred to as 'Streaming Services' , are those somehow categorized in the IPTV umbrella?

IPTV subscriptions are an alternative to regular cable tv subscriptions. It's linear tv streamed over the internet instead of it being delivered to you by your cable provider.

It's used for many reasons, but I personally got a subscription at an IPTV provider to be able to offer my French girlfriend to keep watching her French TV channels while living in the Netherlands.

That said, my service does not offer IPTV, simply an editor to users who already have their own IPTV subscription.

I'm surprised enough IPTV users would want to pay for a service like this, especially if IPTV is mostly pirated content (sorry if that's not an accurate description).

The ones called IPTV are the ones with really questionable sources, in my experience. I'm not sure how the term IPTV became synonymous with that.

Well, in short, it's "normal" TV over IP, so I think it makes sense. I'm pretty sure providers around in Europe, when it first launched, also called it IPTV, and the "pirates" were quick to copy that naming.

When you get a home internet access in France, it usually comes with phone and TV.

I guess IPTV was coined to adress TV via Internet, as opposed to over the air (we do not have cable here)

I like the ‘screenshots’ section prominently featured on the homepage.

With the trend toward illustrations and mocked up interfaces it seems like many SaaS companies leave out actual screenshots these days.

To me that’s an important gauge for whether I’m going to have a decent user experience if I sign up (even if it’s just flat screenshots with no explanations)...

Would be nice if you had a primer to IPTV for novices like me where I have the feature on my TV but have not explored.

Yeah, I thought it was weird that they didn't link the actual service

A lot of the services have some legality questions surrounding them, so may be best to avoid suggesting any service. Much like bittorrent itself isn't a piracy tool, it's often used for piracy; in the same vein, IPTV is entirely legal, but may violate copyright in some implementations.

Have you thought about increasing your prices by a lot? I'm not the target market but $1 per month for the cheapest plan and $5 per month for the most expensive one sounds insanely cheap to me.

Seconded. Just make sure you increase them for new customers but not existing ones. You can even try A/B testing price levels and the likes!

Price elasticity experiments are the lowest hanging fruits for optimizing revenue!

We found doing it per country had a huge impact on rest-of-world LTVs.

Please bear in mind that there is a regulation in EU that prices of the same product should not differ based on the country you are coming from (source: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/unfair-treat..., "Price discrimination is not allowed" section).

Which presumably affects and references only EU country pricing, so you need one 'EU price', which can be different from non-EU countries?

I also wonder what the implementation has been (but not for much longer) without a single currency. I wasn't aware of this rule, and as a consumer have certainly seen variation in EUR/GBP rates (across different things that have the same EUR price say but not GBP).

Must be challenging for big product sellers as opposed to service providers too, Amazon (shop) for example.

The rule is against discriminating based on country of origin, not currency. While an EU citizen from a non-Euro country might prefer paying in their local currency, they should be able to choose to pay in Euros and get the same price as everyone else.

I don't understand, are you saying it only applies to Euros?

I assumed (and understood from the link) that it applies to all EU member states, which presently includes the UK. Since the exchange rate fluctuates, there must be some margin of error allowed, otherwise it's almost impossible (and certainly more expensive) to implement with more than one currency.

As I understand them, if you accept Euros at all then you also have to accept them from customers in countries outside the Euro zone such as the UK. So if you try to discriminate against Brits by charging more in GBP than in EUR, they can bypass it by exchanging the money themselves.

In Poland almost everything is 1/3 of the price compared to the rest of the EU for the same "stuff", arguably most have Polish branding but there are common products(Nestle, Coca Cola, etc) that are significantly cheaper.

Disclaim: I'm American and I'm mostly guessing here,

I know that sometimes companies create multiple SKUs of products to get around certain restrictions. For example, if the Coca-Cola in Poland is only sold in Poland, and is different from what's sold in France (let's pretend your flag is on the can) - then they're technically "different products" and don't have to follow the same regulations.

I know the WD easy stores sold at best buy are best buy specific so that they don't have to price match them with competitors, even though what the competitors sell have identical internals.

Oh yes,the famous brand products with less good stuff in them. Essentially,there are 3 unofficial markets in Europe: local market, western countries and the rest... Obviously the rest get it worse. European commission were investigating this couple of years ago,not sure where they are with it now. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2018/60884...

That's just different shops having different prices. The price discrimination that is banned would be like a shop near a border charging different prices to locals and border shoppers.

What? Electronics, cars too?

