Unlock the secrets to 7-figure online businesses Special offer: Try Starter Story for $1

How This Couple Makes $5K/Month Creating Digital Products For Indie Entrepreneurs

Founder, MakerBox
started May 2022
Discover what tools DanKulkov recommends to grow your business!
social media
Discover what books DanKulkov recommends to grow your business!
Want more updates on MakerBox? Check out these stories:
How This Couple Makes $5K/Month Creating Digital Products For Indie Entrepreneurs

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hello there.

I am Dan, Co-Founder of MakerBox.

We create actionable marketing resources for Solopreneurs. Founders struggle with promoting their startups. Our Marketing Bundle helps them to pick and execute the right marketing tasks to grow faster.

My Co-Founder (also my wife) and I started MakerBox 10 months ago. And now we make around $5000 monthly. We get money through one-time payments, so every month is like a box of chocolate.

Today I will share our journey to show that selling digital products isn’t that complex. Especially the marketing part.


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

One year ago, we were working at Tech. And one day, I had an idea to build a side project after work. Because I discovered the #BuildInPublic community on Twitter and this famous video of Pieter Levels. It felt like a breath of fresh air — no meetings, people management, and VC.

My first genius startup idea was a Product Hunt for content. Every day, Creators would post their Twitter threads on the platform. And the best thread would win an award: additional distribution for Creators and a convenient way for people to find great content.

When I told Sveta about it, two things happened.

  1. She wanted to join
  2. We agreed that this idea is dumb (especially monetization-wise)

Instead of building a revolutionary Twitter killer that would earn $0 in the first year, we did something different. We brainstormed 42 product ideas to build and earn money from them in one month. It was important because we only had $8000 in savings. That results in 6 months of runway in Tbilisi, Georgia. So we either become profitable or go back to 9-5.


One idea that grabbed our attention was a list of free tools for Indie Entrepreneurs. Because Bootstrapped Founders don’t have a lot of money for paid products, and free products are hard to find. This is how our first digital product was born — MakerBox Tools.

It was perfect for us:

  • We didn’t need to be experts to curate the list of tools
  • It took us only 5 days to finish the list
  • It was useful for us to find new tools

And especially — there were a lot of competitors. Most of them were free, but their UX sucked. So, it was a clear signal that we could get a lot of eyeballs on it. We only needed to be sure we could convert these eyeballs to sales.

That’s why we did two things before building the product.

  1. We built an MVP of the database (a list of 50 tools) and sent it to 30 people. The feedback was mixed. Experienced Entrepreneurs thought it was useless, and newcomers enjoyed it.
  2. We created a waitlist page. In 2 weeks, we collected ~40 emails. It was a good sign, given we had almost no audience and connections.

That was enough to say it officially — we will build and launch MakerBox Tools!


Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.

MakerBox Tools was our first project. And eight months later, we found ourselves having 8 other products. The process of creating each one was quite similar.

  1. We start with a problem we know for sure is painful enough
  2. We validate the demand with early bird offers or tweets
  3. We build an MVP and show it to beta testers to get feedback and testimonials
  4. We launch the first version on Product Hunt
  5. We get after-launch sales from content marketing (Twitter, newsletter, blog)

Launching a new product has become routine for us. We experimented a lot initially, and now we double down on what works best.

We didn’t stick to one format: Notion templates, Airtable databases, a video course, and productized service. Exploring different ways to create value for your target audience is fun.


But at one point, we needed to simplify our product portfolio. People don’t have time to compare all options. That’s why we created the Marketing Bundle to focus users’ attention on it. It’s a collection of our bestselling marketing products. And this one-stop solution is ideal because:

  • People prefer paying $200 once more than paying $50 four times
  • It’s easier for us to create a marketing funnel to promote this product (especially the landing page and email marketing)

Describe the process of launching the business.

The process of creating the MakerBox Bundle wasn’t long. We only needed to combine all components on one page and make a sick onboarding to help people not get overwhelmed. Easy-peasy.

The critical effort was building a converting landing page and winning the Product Hunt.

