See the entire conversation

I don't recommend indie developer to work on B2C product. ❎ The customers are stingy (No $) ❎ You almost always need the best in class UX+UI (compete with a whole team like Todoist, Evernote, etc) ❎ you need reach tons or new users per month (thousands++)
117 replies and sub-replies as of Dec 17 2021

Headspace with best in the class UX (much better then yours) only have 10% retention after a month. And that doesn't include paid one. If you want 100 subs per month with 3% conversion rate, you need 3.3K installs per month 👀 And that doesn't include 20%++ monthly churn.
How can I say this? I'm pretty sure Session has one of the best UX/UI on the market. - I have about 3-5K installs per month (lucky?) - 3% conversion rate - 100-150ish new subscribers per month -50-80 churn per month "only" grew by $200-300MRR per month.
- I'm doing a work of a whole team (design, code, support, etc), - have one of the best product (in the category), and - only got rewarded extra $200-$300 month lol. That's an insult.
I am a big fan of b2b businesses & never considered b2c so it's easy for me to agree $200-300 p/m MRR growth has got to be worth a lot more than $200-300 in actual value tho? For example if you were to exit
Yeah, I'm not planning to exit though! And that growth assuming it's linear. It can go down, or (hopefully) up!
God damn that sounds amazing to me though 🤣 But I get what you mean. It's grueling work for little upsides compared to what else you could be doing.
Yeah! Sorry missed this. But it's a real number 😁
The session is an amazing app with many features, I'm using (trying to) daily. It's hard to believe this data.
Which one are you finding hard to believe? 😁
Firstly conversion rate and also installs. Does 3 - 5K include SetApp installs?
The installs too small or too big? Conversion rate -> install to paid. Too small or too big? Nope! I didn't include setapp analytics at all (because there's no install data, and also setapp user didn't "pay" so there's no conversion rate concept 😁)
Yes, I was expecting more installs and conversion rates. But sometimes it's even better to have gradual growth right? Maybe at some point, it'll be exponential. 🙌 I wonder how much do you spend on marketing search ads like apple or Adsense? 🙂
Hope so! I haven't done any paid marketing so far. Only tweeting here in Twitter + word of mouth + organic from App Store. How much install do you expect?
monthly 3 - 5K translates to 100 - 170 installs per day I was expecting at least. 250 a day so 7.5 k a month but as you said this is pre-marketing installs I'm sure it'll grow fast.
At 3-5K I'm making 4K per month now, there's a Apple tax (15%-20%) + currency conversion hit too 😁
Million Dollar question: Outside of good UX/UI, what do you offer that the other 3000 Pomodoro Focus Timers don't? Users care about the result an app gets them, not good UX/UI. It doesn't mater how good your UX is, if you're not offering anything unique.
1. Real-time sync: get notified when timer end / went too long on all devices 2. Calendar integration (to see planned -> actual session side by side) 3. Analytics report: see breakdown of your day / week / months ...and many more Disagree with user don't care about UX though.
Their UX is good? I had a 6 month free premium and stopped using it cause their UX was trash lol I literally went back to PAYING for calm because at calm's app is functional and easy to use.
A 20 second google search shows that 90% of Headspaces complaints are about UI/UX. I think you missed the mark on this one fam.
Yeah, I think their UX is good—a high chance it's better than anything a single developer could do. Good/bad UX also depends on the target market What is the query term you used in Google? If something inline within "why Headspace fails", "Headspace bad UX", then...
I literally googled Headspace reviews, went to their subreddit, and it's filled with complaints about their UI/UX being cumbersome and bad lol
Being in the same space with Kairo, I feel your pain. 😅 Although Kairo is self-sustainable now as a side-project (<40 hrs a month) and works only on web (no offline) - for a reason. 😊 But, what stops you offering Sessions to businesses? I am planning to do so with Kairo.
