Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
I’m Xavier Coiffard, I started my career 12 years ago as a developer. As a freelancer first, then I joined multiple startups as an employee and eventually co-founded a few of them.
I’m now an IndieHacker (solo entrepreneur), I’m currently in a challenge to build and ship 6 products in 6 months.
I’ve built 4 so far:
- Spreadtheworld: a list of 400+ places where to post your startup
- IdeaHunt: a “productHunt” for ideas
- RemoteFR: a job board for french devs that search for a fully remote job
- UserBooster: a Notion dashboard that helps you build your launching strategy
I’m working on the 5th right now but it’s too soon to disclose more info about it :)
I started this challenge 4 months ago, but I already generate $2000 every month with them.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
My first idea was Spreadtheworld, it came from my own experience as a co-founder for a previous venture. I wanted to launch my startup but I struggled to find some online places that could match. So I started to curate a list for myself.
When the list got 100 items I shared it publicly on Reddit and IndieHackers. I got some major traction from it, with hundreds of upvotes and comments. They were even some people asking me to create a product out of it. That’s what I did.
Talk to people first, try to understand if the problem you identified is only on your mind or not, and if people would pay for a solution.
My first thought as a tech guy was to create a complex product that would automate the submission to these 100+ places. I shared the idea with a few people and the feedback wasn’t that good. So I “pivoted” and tried to curate more resources, to bring more value for the founders.
I built it super fast with no-code tools only: Airtable, Gumroad, and Carrd for the landing page. I got some immediate traction and made some sales right away, that’s how I validate it!
The idea of IdeaHunt also came from my experience as a founder but also all the online communities of entrepreneurs. I spent a LOT of time there and figured out that idea validation was always an issue. IdeaHunt was my answer to this problem - not sure it was the right one :)
RemoteFR was born because I wanted to test the “job board hype”. I choose to niche down as much as I can to be more efficient. I choose the French dev niche naturally as I know very well the market and also how unknown the full remote philosophy is in France.
UserBooster is an “extension” of my first product. I pretty much built a solution to the same problem but with a different angle. (In fact, I have an offer where I bundle the 2 products in one sale!)
The 5th product’s idea came from my own pain again. That’s really the easiest way to find an idea, just look where you struggle and try to see if others feel the same. If the answer is yes, you probably have a business!
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
I always want to ship products as fast I can. That’s the best way I found to really validate my products: build my MVP as fast as possible and see if people actually buying it.
That’s why I use no code as much as I can.
For SpreadTheWorld I used:
- Carrd.co for the landing page (it makes great design by default!)
- Airtable to store and show the data with my customers
- Gumroad to handle all the payment processing
- Mailchimp for all the mailing
- Zapier to glue all these services together
The total cost of it is negligible as I only for the Premium Carrd plan, which is less than $50/year! For all other services, I started with the Free Plan!
Building the product took me only a few days, the big part of SpreadtheWorld is really about curating the whole list of 400+ places all over the internet!
Describe the process of launching the business.
To launch my product I always follow the same path:
- Soft launch on Twitter first to get the first feedback.
- Iterate if needed and then launch to small or friendly communities like IndieHackers or the no-code subreddit.
- Again, I iterate on the product if I need to.
- I then launch on a bigger platform like HackerNews, ProductHunt, or the bigger subreddits like Entrepreneur
The whole process takes 1-2 weeks on average. Except for ProductHunt, as it needs more resources to launch.
I usually ask a designer to make a nice cover picture or a GIF logo.
The biggest lesson is: Don’t do one big launch, iterate on the launch as you would iterate on the product. Launch early to your community, and re-launch often!
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
My main source of traffic is really my audience on Twitter. More than 30% of all my sales came from this social network!
Twitter is super effective for a special occasion. I created a Black Friday discount and made ~$200. And a few days ago I participated in the Gumroad day, offered a 50% discount on all my product for 24h. I made more than 20 sales and $600 in revenues!
All the others came from online communities like IndieHackers, HackerNews, Reddit, etc.
I tried to spend some money on ads but it didn’t really work…
What worked as well was newsletter sponsorship! I selected a few newsletters on the IndieHacker community and sponsored them in exchange for being promoted. The ROI of this was pretty good.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
I’m still in a challenge to build 6 products in 6 months. I’ve built 4 so far!
I’m working on the 5th right now, it should be online very soon.
The good news is, 5 months after starting my indie hacker journey I’m profitable with revenues of $2000 / month on average.
The plan is to finish this challenge and then continue to push the product that generates some revenues and to build more!
I’ll probably slow down a bit tho. Building a product every month is great but you don’t really have the time to scale them. That’s what I’m going to do after the 6 months!
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
I put myself in this 6in6 months challenge to learn faster, and that worked!
I learned a LOT about how to ship a product, how to validate an idea, how to build a super minimal MVP to test an idea. I also learned how to stop building, and even to stop a product that is not working (or with no perspectives).
As a coder, I also understood that you don’t need to spend weeks building something. That the most important part of a product, isn’t the product, it’s the distribution. How people will find your product, how many users you can get every day, etc.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
I use nocode tools a lot because it allows me to be fast! I’m a big fan of Carrd, it’s super cheap, the design is great and it’s super easy to make. All my landing pages are made with it.
I’m also a fan of Airtable, it’s a super handy way to store your data and to manipulate them. Their API is also easy to use, I use it for my job board and it’s way easier than using a regular database!
Gumroad is in the center of all my activities as my go-to payment processor. I’m a user of their pro plan, it comes with all you need to launch an info product. For my last product, UserBooster, I haven’t created a landing page or a Mailchimp account. Everything is handled by Gumroad and, honestly, I can’t see any difference in terms of ROI.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
Just do it! Start with a side project, try to solve some problem you think worth fixing.
Once you get your idea, don’t start to code right away! Talk to people first, try to understand if the problem you identified is only on your mind or not, and if people would pay for a solution.
If not, that’s ok, find a new one!
If the problem is worth tackling try to build something in a few weeks. Don’t spend too much time on your first version (timebox it!!!). And launch it right away.
The most important feature of a product is to be “out there”!
Last tip: Don’t fall in love with your product!
Where can we go to learn more?
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