A Website Builder Making $16,000 MRR

Making $16,000 in monthly recurring revenue (MRR) from a website builder

Hello! Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your business?

Hey there! I'm Alexander Isora, a self-taught web developer, UI/UX designer, and entrepreneur.

I'm the founder of Unicorn Platform, a simple landing page and blog builder for SaaS, makers, mobile apps, and startup founders. I launched Unicorn Platform in 2016 and it has been a wild journey ever since.

With over 40 products under my belt, I've been hustling and making my own startups since 2016. You can check out all my products on my Product Hunt page. I'm also active on Twitter and run a weekly newsletter where I share interesting news and analysis from an indie maker's perspective. And when I'm not building businesses, you can find me DJing, hitting the gym, running, or skateboarding.

Life is all about balance, right?

How did you start this business? Take us through the process.

Ah, the story of how I started my business, Unicorn Platform! It's a wild and exciting one, let me tell you.

Before delving into the world of entrepreneurship, I was a web developer, a creative soul who loved coding and creating beautiful websites. But something was missing. I had this itchy idea in my head, a vision of a simple landing page builder that the world desperately needed. And not just a vague "simple" as you see in all those shady ads, but truly simple.

So, armed with my passion and determination, I set out to bring this vision to life. I bootstrapped the whole venture, starting with just $2,000 to my name and an old MacBook in hand. The first step was building a minimum viable product (MVP), the scaled-back version of the product with enough features to attract early adopters. I spent an intense 160 hours coding an HTML generator that allowed users to easily compose web pages and export the code. It wasn't fancy, but it got the job done.

But how did I validate this idea? Well, that's where Product Hunt came into play. I debuted Unicorn Platform on Product Hunt, the holy grail of product launches, and the response was phenomenal. The product quickly gained attention, and I became the no.1 product of the day. Not too shabby for a solo founder, right? The launch brought in around $500 in monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and $10,000 in sales of lifetime memberships. This early success fueled my motivation to build the product as fast as possible and fulfill my promise to the lifetime members of delivering a fully functional product within a year.

Over the course of a year, I poured my heart and soul into building Unicorn Platform 2.0. I expanded the features, added an online content editor, cool integrations, and design customization. It was an exhausting and exhilarating journey, but I was determined to create something truly remarkable. All in all, the initial development and launch of Unicorn Platform required a lot of hard work, dedication, and a total investment of 160 hours.

It was a rollercoaster ride of emotions, but in the end, it was worth every bit of effort. So, there you have it, the thrilling tale of how I started and built Unicorn Platform from scratch. It wasn't always easy, but I followed my passion and pursued my vision. And here I am today, grateful for the opportunity to bring value to thousands of users and continue shaping the future of website builders.

How did you get your first initial customers?

In the early stages of Unicorn Platform, I had limited resources and a tight budget, so I had to be resourceful when it came to acquiring customers. Here's a breakdown of the marketing tasks and strategies I used to get those first 10-100 customers onboard:

1. Product Hunt: I launched Unicorn Platform on Product Hunt, which is a platform that showcases and promotes new products. This allowed me to reach a community of early adopters and tech enthusiasts who were eager to discover new tools. The launch on Product Hunt generated a significant amount of interest and helped me gain initial traction.

2. Social Media: I leveraged social media platforms, particularly Twitter, to promote Unicorn Platform and engage with potential customers. I actively shared updates, product features, and helpful content related to website building and entrepreneurship. Building a strong online presence helped me connect with like-minded individuals and build a community around my product.

3. Content Marketing: I focused on creating valuable and insightful content through my blog and YouTube channel. I shared my knowledge and experiences as a web developer, providing tips, tutorials, and best practices for building startups and using Unicorn Platform. By establishing myself as an authority in the field, I was able to attract interested users and drive traffic to my website.

4. SEO Optimization: I invested time in optimizing my website for search engines, targeting relevant keywords and ensuring that my content was well-structured and engaging. This allowed me to rank higher in search engine results and generate organic traffic from users searching for website building solutions.

5. Community Engagement: I actively engaged with communities and forums frequented by my target audience, such as Indie Hackers and web development forums. I participated in discussions, answered questions, and shared insights, establishing myself as a helpful and knowledgeable resource. This not only helped me build connections but also drove organic traffic to Unicorn Platform.

6. Referral Program: To incentivize word-of-mouth marketing, I implemented a referral program. This encouraged my existing users to refer their friends and colleagues to try out Unicorn Platform in exchange for exclusive benefits or discounts. Harnessing the power of user recommendations helped me expand my customer base organically.

Overall, the key to acquiring those initial customers was a combination of building a strong online presence, actively engaging with the community, and providing valuable content and resources. By using a multi-channel approach and focusing on delivering value, I was able to attract and retain my first 10-100 customers.

Since launch, what are your marketing strategies or channels to get new customers?

Great question! As an indie maker, I have used a combination of marketing strategies and channels to attract new customers and promote Unicorn Platform. Here are a few of the channels and tactics I have utilized:

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): I have focused on optimizing my website and content to rank well on search engine results pages. By using relevant keywords and providing valuable content, I have been able to drive organic traffic to my site.

