> How many people on hacker news are running successful online businesses on their own? What is your business and how did you get started?
> Defining successful as a profitable business which provides the majority of the owners income.
It was rough going at first, but I won the $15k YC Startup School grant , which let me jump into it full-time and give it my full focus. I managed to hit ramen profitable before having to go back to freelance.
The conventional wisdom is that devs won't pay for software (especially code!), but I've found it to be the opposite. There are a lot of employed software engineers who have disposable income and who are happy to pay for a dev tool if it means they can actually build and launch an idea in a weekend.
This is absolutely true, but companies also, or even devs working in companies will buy out of their own pocket to improve their productivity without having to ask the Accounts department, I know I have!
How hard would it be for me to integrate with Authorize.net?
Since all the boilerplate works out of the box you can skip over a bunch of stuff (like understanding how auth works under the hood), but generally there's some custom logic you need to write and you'll want to pickup some JS/React to do that.
Any integration with Authorize.net would be totally done by you. You could export a codebase with Stripe payments so that you can at least see how payments logic ties in with UI.. but you'd need to then strip that out and replace with your own custom Authorize integration.
Thank you for the reply. :-)
Thanks a lot.
That was enough to iterate on until I had an MVP.
Then my Show HN  sent like 15k visitors in a day and that led to a ton of usage. I think something like 4k projects were created that day. I wasn't yet charging at the point, but probably for the best, since high usage meant a lot of feedback.
A few months later I launched on Product Hunt and that went well . Beyond that, just improving the product every day, sharing my progress on Twitter, and trying really hard to turn every new feature into an exciting launch event.
I also started a React hooks blog  that sends me a handful of customers every month. I could probably do a better job of promoting Divjoy on there.
Haven't delved into SEO (barely rank for anything), content marketing, paid advertising, etc, so it's still very much a learning process for me.
I'm using Firefox 68.11 for Android.
One quick question.
There exists many other sites offering the same service at even cheaper price points (e.g. EZ sniper, Myibidder, BidSlammer, GIXEN, JBidWatcher, esniper, AuctionStealer, Goofbit, etc.)
How do you survive in such a commoditized market?
FWIW there were a few studies done on it in the early days of eBay, and it appears that sniping tends to bring more buyers to the table, even though sellers can feel uncomfortable with it.
I make a good amount from people coming to the web site, but the majority is made licensing the technology to various companies. The online sales are mostly there to spread the word, and gather user feedback.
UV mapping is a very difficult problem mostly because artist have very specific ideas of what constitutes good UV mapping and it doesn't conform to any simple heuristics. Its about a megabyte of C code without any dependencies, and that makes very attractive to licensees.
Do you worry about licensees keeping the code and using it without you knowing if they cancel? Or an employee at a licensee walking off with the code / binary etc?
We’ve talked about some of these risks at my current job which ships code as our product so curious how other people navigate this.
Congrats on the success!
First of all I sell perpetual licenses. For everything else I rely entirely on the honor system. I wont spend my time chasing some student who pirates a copy. The real money comes from the larger companies and they are terrified of getting in legal trouble for breaking any kind of license agreement, so they have no reason to screw me over.
I worry a lot more about making things complicated for licensees then I do about them taking advantage of me.
glad to see a software guy use all the modern day tools to get out of the rat race. cheers
Its also much better for your health to focus on helping people who support you then, to worry about what a few bad apples might do without you ever noticing.
(For games, it’s clear that ptex is basically a nonstarter, since GPU texture mapping hardware can’t / won’t deal with it)
To give you an idea of revenue, it’s about as much as I’d be getting paid as a junior-mid developer in London and requires a day or two of work a week unless I’m adding a new feature, redesigning etc.
https://screenjar.com is also making a small amount of revenue, but nothing meaningful yet.
BeeLine makes reading on screen easier and faster. At first, most of the revenue came from B2C mobile apps and browser plugins, but in 2020 it hit a tipping point and most of the revenue now comes from B2B technology licensing.
Blackboard recently adopted the BeeLine technology, and there are several other large education platforms that are planning to adopt in 2021.
Licensing revenue is uncommon for startups, but it's nice because it's very high margin. I actually used to be a lawyer, so I can keep the main licensing cost (legal fees) under control.
