More on Entrepreneurship
28 days ago
Looking for a Reliable Micro SaaS Niche
Niches are rich, as the adage goes.
Micro SaaS requires a great micro-niche; otherwise, it's merely plain old SaaS with a large audience.
Instead of targeting broad markets with few identifying qualities, specialise down to a micro-niche. How would you target these users?
Better go tiny. You'll locate and engage new consumers more readily and serve them better with a customized solution.
Imagine you're a real estate lawyer looking for a case management solution. Because it's so specific to you, you'd be lured to this link:
instead of below:
Next, locate mini SaaS niches that could work for you. You're not yet looking at the problems/solutions in these areas, merely shortlisting them.
The market should be growing, not shrinking
We shouldn't design apps for a declining niche. We intend to target stable or growing niches for the next 5 to 10 years.
If it's a developing market, you may be able to claim a stake early. You must balance this strategy with safer, longer-established niches (accountancy, law, health, etc).
First Micro SaaS apps I designed were for Merch By Amazon creators, a burgeoning niche. I found this niche when searching for passive income.
Graphic designers and entrepreneurs post their art to Amazon to sell on clothes. When Amazon sells their design, they get a royalty. Since 2015, this platform and specialty have grown dramatically.
Amazon doesn't publicize the amount of creators on the platform, but it's possible to approximate by looking at Facebook groups, Reddit channels, etc.
I could see the community growing week by week, with new members joining. Merch was an up-and-coming niche, and designers made money when their designs sold. All I had to do was create tools that let designers focus on making bestselling designs.
Look at the Google Trends graph below to see how this niche has evolved and when I released my apps and resigned my job.
Are the users able to afford the tools?
Who's your average user? Consumer or business? Is your solution budgeted?
If they're students, you'll struggle to convince them to subscribe to your study-system app (ahead of video games and beer).
Let's imagine you designed a Shopify plugin that emails customers when a product is restocked. If your plugin just needs 5 product sales a month to justify its cost, everyone wins (just be mindful that one day Shopify could potentially re-create your plugins functionality within its core offering making your app redundant ).
Do specialized users buy tools? If so, that's comforting. If not, you'd better have a compelling value proposition for your end customer if you're the first.
This should include how much time or money your program can save or make the user.
Are you able to understand the Micro SaaS market?
Ideally, you're already familiar about the industry/niche. Maybe you're fixing a challenge from your day job or freelance work.
If not, evaluate how long it would take to learn the niche's users. Health & Fitness is easier to relate to and understand than hedge fund derivatives trading.
Competing in these complex (and profitable) fields might offer you an edge.
B2C, B2M, or B2B?
Consider your user base's demographics. Will you target businesses, consumers, or both? Let's examine the different consumer types:
B2B refers to business-to-business transactions where customers are other businesses. UpVoty, Plutio, Slingshot, Salesforce, Atlassian, and Hubspot are a few examples of SaaS, ranging from Micro SaaS to SaaS.
Business to Consumer (B2C), in which your clients are people who buy things. For instance, Duolingo, Canva, and Nomad List.
For instance, my tool KDP Wizard has a mixed user base of publishing enterprises and also entrepreneurial consumers selling low-content books on Amazon. This is a case of business to many (B2M), where your users are a mixture of businesses and consumers. There is a large SaaS called Dropbox that offers both personal and business plans.
Targeting a B2B vs. B2C niche is very different. The sales cycle differs.
A B2B sales staff must make cold calls to potential clients' companies. Long sales, legal, and contractual conversations are typically required for each business to get the go-ahead. The cost of obtaining a new customer is substantially more than it is for B2C, despite the fact that the recurring fees are significantly higher.
Since there is typically only one individual making the purchasing decision, B2C signups are virtually always self-service with reduced recurring fees. Since there is typically no outbound sales staff in B2C, acquisition costs are significantly lower than in B2B.
User Characteristics for B2B vs. B2C
Consider where your niche's users congregate if you don't already have a presence there.
