I made $250,000 selling JavaScript

When I launched ShipFast, I told my wife we’d be lucky to make $100.

When I launched ShipFast, I told my wife we’d be lucky to make $100.

5 months later, the product made a quarter million dollars at 90% profit.

Here’s why (I think) my code boilerplate worked.

Estimated reading time: 3 min 34 sec

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Background 

In November 2021, I joined the community of programmers building small startups in public on Twitter.

In August 2023, I shipped almost 20 side-projects and grew an audience of 35,000 people. 10 of my products made money. I sold 3 of them for $50,000. The others were making me $4,000/month. Reasonable salary when you live in Bali.

To ship faster, I spent a week building a code boilerplate with landing page components, Stripe payments, user login, etc. I launched on Product Hunt and made $6,000 in 48 hours.

Part of the success is luck, but keep in mind that I was in the game for 2 years — with an audience and proof of work.

Elements of success

The ShipFast growth launched hundreds of boilerplates. (It became a joke on Twitter so I made a video). But none came close to ShipFast’s revenue. Here’s my take:

1. First move advantage 

Being first in entrepreneurship is a competitive advantage. First, people like new stuff. Second, every other product will be compared to yours — it’s free marketing.

In August 2023, there was no go-to boilerplate for NextJS — the most popular React framework.

People talked about ShipFast on Twitter, blogs, and newsletters because it was new. The website was getting 500 to 1,500 daily visitors without spending a dime on ads.

The next trendy boilerplate will be for another platform than the web. visionOS maybe?

2. Emotional outcome

I can’t stress enough how important emotions are in marketing, especially if you’re a product-obsessed developer like me.

People don’t care about features. People want money, status, and respect.

ShipFast was the first boilerplate to tie a product to an actual goal: Launch your startup, get profitable, and quit your 9/5.

3. Real social proof 

Thanks to the emotional outcome, customers of ShipFast are pumped to get started. Their motivation drives results: they actually launch startups and make money.

The testimonials on the site reflect that perfectly — Videos of coders in their bedrooms who just experienced a life transformation.

It’s reinforced by my story. In 1.5 years, I went from 0 to $4,000/month with an audience by shipping apps fast.

4. Unfair advantage 

You get attention when you make $55,000/month as a solo founder.

Newsletters, retweets from bigger accounts, YouTubers. People spread the word. It brings traffic to my site, which increases revenue and makes more people spread the word.

In hindsight, it’s easy to understand why it worked. But 5 months ago, I had no clue what I was doing. 

Your best bet to become profitable is to show up daily and produce something: a tweet, an app, a video. You’ll be surprised by what can happen in a few months.

Whenever you're ready, there are 5 ways I can help you:

  1. ShipFast: Ship startups in days, not weeks with the NextJS boilerplate loved by 1,600+ developers.

  2. LaunchViral: Grow your startup with viral launch videos.

  3. IndiePage: Join 3,000+ solopreneurs and showcase your startups.

  4. PoopUp: Turn your visitors into customers with wake-up call popups.

  5. ZenVoice: Stripe invoices, without the fee.

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