2. Product Hunt: Product Hunt has been a fantastic platform for launching and promoting Unicorn Platform. I have launched my product on Product Hunt multiple times and received a lot of positive feedback and support from the community. It has helped me gain visibility and attract new users.

3. Social Media: I am active on Twitter and other social media platforms, where I share updates, insights, and helpful content related to web development, design, and entrepreneurship. It helps me connect with my target audience, engage with the community, and spread the word about Unicorn Platform.

4. Content Marketing: I have leveraged content marketing to establish thought leadership and drive traffic to my website. I regularly create blog posts, tutorials, videos, and newsletter content that provide value to my target audience. By sharing my knowledge and insights, I have been able to attract and educate potential customers.

5. Word-of-Mouth Referrals: One of the most effective channels for growing Unicorn Platform has been through word-of-mouth referrals. I prioritize providing an exceptional user experience, offering excellent customer support, and constantly improving my product. Satisfied customers are more likely to recommend Unicorn Platform to others, which helps in acquiring new customers.

These are just a few of the marketing channels and strategies I have employed to grow my business. I continuously experiment with new approaches and channels to reach my target audience and expand awareness of Unicorn Platform.

How do your business make money?

Our business model revolves around a simple and transparent pricing strategy. Users get access to almost all the features of Unicorn Platform on the free plan.

We believe in providing value without limitations. When users are ready to take their website to the next level and connect a custom domain, they can upgrade to a paid plan.

Currently, Unicorn Platform is making $16,000 in monthly recurring revenue (MRR) with over 1,000 paying customers.

Take us through a typical day in your life running the business as a solo founder

Ah, the glamorous and exciting life of an entrepreneur! Let me take you through a typical day in my life running Unicorn Platform.

I start my day bright and early, rising with the sun (or at least that's the plan!). After a refreshing morning routine and a cup of strong coffee to kickstart my brain, it's time to delve into the world of running a business. I work from my cozy home office, surrounded by my beloved cat who acts as my unofficial co-workers. They're not very helpful when it comes to coding or customer support, but they provide great moral support and occasional distractions in the form of cute cuddles.

My day is divided into various tasks and responsibilities. I spend a significant portion of my time coding and designing, working on new features and improving the existing ones. I strive to make Unicorn Platform the best it can be, constantly listening to user feedback and implementing their suggestions. In addition to hands-on product development, I also handle customer support. I believe in providing a personal touch, so I personally respond to customer inquiries and troubleshoot any issues they may encounter. This direct interaction with users helps me understand their needs better and build stronger relationships with them.

To keep everything organized and running smoothly, I rely on a handful of essential tools. Notion is my go-to for project management and documentation. It helps me keep track of tasks, jot down ideas, and stay organized amidst the chaos. Trello is another tool I use to map out the product roadmap and keep things on track. Communication is key, so I use Crisp to interact with customers and provide timely support. It allows me to stay in touch with users, answer their questions, and tackle any roadblocks they may encounter. And of course, I can't forget about good ol' email. It's often the first point of contact for many of our users, so I make sure to stay on top of emails and respond promptly.

Despite being a solo founder, I'm not alone in this journey. I have a fantastic team of passionate individuals who work with me remotely. We communicate through various channels like Discord and Zoom, collaborating on different aspects of the business. Their expertise and dedication have been invaluable in taking Unicorn Platform to new heights. Of course, running a business is not all work and no play. I make sure to take breaks throughout the day to clear my mind and recharge.

Sometimes, I'll go out for a short run or skateboard session to get the blood flowing and let off some steam. And let's not forget about the cats, who always manage to bring a smile to my face even in the busiest of times.

So there you have it, a glimpse into a typical day in my life running Unicorn Platform. It's a mix of creativity, problem-solving, and a whole lot of passion. It's challenging, yet incredibly fulfilling, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Before you go, what advice would you give to another who wants to start a business like yours?

Ah, my dear friend, if you're thinking about starting a business like mine, I have a few pieces of advice for you.

First and foremost, follow your passion. Find something that truly excites you and fuels your fire. Building a business is no easy task, and you'll need that passion to keep you going through the ups and downs.

Secondly, don't be afraid to start small. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will your business be. Start with a minimum viable product (MVP) that solves a specific problem for your target audience. Focus on delivering value and iterate based on feedback. Remember, it's better to have a simple, functional product than to wait for perfection.

Next, surround yourself with a supportive community. Connect with other indie hackers and entrepreneurs who can provide guidance, inspiration, and support. Share your journey, ask for help when you need it, and celebrate your wins together. Building a business can be a lonely road, but it doesn't have to be.

Lastly, embrace failure and learn from your mistakes. Entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster ride, and you'll inevitably face setbacks along the way. Instead of viewing failures as roadblocks, see them as opportunities for growth and learning. Reflect on what went wrong, make adjustments, and keep pushing forward.

Remember, my friend, building a business is a wild adventure, full of highs and lows. Embrace the journey, stay true to yourself, and never stop learning and growing. I wish you all the success in the world on your entrepreneurial path!

Where can we go to lean more about you and your business?

Here are some links you can learn more about Alex and his business: