I earned over 100,000€ as a solo founder and bootstrapper

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My name is Mike, and I’m a software entrepreneur from Italy.
Specifically, I like SaaS products that I build and bring to market by myself, without investments of any kind, without a CS degree, and pretty much without a team.
SaaS is a business model where you typically sell access to a software solution for a monthly fee.
I’ve been doing this for years, bootstrapping, which means that the products are self-sufficient: I don’t put any money into the ideas I have and I don’t take outside investments either. Simply, I reinvest part of what my products make into the same products to make them better.
I like this model because it’s very honest: if you provide value to customers, they continue to pay monthly to access the software. If not, they go away. And, since I reuse money from customers to improve my products, I consider my customers to be my investors.
  • In 2018 I launched four products, and two are still making money. My revenue was €50,852.
  • In 2019 I launched four products, and two are still making money. My revenue was €51,489.
  • In 2020, I only made ~€20,000, and in 2021 I made over €85,000 in revenue in a single year. Remember, SaaS is a roller-coaster.
 
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No, I’m definitely not rich, but I’m doing this for another reason.
You see, I’m a jazz musician, and I like to play. That’s what I think I was born to do in this life. But, being a jazz musician is hard, and if you want to earn a living by playing music, you most likely have to compromise on your art.
This can mean playing weddings, doing gigs you don’t want to, or teaching kids who are not interested in music at all, and while those are things that are absolutely fine for others, I just don’t like them.
By making software products, I was able to quit my job as a full-time music teacher in a public school. That’s a well-paid, secure job that most people in Italy dream of.
Now I’m able to work when I want, wherever I want (which really means I’m working all the time, everywhere 🤫).
But, the thing that I’m most proud of is that I can play more of what I like, with other musicians I like, and I can make time to help my family when they most need my help.
 
It wasn’t always like this, though.
The first product I built was called BuddyAd, and while the experience of building it had certainly some good moments, I made so many mistakes, which led to depression and even feeling bad physically. Eventually, I gave away all of my shares of the product to my former investors.
 
Since then, I’ve been building a lot of SaaS products, and all of them are profitable, including:
  • Cart, a competitive intelligence software for e-commerce
  • Treendly, a tool to discover rising trends
  • TargetBear, an interest targeting tool for Facebook™ advertising
This is not a complete list at all (you can find all the products I’m currently running here) and all of them have to follow some specific principles.
 
In 2022 we are continuing to improve some of our products as well as launching other products. This can be a lonely job and can involve sacrifices, working 10+ hour days, and constantly struggling.
That’s why I’ve been sharing my journey and some of my thoughts on this blog. Here is a selection of articles that you might find interesting:
Over the years, I’ve built all of my software products around a simple concept: collecting third-party data for profit. I’m sharing what I know in a brand-new course called Reverse engineering through technical scraping.
Finally, if you want to stay up-to-date consider subscribing to my newsletter, listening to my podcast, or following me on Twitter for daily thoughts.
Thanks for reading, Mike Rubini