#21: Sai's micro-Saas generates $2300+ MRR

Learn how to build a sustainable lifestyle as a micro-SaaS entrepreneur

The story of our featured hustler is quite different from the stories we have shared with you so far. Sai never had a conventional career; instead, he has built multiple products and is a indie-hacker life. There is much to learn from his journey on how micro-SaaS can be viable side hustles.

⚒️Built around 40 products since 2011

🤯Product built during college reached 1Mn+ users in less than a year

🤑Current product is generating $2300+ MRR

Building a sustainable lifestyle as a micro-SaaS entrepreneur

Sai Krishna hails from a small town in Andhra Pradesh in, India. He is a Computer Science graduate who has always loved blogging and solving complex problems. So much so that by the time he graduated from college, he skipped placements as his suite of products was generating a good income. Since then, he has built multiple products, generated sustainable income through his products and has had an exciting detour in the world of startups.

It all started in college with the need to get WiFi

In 2011, the internet in India was not easy to access, and WiFi technology was in its nascent stage. Internet could be accessed via a wired modem. Sai wanted a way to access the internet on other devices. To solve Wifi accessibility problem, he built a product called mHotspot, which could ​​turn your windows laptop into a WiFi hotspot and make a virtual WiFi router.

The product immediately caught fire, with it getting lots of users and media traction. By the end of 2012, mHotspot reached 1 million users. As users used the product and Sai started to get feedback, he kept building complimentary products like mHotspot for Andriod and file sharing between laptop & phone. The different use cases helped him monetize the products.

By 2013, when he graduated, he did not want to go for a full-time job as his products were generating sustainable income for him. Instead, he decided to become an Indie Hacker (an individual who builds and launches a business or product independently, without the support of a large organization or team) and keep building products. From 2013-2015, he made close to 40 products which included mobile apps and games. He built good SEO for most of his products and generated organic traffic, which helped him reach a revenue of $100K.

Taking the next step into the world of startups

Sai's products were doing well, and financially also, he was stable, but he recognized that he needed more business knowledge. He needed to learn how to scale products and build a company. He decided to move to Bangalore and enrolled into Startup Leadership Program. In the year-long program, he learnt how to build a company, talk to investors, learnt what GTM is and much more. By the end of it, a batchmate and he decided to build a startup together. Their idea was to make mHotspot a hardware device as a solution for companies to provide WiFi to their customers, like in cabs & flights.

It was called SpotPlay, and they got accepted to startup incubators and programs in India & USA. For two years, they devoted their time to building the product but could not get users, and with the launch of Jio, their idea became obsolete. Sai was in Chile when they decided to shut their startup. He decided to take a break and do a trip around the States. But a developer cannot be away from his passion for long. He wanted to listen to music during his journey, but Gaana (music streaming app) was unavailable. He decided to build an open-source project called Rey. Rey takes youtube as the data source and converts it into a simple and intuitive UI. He wrote a Reddit thread about it, and many users loved the product.

His friend was building a serverless alternative to WordPress and asked Sai to contribute to the project. Sai created React and Firebase versions of it, and then a mobile app and much more. He kept building and soon was one of the top two contributors to that GitHub repository. But then, he decided to come to India and take a six-month break for personal reasons.

In early 2019, his previous co-founder reached out to him to join a new startup team. The product was called Digibooster, building an influencer marketing platform. He joined them as CTO. While he built the product, the company needed to raise more money and was eventually overtaken by the lead investor. Sai did not want to continue and took an exit.

Building an alternative to WordPress and Medium blogs

After the exit, Sai took time to consider his next venture. 

SEO has played a vital role in all his endeavours. Sai had mastered the art of optimizing his content for best practices. But he observed that even though he was spending close to $400 on WordPress, the SEO optimization could have been more optimal, and he always had to do more. 

This sparked the idea to build Superblog- a blazing-fast alternative to WordPress and Medium blogs which is auto-optimized for SEO and speed with zero setup and maintenance. He launched it at the end of 2020. The initial response was good, and Sai decided to go all on to grow the product.

He took the organic route, focusing on content, building in public and also leveraging side projects. He created three side projects to grow Superblog- 

Superblog is growing steadily, reaching $2300+ MRR and brands like Swiggy are its user.

Sai plans to grow it to $100K ARR this year while also exploring a new side project called SuperTranslate with two other Indie Hackers.

Don't quit your job early. Opportunity cost is high when you think of quitting your job. So always take data-based decisions. Grow to 2x or 3x of your full-time job before leaving and going into indie hacking.

Sai's advice on when to make your side hustle your full-time job

A piece of great advice, tweet it out and share the knowledge.

Hustlers Insights of the Week

Build side hustles to solve your problems: A significant roadblock we have to start a side hustle is how to get ideas. The most effective way to get ideas is to solve your own problems. Every product that Sai has built has been a solution to a problem he faced. When you solve your problem, you become the first customer, which helps you build a user-friendly product.

Don't get comfortable: We tend to get comfortable with things we know and leverage our strengths. But that hinders our ability to upskill and grow. So if you are getting comfortable with your side hustle, find the areas you lack and upskill in them. Sai's products were doing great, but he understood he needed more business knowledge. He decided to join a startup program to improve.

Have a giver mindset: We often shy away from helping others with our skills if we don't know what we will get in return. But if we have an attitude to help others, we will eventually win. Sai contributed to many open-source projects, one being an alternative to WordPress. And that helped him a lot to create the first version of Superblog.

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Also, know anyone (who is making money from their side hustle while having a full-time job) we should feature? Let us know by replying, and we will get chatting!

Resources of the week

Trends VC Report on Micro-SaaS: Learn more about what micro-SaaS is, how the space is evolving and why you should build one.

MarktStash: A weekly newsletter to discover growth strategies from Indie Founders.

We're off to Dharamshala in April!

After the success of our first-ever BuildCamps in Goa, we have announced our second season in Dharamshala. It will be seven days vacation in the hills where you will build & launch a side project with 30 like-minded builders.

Interested? You can learn more and apply here.