2021 holiday spending is predicted to be record-breaking:
Online sales are expected to increase by about 13% this holiday season. Here's a list of deals from the Indie Hackers community to kick off your shopping!
The global fishing equipment market is expected to hit $16 billion by 2027. A pandemic-driven boom in niche outdoor sports means new opportunities for founders.
Founder Stefan Smiljkovic hit $5,300 in monthly revenue with Automatio, his no-code web automation tool. Here's his advice on how to use your product to grow your product.
Want to share something with nearly 85,000 indie hackers? Submit a section for us to include in a future newsletter. —Channing
🎁 An Indie Hackers Black Friday
by Jay Avery
The National Retail Federation predicts that holiday spending may hit up to $859B this year, a 10.5% increase from 2020. Read on for more, including Black Friday deals from the indie hackers community!
Shop till you drop
The news: 2021 holiday spending is expected to shatter previous spending records, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). However, its estimates exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations, and restaurants. With many households enjoying renewed purchasing power, NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay noted that momentum is growing for holiday spending:
Consumers are in a very favorable position going into the last few months of the year as income is rising...retailers are making significant investments in their supply chains and spending heavily to ensure they have products on their shelves to meet this time of exceptional consumer demand.
Online purchases will remain strong, but many consumers are expected to shift back to in-person shopping this year. With the pandemic slowing down, more people feel comfortable visiting physical stores this holiday season.
Shortages? While shoppers are ready to buy, stores may not be quite as prepared. Supply chain and labor shortages will likely affect holiday shopping this year, and some economists predict that these shortages will last through 2022. Those looking to purchase this year's hottest toys should seek to buy in-person at smaller retailers to avoid supply chain issues, according to The Toy Insider.
Late start: A Gallup poll released this week found that 61% of Americans have not yet begun their holiday shopping. 33% reported that their shopping was underway, and only 4% had completely finished.
Why it matters: 56% of Americans reported that they are "very likely" to complete their holiday shopping online. Gallup speculates that this increase could be due to more people adopting the practice throughout the course of the pandemic. For e-commerce founders, and those looking to enter the space, these numbers are exciting.
Deals from the Indie Hackers community
Here's a list of businesses owned by members of the Indie Hackers community that are running Black Friday sales this year. Hopefully this makes it a bit easier to support a fellow founder this holiday season!
1UpBlitz: 1UpBlitz is the first SaaS starter for blitzjs that will save you 60+ hours of work. Use the discount code 1upblackfriday during checkout. 20% off for the first 30 people.
7 Habits of Highly Effective Tweeple - The Wisdom Of Twitter: Interested folks can get the book for $5, just use the code 'bfcm'.
AdminKit: 30% discount on all licenses for AdminKit, a premium Bootstrap 5 admin template, featuring hundreds of UI components.
AppstoreSpy: 30% off on any monthly plan or 40% off on any annual plan. We are a mobile app store intelligence platform that helps you to grow by spying on competitors.
AppSumo: 10% discount on lifetime deal.
Axon Optics: Our eyeglasses for light sensitivity and migraine are 30% off. Just use the code FRIDAY30 at checkout.
Catogram Illustration Kit: Just use the code "thanks" to get it for free!
Cogency: 10% off for three months on the business plan. Coupon code BLACKFRIDAY30 on checkout. We are a video meeting service that includes whiteboards and task management.
Communitable: 50% off Communitable and Communitable Makers Edition. Discount starts on Black Friday and expires November 30. Just use the code BLACKFRIDAY21 at either checkout.
Customsitenow: 50% off all plans.
Cut Into The Jamstack: $1 on Black Friday!
Draftss: Unlimited graphic design and code on subscription. Buy any one month plan, get a one month plan free. Coupon code: BF2021
DronaHQ: DronaHQ is a low-code platform to build internal tools and operational apps rapidly. 40% OFF on annual plans and 25% OFF on monthly plans.
Fintable: Are you an indie bootstrapper doing your own accounting? Sync your bank transactions to Airtable and manage everything from there! Fintable is offering 20% off all plans this Black Friday week, so you can grab a personal or small business subscription for $67 per year.
GreetPool: 50% off sitewide through Monday, November 29. Coupon: BF50.
GummySearch: Audience research tool for Reddit. Use code INDIE25 for 25% off, comes out to $15 per month.
Instagrumpy: Plan, launch, and manage your Instagram account, all in one place. Black Friday Deal: $99 Only. Regular Price: $399.
Isabel Nyo: To share my genuine appreciation with my supporters and community, I have a coupon code thankyou21 which can be applied to anything on my Gumroad to get 20% off. Coupon code valid until November 30. There are e-books on software engineering and leadership as well as templates, best practices, and tools for careers in tech.