I see this sometimes and then zooming out gives me the full view, but it's already zoomed out here.
Great idea btw!
update: Also checked on desktop, the site transfers 8.5MB and takes 13 seconds to load (the gradients). (My download speed is 7MB/s.)
Well, the website is an app to help collect video testimonials for your businesses. I offered a lifetime deal, all my revenue is from the lifetime deal. Now the deal is gone. In 2021, I will be only focus on recurring revenue. Start all over again :)
I created it to scratch my own itch while working freelance on other websites. There was one website in particular where minor changes on one page was breaking unrelated pages so a localhost web crawler that checked for issues was invaluable when doing small and large refactors.
The guide I wrote that explains all the page factors Checkbot tests for (https://www.checkbot.io/guide/) also helped me brush up on current web best practices. People treat SEO like a scammy word but the general recommendations are good for humans too!
It's a TV / Movies tracking website/community that helps people organize what they watch and find new shows to watch.
I started it for myself (because I couldn't find such tool back in the day) while I was working as a front end developer in an outsourcing company and it slowly grew and became my (only) day job.
Hope that makes sense.
I'm around if anyone has any questions.
I'd use this opportunity to make a suggestion - how hard would it be to make more detailed map of which season is available on which service? I am especially interested in latest season usually, of course. When you have a show with 15 seasons and you want the latest one, the list shows all the services whether they have new the stuff or just very old stuff.
I'll keep using it anyway, because it's great :)
Do you feel like you’re competing with the many other app options out there with larger teams?
I’m currently building something in a similar space. I’d like to be able to devote myself to it but am worried about viability (both overall and as a solo developer). That is to say, inspired to see your post!
That said - I haven't had a day without working on it (for at least 30minutes to handle support email) in more than 15 years. Also - I plan all vacations around it (well, those are really vacations for my wife, I try and keep working as much as I can on them) by making sure we always have good internet connection and we're never somewhere where we won't have internet for more than a day. Thankfully, that's fairly easy to accomplish nowdays, but I can't, for example, do a multi day camping or hiking trips.
What I'm trying to say it it comes at a price and it's not all great even when it's successful.
And yes, of course I feel I'm competing with the other options - some with huge teams and VC money, but at the same time I regularly check them out and I'm confident my product brings enough value to stand its ground - it doesn't have tens of millions of active users monthly - and it doesn't have to. I'll be happy if I can keep the current scale and the level of satisfaction of my users forever.
Now, I wish I had some advice for someone with a new product in this space. The truth is I have no idea how viable or hard for someone to start something new may be.
If you want - let me know specifically what you're working on and I'll give you some feedback (either in here or through the contact form on Next Episode).
(it's fine if you prefer to keep it under wraps too)
Basically its great because everything is client side so all you have to is make frontend websites for people to interact with, and even that isn't really necessary. You just need people, with wallets, to be able to interact with your smart contract easily.
The smart contract you deploy has to address a pain point for existing users, typically by consolidating multiple transactions they are doing into a single transaction.
Your smart contract can take a cut of the transactions that flow through it.
The ongoing overhead costs are practically non-existent. The initial costs to deploy your smart contracts can vary to be several hundred dollars at time of writing.
It doesn't really matter what people think is happening in the blockchain space, or their infinitely moving goal post to reinforce their view about a lack of use case. The reality is that there is a market and there are market needs, just like any other market. The distinctions in this space is that the payment system is built in and all the users bring their own connection to the nearest servers which store all your variables. It's not different than any other financial services, just way faster and permissionless to get a foothold in.
And with crypto prices going up we are probably going to see the next DeFi bubble.
If you want to build a DeFi app, You need to learn DeFi development and I have a course just on that:
I also have a youtube channel for blockchain dev:
Also, do you think this can be a long term career?
Private sector has not gotten around to valuing this skillset and typically interview out of novelty and curiosity but are completely confused and ignorant about what your involvement in “blockchain” actually was, but there are enough VC backed companies that operate in this space if you wish to eventually be employed.
You can also get wealthy enough not to care. Not from crypto prices rising, just from transaction volume and earning your crypto.
