Mikkel created 10er, a Patreon-like service for Danish creators. He built it as a Rails app and launched it on his podcast. It has grown a lot and almost reached the $2,000/month goal. He is currently working at Elastic making sure their APM solution is as good as possible for Ruby apps. He is self-taught and has built and run a few side projects. Read his amazing story how he did his successful start up!
Mikkel founded 10er, a platform comparable to Patreon for Danish artists. He created it as a Rails application and quickly released it on his podcast, where he already had a listenership. The website has significantly expanded over the past three months and is now close to reaching its $2,000/month target.
Self-Taught and Successful
At Elastic, I am now striving to ensure that our APM solution is as beneficial as possible for users of Ruby projects. The workplace at Elastic is wonderful, and we’re always looking for talented individuals.
I’ve created and managed a few side ventures in my spare time. I have to make a deliberate effort to limit the amount of projects I have going since creating things is incredibly soothing for my brain.
The most popular of the side businesses was 10er.co, a service similar to Patreon for (primarily) Danish creators. 10er is the ideal side project since it solves an issue I had, generates a decent amount of recurring income, and requires very little maintenance.
I self-taught, like many others in our field. About ten years ago, I began my undergraduate studies but soon left to pursue stand-up comedy. Did that for a few years full-time while working the odd programming contract on the side. Then, eventually, it got boring to keep trying to survive on comedy when I like programming just as much and it’s lot simpler to make a livelihood from programming.
Starting a Podcast: How It Led Me to Create 10er
My decision to start 10er was inspired by my stand-up comedy work. I asked my friend and fellow comic to join me on a podcast seven years ago. When podcasts first came out, almost nobody even understood what they were. Since then, 262 episodes have been recorded, and the project has now come to a conclusion.
We collected donations from our listeners along the way. One-time gifts were OK; we were thrilled that anyone would pay us for something they earlier received gratis.
However, it was hard to arrange anything around one-time gifts. Additionally, we didn’t want to keep appealing for help. Then Patreon appeared, and the model appeared to be the best choice. Rather of waiting around for donations, the donors subscribed to give and gave a fixed sum for each episode we released.
But I never set up a Patreon account for us. I never completed joining up after I started every time. It simply felt like a bother all around. There are too many input fields, factors to take into account, and visuals to supply. More material should be produced for subscribers, according to Patreon. With our already-free material, we believed we were already giving away a lot.
Being a programmer, it thus seemed simpler—and perhaps naive—to construct my own service as a side project.
I just created Motherload.dk, a website selling Danish comedy programs as digital downloads, using Stripe for the first time, and the experience was so enjoyable that I kind of felt like I could build anything. I still have that feeling. What a great company and service. highly recommended
I created 10er specifically for my show, but in a way that made it easy for someone else to utilize it for their own project in the future. December 2014 marked the first month that 10er collected payment, and the first additional project joined roughly six months later.
The power of honesty and prompt response in app development
I created the Ruby on Rails app 10er. Amazing stuff include Ruby and Rails. I really believe that it might not have been completed if I had constructed it in any other way.
I estimate that it required a month of side work and was as straightforward as feasible. an account page detailing subscription, a signup form with credit card and email fields, and a script to automatically charge users once per month for the most recent month’s episodes. It was deliberate to do as little as possible.
The fact that our audience recognized the service was something I designed just for us probably helped a lot because podcast listeners are generally incredibly devoted and engaged. customers were hardly anything but amused that I had made such a foolish error when my charge script went wild on the very first run and charged certain customers many times when it should have only charged once.
Every time I’ve screwed up (I’ve lost count! ), I’ve discovered that this is the case: Give an honest and prompt response. Avoid defending yourself or brushing it off. If you can convince others that you are sincerely attempting to do good, they will usually forgive you.
How to Market a Side Project
I already had a platform and a target audience because 10er was launched through and for my own show. Since then, I have taken on additional projects—136+ as of this writing. My biggest challenge is finding the time to work on 10er, so I’ve limited my marketing to projects exclusively, allowing the projects draw in donors on their own.
I experimented with some content marketing-inspired blogging. In the end, I believe most (if not all) projects found 10er from some other project using the service. I even paid a buddy to interview clients. Typically, podcasters consume a large number of them themselves. Thank goodness.
