💸 This solo founder makes $2.5m in revenue

And checkout this exploding community.

Hey all,

Matthias here, creator of the Founder Finds (previously CommunityValidated) newsletter. Every week, I spend hours researching business opportunities and trends and summarise my findings in this short-form newsletter.

With that, let’s get started with this week’s finds.

💎 r/AskElectricians

I was shocked when I discovered this subreddit. I thought this would be some tiny community, but looking at its growth is phenomenal.

The explosion of this community makes sense. Many people are knowledge workers today, and it’s increasingly uncommon for people to know how to fix their own stuff.

At the same time, I’ve noticed a trend where people want to keep the products they use around longer and fix them themselves in case they break.

So naturally, they look for ways of fixing their stuff online. YouTube videos can work for some cases, but there are tons of edge cases you won’t find a YouTube video or blog post for. The subreddit r/AskElectricians seems to be one place where people go when they didn’t find their answers elsewhere.

Opportunities

People here are mainly looking for help with questions about electronics. It’s kind of like a Stackoverflow for electronics. Two opportunities I see here:

  • Stackoverflow for electricians: an online forum dedicated to questions around this topic. People with questions can openly ask them, and experts come to answer them. The incentive for the experts/electricians would be to get social proof. If their answer gets upvoted the most, it showcases their expertise. Which could be great for their business. Having a dedicated website for this, as opposed to having a subreddit, would allow for building a platform better suited for this particular need.

  • Thumbtack for electricians: Thumbtack connects you with all kinds of service providers for home improvements, repairs, inspections, etc. But as with general-purpose platforms like this, there’s always the opportunity to unbundle them: take a small part of it (electrical repairs for example) and deliver it to customers in a much better way. One advantage of focusing on a niche like this is that your marketing efforts can be much more targeted compared to general-purpose platforms like Thumbtack.

💡 Interesting things I found this week

This ad made Sam Parr from The Hustle millions. Many other newsletters copied it successfully.

This essay perfectly explains what's wrong with business advice. And this thread shows a real-world incarnation of all those fallacies.

This newsletter is gold if you’re a newsletter operator yourself. I wish I had discovered this one earlier!

💎 Going from $3k MRR to $160k MRR in 4 months

This is the stripe-verified revenue graph of chatbase. They went from 3k MRR to 160k MRR in 4 months, which is absolutely bananas.

Yes, it’s AI hype and all, but it’s still crazy. But I think this graph drives home one point:

You’ll know very early whether a product you’re working on is a success or not. Yasser, the founder of chatbase, even deliberately failed a bunch of classes in college because he knew that chatbase was a big thing. And I hear many founders say the same thing again and again: they knew right away when they had a hit product.

Now, how do you find that hit product? I like how Shaan put it (paraphrasing here): “Entrepreneurship is like surfing. You gotta be out there in the water and look out for waves. You’ll catch some, most of which will be bad waves, some are gonna be great waves but you’ll fail to ride them. But if you just do it often enough, at one point you'll catch an awesome wave and ride it, and that'll be it — you won.” Now replace “waves” with “trends”, and the quote is perfectly applicable to business.

I believe the “consistency gospel” out there is sung way too loud. “Don’t stop! You gotta push through hard times! Consistency is the key!” Well yes, of course, that is true sometimes. But what is also true is that you can consistently work on a bad opportunity, and your consistency won’t magically make it a great opportunity. And from what I’ve seen, most founders (including me) tend to err on the side of sticking too long on those bad opportunities out of fear of pivoting.

Here’s how this informs my business strategy:

  • Find the proverbial waves: what trends are developing right now? Which ones do I want to ride?

  • Move fast: Launch fast, get something out the door in a weekend, maybe 1-2 weeks. See how people react and iterate from there. If it doesn’t go anywhere, try something else. Don’t beat a dead horse.

💎 Bootstrapped solo founder generating millions

I came across the story of Joseph Mambwe, solo founder of Gym Streak who generated $300k in his first year, then $2.5m in the second year, and believes he can hit $15m in year 5. This is insane!

And the craziest thing in all of this is: he’s done it all by himself! The workout routines, programming of the app, 3D modeling, and UI/UX were all done by Joseph himself.

I love these kinds of stories for how inspiring they are. You can go read the full story here, but what stood out to me was this:

  • Understanding the market: When Joseph came up with the idea, there were already tons of fitness apps on the market. This would turn off most entrepreneurs, as competition may be tough. But Joseph had tried all of them, but liked none! He really understood what the market had to offer, and knew that he could do it better. What space do you understand extremely well, and know that you can drastically improve a product/service in that space?

That’s it for today! If you like what you read, I’d love for you to share the newsletter with anyone you think would enjoy it. They can subscribe here.

Best,

Matthias