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My solopreneur story: $0 to $65,000/month in 2 years

After being fired by Tai Lopez in November 2021, I launched startups like a madman to buy freedom.

After being fired by Tai Lopez in November 2021, I discovered the build-in-public community on Twitter.

It changed my life. In 2 years:

  • I launched 17 products

  • I grew this newsletter to 7,000 readers

  • I grew a Twitter account to 55K followers

  • I reached $65,000/month at 91% margin and 0 employee

  • And made new inspiring friends

This is my solopreneur story.

Estimated reading time: 7 min 02 sec

Building in public update

I launched LogoFast on Wednesday and got #1 Product of the Day 🎉

Fingers crossed for the #1 Product of the Week!

4 years of failure 

My entrepreneurship journey started in 2016 when I believed I was Mark Zuckerberg.

It took 2 years to make my first $1 online. Later, I grew a SaaS to $3,000 MRR, but I started to see my journey as a failure after 4 years of grind. I got depressed in 2021 and quit entrepreneurship.

I worked for Tai Lopez as a product manager to overcome my depression. It worked because I finally had a sense of purpose.

When I got fired in November 2021, it didn’t matter. I had a dream. I discovered my role models on Twitter: Pieter Levels, Danny Postma, and other cool kids working solo on their projects from anywhere in the world, making much more money than needed to live comfortably.

I wanted freedom. I was living in Bali with my Korean wife, $20,000 in the bank, no audience, and bad coding skills.

I couldn't find a non-topless picture of us in Bali… this was in France

Just for fun

When there isn’t much happening in your life, it’s hard to find a startup idea. I was so frustrated about my previous years of go-big-or-go-home mindset, that I needed a simple project everyone could understand.

In December 2021, Mood2Movie was born: A movie recommendation app based on your mood. It sounds fancy but it’s just a simple if [mood] then [movie_genre].

This project kickstarted my build-in-public journey. The app is free so I could launch it everywhere on Reddit. One post went viral and got 10K visitors. So I had somewhat valuable content to share on Twitter.

In 6 months, I launched 7 projects without thinking about business, just for fun. I learned much about coding, SEO, writing, launching, and marketing. My Twitter account reached 1,000 followers in July 2022.

Meantime, I ate healthy food, prioritized sleep, and worked out every day (surfing or skating). I also raised a chick.

My wife named him 귤 (Kyul)

Even though I was making just a few hundred $ a month, it was too much fun to give up.

I fell in love

In August 2022, my gamified habit tracker, Habits Garden, was making ~$200/month so I went all-in. But I’m a product-obsessed developer. I don’t like marketing.

Side-project marketing saved me: Ship free tools to promote a paid one.

For instance, I launched VisualizeHabit—a free tool to visualize the compound effect of tiny habits. I plugged Habits Garden and it brought 30,000 visitors in 2 months.

If you read 5 minutes/day for 1 year, you’ll finish 6 books

For a side project to work, I had to be good at launching. I started to make fun launch videos. People enjoyed and shared them, creating a viral loop. Each side-project grew my Twitter following and brought decent traffic.

Thanks to side-project marketing and launch videos, Habits Garden reached 10,000 users in January 2023.

Users requested a mobile app. I had no idea how to code them, but I tried. After 14 days with the help of my friend Martin, Habits Garden was live on the App Store and the Play Store.

It was making $700/month. Not bad, but not worth 6 months of my life. I fell in love with the wrong product.

Back on the grind

Early 2023, I sold a micro-startup I built in 2021. It was making $80/month and was acquired for $4,300. I had stories to tell. My Twitter account grew by ~50 followers a day.

But I was still not making enough to cover my cheap lifestyle.

So I did the 2021 strategy again: Ship startups like a madman. But this time, I applied some rules:

  • No free plan

  • Only painkiller product

  • Move on if no product market fit

I built 8 startups in 8 months. 6 made money. 2 paid the bills. Ship fast, launch viral, repeat. In July 2023 I was making ~$3,000/month.

60% of my revenue was generated by MakeLanding, an AI landing page generator. I tried to grow it but failed. I didn’t use the product and I didn’t care about the market. I just built the startup out of AI FOMO.

In August 2023, my whole family flew to South Korea where my wife and I re-married. It was wonderful.

Product market fit

Holidays are magic. When I left for Korea, my head was full of questions. When I came back, it was obvious: I must build a business for customers I care about. So I quit all my faceless AI projects and focused on products I’d use. 

I sold my AI landing page generator for $35,000 and my habit tracker for $10,000. It gave me time and clarity. I wrote about the process and the outcome.

On September 1st, I launched ShipFast, a NextJS boilerplate to ship startups fast. I packed 2 years of shipping knowledge in a GitHub repo.

I told my wife we’d be lucky if we made $100 with it. By the end of the month, ShipFast made $40,000. I was blown away. It’s hard to describe product market fit, but when it hits, it’s clear.

I kept adding features while tweeting about it. I received tons of testimonials from customers who made their first $1 online thanks to the boilerplate. I was happy.

I also launched ByeDispute: A no-code tool to prevent Stripe chargebacks.

In November, my revenue hit $65,400/month at a 91% margin and 0 employees. As of today, December 17th, ShipFast alone made $168,100 in total revenue.

What money buys

I don’t stress about paying the bills anymore.

I can also speak to a bigger audience because everyone understands money.  It’s hard to explain to a doctor what a NextJS boilerplate is. But a $60,000/month salary buys you attention.

Besides that, my life hasn’t changed.

I surf, write, and code every day.

I also read for 30 minutes after waking up

Living for 6 years with $1,000/month taught me a lesson: My happiness comes from creating, not consuming.

What I’d tell myself if I started again:

  • Find your models: To grind in the void for months, you need a dream.

  • Don’t fall in love with your code: Most startups fail. Keep shipping until one startup hits product market fit. Your customers will tell you which features to build.

  • Focus on painkillers, not vitamins

  • Add a buy button to all your startups, and ditch free plans

  • Start, then think: Even if it’s a stupid idea, build it. You will get more and better ideas, sharpen your skills, and stay motivated.

Thanks for reading my story. But mostly, thanks for following my journey. I wouldn’t be here without the attention you gave me across the last 2 years.

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 1,500+ 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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