Learn to bootstrap profitable startups the 👨‍🎤indie way

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#3 Product of the MonthMarch 2018

Learn to bootstrap profitable startups the 👨‍🎤indie way

💡 Get ideas from solving your problems

🛠Build with the tools you already know

🚀 Launch to Product Hunt and your niche

🌱 Grow organically without ads

💰 Monetize by asking users for money

🤖 Automate your entire business


  • Pros: 

    Easy peasy tricks to build a digital product.


    We payed 30$ for an ebook, extended production time while harvesting pre-orders

    It's a gret summary of what you need to bootstrap an idea, but it lacked of sincerity since its inception.

    We've been waiting and, in spite the end result is visually attractive, I feel slightly scammed. Early adopters payed a lot for an ebook which production lasted too long and is not printed. In the meanwhile, Pieter talked about how he was investing in cryptocurrency —with our investment on his book?

    Besides, the community helped him write the book for free.

    Moreover, It doesn't have bibliography nor sources from his biz school studies; it seems he withholds some tricks from himself (or his blog). Also, there is some media out there where he says almost the same things for free.

    It's a great exercise of personal branding, but lacks of technical depth, following the rule that if you failed it is because you did not work enough. It would improve with more strategic principles rather than mere tactics.

    If you'd like to get in touch with the feeling of successful bootstrapping, read "Things a Little Bird Told Me" by Twitter's founder Biz Stone (paperback, 20$). On how to structure a new business, "Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers" by Alexander Osterwalder (paperback 19$). On great design, I recommend you read "Da cosa nasce cosa" by Bruno Munari.

    Guillem Carbonell has used this product for one year.
  • Marc Köhlbrugge
    Marc KöhlbruggeFounder of BetaList

    No-nonsense advice like Pieter is known for.


    You still actually need to go and do the work. Reading is not enough.

    Many if not most business books are written by authors, rather than actual entrepreneurs. This makes sense considering entrepreneurs are busy running their business :)

    Despite Pieter being a true entrepreneur he still found the time somehow to write this book.

    I would recommend any (wannabe) maker to just go out and build stuff rather than read books. I bet Pieter would say the same. However, if you feel stuck or need some motivation, then this is the book for you. Buy it. Read it. And get back to shipping.

    Marc Köhlbrugge has used this product for one year.


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Pieter Levels
Pieter LevelsMaker@levelsio · 🌏 Serial maker 🏝Nomad List + et al
👋 Hi Product Hunters! When I was reading Hacker News in 2013, I remember seeing @patio11's posts on building web apps (like Appointment Reminder) by himself, without funding. Back then, there weren't many others doing anything like that. Back then, you were either big and VC-funded or you were a freelancer working for them. Ever since Product Hunt launched 2014, there's been a rise of indie startups. It's never been more possible to build something on the internet, by yourself, without funding, charge money for it, and pay your bills. I'm the living proof of that. Just as music has indie bands, the startup world now has indie startups. This book is everything I learnt in the last few years about building indie startups. In the hope that it makes them more popular. Get ideas from problems you have in your life, build solutions for them, validate them by launching and seeing if you get users, monetize by asking your users for money, grow by building with your users, automate your business and if you like at some point exit and sell it! 🤡 How I wrote this book I felt on a very meta level, I wanted to write this book with the theory described in this book. Before even writing a single line on it I announced this book and opened it up for pre-orders: The landing page was literally a Typeform telling that I wanted to write a book, but it didn't exist yet, and asking for $30 to support it. The only thing people received after paying $30 immediately was an empty Workflowy list where they could write what the book should be about specifically. That gave me immediate feedback from customers what they wanted me to make. Just like a startup. Thousands of people pre-ordered the book (quickly netting $50,000+ in revenue at $30 per pre-order) and there was thousands of items in the Workflowy list to write about. I went through it regularly and tried to re-order it to find patterns. I found I could divide up all questions people had in the different stages of startups. Ideas, building, launching, growing and monetizing. Everyone was at a different stage and needed different questions answered. I then started writing the first chapter. I wanted to do this by "building in public" too. Or in this case, writing in public. I made a Google Docs text document and started writing. But not before I started a live stream on Twitch of the writing process of course. I wanted to live stream most of the chapters. It helped me because, as you may know if you've ever written a book or thesis, the procrastination of writing can become incredible. Every time I finished the draft of a chapter I sent it out to all the pre-order customers. And they could review it as a Google Doc again. Only the final process of writing this book was done by myself. Collecting all the content, cleaning it up, rewriting it and making editorial decisions on what should be in it. But 90% of the process was out in the open. And that's exactly what this book is about: launch early and build with your users. 📺Video Here's a presentation I did last month about some of what's in the book:
🙂I hope you enjoy reading it and it'll help some of you get into building your own apps, web apps, products and startups!
Toni Codina
Toni Codina@tcodinat · Entrepreneur, designer & Noon founder 💃🏻
@patio11 @levelsio Woo! Definitely a book I should read myself :)
Craig Barber
Craig Barber@craigjbarber · Craig Barber
@levelsio Great work Pieter, would love to see this as a hard copy too. Would feel pretty good to have it in your hands as an author I reckon.
Ben Lang
Ben Lang@benln · Shipping
@levelsio Hope we see more authors publish this way, so awesome!
Ahmad Awais ⚡
Ahmad Awais ⚡@mrahmadawais · 🥑 OSS Dev Advocate & WordPress Core Dev
@patio11 @levelsio Awesome stuff, especially the way you wrote it. Mad props! 💯
Andrey  Azimov
Andrey  Azimov@andreyazimov ·
Thomas Marban
Thomas Marban@thomas · Creator
PH discount?
Marc Köhlbrugge
Marc Köhlbrugge@marckohlbrugge · Founder of BetaList
Congrats on finally publishing it. All Pietz’ knowledge distilled in one handy book. 👌
Ross Currie
Ross Currie@rossdcurrie · Founder, Brutal TearDowns
I pre-ordered in 2015 and haven't received my copy yet. Seems like Levels just keeps taking pre-orders without delivering. Has anyone confirmed this has actually shipped yet? I haven't received any e-mails from him yet.
Pieter Levels
Pieter LevelsMaker@levelsio · 🌏 Serial maker 🏝Nomad List + et al
@rossdcurrie Sorry Ross, they're sent out in a batch. Should be in your inbox now. Let me know if you got it.
Ross Currie
Ross Currie@rossdcurrie · Founder, Brutal TearDowns
@levelsio That's not entirely true, since you hadn't sent them when I wrote my initial comment. I feel like instead of putting us last on your launch checklist that you could've reached out to us a bit before now. Even a "Hey, I'm just putting the final touches on the book" e-mail - for many of us, the last we heard from you about our order was August 2016.
Pieter Levels
Pieter LevelsMaker@levelsio · 🌏 Serial maker 🏝Nomad List + et al
@rossdcurrie You're right I should prioritize pre-order customers. My apologies.
@rossdcurrie Relax, the book will arrive.
Ross Currie
Ross Currie@rossdcurrie · Founder, Brutal TearDowns
@nikstep Relaxed was two weeks ago when I asked for an order update and got no reply, after he posted book revenue figures for January. Rightfully annoyed is when I see him pushing new sales again when I still haven't received mine after 2.5 years. Of course, now I know the book is coming, but I would've known that already if he'd e-mailed pre-order customers with an update prior to launching... my post here probably would've been "Woohoo! I've been waiting for this one for ages! So excited!" or something equally fan-gushy. It's arrived now... so... woohoo!