What angle are you trying to go with? I was thinking to make Session a place to see where each team allocates their time to. Imagine having the company monitor each employee and give them a "4 hr focus target" every day. Great for business, terrible for employee.
I want to go with mentality "We track time to make sure we do not work more than we should." Trust. Then letting the users to share only data they want with the managers/others. Be it how many hours they worked, or more insights (how spread their work was, focus, etc...).
Accompanied with a How-to trust your employees ebook or guide. :) With levels of trust they can reach. Eventually it will be, that they will track it for themselves and managers will be happy the work is done.
So basically the same thing but with different packaging! Not gonna lie that it's a tricky and slippery slope. Could end up making your product associated with "bad feeling". That's my worst-case scenario so I didn't go forward with this idea :(
Right, I am going to try it and probably at first just disable any sharing of the data to the managers. :D Let's see how that will go.
The annoying bit is that B2C ideas seem easier to appear. B2B ideas is an other idea muscle to train.
Yeah... I have ideas for B2B (like Analytics) but seems like really hard to implement.
Agreed. You also need to spend more time on supports at much lower customer LTV. Unless you’re truly passionate about some particular niche, please do yourself a favor and don’t do B2C product.
Yeah. If have a fetish for less monetary result with more work, by all means welcome to B2C.
Seen a lot of indie B2C apps succeed anyway... like @NomadList, @wipchat.. think you have a point in general, but as usual there’s so many other caveats, nuances or factors that can make B2C succeed despite these reasons you pointed out
It's a survivorship bias. Only winner are here on Twitter. Some won, tons (that you never heard of) have died / suicide. Pretty sure the "successful" case is single digit percentage. And you need thousands++ of sign ups every month to make it work.
By the same bias, many B2Bs die off too w/o us knowing. The B2Cs mentioned didn't start off with 1000s of signups every mth. They had sthg with potential but iterated towards the big success they are later. To be clear, I like B2Bs, considering one. Just many roads to Rome.
The sales cycle is also a LOT longer in B2B and more regulation and corporate compliance to deal with. So that extra time and effort could also kill a startup before it's even begun.
Oh gosh the redtape... that's so true. Also super annoying to have to manage that!
By B2B, I wasn't thinking something like Google analytics, too complex for one person to work on and indeed need crazy compliance. But something like social media scheduler (Instagram, TikTok) that still hard but relatively possible to be done by 1 person.
And B2C is harder because of three points above. - stingy : B2B is eaiser to convert, they have $ - world class UX: good luck competing with smthng like notion. They have a whole team - 1K signups per mo: you have to be near as good in the UX + able to scale it by yourself.
Of course, nothing is impossible. I knew someone who had 100K signups per month and work alone. But that's clearly a minority. My point is, as a single (indie) person, you have a better chance finding success on B2B instead of B2C based on reasons above.
I don't know bro. There's B2Cs, and there's niche B2Cs. Universally saying that consumers are stingy might apply for B2Cs in general, but lots of niche B2Cs succeed by targeting professionals willing to pay. Depending on which segment, we can say the other way: SMBs are stingy
> but lots of niche B2Cs succeed by targeting professionals willing to pay Sounds like B2BC.
I agree with @jasonleowsg that there are many paths.. One thing we haven't talked much about is building something people really want. If consumers really want a product they'll pay for it. eg Overcast podcast app (as far as I can tell) is doing pretty well.
"Building something people really want" goes without saying though. If you nail that, either in B2C / B2B / B2BC—you still win. But with B2B, you don't need to nail the UX / onboarding / reach many user as B2C. Those three criterias are hard to achieve by working alone.
Yes spot on, Marie. If you have sthg consumers really want that's not available out there, they'll even tolerate below-average UX/onboarding.
I mean Pieter is clearly an outliner and he himself also advised indie to stay away from B2C.
Don't do it. There's no money in B2C, mostly just pain. Don't do it. You won't be rich. You'll be stressed.
