$20K MRR - Simple email forwarding service

$20K MRR - Simple email forwarding service
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ImprovMx is a simple email forwarding service doing $20K MRR.
  • Bootstrapped
  • Built as a side project
  • Grown to a small team of 5
And the founder still has a full time job on the side 🤯
I mean, the startup is his side project, he makes a ton more from his job ofc.
This is their revenue chart -
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ImprovMx let’s you forward emails from one (or many) email address to another email address.
This is there feature set -
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Antoine Minoux and his co-founder Cyril Nicodeme acquired ImprovMx back in 2017.
It had a few thousand users at the time, and even some organic traffic. But it made no money.
But it was a much simpler product and a bare bones website. Antoine and Cyril redesigned the product from scratch to include more complex features.
Although the product didn’t make money at the time, but because it was SO useful, it had great traffic and userbase.
And that helped them get their first 100 users in just a few weeks after the new launch.
As Antoine told me on Twitter, “it’s so much easier to monetize something when you already have a stream of traffic on your product”
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The coolest part about this business is that the founders aren’t full time on it.
And they don’t ever want to be as well. They’re pretty happy with their full time jobs, and run this on the side like a cash flowing asset.
As Antoine told me on Twitter - they’re really not aiming to be a unicord, they want to build a lifestyle business.
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Read Antoine’s detailed response to my questions on Twitter.
He talks about -
  • The Acquisition in the early days
  • Improving the product
  • What he thinks about competition
  • And more…
Read it here.
And do read this thread from Antoine where he shares how he juggled a SaaS startup on the side of his full time job at Yelp.
(hint: 4 day work weeks!)
Top lessons from ImprovMx -
  • There’s no overnight success, they’ve been at it for 6 years. But yes, there are small early wins which you must strive for.
  • There’s nothing wrong with acquiring instead of building.
  • Just make sure the product has demand, and organic traffic.
  • I’ve seen people acquire products from Twitter, where the founders audience was driving all the traffic, and after the acquisition the traffic died because they stopped tweeting about it. Please DON’T acquire such an asset.
And yes, final lesson - you don’t have to quit your job to build an indie startup 🤷‍♂️
(Too late for me, I already quit 2 years ago 😅)

🤩 Small Win and a Big Change

My tiny community crossed $100 MRR this week.
I had opened it up for membership a few months ago. (I started with quarterly, annual and lifetime plans for private Slack group + Zoom events + Courses and workshops) Community may not be the best business model for making profits. But it IS the best business model for your happiness 😅
I love running it, and it’s great that members find it valuable as well. (Ali called it the best community he’s been a part of)
But I realized one thing - members get more value the longer they stay in the community.
More time = Compounding Value.
With this insight, the quarterly plan doesn’t make sense to me. I can give each member the most value if they stay inside for at least a year.
So I’m making a big change next week.
I’m taking down the quarterly membership.
So if you’ve been on the fence, this is a good time to make a decision.
For 1 week more (last date 2nd September) You can grab the quarterly pass and join the community for 3 months.
You can get a taste of the community for a quarter and then decide if you want to upgrade to the higher plans or not.
After next week, you will only have 2 options - annual and lifetime.
If you like the content here, you will love the vibe in the community -
One more thing - we have our demo day coming up next week (31st August), it will be a great opportunity for you to meet everyone in the community.

The Journey is LONG!

Found this old tweet from Webflow’s founder - Vlad Magdalin.
The journey is long, keep trying!
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(Thanks to Prasad who shared this tweet in our last Indie Masterminds community call)

3 New Imperatives

“In today’s world, you have three new imperatives: acquire more customers, increase the value of those customers, and hold on to those customers longer.
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Great quote from the book “Subscribed” - it’s about how ANY business can be a subscription businesses.

That's it for today folks. Hope you found this useful.
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Useful links you don't want to miss -
  • “The economy is just smart people paying beautiful people to promote stuff to insecure people.” - What a tweet! Only 1 person can come up with such an insight. See WHO!
(*Links in bold are classified ads)

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Eternally Curious. Writing, Learning, Building in Public. Writing about Ideas + Inspiration + Insights for creators, solopreneurs and indie hackers | Simple tips and frameworks to help you build a sustainable solo business

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