Could you please elaborate? Do you mean taking a cut from the transactions?
Also, if I gave myself 6 months of part time study, will that be enough to get proficiency to start working on real world projects?
> Also, if I gave myself 6 months of part time study, will that be enough to get proficiency to start working on real world projects?
If you already know how to program it honestly won't take you that long. The bigger issue in DeFi and crypto in general is what to focus on. Here, all of your side projects can make money right out the gate without trying to look more legitimate than the next, but now some make more than others. The space moves extremely fast and other people's better ideas can be tempting to focus on.
Because if so i would be skeptical.
People selling courses are selling the dream and hyping "money making" through some new shiny tech.
I hope these two accounts are different persons.
If people find getting into interest bearing products to be complicated, then you would create a contract to make it less complicated.
Pooltogether.com is an example of something people like, I didnt write that. It just gives people a chance of earning more interest than they could alone, at the expense of earning no interest in the mean time. They bill it as a “no-loss lottery”, while it is really just helping people deposit into other onchain financial services. It is analogous to many people depositing into a single savings account to earn more interest than they could as an individual, and only one person getting paid all of the interest. So some people like doing that because their alternatives are non-existent.
You can make a competitor to that or something slightly different and get people using it.
I don’t post or advertise audits, third party smart contract audits are expensive and purely a marketing racket.
A) users dont care
B) Vulnerabilities come from closed source pricing oracles.
C) users that do care understand that vulnerabilities are not really coming from the code and more so from pricing oracles
D) Users can buy smart contract insurance.
E) They can also buy their own smart contract audit, I at least make sure the block explorer has the code and ABI available
As to your point that user's don't care, I think that's the real answer, and it's a shame. Do you think the user base is not technical enough to care?
Secondly, another thing I was alluding to is that you can just copy working code. You can deploy the exact same service as someone else and compete directly. Too many developers think they need uniqueness, which may have been true in the "I can only get recognition from VCs to make real money" world. DeFi development is analogous to launching a grocery store offering slightly different brands. The code you copied from having already been audited.
Third, everything I wrote before was assuming no malicious intent. So if we are copying code for the most part, it moves the vulnerabilities to the closed source oracles and the behavior of the oracle's sources of data.
I'm always open to having this conversation, in general top level hackernews has not been ready for that conversation and they want to debate largely irrelevant things about their feelings over blockchain, as opposed to the state of various sectors in the space that they aren't aware of. So leading with nuanced discussion would hurt the visibility of what I actually have to contribute.
It seems to me like you've found an interesting way to play in an adversarial space by selling shovels during a gold rush.
I don't check it, but I'll try
For every person who currently does X successfully, there will be a multiple of those who failed at the (nearly) same and aren't chiming in.
None of those things are actually copying, arent they? They are just reading.
Do I believe that everybody who actually creates a small SAAS emulating some of the ideas presenting here will be a smashing success? Of course not! Do I believe many will succeed? Of course!
This is like saying, how do I get to the NBA? Well, train hard everyday, eat well, get into a competitive basketball program since HS. None of those things are sufficient, but for sure are a great blueprint.
I had a lot of interest in the symptom screening tool, but then my provincial government changed the rules so child care centres didn't need to collect symptoms. I have 2 centres using it and I just cover the bills. I've told them they can use it for free. Probably more of a hassle to collect the $10/month from them.
First book didn't sell much but initial sales of the second one got me enough to cover about 2 months of expenses. Combined with workshops, books helped me through 2019 and early 2020. (Note that I live alone, in outskirts of a city in India - my monthly living expenses is around $150, which includes rent and domestic help)
Pandemic meant I didn't get workshops anymore, but fortunately, my ebooks sale picked up enough to more than cover that loss. I even spent about 5 months to just update my earlier books. Currently working on 9th book that I hope to publish by end of this month.
May I give you advice as someone who buys a lot of e-books? A book is judged by its cover. Your covers look really cheap, and so everyone will judge the quality of your book in that fraction of time.
It's like a funnel, and a lot of people will already drop off by looking at your covers. Bad graphics, bad fonts, bad colors.
Hire a really good designer and let them make the cover. It doesn't have to be expensive. I'm 99% sure it will make a ton of difference for your sales.