I think the argument is not “you can’t succeed with a B2C product” but more like “it’s a lot more difficult and painful to succeed in growing a B2C product”. Especially for indies where we do not have large initial capital and less resources.
...and then there’s people like Miss Excel 🤷🏻‍♂️
This is Kat Norton, better known as Miss Excel. She has over a million followers on TikTok and Instagram, where she markets her Excel courses. She has 0 employees and makes up to $100,000 a day. When we think of the future of work, it might look something like Miss Excel 👇
That's info product, not SaaS. And clearly an outlier. It's like you give example like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos. It's been done, yes. But they are an outlier.
Yes B2C info products work, but B2C apps very difficult
Also I think we need a third category which is B2P (Prosumers) NomadList, Miss Excel, TransistorFM, ClosetTools, etc. All of them are actually targeting people that are generating money themselves. They are must more likely to pay for something related to their work.
That's B2BC! NomadList is extra ordinary case though. Peter is at God level to be able to achieve this.
I agree. It's so painful. Also you don't need a sales team for B2B, I do sell ~$50,000 job post bundles with a Stripe Checkout page. Ghost is $4M ARR without a sales team. If your product is good enough it probably doesn't need a sales team. Just a great checkout. CC limits high.
I never ever signed a P/O form or did a call to sell a job post bundle or job post in B2B. I also got $500k+ in sponsorships over the years without calls. Simple short text over email works. Most ppl who want calls w/ sales team etc aren't srs or more pain than benefit IME.
If people start haggling about price for sponsorships for ex, I just stop replying to their emails. They come back after 6mo and then we double the price and they pay.
The niche matters a lot as well, not just the fact that it's B2C. The more popular the market, the harder it is to compete on it. Leverage your expertise to create something on the small market, then either scale to other markets or grow the market itself.
Sounds like what @levelsio do with @NomadList He almost single handedly grow nomad tech scene, but that's not without significant effort + huge amount of luck (perfect timing, etc)
Wow, indeed, that's a perfect example!
Agreed. Only thing tougher would be a B2C app with network effects, like a dating or social media app. With B2B, you have 5-10 years to implement what's common in B2C, and sometimes you don't even have to do that.
B2C is for VC-backed companies mainly (initially) interested in huge user growth and capturing the market. B2B is much more friendly for indies & bootstrapped companies.
True. B2B has it challenges, but B2C is just almost not doable for single person to do.
I'm thinking to do micro saas on a a platform, say shopify for example. What other platforms offer good opportunities for indie hackers seeking micro saas building?
Also, supporting thousands of (free) customers is taking tons of time. One of the main reasons my products are paid-only.
💯 agree with your third point. The need to grow the user base to handle retention and churn is a big mountain to climb for indie subscription based B2C products. I wonder if having multiple B2C niche apps makes it more sustainable as an indie?
Indie developers usually can't do marketing. Multiple of zeroes is still zero 😂
Oh yeah no marketing skills won’t help in a B2B setting either 😄 But if an indie has some decent skills to get the product in customer hands and generating some revenue. Adding more eggs to the basket might help alleviate retention/churn
multiple of hundreds is a thousands. @csaba_kissi has about 200+. @dvassallo has also done multiples. Etc. It's on numbers. Do more to see what works most, faster and without much effort. But settling for one, is almost a zero gain, for majority of B2C's products. Do more
has 200+ products? That's insane. The thing is each person have limited energy to do multiple bets. But you're right that make it simple, faster, and test it is a much better strategy to find which one works.
Well, yes 200+, but doesn't mean some couldn't be kept, deleted or changed. I don't know how many someone continues to work with as time goes. Simple analysis could determine where u wanna spend most of your focus + energy on. Time & energy for multiple bets hinder most of us
A previous product of mine was B2C, it's difficult...
What is it? Chyrp looks like B2BC!
