"Your business presents a higher level of risk than Stripe can currently support":
Avoid getting this message in your inbox by being lenient with your policies and adding a little friction to your payment process.
No-code tools help you build products faster and automate repetitive tasks. Charge per user to grow along with your customers.
$140K MRR in 4 years, followed by a $3.5M exit. Spencer Patterson is using the money from his acquisition to build 5 new products.
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Keeping Your Stripe Account Healthy 🤒
by Che Sampat
So, your Stripe account is fully activated and the first few payments have come through. But then, something lands in your inbox: "Your business presents a higher level of risk than Stripe can currently support."
In short, you can no longer accept payments for your product via Stripe. Let's break this down and dig into preventative measures.
Why does this happen?
Stripe plays a pivotal role for many indie hackers. But how does Stripe know that an account with no history, that has never accepted a dollar on the internet to date, is legitimate? Well, they don't.
That means that special attention is paid to new accounts, and any remotely adverse actions are significantly weighted. For this reason, even a few refunds, declines, or chargebacks can result in Stripe deeming your business too high of a risk.
Unfortunately, you'll likely get an automated rejection here with little human intervention. But don't despair; as long as you are above board, there is a way forward.
How can you try to avoid it?
Now that you know negative actions (like declines) can tank a newer account, here are some simple things you can do to prevent that:
Be conservative with the payments you allow: Be more restrictive with Stripe radar rules. For instance, require 3D security where possible, and lower the threshold for scoring.
Ensure there's friction to pay: While it sounds counterintuitive for SaaS products, make it slightly challenging to give you money. Those with stolen card details to test on an unsuspecting site will only put in a little effort before moving on.
Be lenient with your policies: A chargeback at the start of your account is like a nuclear warhead, and you must avoid it like the plague. Make sure it's straightforward for customers to cancel their subscriptions themselves, and refund wherever possible if customers request it.
What to do if this happens
Try to reach out to Stripe through official and unofficial channels. Most folks at Stripe are lovely, and love to help where they can. Be creative and find ways to reach them to ask for a human to review your account. Many have had luck with this in the past (including myself!).
If all else fails, or Stripe doubles down on their decision, here are some alternatives you could try:
- Paddle (MOR).
- Lemon Squeezy (MOR).
MOR = Merchant of Record.
I cofounded ChargebackStop, where we help software companies manage the risk of chargebacks. Check us out!
Discuss this story.
Take Control of Your Time ⏳
This issue is sponsored by Morgen
Work. Life. Side hustle. You're juggling a lot.
Morgen gives you a complete picture of all your commitments so you can plan, prioritize, and control how you spend your time.
Integrate your calendars, task managers, time blocking, and scheduling. Then, turn on AI assistance to make the most of it.
Trend Alert: No-Code 💻
from the Trends.vc newsletter
Repetitive work wastes time, money, and energy.
No-code tools help you build products faster, automate repetitive tasks, and make systems easier to maintain, without writing code.
UserLoop: AI-powered surveys for Shopify.
Strabo: Investment portfolio tracker.
SubSocket: Set up recurring and one-time payments with PayPal.
Craftar: Build scalable APIs and automations.
Adalo: Build custom responsive apps.
Softr: Build directories, client portals, and internal tools.
How to build no-code businesses
How to grow no-code businesses
Share video tutorials on YouTube. It’s a discovery platform that can help to boost your visibility.
Offer freemium to lower your user acquisition costs.
Build an affiliate program. Get others to recommend your no-code tool.
How to monetize no-code businesses
Charge per user to grow with your customers.
Offer subscriptions to earn predictable revenue.
Offer sponsorships to help brands connect with their target audiences.
We’ll see more million-dollar businesses built with no-code tools.
Custom GPTs will become the new interface for building no-code apps in ChatGPT.
We’ll see no-code tools for building AI agents. They will take the guesswork out of building, training, and running autonomous AI models.
“No-code tools are less powerful and flexible.”
No-code tools are easier to use, but less powerful. Custom software is more powerful, but complex. Tradeoffs are a fact of life.
“Bubble’s pricing changes took some companies out of business. Platform risk is too high.”
While this is true, the accessibility, cost, and development speed often outweigh the downsides. Bubble is a unique case. They tried to find a fair price in 2022, and again in 2023. Most no-code tools don’t have this problem.
“There’s little-to-no technical moat here.”
There are other types of moats to build around your business. Scale economies, network effects, branding, and more.
“Using ChatGPT to write and debug code is not no-code.”
True. But this is better than hiring a developer if you need to add custom code to your no-code product.
“User-based pricing limits growth.”
While it adds obstacles to user growth, there are some benefits. You can align your expenses with the workload produced by your user base. Your revenue grows as your customers’ teams grow. You get engaged customers who pay for real users, instead of subscriptions they forgot to cancel.
Become a Trends Pro Member to get the full report on No-Code, or get the next free Trends.vc report here.
Discuss this story, or subscribe to Trends.vc for more.
In the News 📰
Exiting and Building Five New Products 🛠
by James Fleischmann
Spencer Patterson bootstrapped a SaaS product to $140K MRR and 6M daily users in four years. He then exited for $3.5M.
After the exit
After bootstrapping his SaaS to $140K MRR, Spencer sold it for $3.5M on Flippa. But exiting caused stress because then, he didn't know what to work on next. So, he set aside $10K-$50K for each of the five projects he's starting.
He's also now a growth and exit advisor to founders.
Spencer is living off of the interest payments from his savings and investments. He says his expenses are low enough that this covers everything he needs personally, plus the investments he makes into his businesses.
He isn't paying himself anything because the products haven't launched yet. On his previous product, he didn't pay himself a dime until revenue was more than he felt was needed for expansion. Even after that, he only paid himself the amount he'd made at his previous job.
He doesn't have any business expenses right now, but his personal expenses total ~4K per month.
Investing vs. staying liquid
Right now, Spencer needs to be liquid, as he plans to invest his money into new projects. But his cash isn't just sitting around. He has it in high yield savings accounts and CD ladders. For both of these, he aims for 5%+ interest.
Spencer says that money should be treated as a tool, and it should be used to make other tools. He's invested in everything from precious metals to foreign currencies, from international bonds to CDs. He's a firm believer in diversification.
He also plans to look into multifamily real estate once the housing market corrects. He'll take on as much debt as possible on those properties. It's the only debt he's willing to take on, other than his current mortgage.
For money that he keeps in the US, Spencer has one rule: All funds must be in institutions with FDIC insurance. This is a critical step for safeguarding assets, providing a layer of security against the loss of deposit funds.
For international finances, Spencer utilizes services like Wise to diversify his currency holdings, the goal being to minimize currency risk and maximize returns from currency fluctuations.
If you have ample diversification, you can insulate yourself from currency fluctuations, and even potentially profit should your home currency devalue.
Discuss this story.
The Tweetmaster's Pick 🐦
by Tweetmaster Flex
I post the tweets indie hackers share the most. Here's today's pick:
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Special thanks to Jay Avery for editing this issue, to Gabriella Federico for the illustrations, and to Che Sampat, Darko, Dru Riley, and James Fleischmann for contributing posts. —Channing
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