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Examples of profitable one person business

About 5 min to read

Software

How much does it make

I scoured the Hacker News threads to find genuine solo online businesses to understand how much a single founder can make with a SaaS product, we website producing content, a developer tool, e-commerce or other type of business. The results vary. The most successful seem to be deep entrenched into niche markets, working on specialized products and use cases. Be aware of luck involved and survivorship bias. Here we go.

SaaS Product

busy.io

What: Instagram post management.

Revenue: the same a developer would get at Microsoft.

Involvement: 3h per week for support.

the idea came about when I wanted to post to Instagram, but the API didn't allow it. So I spent about a week trying to automate the process

undisclosed consumer app with subscription

What: b2c app

Revenue: 300,000 eur / year

Involvement: 30h per week for various tasks.

It serves a niche and does so very well, better than all others.

fontpeek.com

What: font preview solution

Revenue: not majority of income

Involvement: 1h per week for support

It's a simple tool that allows font designers to add a secure font previewer to their web store.

pinboard.in

What: pinterest without social

Revenue: 222k in 2019 doubled from 2010

A one-person business is an exercise in long-term anxiety management, so I would say if you are already an anxious person, go ahead and start a business. You're not going to feel any worse.

flowx.io/

What: weather app

Revenue: 2500 usd / month, with expense of 500/month

Involvement: 40h per week

This Android Weather app might not seem like a success but the business allowed us to move to the Rarotonga, Cook Islands from Auckland, New Zealand. Lifestyle-wise and building-a-business-wise, I think it's a success.

undisclosed software that blocks distractions

What: focus/distraction app

Revenue: well paying government job salary

Involvement: fulltime

The idea for my product first came to me when a friend in university had trouble staying focused on writing papers

proproductpix.org/

What: image processing

Revenue: 1300 usd / month

It removes the background from product photos, with the intended audience being mostly people who sell stuff online

VPN service

What: VPN

Revenue: 3000 USD / month with 70 / month for expenses

Involvement: 1h / week

It was my learn how to code project that has become my basic income.

undisclosed website builder

What: website builders

Revenue: 14000 usd / month with 500 / month expenses for servers and APIs

Involvement: 2h / week for support

By far the hardest part was/is marketing. At this point it's mostly word of mouth.

golfforecast.co.uk/

What: sports prediction

Revenue: 3000 GBP / month

ML algorithm to predict golf. After 5 years it's making enough from subscriptions

toDesktop.com

What: app toolkit

Revenue: covers basic living expenses

ToDesktop automatically creates a desktop app from any web app. Most of my growth now is coming from organic search engine traffic.

Sanitycheck.io

What: Seo software

Revenue: Enough to support the founder, but only after 3 years

Involvement: fulltime

I built it originally to help me with my own SEO consulting work, but it has grown from being a side project to my main source of income now.

Simple Analytics

What: Google Analytics alternative

Revenue: 29000 usd / month

Competing with Google Analytics isn't easy

Makerpad

What: NoCode solutions

Revenue: 24000 USD / month

Makerpad helps non-developers build complex apps where you'd typically expect developers to be required.he basically refuses to run a business that's not 100% enjoyable.

Carrd

What: website builder

Revenue: 30000 USD / month

Card is a one-page site builder. AJ's an amazing developer/designer combo with over a decade of experience building one-page website templates and builders.

mediacloud.press/

What: Wordpress plugin

Revenue: Enough for living expenses

WordPress plugin,It's an equal mix of rewarding and frustrating.

ghostnoteapp.com/

What: notes app

Revenue: profitable but not enough for a family

contextual notes and todo app. I build it because i needed it myself.

flowboardpro.com/

What: agencies software

Revenue: enough for living expenses

Involvement: fulltime, solo dev

It is an artist management software for agencies.

fileinbox.com/

What: File transfer

Revenue: 4000 usd / month

Involvement: fulltime for 5 years

I get to work on whatever I want, I get to take as much time off as I want whenever I want, and I've never felt like I wasn't doing meaningful work.

