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Tell HN: just made my first dollar on the Internet from my freemium web app
159 points by combiclickwise on March 16, 2011 | hide | past | favorite | 78 comments
..and I am surprised at how good it feels. Its not much (just $12) but I feel it is a huge mental step forward for me, which I thought many here could relate to :-)

If you don't get a high, a rush from selling something to someone, you're not cut out to be an entrepreneur.

Congratulations on your first sale.

Last month I sold my first piece of software online and I literally woke my wife up to tell her. I also sell guns and gun accessories. Last night, a customer purchased $1100 worth of products. In an industry with tough and large competition, we somehow convinced him through our website to give us $1100 of his money. Two years later and my business partner and I still send each other texts when an order comes through.

It's such an amazing feeling.

Again, congratulations on your first sale and I hope many more to come for you.

Sidenote, I dont want to be a buzzkill but be carefull with your 1100$. I worked for an ecommerce website a few months ago, when we launched we received big orders we were so happy but unfortunately it's turn out that we had been scammed by people with stolen credit card. Scammers are always looking for new ecommerce to scam, they love ecommerce that are fresh because it's easier to scam newbies :/

I know nothing about your business, and I wish you all the luck in the world, just wanted to warn you. Congratulations for your work ! (and your energy :) ! )

Since he is selling firearms, he'll be shipping to a FFL located in the state of the purchases. Buying firearms is (usually) highly regulated, so the background and ID checks to complete the purchase should rule out most chances of fraud.

I also had serious problems with stolen credit cards with my first web site. after a while you can get a feel for who is a scammer... like they often use free accounts like yahoo or hotmail. also, if you google for their ip address and it's on a list of open proxies... you've been scammed.

love this comment. I did the same thing. I forwarded my wife the Paypal receipt the moment I realized I had a sale. Its her birthday tomorrow and I have quit my job to pursue my dreams for 4 months now, so its extra special.

Great present :) I imagine it's a little tough for her dealing with long work hours and the instability entrepreneurship brings.

yes it is.. especially the financial instability. The best part is, it was because of her encouragement that I initially decided to pursue this so I know I have her support

You must know how fortunate you are?

absolutely.. I just showed her this thread :-)

Absolutely agree. Earning that first dollar is much harder than the next thousand. The reason is that it is a major mindset shift. It's a hurdle that quite a lot of people underestimate.

Exactly. It's totally a mental barrier as well. It took me a long while before I put up a simple donate via paypal link. That alone has generated $15k in revenue in basically the last year. Just putting that up took alot of guts, but it's been easy collecting donations to help bootstrap us along since then :)

..and HN has made it unbelievably special for me.. burning the memory of this moment into my head

I've been in ecommerce off/on for about 5+ years now. The rush is awesome. One of my clients was NASA and they would put in $5K orders every quarter or so. Always got a thrill about that!

BTW, nice gun site too!

I remember getting my first check through the post, and the first time someone handed me cash. This was 15 years ago, and I still remember them clearly.

Well done.

May I make a suggestion? Start keeping a diary. Nothing big, nothing fancy, just notes about things like this. If you become an entrepreneur full-time you'll want to go back and read about days like this.


Yup, a small Moleskine notebook is perfect. Fits in your pocket and you can jot down milestones like this.

It will cost him $12 he just earned! But Moleskine is great, not loosing the shape for many years and it is great to have it many years after :)

Thanks. Hope that day comes :-)

I have my email client set up to play a cash register sound every time an order goes through. It sounds dumb, but it never gets old.

If it sounds dumb, maybe you should search for a better sounding cash register noise ;)

Seriously though, it would be awesome if you all of a sudden you had a surge of sales and your computer made as much noise as a slot machine hitting a jackpot.

Lol, the affiliate application I'm making plays a beep for alerts, the main type of alert being extra commission earned. I suggested to my cofounder that we change the beep volume depending on the size of commission.

dumb? I think it is brilliant


I actually recently set up something similar. I use opengateway with authorize.net and it will post to a url during a transaction. I have it post to a local server, that plays a specific .wav file depending on the transaction type.

There are 5 transaction types and I use a slot machine, cash register, bells, and crowd cheering noises.

Got the idea from this movie http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1251757/

Ours play Shoot To Thrill (AC/DC)

When Amazon was just getting started they had a bell strung up to ring whenever they got a sale. You're in good company.


Good move. Yesterday, I got around $5 from Squidoo for a lens that suddenly become popular and was able to get 300 views in a month. I made it, if I remember well, months ago and forgot about it. But man, it only took me 10 or 15 minutes to make it and that was all I have done.

So I thought about it and decided to dig in for some keywords and create even more pages. If I only have 20 lenses like that, it would make me $100 a month. Not that much, but nice money to pay my Internet, phone and SaaS bills.

I'm writing this comment to tell you that I feel your happiness. Although it's a very small and tiny amount of money, you are very happy. I know it, because I'm feeling it right now.

May be it's the effect of money that comes from selling products and not working under a boss. Already felt it when selling scripts on CodeCanyon.

Nice work and now improve and promote more your product!

> May be it's the effect of money that comes from selling products and not working under a boss.

