Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hi, I’m Laurids the founder of Indiebrands. I’m 25 years old and live in the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria.
& I’m David – came on board as a cofounder a few months after Laurids launched. I am 25 as well and also live in Vienna.
Indiebrands sells company names completed by ready-made logos and a great top-level domain. We sell these packages to other startup founders and indie hackers who struggle to come up with a name for their products/companies.
Last month we made about $3,300 with average monthly revenue of $1,300 in the last 12 months. Growing about 200% in the last year.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I had this idea quite a few years ago but didn’t know how to make it a reality so I stopped pursuing it. After I started to learn web development I came across a website selling a digital product in a very simple way. This reminded me of my past idea to sell business names, which came to me after looking for one and discovering sites that would sell bad names at outrageous prices, and I knew I could provide a way better product.
I am working as a product designer/art director for a software company, now only part-time, and David used to work as a marketing lead for another startup. But we always wanted to start our own thing.
The project combined our skills perfectly, focusing mainly on design and marketing with just a bit of coding, which I just started out with at that time. This made it the perfect project to work on as a side hustle, while still working full time, as it also didn’t require us to take a big financial risk.
Progress is not always linear, and your insights may be more valuable than your profit.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
After being inspired by the simple way this other website sold its products, it was just a button leading straight to checkout with no fancy user interfaces built around it. I built the MVP in a couple of days and put it out.
I started looking for domains that could work great as a business name. Back then, I didn’t have any particular process, so it took hours to look through thousands of domains to find a handful of good ones. I managed to grab 10 domains that I liked for about $300, and started designing logos for them.
We figured that adding a logo to the domain gives the user a great feel for its possible application and also serves as an additional selling point. We also didn’t want to fall into the domain speculation market, but rather target indie hackers that struggle with branding for their projects. After figuring out the core product, it was time to build the website. I think I sat on my computer for 3 days straight to finish up the site. Launching just about a week after starting the project.
Describe the process of launching the business.
Initially, the site gained almost no traction since I only announced it to my rather small Twitter audience.
My goal was to at least make back what I spent on the about 15 domains I bought. I kinda forgot about the project for a while at this point.
After a few weeks of no sales and rather low traffic, I decided to put all names on sale at $99 and launch on Product Hunt to at least make back my initial investment and quit the project afterward. I launched the site on Product Hunt and suddenly sales started trickling in. Overnight all domains sold out, making a little over $1,000 in less than 24 hours.
I launched a few products on PH before and always timed it to be the exact right time. This time I was lazy and just published it at a pretty bad time with not much work put into the listing. I kinda treaded the project as done and just wanted to make a last effort to sell some domains. I am not sure why, but the project still got a lot of attention, with the final drop in the bucket being that Product Hunt Twitter with 200k+ followers shared it.
This was the moment I realized this could be a business.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers
We have a pretty straightforward process we’ve been using pretty much from the start. It’s working for us so far but we’re still improving on some parts of it. Here’s our process explained in four steps:
#1. First and foremost, it is important to reach new people who might be interested in our product. To do this, we use two methods in particular. SEO and product as marketing. A great example of content that still converts a lot of visitors into leads is our SaaS Pricing Calculator. It's a free tool that helps our audience determine their pricing policy.
#2. Converting new visitors into leads. Once we have new visitors, we try to attract them to our website and get them to sign up for our newsletter. Finally, we need to reach our leads at the right time when they are thinking about starting a new project, which is one of our biggest challenges. Therefore, we need to stay in touch and the back of their minds. Special offers for SaaS companies we've partnered with and discounts, help us increase newsletter signup rates.
#3. Now that we've converted traffic into leads, we're on our way to converting them into paying customers. Monthly, our newsletter subscribers and Twitter followers receive an update on our new names and other offerings.
#4. After converting them into customers, we use their products and successes to further promote our services. We especially like this because we can help our clients gain traction and move their projects forward.
Get out there fast, make errors, and move on!
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Today we’re still far from reaching what we want to reach. In the end, we want to grow Indiebrands huge enough to comfortably live off of it. We figured out some decent methods for increasing revenue but are still learning a ton. In the big picture, our revenue is growing but it still fluctuates a lot.
Some stats about Indiebrands today:
- Email Subscribers: about 500
- Twitter followers: 230
- May Revenue: $3,300
In the future, we want to partner up with even more SaaS businesses and get more coupons for our customers.
Besides that, we’re considering extending the products we currently offer. We recently added a custom logo service that is already driving some revenue. We’re thinking of adding design services, landing page templates, design & shipping resources, etc. What exactly it’ll be isn’t certain, but we’ll certainly update our newsletter subscribers once we’ve decided and pushed updates.
Additionally, we want to grow our affiliate team since this could in theory be one of our best marketing channels.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Connecting with people. Especially in the beginning. I had a lot of conversations on Twitter with strangers just chatting about their projects and ours. I never thought there would be such a large community of people who are genuinely interested in what you're doing, and who also have so many interesting stories to tell.
Not every month is a good month, and you can't always control it. Just one example: In August 2021, we launched a free tool, our SaaS pricing calculator. It took a lot of time to develop and then promote. The promotion went great, at least in terms of visitors. We had more than 8,000 visitors thanks to the promotion, but still had one of the worst months in terms of revenue.
That was a punch in the gut for us. When you invest tons of time and work and don't see any effect, it's annoying. Anyway, we both took time off the next month and had a bunch of sales in the meantime. Many of them had their first contact through our free product. So the lesson is: don't be so hard on yourself when churn is higher than MRR growth, when you haven't met your revenue expectations, etc. Progress is not always linear, and your insights may be more valuable than your profit.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
The website is built with nextjs and tailwindcss which is great because with vercel, the makers of nextjs, hosting, deploying, and testing the website is really easy.
For analytics and automation like sending follow-up emails, etc., we use splitbee.io which is a product made by 2 great friends and is very essential for indiebrands. Splitbee is generally our favorite tool in this stack since it is just so easy to use and provides great tools for us to grow.
We also use notion databases as cms and for our blog posts vercel edge functions for things like generating our product mockups on demand.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I can recommend two podcasts I sometimes listen to:
Product Journey: A Podcast by Noah Bragg and a friend of his. Their talking about their process with a very friendly conversation-like attitude. That feels way more genuine than the fake guru type of stuff you often find.
Art of Product: A Podcast run by Derrick Reimer and Ben Orenstein. I love Derricks's design work on his SaaS, so checking in there sometimes is always worthwhile.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Like you, we are also still starting and learning. And the most is learned beyond the comfort of creating complex concepts for your next project without actually starting it. My advice: get out there fast, make errors, and move on!
A few quick tips:
- Talk to the people that show interest. Ask them honest questions and don’t be afraid of harsh feedback.
- Don’t be afraid of changing things once you started out. We changed up tons of stuff on our landing page, our communication, and our pricing.
- Use every opportunity to learn, that is the most important thing.
- But at the end of the day: Trust the process and your gut feeling. Each journey is different and not every piece of advice you read online, including mine, is suited to all different situations.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
No, but if you are looking for a high-paying affiliate program sign up here.
Where can we go to learn more?
Thanks for reading through the whole interview. Check out these links if you want to learn more:
Good luck on your journey. Feel free to get in touch with us on our personal Twitter accounts if you have any further questions!
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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