holidayapi.com/

What: Data platform

Revenue: 1500 usd / month

DaaS platform for holiday information.Ironically I started the project as a way to NOT have to maintain said data and now part of my day to day involves maintaining data accuracy... and sales outreach... and DevOps to improve... my own development efforts... and... and...

listagram.com

What: leads software

Revenue: 6000 usd / month with 1000 monthly costs

Involvement: solo developer

Yeah everybody hates popups. But I saw a potential for a product and wanted to try doing the SaaS thing

leavemealone.xyz/

What: unsubscribe solution

Revenue: 500 usd / month

Involvement: two-persons

an app that helps you unsubscribe from spammy mailing lists

preppr.com/

What: Instagram post management

Revenue: 10000 usd / month

I built this Instagram scheduling site and iOS app

Developer Tool

Wakatime.com

What: time-tracker

Revenue: more MRR than an SF developer salary

Seven years ago I solo-started an automatic time tracker for programmers

formAPI.io

What: PDF management

Revenue: reveived capital investment

helps developers fill out PDF documents.I raised some money from Earnest Capital [2], which has allowed me to go full-time

Tarsnap

What: backups

Revenue: enough for two persons

Starting a successful SaaS company as a side project is much harder.

keygen.sh

What: API

Revenue: 3500 usd / month

API for software licensing and distribution

picojump.com/

What: Raspberry Pi management

Revenue: not enough to live off

It evolved to scratch my own itch: simplifying the access, management, and monitoring of a fleet of distributed Raspberry Pis (running Raspbian, on private networks) without requiring any proprietary client-side code.

Sourcehut

What: Open-source tools

Revenue: 1000 usd / month

We've taken the wisdom of the most successful open-source communities and turned it into a platform of efficient engineering tools.

loadster.app

What: website load tester

Revenue: close to comfortable living

if I were to start all over again as a solo bootstrapper, I would probably do something less technical.

Web Content

undisclosed Quiz website

What: content website

Revenue: 6000 USD / month from ads with 20 usd expense for hosting

Involvement: 3h per week for uploading quizzes

Compare to my salary, I'm an IT Administrator in my day job and make $400 per month. I live in Ethiopia

pageflows

What: UI screnshots

Revenue: junior developer salary in London

Involvement: fulltime

It's a fairly boring business to run and not as predictable or sexy as some sort of micro saas, but it's I'm happy with how things have been so far.

undisclosed content website

What: content website

Revenue: 200 000 USD / year

Involvement: still has day job

Started putting together a predictive analytics package for investing in digital content, so we have an idea of how content will pull before we create it.

undisclosed edtech platform for interviews

What: courses

Revenue: 6 figures

Involvement: 10h / week for dev and marketing work

I launched it 2 years ago, mainly to help me teach a university class more effectively

keyvalues.com

What: newsletter and content

Revenue: 30000 usd / month

Lynne helps developers find roles at companies that share their values

Starter story

What: content/interviews

Revenue: 7100 usd / month

Pat interviews e-commerce founders about how they started their businesses.

visalist.io

What: content

Revenue: 2500 usd / month

My revenue is from adsense, pro subscription, iVisa affiliate and Skyscanner affiliate. Most of traffic is organic.

fitloop.co

What: content/courses

Revenue: 450 usd / month

Involvement: solo

char.gd/recharged

What: content

Revenue: 2500 usd / month

tech briefings each day for industry insight, without ads

E-commerce

undisclosed jewelry store

What: online store

Revenue: primary income

Involvement: 15h/week for 10 years

The traffic is all organic and nets a few thousand dollars per month with no marketing,

Marketplace

onlyusedtesla.com/

What: car marketplace

Revenue: full income

Involvement: founder does not work 9-5

online marketplace to buy / sell a Used Tesla. I have been living off the income this whole year.

scoold.com

What: Q&A site

Revenue: 4000 eur / month

Involvement: 30% of the day, solo

Q&A platform It started off as Stack Overflow clone but now it has features which are quite niche

Service

nanagram.co

What: photo printing service

Revenue: does not provide majorify of income

The tagline: Text or email your photos and we'll send 4x6 prints to your loved ones

instapainting.com

What: painting from photos

Revenue: livable income

I've been living off of the income since inception, even though the first few years were poverty levels of income