Want to build a solid one-person business by the end of the year?
With these steps and deadlines, you can find, test, and launch an idea by mid-October. Focus on getting users and reviews throughout December.
A compelling tagline can make all the difference when launching on Product Hunt, Hacker News, or Reddit. Show promise and use numbers.
JenniAI sat dormant from 2019 until July 2022, then pivoted its target audience. Since then, it's hit 1.6M users and $151K MRR.
Want to grow your business? Try running a promo in the Indie Hackers newsletter to get in front of nearly 70,000 founders.
Build a Business in 100 Days 💪
by Joshua Tiernan
There are just under 100 days left in 2023. Most people who want to start a business will coast into the new year having made no progress. But, by setting a few deadlines for yourself, you can test, launch, and build a business, all within the next 100 days.
Up for the challenge?
The Tiny Empire breakdown
Here are your five steps, should you choose to accept this mission:
1. Find ideas. Deadline: September 30.
Read the news, browse Reddit or Quora, search social media, etc. You're looking for common problems that a group of like-minded people are experiencing.
2. Test your ideas. Deadline: First week of October.
- Creating a landing page with a waitlist or fake paywall.
- Setting up calls with people in the industry to ask them directly.
- Posting on social. One caveat about this: Social media buy-in doesn’t always validate willingness to spend, so keep that in mind.
3. Launch an MVP. Deadline: Second week of October.
Do as little work as possible. Use no-code tools. Simplicity beats power when it comes to a one-person business.
4. Find customers using social media or sales. Deadline: Mid-October through the end of November.
If it's B2B, do direct outreach via email or LinkedIn to attract your first few customers.
Create a simple sales pipeline:
- Interested: They’ve shown interest in your initial email.
- Meeting booked: After sending them some sales materials, they have booked a meeting.
If you're B2C, focus heavily on social media content, dedicating a decent portion of your week to it. Note that B2C companies have a longer route to monetization, so it may not happen before 2024.
5. Gather reviews, case studies, and testimonials. Deadline: December.
Positive reviews that you can share on your site, sales materials, and social media.
Past client success stories.
Work for your portfolio (if you’re a service business).
Once you have credibility with one customer, capitalize on that as much as you can to get another one. With every happy customer, repeat the process; collect reviews and share them.
Congratulations! You’ve built and monetized a business, and you’re starting 2024 with a strong foundation for a great Tiny Empire.
If you found this useful, I share 15 years of startup learnings in three minute guides every week on Substack.
Discuss this story.
In the News 📰
from the Growth Trends newsletter
🤖 ChatGPT can now see, hear, and speak.
💻 Competitor SEO: Here's how to overthrow your competition and rank higher.
📝 A template to create detailed buyer personas for your product.
🧠 Good judgment is a competitive advantage in the age of AI.
🥸 This TikTok account is using facial recognition to dox random people. Is this the end of privacy?
Check out Growth Trends for more curated news items focused on user acquisition and new product ideas.
Tagline Ideas for Your Next Launch 🏷
I have gone through all of the top Product Hunt launches of 2023 (so far), and picked some of the best tagline templates. Use them as inspiration for your next launch!
Summarize how your product can help your users improve their skills, and how.
Address your user's pain point
Always late? Struggle to get places on time? Lots of people can relate to this. Leaning into a common pain point is very effective.
Highlight the transformation your users will get
Product images can be super boring, right? This product promises to change that.
No one likes long meetings. Play on what people hate, and show how your product will provide measurable relief for them.
Start with a statement
Tell your users how your product helps them get rid of something that isn't working for them.
Use the power of brands that people already know to quickly explain your product in a way that users will understand.
If you are launching on Product Hunt soon, I've created a step-by-step blueprint to help you rank on top. You can check it out here!
Discuss this story.
Landing Page Hot Tips 🔥
from the One Page Love newsletter
Strengthen your landing page with these design, development, and conversion tips:
Lower the risk to commit.
✅ Free trial.
✅ No credit card needed.
✅ Two year warranty.
✅ Speedy support.
✅ 30 day money-back guarantee.
Your landing page visitor is more likely to commit knowing they will be taken care of post-purchase!
Subscribe to Rob Hope's One Page Love newsletter for his favorite UI, design, and development finds.
Researchers and Students Skyrocketed This AI Tool 📚
by Diego Jaggi
David Park founded JenniAI, a tool that helps students and researchers write papers and journals, in 2019. JenniAI sat pretty dormant from 2019 to July 2022, after which it hit $1.2M in revenue in just one year.
The business model
JenniAI has a free version (maximum of 200 AI generated words per day) and a $20 per month paid subscription (unlimited words). It currently has 1.6M total users and $151K MRR.
The growth strategy
JenniAI’s growth strategy revolves mainly around two key components: Pivoting and viral shortform content.
David shared that he got his first 10 users from cold emails, the first 100 from Facebook Groups, and the first 1K from X.
David also says that pivoting his target market was a game changer. For three years, while JenniAI was positioned as an SEO writing tool, it was stuck at $2K MRR. However, its pivot to targeting academic researchers led to insane growth. Why? Because many business owners would rather have a tool that will write their articles for them, while researchers prefer a tool that improves their writing, and enhances their knowledge as they write.
Creating TikToks, Reels, and Shorts is JenniAI's most effective marketing strategy. Partnering with YouTubers has also boosted growth. David says that JenniAI has ~50M views across all of its socials. This is the power of viral shortform content!
Building an effective shortform content strategy
Create various shortform content pieces and post them on each platform once a day.
Partner with paid influencers to post validated viral concepts. Pro tip: Find micro-influencers through hashtags.
Contract your top performing micro-influencers on a monthly retainer to post on your company account.
The power of influencers
David started an influencer program for students to promote JenniAI for a $15 commission for every new subscriber, or $5 for each user that remains subscribed.
Lastly, an interesting long-term growth strategy was buying the domain “jenny.ai.” David mentions that this alone led to 52K visitors, 20K new users, and 271 paid subscribers over 10 months.
I share a case study like this twice a month in my newsletter, Lucrative Unicorns. Would love to see you in there!
Discuss this story.
The Tweetmaster's Pick 🐦
by Tweetmaster Flex
I post the tweets indie hackers share the most. Here's today's pick:
Enjoy This Newsletter? 🏁
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Special thanks to Jay Avery for editing this issue, to Gabriella Federico for the illustrations, and to Joshua Tiernan, Darko, Karthik, Rob Hope, and Diego Jaggi for contributing posts. —Channing
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