- The Hustlers
- #13: Bhanu escaped his 9-to-5 and is now generating $1200 MRR from his microSaaS
#13: Bhanu escaped his 9-to-5 and is now generating $1200 MRR from his microSaaS
Learn how you can take a leap and let hustling take center stage
Our hustler today, Bhanu took a different route than most that you have read in our previous editions. His story shows us that sometimes you can let hustling and exploring take center stage in your work life.
💰Built a microSaaS that reached revenue of $1200 MRR in 6 months since launch
🤩Built a Twitter audience of 6K
💪Generated $20000 through freelance and bounty projects to support his hustle
Bhanu is building a microSaaS that is making $1200 MRR
Bhanu Teja had a career path like most techies in India. In 2019, he graduated as an engineer from the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad. His first job was at Swiggy as a software developer. In a few months, he realized that the job felt unfulfilling for him. He felt like a tiny bolt in a large system; his presence did not make much difference. He wanted to take some action to change his life course.
The start was rocky and difficult
In his quest to learn more, he started working on side projects. These side projects were elementary projects to improve his software development skills. With a demanding job, he faced difficulties in completing the side projects he worked on. One day, he came across an article about people earning a living by building software products and services called Indie hackers. Motivated by what he read, he decided to give building software products a shot and quit his job.
He had savings that would last him a few months. Bhanu got together with a friend to build a product and make it a business. With his friend, Bhanu built a platform enabling anyone to create courses like Free Code Camp. This platform was launched within three months. But after the launch, they could not find users willing to pay for it. After a year of working on it without much traction, they gave up on the product.
This was Bhanu's first failure.
But it gave him immense learnings. For the first time, he built an end-to-end product. He learned things that his four years of college and a half-year job could not teach him. He also started blogging about his experience. People began to follow his blog as they found it very useful. He started to even get a small following on Twitter. The product failed but his experience of building was proving beneficial to others.
Exploring and focusing on hustling led to the first success
Bhanu realized that he enjoyed the process of writing, but the execution was time-consuming. He would write the draft on Notion and then convert it to markdown to upload to a blogging platform. The publishing took him around 30 minutes for every post. He wanted a way to publish from Notion directly.
He started looking for a solution and could not find anything. Bhanu decided to build it himself and created a product called MDX. It was effortless; it just converted the Notion pages to a blog site without any manual effort from the user. He got 100 users, and 20 of them were paying customers. But within a week, he got a hosting bill of $10000! His development was not very sustainable. He did not know what to do, and he just shut everything down.
As he had taken a risk and quit his job, he had to find ways to make some money. He started to freelance and work on bounty projects in the Web3 space. It was when Web3 was booming and he completed a bounty that paid him $20000. It extended his runway for a long time.
He then started working on MDX again. He began finding ways to reduce the cost and got help from the network he had created. Within six months, a new version of MDX was ready. It was very different from the first MDX, with more features and a better UI. He rebranded it to Feather and launched it in May 2022. It got instant traction and started growing organically. Within six months, Feather crossed 100+ customers and $1200 MRR.
After almost two years of hustling, Bhanu feels confident that he has built a product that he can scale and get a good ROI. He is now building it further in public and in the process improving his marketing skills. Creating a solid network online has helped Bhanu a lot. When he started his journey, he knew nothing about product marketing or growth hacking. But he was very active in various communities like Indie Hackers. He would ask many questions and help others when he could. Over time, he has built a great network of friends and supporters.
Looking back, Bhanu feels it would have been wise to start side hustles instead of building full-time. But he is happy being where he is. It is a roller coaster ride, but focusing on the long-term goals keeps him motivated every day.
Hustlers Insight of the Week
Bhanu's story is full of grit and persistence. He did not let his failure demotivate him. Instead, he learnt from them and reached a point where he can lead the life that he desired.
Hustling can take centre stage: Sometimes you can take the leap and hustle to take centre stage in your work life. Bhanu was unhappy with his job and he started exploring his interests. When his project was not getting traction, he supported the project with freelancing gigs.
Start small: The biggest lesson we can learn is to start small. Bhanu's first product was very ambitious, and it took him a lot of time to build it. But it did not acquire users. So he started small with his second product, which was a success.
Learn from every experience: We should always look at ways to learn from all our experiences. The failures are bound to teach you a lot. You need to utilize it well and create success from it.
It's been 13 weeks since we started the Hustlers. We want to constantly bring you inspiration for side hustles and help you start one. And to improve our endeavours we need your suggestions. Please take this quick poll, you can also write back to me with any suggestions.
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Want to get started with your side hustle? Check out our initiatives.
Build: A 4 weeks cohort to build and launch a side project.
BuildOnChain: Learn, build & launch a Web3 side hustle in 5 Weeks
BuildCamp Goa: Build a side project while vacationing with like-minded individuals and seasoned hustlers.