Launchoice: 50% off all templates built with TailwindCSS and NextJS, and new upcoming releases. The deal is active through December 1. Coupon code: bf2021
Linkz.ai: Smart link auto-previews that keep visitors on your website. 50% off on all plans for six months. Code expires Monday. Use code BLACKCYBER2021 at checkout.
Logology: For the whole week, our logo packages are available at 50% off. Just use the code BF21 at checkout through Monday, November 29.
Microns: Limited access for only 10 people premium with 33% off.
Mike Vann: We're offering 30% off any of our video production gigs. We do them all live-action with real actors and custom scripts (if you need one). We do not use stock footage or do animated videos. Just let us know that you are coming from Indie Hackers when you message us, and we will apply the discount to your quote.
MX Route: If you're like me, and need custom email addresses for all of your indie projects, MX Route is having a $99 one-time deal (or $10/yr).
No Code MBA: 50% off membership! The discount will be automatically applied on Black Friday.
None to Run: Have you ever started a running plan, but found it WAY too difficult? None to Run focuses on time on your feet, not distance or pace. Starting now, get 50% off the regular None to Run app price on the first year of an annual subscription (regular price every year after)!
Noora: 30% off all of our plans. The discount is valid for the first 12 months.
NuovoTeam: NuovoTeam is a Push-to-Talk (PTT) and all-in-one employee productivity suite that facilitates employee productivity tracking, communication and collaboration across your workforce with its distinctive features. Black Friday discount for new users: 14 days Free Trial and 30% Off.
Oku: 25% off all Oku subscription tiers with the code BOOKFRIDAY at checkout! We're building a companion app for readers, and are currently putting the finishing touches on the next premium feature.
PocketTube: A browser extension for organizing subscriptions on YouTube. 30% off on the annual subscription. Use coupon code: bf2021
PrimoStats: We help content marketers find, and cite, stats faster. Only $5 for your first month. Offer ends November 30. Use promo code: BFCM21
ProductHQ: 50% discount. Use the code FRIDAY.
Raport: Free public beta for Raport, which allows you to analyze all your data (Stripe, Google, Facebook) in one app, delivers recurring reports, and alerts you about critical events. Limited time offer.
Ruttl: 75% off on all lifetime plans until November 30. The discount code is BLACKFRIDAY75 which needs to be applied on the checkout page.
Shadowmap: The best tool in the world to visualize sun availability relying on global 3D data. Get Shadowmap Pro now through November 29 at 50% off using the coupon code: SUNDAY
Softr: A no-code platform to build web-apps from Airtable. 30% discount on all Paid Plans for six months, allowing you to unlock the full power of Softr with any of our paid plans. New users only, valid through November 29. DISCOUNT CODE: SOFTR-BF2021
TableWS, BucketWS, VideoTTS, LandingGO: Get lifetime 75% off on any package and subscription! Through November 30.
Tailkit: 30% off for the first 50 purchases (for each license). Tailkit will help you design super modern dashboards and websites in minutes. It includes hundreds of carefully crafted, easy to customize, fully responsive UI components for your Tailwind CSS based projects. 50% off OneUI, and 50% off Dashmix, our bestseller dashboard templates.
Themesberg: 90% off on premium themes based on Tailwind CSS, Bootstrap 5, React, and Figma. 150 limited orders available.
ThriveDesk: ThriveDesk is simple, affordable help desk solution for small and medium businesses managing customer support. It's an alternative to Helpdesk, Intercom, Zendesk, Freshdesk, etc. 50% off monthly subscriptions and 60% off yearly!
Transistor: 20% off our annual podcast hosting plans. Discount automatically applied when you sign up November 26-30.
TreatTeek: Want to get your dog eight gifts for Hannukah without breaking the bank, or want a perfect doggo-friendly stocking stuffer? TreatTeek is an accessible, easy to clean, eco-friendly treat bag that clips onto leashes, backpacks, belt loops, and more.10% off with code BFRIDAY10!
Trickster: Recently used files utility for Mac. 50% off until the end of the month.
Typing Hero: 20% off on Lifetime License. No code required, just make the purchase from within the app. Ends November 30.
UXWizz: Get 50% off with code BF2021 for the UXWizz Company and Agency licenses. Valid through November 29.
WatermarkHere: Online photo watermarking app. 50% off with coupon "BLACKFRIDAY"
WeLoveNoCode: We are giving 40% off on WeLoveNoCode, a platform to hire no-code developers on a monthly subscription. Use promo code QOwbLvnQ.
Wicked Templates: Free and Premium themes, UI Kits, templates, and landing pages built with Tailwind CSS, HTML, and Next.js. 50% discount applied automatically.