Europe is truly unique in this regard. For instance, my father in law bought a Lithuanian made furnice from a retailer in Latvia because it was cheaper than if he would have bought in Lithuania. Car reimport exist as well,where a German would buy a car made in Germany from a Lithuanian dealer and transport it back to Germany,because it's cheaper. There are some companies that import medication, repackage and sell abroad in markets where the same medication costs more( this one is an old one,not sure if it's still the case)

does this apply to companies not based in the EU? I don't see how they could possibly enforce this.

You can also have constant regular price and just give different discounts.

Via the payment processor.

Interesting, will definitely reconsider. Thanks!

I've definitely considered it, and I use some custom plans for users who exceed the limits of the Pro Plus plan, but I think current prices are alright.

Also, keep in mind that these prices apply on yearly plans, and most paid users use monthly pricing, where prices range from $2 to $8.

I like your current prices. When I consider subscribing to something (rarely) I have to weigh something like a $10 / month cost heavily because I can only have a few of those total. But if the service is significantly lower ($1, $2.50 in your case) it's a no brainer. $5 would be in the middle somewhere as definitely easier to accept than $10.

It seems obvious that as a user I would like low prices, but at the risk of being slightly repetitive, what's apparently not obvious to many subscription service providers is that I consider the total price of all my subscriptions, not just the price of their one service.

> But if the service is significantly lower ($1, $2.50 in your case) it's a no brainer.

I think this rational is okay for selling things like a coffee or a mobile game but not for a service. If you're thinking of pricing this low, you really have to start targeting users that value what you're selling more or expand the product to solve more valuable pain points. If you've got a niche product, you're unlikely to sell a big enough volume to earn a living selling it cheap as well.

You'll lose the "no-brainer because it's so cheap" market by increasing prices but those customers aren't necessarily the customers you want.

Why aren’t those the customers you want?

Each additional customer costs 0 more (since its software), and it’s a side project, so maximizing revenue isn’t necessarily the OP’s chief objective. He made a cool thing, and people like it!

More customers means more support requests (especially if it's a cloud service) and customers that only get the product because it's cheap tend to be the noisiest and most unreasonable. The post mentions paying the rent with the earnings so I'm assuming more revenue is wanted too.

>>> Why aren’t those the customers you want?

Agree with this - they may be the long tail.

So long as overheads/support costs are low, having a cheap entry point has to be a good idea, if there's volume to be had. Especially if you have higher-cost options too for up-selling.

I agree with everything you said here. Except I'd emphasize the trick is to keep it still being a "no-brainer because it's so cheap" decision even at higher prices, by adding more value to the service as he goes (as you also said). Not necessarily with the same users, to be sure.

I like that you've decided that you're charging a fair price. While you certainly might make more money by raising the prices, you'll limit your market significantly.

I know that I use a TV related site (one of the ones for tracking shows), and as much as I'd be happy to pay them $12/year, their cheapest plan is 3 times as much, and I just don't see them as providing that much value to me.

I actually like the pricing model. Because it is very cheap for the user and the creator can make a lots of money by scaling. I am a strong oponnent of high prices for SaaS for so many reasons. First, it discriminates citizens of poorer countries. Secondly, a lots of SaaS make this model that aims to heavy users only. Users who can spend a lots of more money as a single person. So there are great services, but a lots of occasional users just cant use it (and pay).

First thing I thought when reading "M3U Editor" was music playlists for local music... Man, definitions sure changed. I don't personally like conflating terms very much, but that happens a lot nowadays.

The following isn't feedback, just personal rambling: Also I can't feel but somehow I would be unable to make a software that has that kind of "playlist protection" as a feature that needs a higher tier of monthly payment. I seem to come from times where things like this sure warranted a one time payment but not an ongoing one. Though it might be that I have my head stuck up my, well, you know and I need to get with the times of SAAS

It's the same list format from back in the WinAmp days afaik, but the reference points are video streams instead of audio.

Same here, having grown up in a time when I could purchase software and own it, SaaS feels bad and I avoid using it wherever I can. That said, I DO like making money on the side, and I understand why people prefer many smaller purchases to one big one.

Fellow solo SaaS founder here. Congratulations! This is a fantastic milestone to reach, and not an easy one, in spite what many people think.

I am doubly impressed, because your product is B2C. I honestly don't know how to make money on B2C, it always turns out to be a money-losing proposition unless you have a huge market. I hope you will be able to make it work!

