The Product Machine

There is a loose correlation between the number of digital products you managed to launch and your level of success as an indie maker. The more you do it, the better you get at it. That's the assumption the 12 Products in 12 Months challenge is based upon.

It takes a long time to grow a business, but failing to generate revenues upon launch is a sign there is probably no market for what is being offered. In this case, it's best to pivot by starting again from scratch.

In other words, success comes down to how long and how quickly one can launch, iterate upon, or abandon new complex products.

You can move faster by buying third-party tools, but it will impact your runway. I'm 100% convinced that entrepreneurship is a game of endurance, so this is why this isn't the way I'd go about it if I were to start again.

Instead, I would spend more time reinventing the wheel with the best free tools I can find out there, and design it so that I can reuse the same one in every project to speed up the development process.

As I already wrote, a product can really be broken down into 6 modular parts: a static website generator (used for blogs, documentation, and other common static pages like FAQ and Service Terms), a CRUD generator (to quickly release new full-stack feature skeletons), and the four main SAAS components (emailing, text editing, authentication/authorization, payment/invoicing).

All of those parts can be made for free, either by using pay-per-use services (Stripe), web frameworks (I'm using Symfony Security for auth), or open source libraries (DraftJS for the text editors).

I really believe it's a great long-term investment to spend some time building those. You'll not only have the ability to customize every aspect of your product, but also no service lock-in and an extremely low burn rate.

More importantly, if you're like me and love the act of making products itself, you'll probably have many product ideas to implement. Having your own product machine will give you the edge to increase your time-to-market.