We use the same landing page structure for all our products. It leverages storytelling to sell to hot and warm traffic. It’s not exactly great for cold traffic, but this is a trade-off we are willing to make:

  1. Hero block — Heading 1, product description, product screenshot, quick social proof, CTA buttons (positioning in 15 seconds)
  2. Problem agitation — the problem our product solves and the negative consequences if this problem is ignored
  3. Value proposition — rational, emotional, and social value from solving the problem with our product
  4. Social proof 1 — testimonials from users who solved their problems with our product
  5. Product features — three strengths of our product (focus on benefits)
  6. About us — a quick story on why we can be trusted + awards or press mentions
  7. Social proof 2 — testimonials from opinion leaders who endorse our product
  8. Pricing — two or three plans with one highlighted (usually, upsell)
  9. FAQ — five to seven objections that we want to handle


We won the #1 Product of the Day with MakerBox Marketing Bundle. It got us a lot of traffic, new sales, and instant social proof. Here are 5 things we do every launch to get as many upvotes as possible:

  1. We launch on Monday because the competition is acceptable and the traffic is already significant
  2. We engage with each comment because comments weigh almost the same as the number of upvotes
  3. We focus on winning in the first 3 hours. We send emails to our customers, share our launch on Twitter, and ask for support in Slack, Telegram, and Facebook groups
  4. We invest much time creating great product visuals and writing an attention-grabbing first comment. It nudges people to learn more about our product
  5. We build an audience on Product Hunt Discussions. It’s a forum for Makers far better than Indie Hackers and Hacker News


Launching a new product has become routine for us. We experimented a lot initially, and now we double down on what works best. Reinventing the wheel is tempting but not a very helpful thing to do.

We didn’t get any word of mouth for the first 4 months. No SEO traffic for the first 3 months. And then it just started to happen. We didn’t change our tactics. It just compounded.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

The Product Hunt launch traffic is over in one week. So, if you don’t want to be the only user of your product, you need to promote it. Here is what works best for us:

Launching on Product Hunt alternatives.

They don’t get as much traffic, but it’s still something. And getting high-quality backlinks is great for SEO. Here are my favorite platforms:

Audience Building on Twitter.

We have 9000 (I am not that popular) and 11 000 followers. It’s not the biggest audience, but everyday people click on the links in our profiles and learn more about MakerBox. It’s a lazy and often turbulent marketing channel. But it works because our audience hangs out on Twitter a lot.

My newsletter “Weekly Dan”.

I send two issues every week with actionable tips for Solopreneurs. It has only 600+ readers (I don’t promote it a lot, but I should), and it already brought us 10% of sales in 2023.

MakerBox Blog.

We focus on SEO a lot. There are tons of marketing articles. But almost no articles about marketing for Solopreneurs. We target long-tail keywords and get 100+ daily visitors consistently.


This is our marketing. It has no complex marketing funnel, annoying email spam, or unsolicited cold DMs on Twitter. It’s minimalistic and calm. A perfect combination for Indie Entrepreneurs.

We usually get around 100 unique visitors. And on the good days, it converts to 1-2 sales with an average order value of about $100. Simple math.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Our Indie journey is going beyond our expectations. We started hoping to make the first dollar online in 6 months. And luckily we became profitable from the first month.


But growing MakerBox is not always shiny and positive. There are still serious problems that need to be solved. Here are the top-4 issue and what we plan to do:

#1 Twitter goes nuts

We get sales from Twitter. We get support on Product Hunt launches from Twitter. We build partnerships on Twitter. And lately, it’s turbulent as crazy. If it continues to be this way, we risk losing our best acquisition channel.

What we will do to solve this issue:

  1. Double down on SEO
  2. Grow and nurture an email list
  3. Build an audience on LinkedIn (cringe and painful)

#2 No recurring revenue

I love one-time payments. “Pay once and use the product forever” is the ultimate cheat code to convince users. But it’s also constant uncertainty — how much will we earn this month? It can be $10 000 or $1000.

What we will do to solve this issue:

  • Launch a no-code product with a subscription
  • Launch a paid newsletter
  • Launch a high-ticket marketing coaching

#3 Not niched enough

I always struggled to narrow myself down. The same thing happened with MakerBox. We do everything: landing pages, positioning, and newsletters. And for some people, that’s a huge plus — a vertically integrated product to fix every problem. One-stop shop. But for others, it’s an objection — Are you good at everything, or maybe I should find a specialist for each issue?