Congrats for getting from zero to one! It seems like you have some product market fit, that's really great.

As others have pointed out, I'd recommend:

- please rename "amateur" to something more positive. no customer wants to be called an amateur

- Increase prices for the pro tier

- Improve your "pricing plan" page, take a look at other (more successful) SaaS products and change button labels accordingly. Just take the best things from their landing pages!

- create a proper comparison matrix / table for all the plans

- visually de-emphasize the free tier, and focus on the 3 paid plans in your comparison table. people will always buy the middle option, so you can increase the price of the "best" option by a lot in order to anchor your value

- add features which are available only in "pro" and "pro plus", e.g. support, direct email to developer, etc!

- maybe build a mobile app for this? it seems like something that could be nicely integrated into a mobile-first experience. you could make it exclusive for pro users

Amateur has no negative connotations to me (as a native English speaker from the Midwest US). It's comparable to "hobbyist" or "enthusiast", basically meaning "someone who can do X but doesn't get paid for it". I think a lot of people would be proud to be amateur musicians or amateur athletes, for example, and would have said that no (non-professional) customer would not want to be called an amateur. Just shows you have to be careful!

And the pricing page (https://m3u-editor.com/#pricing) looks pretty good to me - nice horizontal feature matrix, easy to locate buttons...not sure OP wants to use dark patterns like de-emphasizing the free tier. I do agree that the top plan should probably be more than $5/mo.

"Amateur" has some negative connotations (as another native speaker). It's often used an inferior comparison to "professional". Just search "amateur hour" to yield a stream of disparanging comments.


I would definitely use "enthusiast" over "amateur" (or other variants, e.g. fan, fanatic, lover, or a label that's specific to in-group members of the genre, if one exists). I'd also suggest a-b testing all the things to end the speculation.

It's contextual. Amateurs shouldn't be doing professional level work.

Agreed, "amateur" has pretty positive connotations for me in this context (native English speaker from New York).

As a native english speaker from Maryland while it doesnt have any negative connotations, I do feel a word like hobbyist would be better

"Hobbyist" doesn't really make sense, as it's not my hobby to make MP3 playlists.

"Amateur" is good as an antonym to "Pro".

I agree with Amateur as well. The Olympics (until the 90s [think USA Dream Team]) were only open to AMATEUR athletes. No one would argue that Olympians weren't skilled, and Olympians never felt slighted by this category. It simply implied that athletes trained and participated in a sport out of love for the game rather than for profit. Amateur literally describes: 'pursuing an activity independently of their source of income', that's all.

one could a/b test the plan label and put some teeth behind the many useful assertions in this thread, if one were so inclined

But I don't think amateur works if you are being paid or are charging for something. Even if you are new. Amateur is fine for a hobbyist, but if you call an unexperienced "professional" an amateur, I think it would usually be considered a slight.

> please rename "amateur" to something more positiv

As an alternative to amateur, I like "Hobbyist".

Fewer negative connotations, and users can self-categorise between Hobbyist/Professional easily to find the right package. If I'm using a product for serious work, I know that 'Professional' packages are likely targeted at my use case. If I'm just messing around with something, Hobbyist is going to resonate pretty clearly and I'll start there.

> - visually de-emphasize the free tier, and focus on the 3 paid plans in your comparison table. people will always buy the middle option, so you can increase the price of the "best" option by a lot in order to anchor your value

Maybe avoid the dark UX pattern if you can avoid it. Though it's accepted in industry at this point that customers will need to actively fight against the producer not to get swindled - it's still nice to respect your customers.

im not sure the "amateur" needs changing, it could be used to point more users to middle tier, we have something like that, where we call our first tier something that like that, and the second "smart" and people take the second one. also there is a decoy effect. we push our middle tier like that without "fake" most popular tier badge. we don't have a free tier.

Amateur, at least in common American English, is virtually never used in a positive or neutral sense. It should definitely be changed in anything marketing-related.

> Amateur, at least in common American English, is virtually never used in a positive or neutral sense.

"Amateur astronomy"[1] doesn't have negative connotations. And I don't think this is an exception that proves the rule - as a native speaker of North American English, amateur can have negative connotations, but that isn't the default.

That said, in this particular case, something like "hobbyist" might fit better.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_astronomy

I'm real good at speaking common American English and I don't agree.

The word means non-professional. So you don't do it for a living. Which is directly factually a description of what's happening here.