My previous one is long gone. It was a masterminds app. Chyrp is to help you communicate with your customers over Twitter :)
Heard this message before but seeing the numbers was pretty enlightening - @tresselapp save thread
✅ Thread saved! You can view this thread in your dashboard
If you allow me: B2B is not “easy” Large clients take lots of sales energy to get Small clients don’t want to spend and need a lot of customer service. As my best friend always says: there is no easy business !
I wouldn't say "easy", but easier! Easier than "super hard" is hard, better chance for us to "win" 😁
B2C seems easier to make quick money because it's easier to convince a person than a company. But sustainable growth is much more difficult in B2C. So, if you have enough patience, as you said, you should definitely turn to B2B.
b2c demands a lot from an indie-hacker, and almost everyone tries to shoehorn a b2b offering to their b2c product once they realise this
I'm doing that too! 😂 Looking for the B2B angle right now 😁
As someone also running a B2C app on the App Store I agree 100%. The numbers are not in our favor but I can still be done
"The customers are stingy" Do you think this is still a problem for non-subscription products? A desktop application, for example. That won't have recurring costs for the developer, other than perhaps customer support.
Not sure, I haven't had the experience to sell one time product—but from what I heard it's much easier to sell one time compared to subscription.
B2C is ungrateful in an „everything is free“ internet world. My business is both B3C/B2B but I am focusing on B2B.
I’ve been building a b2b sass on the side and I personally find it much easier to monetize. I can just find businesses on google maps and email them with an offer. In B2C you have to be a marketing genius or build a platform first, which is super hard.
Seems quite reasonable, except UI/UX in Evernote just suck and small indy teams made things like Obsidian out of nowhere.
Evernote used to be so good years ago. It has evolved. Obsidian might have different story in coming years.
Took me about 5 years to come to this realisation. B2B is where it's at for indie makers
Agree. As a tech indie hacker, I suck at marketing, but I know how to talk to developers. That's the shift that I did, and now working on a 2FA API, it will easier to sell than a B2C product.
I agree, do you have these issues with @stayinsession?
How can I say this? I'm pretty sure Session has one of the best UX/UI on the market. - I have about 3-5K installs per month (lucky?) - 3% conversion rate - 100-150ish new subscribers per month -50-80 churn per month "only" grew by $200-300MRR per month.
Have you had success with paid user acquisition?
Not yet, haven't tried! That's my focus now.
Exactly. B2C products need more clients who pay less and are high maintenance B2B is profitable. Businesses are ready to invest a healthy amount if your product is valuable and they are low maintenance Aim for B2B
This tweet is 4 years too late for me 😅
Better late than never 😄
Great thread. I've listened to a bunch of indie hacker type podcasts and this echos what most suggest - most startups are better off with a B2B idea. Businesses are willing to pay for a good service, and you don't need so many compared to B2C, it's manageable.
I hope I'm right...
Yes but I LOVE Session so thank you for making it!
Your welcome! What problem does session solve for you?
How would you define an indie developer?
Someone who want to make internet product with recurring revenue (subscription)
the customers are stingy - 😅
In most cases indies should def avoid B2C. But for a small, low-stress side income, App Store can be a good option. For ex, @papereditorapp is mostly on autopilot. No backend. Costs: (100$+domain)/year. Subs retention: good (but too early to tell). Support is 0-5 threads/week.
What's the range of "low stress income" in your definition?
Fluctuating heavily from mo to mo due to OTP, but so far never exceeded 1k/mo. Hoping now to smoothen it out now by offering subs as well.
That's pretty good!
agree 💯. i learned this the hard way as well
Dam, those numbers really hit me after seeing them. And here I was thinking it was amazing that I had made enough to cover my Apple dev fee Haha 😂. How naive I am 🙃
Can you elaborate Durtis? Would love to understand more!
As someone who is doing not only B2C but also need the network effect I completely agree. It’s hard, very very hard 😅 But I am also building for a niche I love and if I manage to make the apps what I envision I will have a huge family of new friends to celebrate with 🌈🥳
Totally agree. Consumer tech take lots of $$ on marketing.