What we will do to solve this issue:

  • Focus on marketing only for Solopreneurs
  • Pick one marketing area and focus on it
  • Decrease the number of offers

#4 Too many distractions

To illustrate the point, we have the “Weekly Dan” newsletter (Substack), MakerBox Blog (Ghost), and Customers + Future marketing newsletter (ConvertKit). That’s three email marketing services in the two-person business. And it’s happening with acquisition channels, content marketing funnels, and operation processes. Messy.

What we will do to solve this issue:

  • Simplify the marketing funnel
  • Stop doing marketing campaigns that generate <20% of the results
  • Decrease the number of tools we pay for

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

The startup rollercoaster is real. Here are my lessons from 2 mistakes and 2 good decisions.

*(Mistake) Ignoring cold traffic. *

For a long time, we only focused on the hot traffic. People who know us from Twitter can buy the product on the spot. But one day, we got 1000 visitors from Sveta’s viral tweet, which converted to … nothing special. It was a wake-up call to make our marketing funnel more friendly for people who don’t know us well.

*(Mistake) Not having an upsell product. *

We have 700+ paying customers. And we had no product to upsell them for a long time. They love the product and consume our content but can’t give us more money because we don’t have a relevant offer. So this month, we are trying our first upsell product — the Marketing Audit program.

(Good decision) Niche down.

Shiny object syndrome is real. It’s so appealing to start doing Web3 when it’s trending. Start targeting E-commerce businesses because this niche is growing. But we resisted and kept hitting one spot — Marketing for Solopreneurs. This is the only way to get remembered.

(Good decision) Stay in the game.

We didn’t get any word of mouth for the first 4 months. No SEO traffic for the first 3 months. And then it just started to happen. We didn’t change our tactics. It just compounded.


What platform/tools do you use for your business?

I am not obsessed with tools. Most of the time, they distract you from mastering the process. But we couldn’t create MakerBox without these fantastic products:

  • Typedream. Incredible no-code website builder for Creators. We create our landing pages in days and edit them in minutes. And they still look stunning.
  • LemonSqueezy. An excellent alternative to Stripe and Gumroad. Still growing feature-wise, but the UX, pricing, and support team are on point.
  • Ghost. Hands down, the best platform to start a blog. A little bit pricey, but the speed, SEO-friendliness, and email features are worth it.
  • Senja. We got a lot of testimonials, and managing them without Senja was a disaster. Also, one of the best pricing compared to alternatives.
  • Pika. Phenomenal editor to make your screenshots better. And the best part — is a free plan without an annoying watermark (all screenshots in this issue are made in Pika!)

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Newsletters are my favorite source of new ideas. I’ve tried a lot of them. I’ve unsubscribed from most. But I don’t miss a single issue from these 3 newsletters:

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Here are four pieces of advice I wish somebody had told me 10 months ago:

  1. Focus on the audience. I see a lot of advice that you need to find the right problem to solve. And that’s a good tip. But I recommend taking a step back and finding the audience you want to work with. Because solving multiple problems of one segment is way more effective than solving different problems of different segments. Leverage compound growth.
  2. Planning + Action. A lot of people advise just to start. And that’s a good tip for overthinkers. But I found that some planning can save weeks of chaotic actions. Spend one day researching your competitors, describing your target Persona, defining your positioning, and describing your marketing funnel. It will be x10 easier to execute with this foundation.
  3. Experiment with pricing. We were selling our first product for $19. Now we are selling it for $199. It didn’t happen overnight. We tested different offers and different discount strategies. You will be surprised how many people want to pay you more than you ask.
  4. Embrace mistakes. We had miserable Product Hunt launches, low-converting freebies, and stagnant revenue periods. Every time it felt like torture. But every time, it brought us a new insight into how to grow MakerBox. Mistakes are part of the journey.


Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We don’t hire anyone at the moment. But if you are open to promoting our product via affiliate marketing, hit me on Twitter.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

DanKulkov, Founder of MakerBox
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
Want to find more ideas that make money?

Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.

Get our 5-minute email newsletter packed with business ideas and money-making opportunities, backed by real-life case studies.

Starter Story
Unlock the secrets to 7-figure online businesses
Dive into our database of 4,418 case studies & join our community of thousands of successful founders.
Join thousands of founders