In some contexts is could be negative, because the concept of a non professional doing the thing is scary. Like there's nothing positive about an amateur heart surgeon, or amateur parachute designer.

But in the context of gardening it's clear and descriptive. The needs of a professional farmer and someone with a backyard garden are very different. The term clears up which one this app is made for.

I would suggest change "Amateur" to "Starter".

Amateur definition:

"sloppy, not professional looking." https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=amateur

"a person who is not skilled" https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/americ...

"one lacking in experience and competence in an art or science" https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/amateur

It's from French, where it means "lover", ie someone who loves something: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/amateur#Etymology

I speak common American English, and I've always equated "amateur" with "not paid or licensed to do the thing," rather than "awful at the thing."

It's neither positive nor negative most of the time.

Context: I've lived primarily in the Midwest and the East Coast, with a few years spent in New Zealand. I've also been either involved in or peripheral to a few hobbies that style themselves as "amateur X."

I speak common American English, and I've always equated "amateur" with "not paid or licensed to do the thing," rather than "awful at the thing."

Same here. Native English speaker, lived on the East Coast all of my life. I don't find "amateur" to necessarily have negative connotations, but clearly it depends on the context.

As a native speaker of American English, I have to disagree. I acknowledge that it is often used pejoratively, but I hear it used neutrally more often than not.

Amateur sports is pretty big and positive where professional sports has a slight taint.

But in this sense it might remove ceetain tiers (pro).

I'm another American English speaker chiming in to say that this is not true anywhere I've lived. I had never even heard your belief expressed before.

Awesome, great pointers. Thanks for that!

Home, Plus, Pro.

Microsoft figured this out years ago.

Does it really need to be a mobile app? I mean, does a mobile app would realistically really get him more clients?

You could always go the 'dummies' route

> rename "amateur"

Possibly "starter"

Try: "Getting Started"

That's so exciting and encouraging! Congratulations :)

Looking forward to your future update that says, "My SaaS paid for my yacht."

I hope he would do something more interesting than spending his money on a yacht.

There are yachts and then there are yachts.

I assume you're negative towards yachts like Larry Ellison's - giant fuel chugging beasts that the owner flies in to port to go on once or twice a year and that requires a crew the size of a small company to operate.

Then there are small craft with a sail that are completely environmentally guiltless to operate, and that can introduce kids to the joy of sailing and to the wonders of the ocean.

The second kind are awesome.

The second one sounds amazing!

The yacht is just a sidenote to his other, more incredible expenditures. :D

Congrats, these micro (or nano ;) business success stories are the most inspiring.

> The main lesson which I can now confirm: build something that scratches your own itch.

Honestly, can we agree it is 50/50? The "Mom test" is a good way to make sure you are not wasting your time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hla1jzhan78 (3:16)

Can I show off a bit about my project too? We make a huge database of user manuals you can check it here https://manualsbrain.com/en/

This is textbook copyright violation.

Scraping other people's content and then watermarking it with your brand while showing ads?

You're just buying time until someone big enough cares about what you are doing.

Honest suggestion: you should submit your own Show HN post for that. I reckon you are being downvoted for "hijacking" another post, not based on the merits of your project.

Should be down-voted doubly then - for hijacking another post and also for promoting copyright abuse...

I never said that had to be downvoted or upvoted. I was just advising him/her to create his own Show HN post to follow this site's rules first, and to maybe get real feedback about the site.

Regarding "copyright abuse", it depends on multiple factors IMHO, but that was not the point of my comment at all.

Wow, how long did this take? very impressive.

No issues with copyright and such?

More than 2 years and we still scrap new sites for manuals

Sometimes small companies complain but we delete its files


Two small comments

- Adjust your pricing. The difference between 1, 2.5 and 5$ is almost nothing. I'd suggest free - 5 - 20, or something along those lines. - The buttons in the screenshot below: the ones on the second row should have some spacing above them. It's a typical responsive layout thing.


Congrats! I wish we could do the same but with full time employee(s) being covered. But I'm terrible at marketing and just want to build the oss products. We have over 1k stars in multiple projects for .NET but the developer market is hard to get paying customers (we all want everything for free ;-)). It also doesn't help we have massively funded companies competing against us...

Thanks for sharing. I love these stories. Very inspirational. And your public webpage looks very clean and professional.

I have always been planning to do something like this. Can you share your timeline ( from inception to prod).

Based on your landing page, you default to yearly subscriptions.

Does that mean you would need to get an equivalent number of new users to pay your rent next month? Or is your monthly recurring revenue now high enough to cover your rent?

