Kristóf Dombi


I made my first $5 on the internet 🔥

I created a volume limit app for OSX with no prior experience of native development under one month. 💻

It is a pleasing moment in life when you can feel your work is appreciated. But to get to the point of appreciation, there is a journey ahead of every one of us. It contains lots of things to be fulfilled and plenty of experience to be gained. I feel Earsafe (the app I wrote) is one of my first milestones in my journey. 🛫

With this piece of content, I’d like to share with you how I started out and what I learned along the way. So now sit back, relax, and enjoy your reading! 🍿

TL;DR — for the lazy ones 😉

I’m a regular guy, who made his first $5 through the internet by selling an OSX app he has made.

Here you can find my learnings and experience what I got during the last month while I was building/launching the app in a digestible, 30 seconds format:

  • ⚡ ️Take commitments fast to achieve your goals — it worked for me (eg.: I bought my domain ~5 minutes after the idea came. 👉 motivation)
  • 🏎 Make shortcuts and keep moving — simplify everything you can, as fast as you can
  • 👌 Worry less, do more! Problems will get sorted out either way — just as Bob Marley said… if you feel overburdened, don’t hesitate to relax a bit
  • 🐶 Eating your own dog food — using your own product on a daily basis is worth it for the long run
  • 🛳 Ship as quickly as you can — don’t just move fast, ship fast and validate, like the big boys do
  • 💰Validate your product by selling it for real — You’ll only know your product is worth $5 if you sell it for $5.

Two sentences about me — so you’ll be in the context 👨‍💻

I’m a frontend developer from Hungary, who is part of the indie hackers community and I always have ideas (or side-projects), which I’m working on, constantly jumping between them and making my girlfriend crazy about this. 🤦‍

Genesis of Earsafe 💡

As I’m keen on The Verge’s Youtube content, I’ve come across a video of theirs, which was about how dangerous it is to listen to loud music for long hours through your earbuds. 🎧

I immediately came up with the idea after watching the video. It was about implementing a menu bar application, which takes care of your ears. 👂

Well, the next step was obvious, let’s check it out on Google, whether it already exists. This is what I’ve found: 🧐

So the bottom line is that I bought the domain after ~5 minutes of watching the video.

What I’ve learned / experienced:

Take commitments fast to achieve your goals ⚡️

We have already reached my first learning by buying the domain so quickly. Taking commitments fast did the trick for me. I got focused so much on the project that I was able to overcome my fears of inexperience in native development. I jumped straight to Google, typing “How to write a menu bar app for OSX?”. 🛠

Although I have never written any line of code nor in Swift, nor in Objective-C, I could find a decent tutorial from where I could take off. 🚀

Make shortcuts and keep moving 🏎

The initial idea I had of the app was way more difficult than the actual output turned out to be. I had to leave out certain features to keep the MVP a truly minimum viable product. 📦

At first, I wanted to display the actual decibel level of the main output, but I had to let it go as it was way above my current knowledge. I couldn’t even find any helpful StackOverflow questions, so I felt it wasn’t worth the time to implement. ⏳

I had to move on. I didn’t want to spend more than a month just on the implementation as I had done with my earlier projects. 🛑✋

Worry less, do more! Problems will get sorted out either way. 👌

Sometimes you may find yourself in front of obstacles that block you from progressing or decreases your motivation towards the project. It happened to me as well with the decibel problem I’ve just mentioned. I was also afraid of native development at first. But I figured that less hesitating profits in more output. 📈

Just step back for a moment and relax, you’ll always have other options, solutions. 😴

Eating your own dog food 🐶

If you’re building something on your own, I highly recommend to use it on a daily basis. I started using Earsafe as soon as I could and I’ve been using it since then.
You’ll find the biggest pain points in your product way faster this way. Even your early-adopters are just going to meet with edge-case bugs (hopefully 🤞) by the time of launching.

Ship as quickly as you can 🛳

As I wrote earlier, it’s a good practice to keep your pace on a higher level. Your biggest advantage as a solo “maker” is, that you can make decisions way quicker than companies can. 🏢

If you’re thinking of “adjusting one of your features” or “repolishing the design of your landing page”, you’re probably just making excuses not to ship your product and playing with your own time. 😟

I’m telling you this, because I have done the same with Earsafe. In the end I figured out that I was just afraid of other people’s opinion (such a unique problem, right? 😀). I’m probably making this mistake over and over again. 🔄

It’s a tough thing to overcome your fears, but it’s a must in order to succeed. As far as I’m concerned, I’ll definitely need to improve in letting go my fears.

Validate your product by selling it for real 💰

I didn’t spend too much time to price Earsafe. ⏱ I saw other hackers pricing other menu bar apps around my price, so I sticked with that. 💵

You’ll only know your product is worth $5 if you sell it for $5. It’s that simple.
The worst case scenario is that you’ll refund the money to your unsatisfied customer. But then you have a chance at least to get to know why you had failed, which is nice. 👍

To sum it up:

Earsafe is my first product, which I’m launching and I earned my first $5 by selling it. I have a long road ahead of me and plenty of things to do to get where I’d like to become, but I consider this sale as a good first step. 💪
I hope these highlights of my first milestone have been valuable to you to read.

Feel free to DM me on Twitter if you are in the same shoes as me, I’d love to hear your story! ❤️

…Oh and don’t forget that if you’re a Mac user and you’d like to keep your hearing till your older ages, check Earsafe out! 👂🔊

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