B2B users frequent LinkedIn and Twitter. B2C users are on Facebook/Instagram/Reddit/Twitter, etc.
Churn is higher in B2C because consumers haven't gone through all the hoops of a B2B sale. Consumers are more unpredictable than businesses since they let their bank cards exceed limitations or don't update them when they expire.
With a B2B solution, there's a contractual arrangement and the firm will pay the subscription as long as they need it.
Depending on how you feel about the above (sales team vs. income vs. churn vs. targeting), you'll know which niches to pursue.
You ought to respect potential customers.
Would you hang out with customers?
You'll connect with users at conferences (in-person or virtual), webinars, seminars, screenshares, Facebook groups, emails, support calls, support tickets, etc.
If talking to a niche's user base makes you shudder, you're in for a tough road. Whether they're demanding or dull, avoid them if possible.
Merch users are mostly graphic designers, side hustlers, and entrepreneurs. These laid-back users embrace technologies that assist develop their Merch business.
I discovered there was only one annual conference for this specialty, held in Seattle, USA. I decided to organize a conference for UK/European Merch designers, despite never having done so before.
Hosting a conference for over 80 people was stressful, and it turned out to be much bigger than expected, with attendees from the US, Europe, and the UK.
I met many specialized users, built relationships, gained trust, and picked their brains in person. Many of the attendees were already Merch Wizard users, so hearing their feedback and ideas for future features was invaluable.
focused and specific
Instead of building for a generic, hard-to-reach market, target a specific group.
I liken it to fishing in a little, hidden pond. This small pond has only one species of fish, so you learn what bait it likes. Contrast that with trawling for hours to catch as many fish as possible, even if some aren't what you want.
In the case management scenario, it's difficult to target leads because several niches could use the app. Where do your potential customers hang out? Your generic solution: No.
It's easier to join a community of Real Estate Lawyers and see if your software can answer their pain points.
My Success with Micro SaaS
In my case, my Micro SaaS apps have been my chrome extensions. Since I launched them, they've earned me an average $10k MRR, allowing me to quit my lousy full-time job years ago.
I sold my apps after scaling them for a life-changing lump amount. Since then, I've helped unfulfilled software developers escape the 9-5 through Micro SaaS.
Whether it's a profitable side hustle or a liferaft to quit their job and become their own Micro SaaS boss.
Having built my apps to the point where I could quit my job, then scaled and sold them, I feel I can share my skills with software developers worldwide.
Read my free guide on self-funded SaaS to discover more about Micro SaaS, or download your own copy. 12 chapters cover everything from Idea to Exit.
Watch my YouTube video to learn how to construct a Micro SaaS app in 10 steps.
16 days ago
This billionaire created a side business that brings around $90,000 per month.
Dharmesh Shah co-founded HubSpot. WordPlay reached $90,000 per month in revenue without utilizing any of his wealth.
Take Advantage Of An Established Trend
Remember Wordle? Dharmesh was instantly hooked. As was the tech world.
HubSpot's co-founder noted inefficiencies in a recent My First Million episode. He wanted to play daily. Dharmesh, a tinkerer and software engineer, decided to design a word game.
He's a billionaire. How could he?
Wordle had limitations in his opinion;
Dharmesh is fundamentally a developer. He desired to start something new and increase his programming knowledge;
This project may serve as an excellent illustration for his son, who had begun learning about software development.
Better It Up
Building a new Wordle wasn't successful.
WordPlay lets you play with friends and family. You could challenge them and compare the results. It is a built-in growth tool.
the capacity to follow sophisticated statistics after creating an account;
continuous feedback on your performance;
Outstanding domain name (wordplay.com).
WordPlay has 9.5 million visitors and 45 million games played since February.
HubSpot co-founder credits tremendous growth to flywheel marketing, pushing the game through his own following.
Choosing an exploding specialty and making sharing easy also helped.
