It’s two-years since Dominik Sobe fell into the indiehacking rabbit hole.
To start with he made all the classic mistakes:
- tried to build the next Facebook
- built products without talking to a single customer
- expected a big reception from his 100 Twitter followers
After a series of failed launches, he realised “holy shit, it doesn’t work like that!”
He realised he needed a different approach.
His simple plan:
- Build a product in a niche which already had traction
- Share everything he does in public
The idea he settled on was Helpkit – an app that turns Notion documents into a beautiful help centre website.
The idea came from the intersection of his love for Notion and the struggle of trying create a help centre for his previous projects.
He couldn’t find any options that did what he needed. The best tool was Intercom but it was far too expensive.
Validate before building
This time, before building anything, he put up a pre-order landing page. The images on the page were mockups done in Figma.
It contained a Gumroad pre-order button offering a limited deal of $39 for one year of use.
In July 2021 he tweeted out the page to his 300 followers.
To his surprise, he started to get interest from members of the Notion community. He gained 100 followers over the next day, and his landing page started to get traffic.
He’d promised himself he’d build it if he got 10 pre-orders. But no-one pre-ordered for the whole week.
He kept posting and sharing updates. The following week he received his first 2 pre-orders.
Then he received an email from someone who had noticed his site and loved it. “It was a huge email, it took me 10 minutes to read it, and had so much advice, suggestions and support.”
Based on this email and his 2 orders, he decided to build an MVP.
It took him a month and he made sure to share his progress as he went. He noticed he was getting lots of engagement from the Notion community on Twitter and on Reddit.
He also made an effort not to mention Helpkit much, instead he talked to them about what they were working on.
As a result, when he launched his app, they recognised his name and wanted to help out.
He also posted in regularly Notion groups on Facebook and on IndieHackers.
One of his IndieHackers posts made it into the Top Milestones newsletter and the Top Stories section on the homepage.
“Coding as marketing”
In September, Dominik had a brainwave.
He built Notion Simple Table, a free code template generator tool to help Notion users create tables. It was a small problem he himself had experienced.
He posted it on Reddit in r/Notion and it blew up.
The Reddit Notion community responded positively.
The free tool got instant traction thanks to Reddit, Product Hunt, and Twitter.
The website had a link to Helpkit at the top.
And, like magic, the free tool started generating traffic for his paid tool.
It also raised his profile in the Notion community. He still gets DMs thanking him for the free tool, even though Notion has since added its own table feature.
Dominik timed Helpkit’s launch perfectly. Over the 6 months since the Notion community has grown significantly.
People he engaged with early on have become Notion influencers. They constantly plug his product in lists of “the top five Notion tools you must use”.
Notion is growing at a rapid pace and Helpkit is riding the wave.
Currently at $2500 MRR, it’s almost twice the goal Dominik set for himself when he started.
Congratulations Dominik and thanks for the inspiring story! 👏⚡️