A fireside chat with Sveta Bay, co-founder of MakerBox. In this interview, Sveta talks about how she and her husband Dan became entrepreneurs and sheds light on the importance of marketing for indie hackers.
You’re an indie entrepreneur and a digital nomad. Tell us a little more about that. What does it mean to be a digital nomad?
It’s funny that I’m writing it during the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Chiang Mai. That quite accurately describes what being a digital nomad is. Me and my husband Dan (co-Founder of Makerbox) are traveling the world and building products for Indie Founders.
We don’t have a usual 9-5 schedule, an office, or calls with clients & team. There are only two of us building cool marketing things for Indie Founders.
How did you decide to be an indie entrepreneur? What’s your story?
A year ago, we learned about the Indie Entrepreneurship movement. The idea of working on yourself and making money online sounded too good to be true. So, we decided to make at least $1 online while working 9-5.
We both have a marketing background, so it didn’t take long to analyze the market, target audience & their problems, and brainstorm product ideas. The target was to launch a product that Indie Founders need in just 1 month.
We launched our first product - MakerBox Tools - in just one month and earned around $2K. That was a sign that we can go all-in into Indie Entrepreneurship.
To some aspiring entrepreneurs, the idea of jumping into the startup scene might feel like being thrown into a vast ocean. There are infinite possibilities but at the same time, one might be afraid to take that first step. From your own experience and from your case studies on profitable solopreneurs, how do you pick a niche to double down on? How do you find your north star?
I love this question! Usually, wannabe Indie Founders ask me about finding good ideas. But the key is not to start with ideas, solutions, or even problems.
The key is to start from choosing your niche, and especially choosing your target audience. With this approach, there’s no way to waste time. Even if your first product fails, you’ll get knowledge about the niche and audience. And it’ll take less time to launch a new product.
I recommend choosing a target audience that you’re already a part of. Researching and building something that you are already familiar with is much easier.
We’d like to learn more about MakerBox, a product you co-founded with Dan. What is MakerBox?
MakerBox is a collection of marketing tools, resources, and services for Indie Founders. We have frameworks, courses, checklists, and guides that help to build a product that people need and then grow it to profitability.
Indie Founders usually have a tech background. They are good at building, but not good at marketing. As a result, there’re a lot of cases when they spend time building products, but then it appears that they can’t make money with it.
Our products are made especially for this audience. We focus on choosing the right product idea, and then growing it with zero and low-budget marketing tactics.
Why focus on marketing? Why is it so important and what are some common misconceptions around marketing?
I can talk forever about it. But in short, the target of most Indie Founders is to become “Ramen Profitable” with their products. If you can make it happen, then you can quit your 9-5 job and focus on your product. So, the final target is freedom.
If you don’t focus on monetization and marketing, then there’s no way to reach it.
Also, if you don’t tell about your product, then you don’t have users. Why build something that nobody uses?
Marketing solves all these problems. Moreover, you don’t need to become a marketing expert or hire a marketer. You just need to understand the basics of research, positioning, and distribution. That is what our products help with.
Part of the resources in MakerBox is the 40 Marketing Mega-Prompts. What is it and how can founders leverage this resource to help them succeed?
I absolutely love this product. It’s made especially for busy Founders who don’t have time for interviews, big research, or brainstorming.
ChatGPT can easily be your marketing co-pilot if you use the prompts right. There’re too many bad prompts nowadays on Twitter & Google. It’s usually a non-personalized 2-sentence prompt that gives you some generic advice.
Our prompts are based on marketing frameworks and focus on giving personalized advice. Here’s one of our prompts to try and see the difference.
This prompt makes ChatGPT your personal CMO. It will help you find problems, generate possible solutions, and plan the execution.
CONTEXT: You are CMO GPT, a professional digital marketer that helps Solopreneurs with growing their businesses. You are a world-class expert in solving marketing problems for SaaS, content products, agencies, etc. GOAL: You will become my virtual CMO today. You need to help me solve my marketing problems. You will be responsible for problem-solving, prioritization, planning, and supporting my execution. CRITERIA OF THE BEST CMO: - You are specific and actionable. You don't use platitudes and wordy sentences. - You prioritize quick wins and cost-effective campaigns. You know that I don't have a lot of time or budget. - You always include unconventional and often overlooked marketing tactics for Solopreneurs. You are creative. - You make the execution as easy for me as possible because you know I am bad at marketing. You help me with overlooked pieces of advice and holistic checklists. STRUCTURE OF TODAY'S BRAINSTORMING 1. I will set the context of the brainstorming (done) 2. You will return a list of 20 possible marketing problems in my business 3. I will pick one marketing problem to focus on 4. You will generate 10 high-level marketing tactics to solve it 5. I will pick 1-3 tactics to proceed 6. You will give me an actionable execution plan with key steps 7. You will share 5 best practices and 5 common mistakes to help me with the execution 8. You will share a holistic checklist so I can review my work FORMAT OF OUR INTERACTION - I will let you know when we can proceed to the next step. Don't go there without my command - You will rely on the context of this brainstorming session at every step INFORMATION ABOUT ME: - My business: I create actionable marketing resources for Solopreneurs (video courses, checklists, guides, templates, etc.) - My value proposition: Solopreneurs gain clarity on how to their marketing better -> they achieve profitability sooner - My target audience: Solopreneurs that build micro-saas, productized services, content products (courses, newsletters, etc.), mobile apps - My product portfolio: My products range from $69 to $199. Most of them are self-paced, but we have some human-touch products (for example, send your landing page and get a video review in 24 hours) - My current stage: I earn $5000 monthly. There are 2 people on my team (my wife and I)
We have 40 prompts like that to cover all the marketing aspects: marketing funnel, strategy, audience building, marketing operations, and content marketing.
For MakerBox and some of your other products, you’ve used Typedream to construct landing pages. We want to know a little bit about your experience of using Typedream.
I love Typedream! The simplicity helps not to overcomplicate landing pages and ship them fast. You don’t need to spend time thinking about color pallets or sections. There’re hundreds of good templates that you can start using right away.
Also, you can experiment fast. It takes minutes to change text, add buttons, or change the hero block.
How did you find out about us?
I’m a Product Hunt fan and active user. Typedream was a Golden Kitty finalist, so it was a no-brainer decision to try it.
What features of Typedream do you find most useful in helping you achieve your goals as an indie entrepreneur?
What advice would you give to someone who is new to Typedream? How can they best use Typedream to supercharge their projects?
What are some of the things that you would like to see in future updates of Typedream?
Good question. It feels like I had only small ideas that I sent to the team right away (the color of the divider, navbar, etc). Talking about big updates, I’d love to get tips on how to make a landing page faster (images format, and other tips).
We're a remote software company, building online tools for creators, builders, and side hustlers. We quit our 9-5 to pursue our dreams, and we want to help others do the same.
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