As a business owner, I can tell you this is next to useless. All you get for each entry is an amount of money and a link to their landing page. You have no idea how they make that amount.
Sure, you can get some ideas, but they are a dime a dozen. There is no guarantee you can replicate any of those. You might fail with a better product, or thrive with something not as good.
My business could be on that page. You can put me between 5K and 7K MRR. If you go to my website, you will see a landing page with an opt-in and a blog with some articles. If you join my email list, you will also get pitched my courses when I open them.
You would still not have the slightest idea about:
- how long it takes to write articles, or why I publish them (not) that often;
- the SEO strategies I use;
- how I get traffic besides blog posts;
- how much I spend in advertising and where I advertise;
- how big is my email list;
- my positioning;
- how I write landing pages, email funnels, and sales pages;
- why I have those courses and why they are priced that way;
- my opt-in and conversion rates, and the lifetime value of a customer;
- how long it takes to create a course and how I decide what to put inside;
- all the business and copywriting courses/coaching I took and I still take;
- what I discuss with other business owners in my bi-weekly mastermind;
- how much I spend to run the business;
- how many freelancers I employ;
- what are my plans to expand;
- what I tried already and did not work;
- why the things I do work for me but might not work for you;
- and more things that don't come to my mind at the moment.
They are obviously better since at least they give you some explanation of some of what they have done.
I sometimes read them and I might find a good tactic here and there. The problem is that you need strategy, not tactic. There are so many, so which one should you pick? And more importantly, why do they work in their case?
Case in point. I can create a new product now and make $100K-$200K in a single launch. It's simple math based on my list subscribers, my average conversion rate and my average price.
I can show you those numbers. I can explain you what I do. You would still not be able to benefit. Why? Because it took me six years to reach those numbers, to understand what my specific audience wants, how to address their problems and how to write copy that resonates. I could hand you my entire list and you would not be able to make the same numbers.
Everyone has to start somewhere. This page may help a few people to get inspired and on top of that it quickly lists the kind of business the startup is into so people can at least get a quick idea if they are interested.
Fair enough. I still find it interesting but not as a motivator, but rather as a warning. I see quite a few professionally built web sites that have been around for years (3-5, at least based on the domain creation date in whois) and still have very little revenue which suggests that they are far from being profitable.
The problem though is that it might be a hobby, a secondary source of income, or the owner is not that skilled at business. The same idea might (or might not) get much more revenue with different circumstances.
All of it? Probably as much as I spent to learn it, which is well over $30K at this point (over 6-7 years). And I can tell you some of that money was a great investment while other was completely wasted, but I know that only in hindsight.
I would not do the teaching since I am already swamped with things to do in my business. I might do something targeted at iOS developers later this year, but it would be specific and I would not be able to teach everything I know.
But there are people that teach these things. I learned mainly from Jay Abraham and Ramit Sethi.
At the moment, I am part of a program with jay that costs $5K because it's in beta. The final version will cost three times as much. It's still a bargain considering that he charges $150K PER DAY plus a profit share for consulting. It's a great program, but I would recommend it only to people that already have a profitable business. Not for beginners. He has a couple of $10 books though that are definitely worth many time their price.
For beginners, Ramit is a better option. He has a course called Earnable that is pretty good. His copywriting course, Call to Action, is also good. Here we are talking about $2K per course. He has some other good ones, but some of his courses are definitely not worth it.
For SEO, I recommend Brian Dean. His courses cost around the same.
Edit: I want to add that taking an SEO course makes sense only for some people. Web searches are only one channel to get customers and SEO takes a ton of time. Paid advertising in the right places might make more sense for some other businesses. Then there are referral strategies, partnerships, etc. How do you pick? We get back at the beginning. You need to learn the basics of businesses and then take the road that makes more sense for you.
I used to be a big fan of the whole "Open Startup" and Indiehackers scene, back before I ran my own business. Now I believe it's 1. mostly useless 2. selective in which kinds of businesses are presented.
Useless because, as others have said, there are so many factors that go into the business that can't be adequately captured, not even with an hour of interview and blog post.
Selective in the sense that the kind of business which talks about their revenue and product doesn't have a niche to protect. They are operating in a crowded space already and are simply excelling and outperforming their competition, so they feel confident enough to talk about their revenue because it's not like it would attract competitors into a previously pristine business segment.
For most people, entering a crowded space like "SaaS-based API monitoring service" and then trying to out-compete all the established players is not realistic, so these people would benefit more from thinking about business avenues off the beaten path. But that's not something that anyone would have any incentives to talk about, except when trying to hire friends for example. This is at least my perspective, my only motivations for talking about my business to close friends would be to hire them or to brag about it a little, but mostly the former since bragging doesn't really create lasting happiness.
Completely agree. I used to run a highly lucrative software b2b that solved a very important problem but could have been coded by an intern. Joining the "open startup" movement would have only caused me problems. I solute the people doing this but it only makes sense for businesses that sell to other indie hackers.
But for starters, it still gives some idea about how the current products are performing. Personally it gives me some confidence to enter into those markets. But agreed, a wrong move could land you into a "crowded market" but everyone has to start somewhere.
> gives some idea about how the current products are performing.
It really doesn't. It gives one measurement, presumably from one point in time. We have no idea if they are growing or shrinking, at what rate, whether they are profitable or just burning money to buy revenue, or anything else that actually tells us about the health of their product.
As a viewer, I'd like to see the original datasource linked. It's not clear if this is a milestone that may be outdated or if it's a current MRR number. I'd also like to know if this is self reported vs. verified by the payment gateway (e.g. Stripe via Baremetrics)
The conversion to base thousands for MRR was also confusing to me. For example, ConvertKit's MRR seemed way off at $220K, then I realized it was $2,200K = $2.2M. Might want to convert those so viewers don't have too or at least add some commas. They may be an outlier though on the Open Startups movement with such a large revenue number.
Overall, it's an interesting list. Thanks for putting it together and for sharing.
As a consumer, if this is connected to the payment gateway, I wouldn’t touch any of these with a ten foot pole. That’s a lot of private information conceivably handed over. I’d prefer it be self-reported.
> Might want to convert those so viewers don't have too or at least add some commas.
It would also be cool to add a up or down arrow to show the trend direction.
Not sure if that is an issue because these are openly displayed by the founders on their sites and for places where its payment gateway approved - they must have given approval to display these publicly.
This is a pretty nice list of awesome looking startups/products built with substantial effort that don't make (enough) money.
I don't mean to be negative, and sure there are stories that look nice (even though we don't know their spending), but I've spent bout an hour looking through the list and visiting the sites and it seems that at least 50% doesn't make $5k MRR while being around for years. And I'm pretty sure a lot of these are awesome products (at least based on the screenshots and the landing pages). E.g. look at this one: https://scrumpy.io/ . They've been working on it for 3 years and have less than 40 customers .
A pretty stark reminder that a good product doesn't necessarily translate into a viable business.
MRR=Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is a calculation of revenue generation by month. Many Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies view this as “the holy grail metric” because it conveys an up-to-date measurement of the company's health from an income standpoint.