This list features indie makers who have kicked arse in 2021. New products have been launched, new partnerships forged, and many milestones met.
I’ve included a link to an Indie Lessons profile in most cases. I’ve gone through each maker’s social media profiles, articles, and newsletter issues to create a comprehensive overview of their indie journey.
This past isn’t representative of the best indie makers. Instead, it’s collection of people who have piqued my interest in 2021.
Here’s to an excellent 2022.
Dago has been a force of nature in the Indie Hacker community, encouraging entrepreneurs to up both their business and marketing games.
Dago left a high paying software job in 2018 to bootstrap Logology with his wife. For the first 2.5 years, he resisted marketing and focused on features. He averaged around $300 in sales each month. This changed in 2021 when he focused on growing his Twitter audience. In August, Logology made $2.8k.
His meme skills have certainly earned him attention and praise. However, I believe that his kindness and generosity make him stand out. He constantly responds to other bootstrappers, acting as a one-person cheer square that encourages everyone he connects with.
Dago will do amazing things with Logology in 2022. However, I think that his personal brand will be the real standout.
Roberto Robles is a SaaS founder and SEO consultant. In 2021, Roberto founded a simple-to-use SEO tool for SaaS Companies called KatLinks. He has also been building his reputation as a curator and networker.
Roberto is mainly known for his work at Katlinks. For over a decade, he has run KatRank, a search marketing agency. He had also founded two SaaS which had failed miserably, according to his own description.
At the end of 2021, Roberto launched a website with daily, actionable SEO tips called SuperSEO Tips.
I feel like Roberto is just getting started on his indie maker journey. He loves creating and is passionate about supporting his community.
It has been an honour to discover and learn more about Marie Ng this past year. She is a startup founder and web developer and is the creative force behind the task manager Llama Life.
Llama Life started as a side project during the Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020. It has steadily grown and experienced a lot of success in 2021. In June, Llama Life was accepted into Jason Calacanis LAUNCH Accelerator. She had bootstrapped the app to 700 paying customers by the end of November.
Marie is brilliant at building community and generating interest in her products. She created a virtual fidget spinner and a soundscape website to help promote her work. She also incorporates Easter eggs into her free products and landing pages.
I believe that Marie is at the beginning of her business journey. Llama Life will continue to grow in 2022, and so will Maries brand. We will likely see more marketing and branding experiments.
Kevon is a venture-backed startup founder turned indie builder. He is a prolific creator and advocate of the build-in-public movement. His current focus is Public Lab, where he helps entrepreneurs grow an audience with their authentic online voices.
In early 2021, Kevon launched Building in Public Definitive Guide. This led to a lot of attention and started his personal brand as the broccoli guy and build-in-public aficionado. The rest of 2021 saw Kevon experiment with products and resources that demonstrated his expertise.
Late 2021 saw Kevon pivot and offer two primary resources for those interested in building in public:
- a 3 week cohort based course to help people use their own stories to get 1,000 superfans
- A notion database containing Build in Public Prompts & Tactics.
He also started writing a book in public titled Showing Up Right
I think we’ll see him increase his authority in 2022 and contribute even more to the build-in-public community.
Arvid Kahl is a software engineer turned entrepreneur. He co-founded, ran, and sold The EdTech SaaS FeedbackPanda after bootstrapping the company for just two years. In 2019, he launched The Bootstrapped Founder.
Arvid had a phenomenal 2021. He
- published his second book, The Embedded Entrepreneur, after writing it in public. Within three weeks, he had sold 1500 copies.
- started work on this third book about Building In Public
- reached 35k followers on Twitter
- got his first customer for Permanent.link
- published the 100th episode of his podcast.
I think Arvid will continue creating awesome products and resources in 2022. He is a passionate teacher who gives a lot to his community.
Marie Martens is the co-founder of Tally Forms. Tally Forms is a simple, free form builder that has gotten a lot of attention in the Indie Hacker community.
Tally was founded in 2020 and experienced a lot of growth in its first year. By September, 2021, they had bootstrapped Tally to $5K MRR and 11.000 users. This was despite being a team of 2 people and not spending any money on marketing.
I suspect we will see a lot more of Marie – and Tally – in 2022.
In Q4, he decided to simplify his business. In October, he announced that Better Sheets was his main focus. The product had earned $56,000 in Revenue in 14 Months before June, 2021 and has a lot of growth potential.
Less than three weeks later, Andrew launched Coupon Maker. This tool helps users generate thousands of 1-use coupons in Gumroad.
I think Andrew is going to have a fantastic 2022. He has so much knowledge and passion. The simplification of his businesses will allow him to take them to a new level.
Richie McIlroy is a full stack developer who is building his products in public.
In June, he launched the MVP for SEOCopy.ai. This product is in a competitive niche, but he still grew the product to over $400 MRR in three months. In November, Richie launched Recover.so. This is a tool paid that allows you to get paid from your abandoned Stripe checkouts. It has gotten a lot of attention from the indie maker community.
I feel like Richie is at the start of his indie maker journey. Recover.so has so much potential for growth and will likely do really well in 2022. I think we’ll see him experiment with creating more products and trying different marketing ideas. I’m excited to see what he tries.
Monica is a software developer and maker. In 2019, she left her job at a high-growth startup in Berlin to pursue building her own products full-time. She has accomplished so much since then.
