Indie

Awesome Indie Awesome

Resources to help independent developers make money.

Making money from your own code has never been easier, but it's still hard. Here, I try to curate a list of resources to help everyone interested in making money from their digital products get inspired and give it a try. Be it monetizing side-projects, bootstrapping business ideas, etc.

Projects don't need to be big, actually, it's better if they are not, they just need to be profitable. They might provide a passive income after the initial bulk of work, and who knows, maybe even help you reach financial independence.

Going indie does have lots of lifestyle perks :)

All these resources might help inspire you and put you on the right track but in the end what matters is to MAKE and TRY stuff. So devour this content responsibly :)

Contributions are more than welcome.

by @mezod (Doing things every day with everyday.app)

Notes:

  • If [$], it means it's not free and probably means I haven't tried it but still decided to add it because of the several references.
  • This repo was once #1 on Github Trending! :_)
  • Icepy translated this repo to Chinese :)

Communities

Learn from profitable businesses and side projects. IndieHackers is probably the catalyst for this new wave of interest on making an independent income. It is a collection of interviews to successful developers about their products. IndieHackers has been especially interesting to follow since it's been an indie project itself. Courtland Allen has been very transparent about how he built it. The last news make one think that the forum/community will grow.

News for bootstrappers, not VC hackers. Hacker-News like forum. Peter Bhat Harkins started it in early 2016 and I've found it of great value ever since. Also, it runs on great software, which is always a thing to appreciate!

A forum for bootstrappers. Started in 2013 by Ian Landsman and Andrey Butov as a continuation to the now defunct The Business of Software.

Matthew Mallard created this channel on the freenode IRC network in early 2017 and it has been pretty active and growing ever since.

News for hackers, mostly technology and entrepreneurship. Not specific to indie devs but a must for everyone interested in computer science, creating products and making money. A lot of indie devs lurking around. Started by Paul Graham and maintained by the seed accelerator YCombinator.

Exclusive community for indie makers run by Justin Jackson. Currently there's a waitlist. Cost is $249 for lifetime access. I'm not a member so I can't personally endorse it. Generally, I'm skeptic on products targeting indie makers but I still found it relevant to add this specific product because of cross references. Some people might find it interesting. Feel free to reference to reviews!

FounderCafe is an invite-only, online community of entrepreneurs helping each other succeed run by Rob Walling and Mike Taber. $99 every 3 months. I'm not a member so I can't personally endorse it.

Nugget.one focuses on helping software developers launch successful side projects. Being part of the community gives access to case studios, bi-weekly webinars and live mentoring. Run by Justin Vincent. $19.99 per month.

Other

Newsletters

Weekly digest of the best user-submitted articles featured on bootstrapped.io. Curated by Darren Stuart.

Newsletter containing the newest interviews of the site and also the best threads from the forum. Normally ships on Thursdays. By Courtland Allen.

Stories, lessons, and inspiration for independent makers. By Justin Jackson.

Content about bootstrapping, SaaS, growth, marketing, and other startup topics curated by Mac Martine.

For indie entrepreneurs & makers who live and work on their own terms. Every Friday, you’ll get hand-picked startup resources & essays exploring the future of work in the exponential age. By Marc Eglon.

Weekly roundups of stories, guides and resources to help you grow your internet business. Every Friday. Free. Curated by Nicolas de Thoré

Podcasts

Started in 2010 by Rob Walling and Mike Taber have covered almost everything there is to cover in micropreneurship. Here you can find a 'best of' selection of their podcast.

A podcast focused on great products and the people who make them. Since 2012. By Justin Jackson.

Several different topics around bootstrapping online businesses. Started in 2013 by Ian Landsman and Andrey Butov.

"To share the lessons we learn by doing, and learn from the things that others are doing, to help us all get ahead as we bootstrap our businesses online." Since 2013 by Brian Casel and Jordan Gal.

A podcast for developreneurs. Run by Josh Earl, John Sonmez, Derick Bailey and Charles Max Wood since 2014.

Podcast where Courtland Allen interviews some of the most successful indiehackers featured on the site. Started in early 2017 already has 12 episodes with great content and very carefully crafted related notes and links.

Interviews with entrepreneurs and bootstrappers about bootstrapping, SaaS, growth, marketing, and other startup topics. By Mac Martine.

Not really specific to developers but with great content on the several types of products to make a living online. By Pat Flynn.

Ben Orenstein (former growth/product lead at Thoughtbot) and Derrick Reimer (co-founder of Drip) talk weekly about growing their SaaS businesses.

Startup Interview podcast hosted by Andrew Warner, who made $1 million a month from an online greeting cards business.

A podcast hosted by Guy Raz where startup founders tell their story.

What does it take to build a SaaS in 2019? Podcast by Jon Buda and Justin Jackson as they grow Transistor.fm.

Talks

Bootstrapping as the better alternative to VC funded startups.

15 minutes filled with a lot of valuable information and insights where Tyler presents the concept of Micro-SaaS and tells us his story.

Probably one of the most known indie hackers of the last couple of years talks about how to turn our sideprojects into profitable businesses. Very straight to the point, Pieter always provides a lot of insightful thoughts. By the way, don't get fooled by his lifestyle, his success is 500% work.

Lightning 7 minute talk by one of the most respected indie developers. The point Patrick is trying to make, is that solo developers can target way smaller and niche markets which might have low competition and be very profitable from a solo business point of view.

Talk on building a successful small solo business.