Xara: Get 60% off all annual plans to jump into 2022 creating better marketing content with less work. Use code Blackfriday2021 at checkout.
Feel free to share more deals in the comments below!
Discuss this story, or subscribe to Indie Economy for more.
📰 In the News
from the Volv newsletter by Priyanka Vazirani
🚘 Alcohol detection systems will now be mandatory in all new US cars.
📉 Crypto markets have crashed after India floated a regulation bill.
📵 China has banned celebrities from showing off their wealth on social media.
🌳 Uber is entering the booming cannabis market.
🎈 Macy’s is selling its Thanksgiving balloons as NFTs.
Check out Volv for more 9-second news digests.
🧗 Niche Adventure Sports Are Booming
from the Hustle Newsletter by Shân Osborn
The Signal: Interest in outdoor adventure sports is soaring. The climbing and fishing subreddits are closing in on 1M members each. Google searches for "hunting near me" are on track to reach their highest peak yet.
The big picture: Spurred on by the pandemic, consumers have been flocking to nature-based activities (something we also pointed out in our human rewilding Signal).
Over a year in, demand for outdoor recreation has continued to explode. From apps to accessories, niche sports provide numerous opportunities. Three particularly high-growth areas:
1. Mountain adventures: Interest in activities like bouldering and backcountry skiing has never been higher.
Source: Subreddit Stats
Indoor climbing is also growing, and is likely to continue to do so over the winter months. Climbing accessories are particularly popular, and US Jungle Scout data shows sellers are coining it on Amazon:
And don't forget the kids: Amazon searches for "toddler climbing toys" have grown ~30% over the last 90 days to reach over 2K searches per month, and this plastic rock climbing set generates $27K MRR.
Flexibility and mobility are vital for these sports, with multiple "help with" and "how to" questions peppering subreddits. You could develop app-based exercises and programs for the climbing community (more on how to capitalize on the mobility trend here).
Founders could also leverage the aesthetic in wall art, gifts, and decor: Subscribers to r/ClimbingPorn have increased fivefold over the last year, and one Etsy seller of "gifts for climbers and hikers" has racked up 9.5K+ sales.
2. Fishing: Arguably not the most adventurous of outdoor sports (although don't take that up with the ice fishing community), the activity is having, ahem, a reely good growth spurt.
Source: Subreddit Stats
The global fishing equipment market is forecast to reach $16B by 2027. US sites like Bass Pro have north of 10M visitors per month, per Similarweb, generating ~$7B ARR.
Founders could focus on subscription services like Mystery Tackle Box, which has shipped over 5.2M boxes (prices range from $19-$39).
Niching down within the sport is also an option. For example, interest in fly-fishing is buzzing. These little guys go for $18 on Etsy (and the seller has done ~2.4K product sales overall), and Jungle Scout shows this 16-piece fly kit brings in $40K MRR on Amazon.
Tying your own flies is apparently a pricey business; founders could provide the growing 25K+ subreddit community with materials, starter packs, and app-based guides (there are numerous "how to start" queries). Retirees are a particularly attractive market.
3. Hunting: Demand for hunting is gaining traction each season. As with fishing, niches within this niche are flourishing (i.e., bowhunting and waterfowl).
Source: Subreddit Stats
Hunting ranches make bank: In the US, guided hunts start at ~$2K, plus anywhere from $500-$80K for special permits hunters need for each animal. Short of ranching up, founders could focus on gear and accessory sales. Here are some examples of in-demand options on Amazon:
Source: Jungle Scout, October 2021 data (Side note: Heading into season in North America)
Tech is a strong niche: OnX Hunt is a GPS hunting app that's trending, has rave reviews, and has a premium subscription price of $99.99 per year.
Hunting would be a great fit for the "Strava for X" model we outlined last year. Or you could build an "Airbnb for hunting" that connects hunters with landowners: One of the most commonly asked questions is how to get permission to hunt on private land.
Founders could focus on a used accessories platform to serve the growing demand for a secondhand marketplace:
r/GunAccessoriesForSale has 80K+ members, a number that has doubled over the last year.
Other areas to hone in on include the rising reloading trend (Jungle Scout shows a deprimer tool brings in $420K MRR on Amazon) and hunting decoys (this duck generates $54K MRR, and 3D-printed decoys are likely to be a lucrative biz).
As with fishing, hunting gear and accessory subscription boxes are a meaty opportunity. These Sportsman's Boxes go for $109-$299, and if just 3% of its 54K+ Facebook followers have an active subscription, revenue would be ~$330K per quarter.
Would you enter the niche outdoor sports market? Share below!
Subscribe to the Hustle Newsletter for more.
