Dan & Sveta are an emblematic indie entrepreneur’s duo on Twitter. I have known them since Summer 2022 and they are one of the first founders accounts who build in public I discovered.
They create tools for creators, indie hackers, business makers...
I’m really pleased to interview them as they are part of people who inspire me daily.
Hi Dan et Sveta! Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions! Can you introduce yourself ?
(Sveta, Dan) Thank you for having us!
We’re Dan and Sveta, Founders of MakerBox. We love marketing, clarity, and helping others to do the same.
How did you get the idea of MakerBox?
(Dan) We had no idea what to build when we decided to try Indie Hacking. So, we listed every problem that we thought was painful and common. From “it’s boring to build new habits” to “it’s hard to keep up with parents if you are a digital nomad”.
And one of the problems was “there are too many tools for Solopreneurs; it’s hard to pick the right one”. We experienced it ourselves and saw many Founders struggle with choosing a tech stack. That is how MakerBox Tools was born.
Was it your first indie hacker project?
(Dan) Yes, previously, I had the experience of working at seed-round startups, and Sveta worked at various corporations. It was very exciting to go from working with a big team to hustling just as a team of two!
You also made SponsorThisNewsletter.com more recently, how did you get the idea?
(Dan) We saw that more and more Creators start their newsletters, and they all struggle with getting sponsorships posts. Because marketers don’t have the time and tools to find newsletters without sponsorship experiences. Even though their audience can be highly engaging.
That’s why we decided to build a marketplace of newsletters that want to do sponsorships posts. And to validate this hypothesis, we launched an Airtable database on Product Hunt. It got the #1 Product of the Day, so we finally got a green light to build the marketplace!
What is your marketing strategy ?
(Dan) It’s really simple.
We acquire users through 2 channels: Product Hunt launches and audience building on Twitter. Solopreneurs that find our products helpful become our customers.
Also we have a MakerBox Blog and my newsletter, but they don’t get enough traffic right now. It’s more like an Activation step to build trust and nurture undecided users.
The marketing funnel should be as simple as possible if you don’t have a huge marketing team. That’s why we tend to cut acquisition channels, not add them.
You are a famous duo of indie entrepreneurs. How are you organized ?
(Sveta) We do everything in Notion. And the most important part of it is our plannings. Let’s start from the highest level for 2023.
We don’t have static “musts” for 2023. But we have a list of things we want to implement this year. I’m pretty sure it’ll change over the time, but it’s good to have at least a direction.
Based on this, we have monthly plannings, where we describe our work, education, and life goals. During monthly plannings we review the previous month and set goals for the upcoming one. The same thing happens during weekly and daily plannings. It might sound boring, but it works. Systematic plannings are the key to ship.
Can you share some stats or numbers about your projects?
(Sveta) Sure. These are the all-time stats for all our products (free & paid). From June to January we made a journey from our first $ online to almost $40K in all-time revenue.
Split by Top-5 most popular products:
- MakerBox WorkBook (including bundle of 3 MakerBox products) - $12 800. Launched in the end of September 2022.
- MakerBox Frameworks - $9 921. Launched in the end of July 2022.
- Sponsor This Newsletter - $5 376. Launched in the end of October, 2022.
- MakerBox Tools - $5 244. Our first product, launched in the end of June, 2022.
- MakerBox Roasting - $3 899. Launched in the end of August, 2022.
How long did it take to launch and to get your first customers?
(Sveta) Actually, we validate ideas through early bird options. It means that we start selling on a low price while the product is not ready. There’s only a small demo part to give it a look and make a decision on purchase.
That’s why we always have sales even before the launch. That’s a great way to validate ideas and to understand wether it’s worth building or not.
Are you ramen profitable?
(Sveta) Yes. Ramen in Bali is quite cheap, so we even made savings to explore Asia in 2023.
What are the main issues you encountered?
(Sveta) I believe that the hardest one was getting used to digital nomad lifestyle. When we are in a new country, it’s hard to normalize work routine. But the good news is that it’s getting easier.
Final words, what are your tips for people who want to create a SaaS too?
(Dan) Don’t quit for 6 months. Magic doesn’t happen right away. Building a reputation takes time, and sharpening your positoning takes time. Enjoy the ride; don’t rush it.
(Sveta) Build in public and connect with other creators. You’ll always find support to keep going. And experiment a lot, being flexible is the most exciting part of Indie Entrepreneurship.