In this classic talk, AdSense/GMail/like button inventor explains how to listen to your users and why you should be critical of startup advice.

Other

Posts

The challenge that started it all for Pieter. It inspired me to do something similar. What matters is to create and ship a lot, learning in the process, until something is worth pushing further.

Patrick has written over 500 posts and I have obviously not read all of them, but of the many I've read, I chose this one...

...and this one too :D

This is just an example of a business more than one would be happy with :-) Besides liking how Tyler shares his story building Storemapper, I think he always maximizes for valuable content.

This is the first of a series by Amy Hoy. I'll be honest, I don't even remember what this was about, just that I found it worth my time. Oh wait, yeah, Amy told me not to code, at least at first. I haven't still gotten there...

Another series on what solo bootstrapping is about, with an offensive twist.

This is a bit of a too specific topic for this general selection of posts, but the hell, you need to read it before it's too late. Ok, I'm starting to sound marketingy :D

Numbers with meaning. fpgaminer analyzed all the products featured on IndieHackers, extracted some statistics and got to some conclusions. Also worth reading for the approach.

A guide to the complex world of modern software business: everything from UX design to marketing and writing, with a list of resources to start with each topic.

Others

There's obviously a million posts on the topic. I'm sure this is not a good selection but it'll get you started. Here you can find some more:

Blogs

Over 500 posts that show how Patrick went from being a software engineer to running successful software businesses.

Lessons Learned by a Solo Entrepreneur.

Lots of advice on bootstrapping businesses if you dig between Pieter's multiple interests.

On SaaS and his journey with Storemapper.

Software and business have always been topics Joel has covered. StackOverflow and Trello prove he knows what he's talking about.

The blog of the basecamp people, mostly David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried, on business and how to run bootstrapped companies.

Maciej Cegłowski's blog for his bookmarking tool, pinboard, useful in showing the growth of a successful solo business.

Others
  • The Foundation - Turning the process of creating a B2B SaaS business into a formula.
  • Price Intelligently - Blog focused on the economics of the SaaS business model and SaaS pricing.
  • Moz Blog - For anything related to SEO.
  • Paul Graham - A lot of content for big funded startups, but still relevant to bootstrappers.
  • John O'Nolan - Especially the older posts on how he started ghost.

Case Studies

From capturing a trend to getting acquired in less than one year.

Solving your own pain, representing a movement, moving fast and working hard by a serial bootstrapper.

Transparent growth and financial reports by a solo saas founder.

A collection of bootstrapped companies by the people at 37 signals.

An example of riding the wave.

AJ writes about the making of carrd.co and the different steps that he took on the way to a successful product.

Revenue numbers and learnings from running a Japanese candy subscription box.

Events

"The worlds biggest conference for the worlds smallest self-funded software companies". It has two editions, one more focused to starters, and another one focused on growth. Both last two days. Las Vegas. Run by Rob Walling and Mike Taber.

MicroConf's European edition. Barcelona. Run by Rob Walling and Mike Taber.

"An alliance for B2B bootstrappers". Philadelphia. By Amy Hoy and Alex Hillman.

Free event organized by seed accelerator YCombinator. You have to be a bit lucky to get in. Also, this suggestion goes a little bit against the idea of "bootstrapped" but YCombinator has a lot of good resources for us indie hackers!

Not specific to indie founders:

"Business of Software is not based in Silicon Valley for good reason. It is about building long term, sustainable software businesses. …a thoughtful conference, where people come to listen and learn, not self promote and shout". Boston. Team behind BoS.

BoS European edition. London. Team behind BoS.

"Leading conferences for B2B and SaaS startups". Popular business model for indie devs. Paris. Sydney.

"A conference for those who make the web, and make it their business". Seattle (changes every year). By Jessica D'Amico.

Books

Other

Tools

A collection of resources for bootstrappers put together by Mac Martine.

A list of SaaS, PaaS and IaaS offerings that have free tiers of interest to devops and infradev. Very useful for bootstrappers to keep initial costs low ;) By R. I. Pienaar.

Another list of SaaS, PaaS, and Iaas offerings that have free tiers for developers on a budget. Very useful for exploring ideas and building out proof of concept. By Guillaume (256kb).

Spectacular list of categorized tools for developers resulting from HackerNews threads. By Chris Barber and Craig Davison.

"This is a list of Free Software network services and web applications which can be hosted locally. Selfhosting is the process of locally hosting and managing applications instead of renting from SaaS providers." Lots of salvageable software :P by Edward D.

Courses

Again, I'm not quite fond of listing [$] products made by indie developers targeting indie developers, especially because I haven't tried them myself, but due to several references I assume they are probably worth it and some people might find value in learning about them.

"An online marketing course for software developers & product people". Read some reviews here. By Justin Jackson.

"Pick your customer. Learn how they tick. Learn what they need, want, and are ready to buy." Find reviews here(good), here(bad) and here. By Amy Hoy and Alex Hillman.

Specific topics

In the future, I'd like to have a list of resources for more specific topics or FAQs such as:

  • 'how to get ideas'
  • 'how to find betatesters'
  • 'how to find my first 100 users'
  • 'how to validate my idea'
  • 'where to advertise my project'
  • 'what paid ads work better'
  • 'i've got 100 users, how to grow'
  • 'how do i deal with support'
  • 'types of digital products'
  • 'legal aspects'
  • 'typical mistakes'

Help me make a proper list of specific topics!