$6,000 of profit in 48 hours

4 lessons to launch profitable startups

Hey, it’s Marc.

The last 3 days were wild.

  • I’m writing this issue locked in my 8-square-meter bedroom—the strongest typhoon in the last 80 years is hitting Hong Kong

  • I launched ShipFast and earned more money in 48 hours than I did in 2022

Here are 4 lessons that’ll change my journey forever.

Estimated reading time: 3 min 16 sec


I made 2 decisions in April 2023:

  1. Always have a buy button on every project

  2. Build painkillers, not vitamins

At that time, AI FOMO was at its peak. I took the plunge and built MakeLanding and WorkbookPDF. Both made money. MakeLanding generated $12,000 in a few months. But something was off… Low conversion, angry customers, high refund rate.

In August, I took 2 weeks off to Korea, remarried my wife, and came back with a new goal: Make something people want.

But I don’t know what people want — me too.

So I built something I wanted—a code boilerplate to ship faster—and hoped people would need it too. I built it in a week, with no expectations, and launched it.

Here’s what I learned:

1. Don’t build AI products

What can AI improve or fix? A million ideas come to mind, but none fix the problems I have.

If there’s an easy way to find startups, VCs and people who experience the problem are already on it.

FOMO is real. Twitter success stories keep reminding us. Don’t fall into the trap. If you want to build with AI, build something else and see how AI could improve your workflow.

2. Focus is overrated

  • 365 days on my first startup: $0

  • 365 days on a habit tracker: $5,000

  • 7 days on ShipFast: $6,000

Startups and relationships are the same. You wouldn’t marry someone you met last week. Don’t try to make a startup work if there is no initial traction. Create a bunch of startups, see what sticks, and then focus.

I was dating for 6 years. Now my focus is IndiePage and ShipFast.

But there is a guy on Twitter who focused on a startup and it took off after 2 years… This guy knows what he’s doing. He’s probably been working in the industry for years and knows something people don’t. Unless you’re that guy, don’t marry startups without product-market fit.

3. Design is underrated

Landing page is hot — One of the most common feedbacks I heard for ShipFast.

Your design is the YouTube thumbnail. Your copy is the video title. Visitors are caught by the design and stay for the copy.

I’m not saying you should spend weeks adding SVG doodles. A good design is just 3 things:

  1. Padding: The right space between copy, buttons, and sections. RefactoringUI by TailwindCSS is a masterpiece.

  2. Layout: Big headlines, smaller paragraphs.

  3. Typeface: I found Bricolage Grotesque for ShipFast and I love it so much, that my wife is jealous.

4. Product Market Fit, or no

  • A customer of ShipFast apologized because there was a bug and he couldn’t access what he paid for

  • Another one asked for my bank details because he didn’t have a credit card—he wired the money

For 7 years, I tried to convince users my apps were worth trying—pushy. But with ShipFast, users were pulled into the product.

Build something that makes users want to pull their credit cards like a no-brainer. Don’t waste time on the rest.

We live 4,680 weeks, you have 4,680 shots.

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: Showcase your startups and get more customers. Join 3,000+ solopreneurs!

  4. ByeDispute: Don't let a dispute get you banned from Stripe.

  5. ZenVoice: Stripe invoices without the fee

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