Shah enabled Google Ads on the website to test earning potential. Monthly revenue was $90,000.
That's just Google Ads. If monetization was the goal, a specialized ad network like Ezoic could double or triple the amount.
Wordle was a great buy for The New York Times at $1 million.
2 months ago
Why don't you relaunch my startup projects?
Open to ideas or acquisitions
Failure is an unavoidable aspect of life, yet many recoil at the word.
I've worked on unrelated startup projects. This is a list of products I developed (often as the tech lead or co-founder) and why they failed to launch.
Chess Bet (Betting)
As a chess player who plays 5 games a day and has an ELO rating of 2100, I tried to design a chess engine to rival stockfish and Houdini.
While constructing my chess engine, my cofounder asked me about building a p2p chess betting app. Chess Bet. There couldn't be a better time.
Two people in different locations could play a staked game. The winner got 90% of the bet and we got 10%. The business strategy was clear, but our mini-launch was unusual.
People started employing the same cheat engines I mentioned, causing user churn and defaming our product.
It was the first programming problem I couldn't solve after building a cheat detection system based on player move strengths and prior games. Chess.com, the most famous online chess software, still suffers from this.
We decided to pivot because we needed an expensive betting license.
We relaunched as Chess MVP after deciding to focus on chess learning. A platform for teachers to create chess puzzles and teach content. Several chess students used our product, but the target market was too tiny.
We chose to quit rather than persevere or pivot.
BodaCare (Insure Tech)
‘BodaBoda’ in Swahili means Motorcycle. My Dad approached me in 2019 (when I was working for a health tech business) about establishing an Insurtech/fintech solution for motorbike riders to pay for insurance using SNPL.
We teamed up with an underwriter to market motorcycle insurance. Once they had enough premiums, they'd get an insurance sticker in the mail. We made it better by splitting the cover in two, making it more reasonable for motorcyclists struggling with lump-sum premiums.
Lack of capital and changing customer behavior forced us to close, with 100 motorcyclists paying 0.5 USD every day. Our unit econ didn't make sense, and CAC and retention capital only dug us deeper.
Circle (Social Networking)
Having learned from both product failures, I began to understand what worked and what didn't. While reading through Instagram, an idea struck me.
Suppose social media weren't virtual.
Imagine meeting someone on your way home. Like-minded person
People were excited about social occasions after covid restrictions were eased. Anything to escape. I just built a university student-popular experiences startup. Again, there couldn't be a better time.
I started the Android app. I launched it on Google Beta and oh my! 200 people joined in two days.
It works by signaling if people are in a given place and allowing users to IM in hopes of meeting up in near real-time. Playstore couldn't deploy the app despite its success in beta for unknown reasons. I appealed unsuccessfully.
My infrastructure quickly lost users because I lacked funding.
This essay contains many failures, some of which might have been avoided and others not, but they were crucial learning points in my startup path.
If you liked any idea, I have the source code on Github.
Happy reading until then!
You might also like
1 month ago
Yahoo could have purchased Google for $1 billion
Let's see this once-dominant IT corporation crumble.
What's the capital of Kazakhstan? If you don't know the answer, you can probably find it by Googling. Google Search returned results for Nur-Sultan in 0.66 seconds.
Google is the best search engine I've ever used. Did you know another search engine ruled the Internet? I'm sure you guessed Yahoo!
Google's friendly UI and wide selection of services make it my top choice. Let's explore Yahoo's decline.
YAHOO stands for Yet Another Hierarchically Organized Oracle. Jerry Yang and David Filo established Yahoo.
Yahoo is primarily a search engine and email provider. It offers News and an advertising platform. It was a popular website in 1995 that let people search the Internet directly. Yahoo began offering free email in 1997 by acquiring RocketMail.
According to a study, Yahoo used Google Search Engine technology until 2000 and then developed its own in 2004.
