Really enjoyed this interview with Indie Hackers founder Courtland Allen.
(although it's a Software Engineering podcast, don't worry it's a great founder story and doesn't get technical 😀)
It took Courtland approx 6 weeks to go from idea to making his first sponsorship sale. And in only 7 months he was profitable to support his (San Francisco) rent and living expenses.
But... he had plenty of failed startups before coming up with Indie Hackers. What he learned from those failures were the inputs to building an incredibly successful business.
- Courtland stopped thinking about product first - he thought about how the whole model would work including the product.
- Indie Hackers was planned in 3 steps with each step making the next one possible. First he started with publishing interviews on the blog. Next was the newsletter to get people back to the blog. Finally, when the newsletter was big enough he introduced the community.
- The podcast wasn't part of the plan and he didn't want to do one. But users asked for it. He listened, launched and now it's the biggest of driver of new members to Indie Hackers. Listen to your users - they might know what they want better than you do.
- 3 days to plan out the idea and 3 weeks to launch. Move fast and get something out in public.
- Charge high $ for something that has high value. If you're indie and need / want to make meaningful revenue quickly, don't mess about with low value problems that need 100s or 1000s of customers to turn a profit.
- Use constraints to shape what you're doing and prevent endless planning.
- At the start do sales and not marketing. Marketing takes too long to build revenue. You need to talk to prospects directly and pitch your offer.
- Don't try to do everything. Focus. Start small.
And more good stuff about community but you'll have to listen to the episode. It's worth it 🎧