Either way, an exciting day for you I'm sure. Good luck going forward!

I love reading these stories, it kinda boosts my productivity. Glad life is going great for you OP.

"Build something you would use" is going to be replaced by "build something a non-technical person has requested." The latter has a higher likelihood of not already existing and a proven appeal outside of the tech monoculture.

You just sent me down a rabbit hole of what is IPTV....LOL! Thanks

Wow! I like this kind positive post! If you have the story behind your product and how you build it, we'll definitely wanna read it!

Thank you for the post!!! It made me feel like pursuing again a personal project left aside for over an year now.

Nice! Congrats!

Pricing is pretty cheap imo, why don't you try doubling prices? You might double income just like that..

Cheap indeed it is, but I guess that matches the target audience. IPTV is relatively cheap, and the service my tool offers is really a bonus and not a must.

More importantly, I don't think I would pay more than I am currently charging my users, so I think it's just fair. Also, I prefer a whole lot of small payments than a couple of big ones, and for now that seems to be going in the right direction.

I have an app that also went for $1 for a bit. People who are willing to pay $1 also pay $2.

If this was my app, I'd simplify the pricing a lot. Get rid of the free tier. People who aren't willing to pay for your service should go somewhere else. Instead, give people a free trial for 30 days or whatever.

I'd make it so:

$2 = mixture of your current Amateur + Pro, maybe call it "Basic"

$5 = "Pro" with all features

Simple is good. You don't need 4 tiers if your target audience is kinda price sensitive. 2 is enough.

I would consider not trusting your intuition when it comes to pricing.

I think this is good advice, but then I also think the current pricing is fair for what it does. If it did a lot more, then it could be priced higher.

I mean compare to say Spotify. Up to six people in a household can listen in their cars and any phone and any computer to any music pretty much, in fantastic quality with lots of features, for what $15 a month. Now that is worth $15 a month, as it's delivering actual content. That is a lot more value than an (admittedly compelling) editor that I just use to edit some preferences essentially.

Exciting! Reading these shares are encouraging. :). And yes, share the story (or at least the product!)

Which project is this so that the rest of us can check it out and get inspired properly?

Congrats! Nice website! Wondering - are people actually using the chat to get in touch?

Great post! How many projects have you done before actually getting paid for your SAAS?

Congratulations on your milestone!

If you don't mind then can you please share your tech stack?


Grats, sure this will motivate more than one on their path. Keep it up!

So... what’s the tool??

It's an IPTV playlist management tool: m3u-editor.com

Posted it on HN a while back as well, but interestingly it is one of my least successful HN posts.

Are you an IPTV enthusiast, or simply a user which is not fully happy with the playlist given to you..

Nitpick: A user who is not happy; users are people, not things.

To the author - congratulations on the success so far!

Additional nits from a native US English speaker, hope they're helpful:

* "$5.00 / Per Month" - the "/" is read as "per," so it reads as "five dollars per per month." Should drop either the slash or the "per."

* "...Billed annually. Or..." - these are dependent clauses, should be "...Billed annually, or..."

"build something that scratches your own itch."

Awesome advice.

I'm not sure this is solid advice. As a programmer it would mean I'd have to build my own compiler and editor, but the low-hanging fruit has already been taken in this area, so perhaps it's better to scratch someone else's itch in some niche area that nobody has explored yet.

The implication here is that the best way to know that someone else has an itch to scratch is to have that same itch yourself.

And "itch" is to "problem" as "scratch" is to "solve." The fact that you know or use something doesn't make it a problem to solve. But if you think you can do it better or different, then maybe someone else agrees.

If you only do programming, sure. But there's probably more in your life than that.

It could just be any household task. In this case, OP's iptv playlists.

Way to go, hopefully you'll see continued success!


How you got your customers? channels?

Great job!

Your splash page looks pro.

> 5000 (fully organic) users.

It'd be more newsworthy if they were like half organic, half machine. Cyborgs are an up and coming niche market!

Kidding aside, congratulations, that's impressive!

Very nice! I think i will write a free open source alternative to this.

Please don't be a jerk on HN. We're trying to be kind to each other here.


Is there something wrong with open source? I think it would be pretty cool to take this idea and turn it into a foss tool.

I've banned this account for trolling. If I got that wrong, please take it up with us at hn@ycombinator.com and we'll fix it. Otherwise please stop creating accounts to break HN's guidelines with.

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