Yahoo! rejected buying Google for $1 billion
Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google's founders, approached Yahoo in 1998 to sell Google for $1 billion so they could focus on their studies. Yahoo denied the offer, thinking it was overvalued at the time.
Yahoo realized its error and offered Google $3 billion in 2002, but Google demanded $5 billion since it was more valuable. Yahoo thought $5 billion was overpriced for the existing market.
In 2022, Google is worth $1.56 Trillion.
What happened to Yahoo!
Yahoo refused to buy Google, and Google's valuation rose, making a purchase unfeasible.
Yahoo started losing users when Google launched Gmail. Google's UI was far cleaner than Yahoo's.
Yahoo offered $1 billion to buy Facebook in July 2006, but Zuckerberg and the board sought $1.1 billion. Yahoo rejected, and Facebook's valuation rose, making it difficult to buy.
Yahoo was losing users daily while Google and Facebook gained many. Google and Facebook's popularity soared. Yahoo lost value daily.
Microsoft offered $45 billion to buy Yahoo in February 2008, but Yahoo declined. Microsoft increased its bid to $47 billion after Yahoo said it was too low, but Yahoo rejected it. Then Microsoft rejected Yahoo’s 10% bid increase in May 2008.
In 2015, Verizon bought Yahoo for $4.5 billion, and Apollo Global Management bought 90% of Yahoo's shares for $5 billion in May 2021. Verizon kept 10%.
Yahoo's opportunity to acquire Google and Facebook could have been a turning moment. It declined Microsoft's $45 billion deal in 2008 and was sold to Verizon for $4.5 billion in 2015. Poor decisions and lack of vision caused its downfall. Yahoo's aim wasn't obvious and it didn't stick to a single domain.
Hence, a corporation needs a clear vision and a leader who can see its future.
Liked this article? Join my tech and programming newsletter here.
Jared A. Brock
7 months ago
Here is the actual reason why Russia invaded Ukraine
Our Ukrainian brothers and sisters are being attacked by a far superior force.
It's the biggest invasion since WWII.
43.3 million peaceful Ukrainians awoke this morning to tanks, mortars, and missiles. Russia is already 15 miles away.
America and the West will not deploy troops.
They're sanctioning. Except railways. And luxuries. And energy. Diamonds. Their dependence on Russian energy exports means they won't even cut Russia off from SWIFT.
Ukraine is desperate enough to hand out guns on the street.
France, Austria, Turkey, and the EU are considering military aid, but Ukraine will fall without America or NATO.
The Russian goal is likely to encircle Kyiv and topple Zelenskyy's government. A proxy power will be reinstated once Russia has total control.
“Western security services believe Putin intends to overthrow the government and install a puppet regime,” says Financial Times foreign affairs commentator Gideon Rachman. This “decapitation” strategy includes municipalities. Ukrainian officials are being targeted for arrest or death.”
Also, Putin has never lost a war.
Why is Russia attacking Ukraine?
Putin, like a snowflake college student, “feels unsafe.”
Because Ukraine is full of “Nazi ideas.”
Putin claims he has felt threatened by Ukraine since the country's pro-Putin leader was ousted and replaced by a popular Jewish comedian.
He fears a full-scale enemy on his doorstep if Ukraine joins NATO. But he refuses to see it both ways. NATO has never invaded Russia, but Russia has always stolen land from its neighbors. Can you blame them for joining a mutual defense alliance when a real threat exists?
Nations that feel threatened can join NATO. That doesn't justify an attack by Russia. It allows them to defend themselves. But NATO isn't attacking Moscow. They aren't.
Russian President Putin's "special operation" aims to de-Nazify the Jewish-led nation.
To keep Crimea and the other two regions he has already stolen, he wants Ukraine undefended by NATO.
(Warlords have fought for control of the strategically important Crimea for over 2,000 years.)
Putin wants to own all of Ukraine.
The Black Sea is his goal.
Ports bring money and power, and Ukraine pipelines transport Russian energy products.