🧠 Harry's Growth Tip
from the Marketing Examples newsletter by Harry Dry
For better conversational copy, use contractions.
Go here for more short, sweet, practical marketing tips.
Subscribe to Marketing Examples for more.
💻 Stefan Smiljkovic Hit $5.3K MRR With Automatio
from the Growth & Acquisition Channels newsletter by Darko
Stefan Smiljkovic launched Automatio, a no-code web automation tool, and recently hit $5.3K MRR. The idea behind Automatio is to be able to reproduce whatever manual work you have on the web, and create a bot without writing a single line of code.
Last week, Indie Hackers sat down with Stefan to chat about his journey as a bootstrapped founder. Here are his insights!
I started my digital journey around 15 years ago, and have worked on 3D modeling, UI/UX, growth hacking, business development, client work, and other things since then. My full focus now is on Automatio.
It's important to point out that Automatio is not just a web scraping tool, but an actual visual web bot builder. It can deal with complex scenarios, bypass blocking detection, solve Google Re-Captcha, click buttons, fill forms and fields, take screenshots, and export and import data from Google Sheets.
Automatio was created out of a desire to solve my own problems. I was always looking for web automation, for a bot to save me from tedious, repetitive manual work. It was obvious to me that if this tool served me well, other people could benefit from it also.
Automatio started as our internal tool over three years ago. One day, I shared a video of it on Facebook. It got tons of positive feedback, questions, and “take my money” comments. This was when we decided to create a SaaS.
As a bootstrapped project, it was difficult to find people who possessed the necessary skills to help us build at an affordable price. We also spent a significant amount of time testing what we had created. For many years, I was the only user; I was the one who tested, found bugs, and reported problems. I did everything I could to save our developers time so that they could focus solely on building. For each issue I discovered, I would make a video with a detailed explanation so they could get right to work fixing bugs or adding features.
How have you attracted users?
We used Automatio to grow Automatio.
I was scraping different communities and finding people who related to me and my business. I started growing my Facebook account by scraping the information of relevant people and connecting with them. Back then, I discovered a plethora of small growth hacks on Facebook.
The biggest growth hack was creating a video about how I am using Automatio to solve some of my problems, posting the video on the Automatio business page, and then sharing the video in various Facebook groups. I had 30K views per video, and didn't have to pay for any ads.
Another big milestone was making Product Hunt's Upcoming Page. This was a new feature for products that were not yet released, but preparing for a beta launch. I contacted the relevant guy on Product Hunt, and he was interested in featuring Automatio on the page. I needed to build a landing page before getting there, so I spent a lot of time and energy on design, making an intro video, and content writing. We were featured as the number one product on the Upcoming Page, and that brought us great exposure.
Currently, I am growing Automatio mostly organically. I am going all in into content marketing because of our promising results with SEO. We have a set of small growth hacks which help us rank fast on the first page of Google for the most of our keywords. I am going write about this in the future.
I also found that building in public gave me a chance to talk about the progress of Automatio, and expose it to new customers and users. This also gives me additional benefits, like getting backlinks to my content for SEO purposes.
Currently Automatio gets around 1.3K visitors weekly:
What's your business model?
Automatio's users subscribe to a monthly package and receive a fixed number of credits to be used.
Back in February, we started an early adopter program for people who want to support the project. We had two subscription options: $1K and $2K per year. Most of those early adopters were converted through live calls that I conducted with them to demonstrate the power of Automatio. They really liked this, although sometimes I was putting myself in the fire by trying to work out how Automatio would work for their use cases. This can be tricky because web automation is really fragile.
We released the monthly packages in September, so now our users can finally pay us monthly instead of annually.
Have you found anything particularly advantageous?
I believe that having acquired various skillsets over the years has given me an advantage. But that also came with a cost. Being spread thin across multiple side projects makes it difficult to focus and complete tasks on time.
Even though I don't know how to code, I understand technology very well.
That was useful because, as a bootstrapped founder, I had to design logic myself, explain to developers how things should work under the hood, and design the overall user experience.
You can follow my bootstrapping journey on Indie Hackers, where I share my weekly progress updates!
Discuss this story, or subscribe to Growth & Acquisition Channels for more.
🐦 The Tweetmaster's Pick
by Tweetmaster Flex
I post the tweets indie hackers share the most. Here's today's pick:
🏁 Enjoy This Newsletter?
Forward it to a friend, and let them know they can subscribe here.
Also, you can submit a section for us to include in a future newsletter.
Special thanks to Jay Avery for editing this issue, to Nathalie Zwimpfer for the illustrations, and to Priyanka Vazirani, Shân Osborn, Harry Dry, and Darko for contributing posts. —Channing