1. How and when did you make your first dollar online?
I made my first dollar from my first indie project, Fantasy Congress: a fantasy sports platform for U.S. politics.
When I initially started Fantasy Congress, I didn’t have a plan for monetization. But after spending a bunch of time working on it, I realized at some point I needed to start charging people to play.
Six months after launch, the website was shared in a Facebook group for U.S. government teachers. Fantasy Congress really resonated with them. Many teachers began signing up for their classes, so the site became overloaded and broke down!
Supporting so many free users was unsustainable. And at this moment, I knew it was time to ask for money. I turned off the sign-ups and let everyone know that going forward, we would charge for access to the game. To my surprise, many educators were happy to pay for access to Fantasy Congress.
I learned a ton from those early days with Fantasy Congress. For my latest venture (a no-code tool for programmatic SEO called PageFactory), I chose to charge for the service right out of the gate. When I launched, PageFactory was making hundreds of dollars from day one.
Needless to say, I’ll always charge for my services right away, instead of trying to give them away for free and monetize later.
2. How long did it take between the idea and this first dollar?
It’s kind of hard to give a straight answer to this question. I toyed around with the idea of Fantasy Congress for a few years before going all in on it. When I got serious about the idea, it took about nine months to go from the first line of code to my first dollar.
3. What best actionable advice would you give someone who wants to start TODAY?
You don’t need a super impressive or interesting idea to get started. You’ll learn the most just by making something and trying to sell it.
So, go ahead and build that to-do app you’re thinking about, or whatever project you have in mind. And if you can’t think of anything, try selling your skills as a service.
Just start selling something, anything. It’s the only way to learn.
4. What resources would you recommend to a beginner?
I love listening to entrepreneurial podcasts like Indie Hackers, Indie Bites, and How I Built This. I’ve learned a lot from listening to other people’s stories on these podcasts.
There are also two books that I would recommend: The E-myth and The Four Hour Work Week
5. Who would you recommend to follow?
Building PageFactory for no-code programmatic SEO, niche site Garden Auntie & indie game Fantasy Congress
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