Putin wants their wheat, too — with 70% crop coverage, Ukraine would be their southern breadbasket, and Russia has no qualms about starving millions of Ukrainians to death to feed its people.
In the end, it's all about greed and power.
Putin wants to own everything Russia has ever owned. This year he turns 70, and he wants to be remembered like his hero Peter the Great.
In order to get it, he's willing to kill thousands of Ukrainians
Art imitates life
This story began when a Jewish TV comedian portrayed a teacher elected President after ranting about corruption.
Servant of the People, the hit sitcom, is now the leading centrist political party.
Right, President Zelenskyy won the hearts and minds of Ukrainians by imagining a fairer world.
A fair fight is something dictators, corporatists, monopolists, and warlords despise.
Now Zelenskyy and his people will die, allowing one of history's most corrupt leaders to amass even more power.
The poor always lose
Meanwhile, the West will impose economic sanctions on Russia.
China is likely to step in to help Russia — or at least the wealthy.
The poor and working class in Russia will suffer greatly if there is a hard crash or long-term depression.
Putin's friends will continue to drink champagne and eat caviar.
Russia cutting off oil, gas, and fertilizer could cause more inflation and possibly a recession if it cuts off supplies to the West. This causes more suffering and hardship for the Western poor and working class.
Why? a billionaire sociopath gets his dirt.
Yes, Russia is simply copying America. Some of us think all war is morally wrong, regardless of who does it.
But let's not kid ourselves right now.
The markets rallied after the biggest invasion in Europe since WWII.
Investors hope Ukraine collapses and Russian oil flows.
Unbridled capitalists value lifeless.
What we can do about Ukraine
When the Russian army invaded eastern Finland, my wife's grandmother fled as a child. 80 years later, Russia still has Karelia.
Russia invaded Ukraine today to retake two eastern provinces.
History has taught us nothing.
Past mistakes won't fix the future.
Instead, we should try:
- Pray and/or meditate on our actions with our families.
- Stop buying Russian products (vodka, obviously, but also pay more for hydro/solar/geothermal/etc.)
- Stop wasting money on frivolous items and donate it to Ukrainian charities.
- To protest, gather a few friends, contact the media, and shake signs in front of the Russian embassy.
- Prepare to welcome refugees.
More war won't save the planet or change hearts.
Only love can work.
Jim Clyde Monge
1 month ago
Can You Sell Images Created by AI?
Some AI-generated artworks sell for enormous sums of money.
But can you sell AI-Generated Artwork?
Simple answer: yes.
However, not all AI services enable allow usage and redistribution of images.
Let's check some of my favorite AI text-to-image generators:
Dall-E2 by OpenAI
The AI art generator Dall-E2 is powerful. Since it’s still in beta, you can join the waitlist here.
OpenAI DOES NOT allow the use and redistribution of any image for commercial purposes.
Here's the policy as of April 6, 2022.
Here are some images from Dall-E2’s webpage to show its art quality.
Several Reddit users reported receiving pricing surveys from OpenAI.
This suggests the company may bring out a subscription-based tier and a commercial license to sell images soon.
I like Midjourney's art generator. It makes great AI images. Here are some samples:
Standard Licenses are available for $10 per month.
Standard License allows you to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, and/or sell copies of the images, except for blockchain technologies.
If you utilize or distribute the Assets using blockchain technology, you must pay MidJourney 20% of revenue above $20,000 a month or engage in an alternative agreement.
Here's their copyright and trademark page.
Dream by Wombo
Dream is one of the first public AI art generators.
This AI program is free, easy to use, and Wombo gives a royalty-free license to copy or share artworks.
Users own all artworks generated by the tool. Including all related copyrights or intellectual property rights.
Here’s Wombos' intellectual property policy.
AI is creating a new sort of art that's selling well. It’s becoming popular and valued, despite some skepticism.
Now that you know MidJourney and Wombo let you sell AI-generated art, you need to locate buyers. There are several ways to achieve this, but that’s for another story.