I think it is more of an affirmation thing. It was for me first time I was paid for a product all those years ago. It was originally written (quite naively and so badly in many ways, but it worked!) because I needed it so it didn't have to make money: but when it did it felt very good because someone else thought that my work was worth paying a little for.

yes. It is a big mental barrier breakdown. It brings "making money" online into the realm of possibility for me. Congratulations on your success as well.

Many congratulations, and thank you. "Thank you" because I know from my own experience that these kinds of posts are extremely motivational.

I made my first sale a year and a half ago, and recently increased the sales so that I could go full time. Maybe I should've followed my own advice and posted it on HN: http://www.elstensoftware.com/blog/2011/01/21/going-fulltime...

Thanks and congrats on going full time

We've just put up a calendar on the wall, crossing off the days we're making money.

Feels VERY good!

Nice take on the Seinfeld technique. I will try this.

Thanks for naming the idea. For those wondering what the Seinfeld technique is but who are too lazy to Google at the moment: http://www.nevblog.com/motivations-the-seinfeld-calendar/.


I just started last month too, and my first batch of customers with recurring payments are about to recur tomorrow. I'm both incredibly excited and worried (no one unsubscribed yet).

Thats awesome. :-)

Congrats! It is a big deal. Now while sales < 1000000 do ;)

Thanks. :-)

I'm still waiting for my first dollar from my password generating android app "Password Specialist". It was added in Dec 2010 to the market and still 0 sales :)

hate to be a stick in the mud, but aren't passwords hard enough to remember when they're not randomly generated?

Don't give up. Make a free version that only generates 3-5 passwords. No one will buy just based on the screenshots... everyone wants to try something out first. That's what I did for my android app, and now I get a few sales a day.

I would suggest you keep at it. Iterate, iterate, iterate

I love reading stories like this.

There is no greater motivator than seeing that first sale or first deal come through the door. I've been lucky enough to have that feeling with two companies now - and it never gets old or tired.

I love the comments about waking/emailing PayPal receipts to wives. I did the same thing. I still do when I good sized deals come through. As leftnode said - that's the high of being an entrepreneur.

Congratulations on the sale. Hopefully it will be the first of many. It's a really good idea - I've forwarded it on to a few friends in PR and marketing agencies. Hopefully at least one or two of them will send $12 your way before long...

oh thats great. Thanks a ton for the forwards

Congratulations! It probably is the sweetest feeling ever, esp the feeling you get when you realise that something you built was of value to someone else.

I demand a "first sale party" on behalf of those of us who aren't YC funded. :)

yes... I am up for it

Congratulations on your first sale! Ysd I had another sale on my 4-month old startup, so I know how it feels to get this paypal/gateway emails.

Good luck!

congrats on your first dollar! i had exactly the same experience last week!

i bought a domain more than a year ago, been doing development ever since but progressing very slow (it's a solo project and i have a full time job). last month renewal notice showed up and made me think, "wow, it's been a year, and it's still in my laptop."

now it has been launched. and last week i got my first paying customer. i literally cried and jumping around in excitement, and immediately gtalked my girlfriend. very stupid considering it's less than $10, but it gave proof that "my idea works" (it's just an e-commerce for Indonesia market).

anyway, nice work and always positive minded :)

>>>now it has been launched. and last week i got my first paying customer. i literally cried and jumping around in excitement, and immediately gtalked my girlfriend. very stupid considering it's less than $10, but it gave proof that "my idea works" (it's just an e-commerce for Indonesia market).

Thats how a felt. Please post the link

I have yet to break into web development(and start a company etc. to make money online) but I finally finished an app for a local business that has started making payments to me. Getting checks feels nice. Congrats!! :)


wow.. its amazing how many of us share this feeling about the first sale

every sale actually. congrats

Congratulations. It's a huge moment when you suddenly realise you've made something that strangers on the internet are willing to give you actual cash for.

I'm still slightly bemused by it myself :)


This must feel good indeed, congrats! You just did the MVP of customer development. And a great prototype for brand monitoring. Good luck!

Thanks. It does and is also very motivating. I feel that if I can sell one I can sell more.

I am thinking of working on the UI and the positioning a bit more.

Congrats. Happy for you. It is a $12 you will remember all your life. Relish it.

Congrats! I just sold my first product online last month. Great feeling.

Congrats! I'm anticipating my first sales early next month.

best of luck

congrats! Just repeat a few times (!) and you're rich :)

I am on it already :)

Congrats- I'll have a beer for you!

lol Thanks

Well done, congratulations!


congratulation on your first sale. few years back i as one of you :)

Thanks. feels great. You can post your story so we know the road ahead :-)

Congratulations mate ! :D

Thank you



Link? :)

Thanks. Here it is http://www.trackthisnow.com/

Very cool, I really like it.

Could you add an option to keep to the current tab when following a link, rather than opening a new one? While this isn't as annoying as it used to be when it actually opened a new browser session, it is still a little annoying when you go to hit the back button and it doesn't work.

Congrats on the sale, best of luck and keep up the good work.

Actually useful.

Very cool app

Thanks.. It was originally designed as a free software. I introduced the paid option when I realized there was a demand for it, especially from the PR industry.

Simple but effective

Congrats on first sale :) What's your app's url ? Share with us ....

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