Maybe try it with your best book first and see what it does to your conversion rate.
I was going to say no, but you know what, I'll give it a honest try for the 9th book. I can probably afford it now.
I've gotten plenty of similar feedback before too. Grammar issues (English isn't my native and I'm not good at natural languages in general). Bland covers, like you mentioned. Marketing strategies, many which I do not wish to try (for ex: buy a domain for my blog and ebooks). There's just too many things to follow/maintain.
Researching, writing the book, reviewing and editing it, revising for later editions, etc are painful enough. I love the feeling of completing a book and seeing sales coming in, which so far has kept me going.
All I wanted since leaving my job was sustainable income and if I can maintain current sales, I'm more than satisfied. All my ebooks can be read for free online. I get most of my sales when I post about a new book on social media for free download. Both leanpub and gumroad allow paying more than the specified price and readers are willing to do so.
Very soon I realized, I lack the experience on the hardware side and a partner joined in (so strictly not solo anymore). Yes hardware is hard!
AirGradient focuses on monitoring indoor air quality in schools and offices and operates with a hardware as a service model, i.e. you do not have upfront costs for buying expensive sensor but you get the sensors provided for the duration of the service.
I am also running a blog on AirQuality. I created detailed build instructions to build your own powerful air quality monitor (PM, CO2, Temperature and Humidity) which is fully open source and open hardware and I am more than happy to send you PCBs if you want to build it .
2020 wasn't a great year due to the effect of COVID on PerfectTablePlan sales. But I've been profitable every year.
 With a bit of help from my wife on the accounts and freelancers for web design, testing etc.
Some of the BoS regulars can still occasionally be found at:
BTW the fact that the seating plan isn't stored on a third party server is a selling point for privacy minded users/organizations. Particularly when it comes to politicians/royalty/celebrities etc.
Previous programming experience was useful, I could hack together some WooCommerce plugins that help me take care of the customers (generating invoices, communication with the Czech Post, pairing bank payments to orders and informing me about payments that could not be paired reliably). That saved me a lot of repetitive work.
Everything so far has only been published in Czech, though.
Around the age of 35 I realized that there was a lot of interesting and weird stories to share with others and I started narrating them in an online magazine published by my friend. For example, life and death of Hernando de Soto, the unsuccessful conquistador. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hernando_de_Soto).
People liked the format and actually started to send micropayments. It still took several years before I actually tried to put together a book. I started a crowd-sourcing attempt which, to my (pleasant) surprise gathered over 300 per cent of the target sum.
Now I am hooked to the lifestyle :-)
Thing is, without middle-men (distributors, bookshops), most of the revenue accrues to you directly. Long live e-commerce.
Everything started from a Show HN post and one comment on HN. Majority of paying clients are from HN too.
I started the project in May, and launched in August. And after 2 months I was thinking it's total failure, because target audience is too specific and my marketing skills sucks.
But by keep talking to a few early users I finally managed to convince them to use the product and than paid for yearly subscription.
Many mail servers function by answering all “RCPT TO:” commands (for the domains served) with a success message that is effectively “Yeah, sure... give it a try” and, if the mailbox doesn’t exist, will email the sender a bounce message.
1: https://postsheet.com for sending personalized emails and text messages using Google Sheets and Airtable
2: https://pikaso.me for taking beautiful clutter-free Twitter screenshots for sharing on Instagram
Andrew is killing it. Already over one million in bids on his platform.
An unfamiliar author’s name means nothing to me, but I might have heard of some of their books. And I’ll open tabs to check them out later.
For artists I’d love to SEE their pictures. I don’t know many artist’s names!
Can you please give some advice on marketing.
I can’t even be bothered to sell my own used junk.
But it is a low tech way to do e-commerce.
I get a compliment from time to time from my users asking if I'm really running my product solo.
The tool is https://syften.com and it's a keyword notification service for Reddit, Hacker News, Indie Hackers, Slack communities, Facebook groups etc.
I think that the biggest help was the Indie Hackers community.
Interestingly, after reading all of Paul Grahams essays and going through startup school I saw no spike in my MRR. On the other hand, reading a handful of James Clear articles had a profound effect. It's important to keep in mind that if what you read doesn't change your behaviour then it's just entertainment.