Recently, I’ve been much more transparent about the project, publishing my revenue and costs online, and I’ve noticed a fair deal of interest as a result. Right now, it appears to me that spreading the word as much as I can will be my most effective kind of marketing. My target audience is other creatives since they are drawn to other people’s experiences.
The biggest challenge to growing 10er and my other side ventures is finding time. Free time might be difficult to come by with a full-time work and 2 kids (boy 4 years, daughter 10 months). Making 10er as autonomous and compact as feasible has been made necessary by this fact.
I still need a personalized admin interface and use the terminal to perform some tasks manually. For example, project signups still go through me. It nearly seems compelled to stop growing. I explain to myself that this is both a blessing and a curse. Every project utilizing the service has been personally linked with and spoken to by me, and I have never encountered any abuse or similar issues.
Overcoming the Challenges of Solo Entrepreneurship
Being alone is the biggest drawback for me. Things absolutely stop when I don’t have the time or inclination to work on them. Of course, I always encourage, but sometimes progress stagnates.
I just hired a young freelance coder to assist me with the duties that are less dangerous. She has already submitted a couple pull requests that have already been accepted.
Because I tend to have an opinion on almost everything, I prefer to do tasks on my own. I’ve always thought outsourcing support, marketing, or similar tasks is risky.
The desire to handle things on your own is undoubtedly a drawback. But for the time being, it’s still doable.
Recovering from Mistakes When Handling Sensitive Data
Everything becomes much more serious when handling people’s money and credit cards, making errors feel like the end of the world. I’ve done a couple stomach-churning things wrong:
The charge script wasn’t idempotent the first time I ran it. When a charge was unsuccessful for any reason. They accomplish a lot, I realize now), but then the entire narrative would rewind and charge everyone. When I recognized what it was doing, it seemed like a garden sprinkler-like flurry of perspiration erupted from my entire body. Making the script check for existing charges before billing was the solution. In this manner, the same gift is never charged more than once.
I once combined the accounts of project owners and donors, two different categories of users. I confused practically everyone’s subscriptions, which was incredibly confusing. A few weeks later, when I ran the charge script, folks were billed for other people’s memberships. When I recognized it, the ground almost trembled. It took a few weeks to rebuild everyone’s subscriptions, and I was quite ashamed of myself.
However, both occasions, just a small number of individuals rejected my apologies. Because of those mishaps, I believe I lost two or three users. Everyone else was incredibly understanding and valued my prompt reaction and candor. Be honest and modest at all times.
How to Prioritize Time as an Entrepreneur
I’m not certain what I could have done differently. I don’t actually think in that way. I’ve had good fortune along the road. Of sure, I could have prevented certain blunders, but what are mistakes if not genuinely serious learning opportunities? I’m fortunate to have a somewhat understanding conscience. That implies I’ve always missed deadlines or submitted my schoolwork late. But it has also helped me swiftly forget or at least laugh at my mistakes. One of the things you learn from stand-up comedy is that. Everyone experiences bombing, and when you do, it’s unlike anything you’ve ever felt. But you eventually move on. Repeat until you are free of the worry of appearing foolish. I advise everyone to at least once attempt sucking at stand-up!
I frequently advise my present self to try to spend more time working on 10er rather than dividing my limited free time across other projects. I should probably start paying attention to him more.
I would advise trying a variety of things. It doesn’t matter whether it has already been done. Better still if it’s clear how the concept can generate income. Stripe is fantastic. Make use of their platform. Rails is fantastic. Use it. Alternately, just apply what you already know. Never believe the nonsense that “X doesn’t scale” or “real developers use X”. Use dull technology. or cutting-edge technology. The users don’t really care about the language or framework in the end.
Continue to be interested and try new things. Create something out of nothing. Look up successful persons who have a message for you. Even if you disagree with some of what they have to say, inspiration may come from anyone.
Visit my website to learn more.
My Twitter handle is @mikker, and you can locate my email very easily. I’m more than happy to address any and all of your inquiries. If you believe I can assist you with any technical, professional, or product questions, please don’t hesitate to ask because I like assisting others.
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