It is profitable as the running costs are very low, but currently my income is only around $1k-$2k/month. It started as a side-project but I have been working full-time on it since last year when the gaming company I was working for went bankrupt.
Being a dev I am too focused on product and I always want to "fix one more thing" before marketing it. As my savings got lower the product got better, I think I am now at that point when I can start finding customers without having to worry that "maybe my product is not good enough".
I don't think I could trivially reproduce the results, but I'm happy to get paid for offering free advice. I hope it lasts.
I considered expanding to other places or bringing other people on board, but I doubt I could maintain the same level of quality. Those articles require far more research and domain-specific knowledge than your typical SEO spam.
I'm also not that interested in growing. I want more time, not more disposable income. I am sitting on a few decent business ideas, and this website could easily grow to cover other countries, but I'd rather do more pleasant things.
> How much do you earn
About the same as I did as a developer, though it's hard to get a precise number since it varies a lot.
Every time I bought a new domain and need to setup DNS or verify email, all I want is to receive email from that domains. But setting up postfix or configuring lambda/ses is a pain. So I build this service.
All you have to do is point MX records to my servers and you will be able to receive incoming email.
This is the first time I have a side project that almost finished :-) after 10 years wanting to build a SaaS. To me that is a success.
Consider it just some basic help on your journey.
I just subscribed. You've designed the system in a way that's simple and strait-forward. As soon as I get a couple emails through it, I'll be asking you to take my money.
Obviously if you have limited needs, just 1 or 2 domains, and can get by on the $1 plan, that is price competitive even with free services (like many domain registrars offering free mail forwarding). But the jump to $10 month is far too much, IMO.
I didn't work on it for about 3 years but I recently decided to give it some love. I still think it has potential.
In the past the site made more money because I got commission from domain sales/auctions. Because of API changes and what not this changed but I plan to bring this back. In my experience this is the most lucrative part of this site even if sales are very sporadic.
So far, I have found the IndieHackers community to be very helpful, they are willing to provide feedback and the first two purchases have already come from there. In addition to that, I joined a conversation on Twitter under a thread Adam Wathan, the creator of TailwindCSS, started and it has generated quite a lot of initial traffic to the project.
I haven't launched it fully yet, I am still looking to collect feedback from the early users, so I am offering a large discount, but it feels great to be able to make some money with a side project after a long time working on it.
The addon provides an easy way to print paper labels for products and other things listed in the shops.
How does did he initially get customers? How does he keep growing?
Other things that have helped him stay in business are that he and his wife both wanted and agreed early on to take Dave Ramsey's advice (which somewhat they also got from their parents' example), that it is worth being very frugal to prioritize debt avoidance, having some savings, and paying off a house, over many other kinds of expenses, so when there are ups and downs, they can ride them out.
Edit: They drove that old car for a long time even though the A/C didn't work right and the windows wouldn't all roll down properly etc. Then they saved up for a while, watched for good buys, and replaced it with a reliable used van for cash.
Edits: They also pray and pay tithing, and there are blessings promised in Malachi 3 (Bible) and elsewhere to those who do that (properly?), which I have also experienced, not in identical ways. And they are family, so my wife and I pray for them all, often.
Plus he sets objectives and works regularly on weekdays, and takes breaks on evenings/weekends to enjoy the family. And they read business books and discuss them.
to solve my client's problem: collaborative sales of apartments in realtime. later on, added automation features got generating sales offers/contracts/agreements, then a payment plan editor, and later on added activity tracking and more advanced user management etc ..
Pretty successful start, and getting many real estate businesses who would like to give it a try, a few more clients and might become my full time project of 2021.
Hit me up if you would like to try a demo.
- Planning to focus more on SEO
- Appsumo deal might work
It turns your un-used domain into a Reddit-like content aggregator with all sorts of features - membership, voting, comments, newsletters and monetization. The best thing for me is that it is completely automated and all of my domains are hosted on the platform. :) Not Ramen-profitable yet, but pushing it to get there.
Currently working on an iteration to add affiliate marketing links to skincare products. The amount of money I'm making is comparable to losing my wallet (multiple times).