Despite the pandemic, she was able to increase her income in 2021 across all of her projects. In July, she had her first $10k month, and in November, she had her first month where she earned $10k profit.
Her travel blog, Not a Nomad Blog, experienced a significant increase in affiliate revenue towards the end of the year. In September, she grew Affilimate, her SaaS, by over 35%. In November, she hit 11,000 combined subscribers across Blogging for Devs and SEO for Devs.
Monica learned a lot during 2021, much of which she shared in her comprehensive income reports. I believe that all three projects will grow a lot during 2022. Hopefully, she’ll continue sharing what she’s learned.
Tibo Maker is one-half of the creative force behind Pony Express Studio. The studio builds tools and services to help creators and makers launch and grow their audience or user base.
The studio launched multiple products in 2021, experimenting with different ideas and concepts until one resonated with the audience. That one was Tweet Hunter, a Twitter growth tool that includes an AI writing assistant and advanced tweet scheduler.
Both Tweet Hunter, and Pony Express, experienced a lot of success in 2021. In July, Pony Express received an acquisition offer for $100k. By October, Tibo shared that they had grown Tweet Hunter to $150k ARR.
I believe that Tweet Hunter will experience even more growth in 2022. Part of this will be due to their passionate community, but I suspect they will also experiment with some engaging marketing campaigns. It’s going to be fun to watch!
Matt Visiwig is a graphic and web designer who builds tools that save designers time. He embodies the build-in-public philosophy, freely sharing what he has learned from building SVG Backgrounds and Visiwig.com.
You can read more about his journey at:
Matt started the year with the goal to get to 2k/month. By December, he reached $1k/month MRR and $25k total revenue. I think Matt will achieve full-time income from his businesses in 2022. I’ll be keeping an eye on his journey.
Rosie Sherry is a community builder, indie hacker and founder. She is fascinated by the world of community, marketing, ethical business and technology/software testing. She was the community manager for Indie Hackers.
Rosie has had an incredibly busy 2021. She started working at Orbit shortly after leaving Indie Hackers. That same month, she reached $20k in sales for her community-building course. She has grown different parts of Rosieland, including the digital garden.
I believe that Rosieland will continue growing in 2022. Rosie is a phenomenal curator.
Bhanu is a developer, indie maker and blogger. His main project is MDX.one – a service that allows you to create a blog from a Notion site.
Multiple businesses allow people to create websites using Notion. However, there weren’t any that primarily focused on using Notion to create a blog. Bhanu was one of the first to tap into this trend and generate a lot of interest.
Bhanu created MDX.one in early 2021. By mid-October, the service was earning $261 MRR from 34 customers. I think the service will grow in popularity in 2022, as Bhanu adds more features and improves onboarding. We are in a position to watch a SaaS grow from the beginning of its journey. All indie makers can learn a lot from Bhanu’s experience.
Vidya is a curator, no-code enthusiast and serial creator.
She runs a free newsletter, The Curious Bunch, featuring bite-sized reads, productivity tools, and maker resources. She built the newsletter to over 1000 subscribers in 2021 and, by October, had earned $1400 from it.
She is also the Creator Growth Intern at the newsletter advertising marketplace Swapstack.
Vidya is worth watching in 2022. She is very talented at curating; she is one of the rare few who can support other indie hackers while providing value to her audience. She is passionate and hard-working. I feel like she is only getting started on her journey and that her best is yet to come.
Danny Postma is a conversion rate specialist, full-stack developer and conversion designer from The Netherlands. He is mainly known for his work on Headlime, a copywriting tool powered by GPT-3.
In March, 2021, Headlime was acquired for seven figures. Danny shared more about the experience in an AMA on Indie Hackers.
Danny experimented with other projects in the coming months. In October, he launched Rareblocks. Rareblocks describes itself as a mission to become the most extensive library of Tailwind components. While ambitious, this isn’t what makes the project stand out.
People purchasing a lifetime deal could only do so using an NFT (non-fungible token). These were limited to a total of 500 memberships. This meant that people could log in using their NFT, sell it if they didn’t want access to the membership anymore and even list the NFT on a marketplace. This is a compelling approach, especially when you consider that some people paid a lot to purchase a lifetime deal for Headlime on the black market.
Many people talk about Web 3, NFT’s and decentralization. Danny is actually in the trenches, experimenting with selling products using the model. I’m so excited to see what he accomplishes in the coming year.
Damon Chen is a serial creator and bootstrapper. He shipped a lot in 2020. He shipped five apps that year, most of which generated $0. In December, he launched Testimonial.to and made $2k revenue in 7 days. He shared more about the journey in a Twitter thread.
Testimonial experienced a lot of success in 2021. In March, he quit his job, and in May, Testimonial got funded by Earnest Capital. In October, Testimonial hit $100k ARR. During this time, he continued to build-in-public and contribute to the Indie Maker community.
He didn’t just stick to Testimonial. In June, he acquired Supportman from Noah Bragg for $27k. In October, he launched Channel. This tool makes it easy for creators to earn money from sponsorships for their creative work.
Damon has accomplished so much. I wouldn’t know where to start predicting what he will do in 2022. I’m grateful that he continues to give so much back to the indie maker community.
In 2021, Michele wrote and launched a book in public. The book was called Deploy Empathy. It is a practical – and much needed – guide to interviewing customers. She involved her audience during the writing process and shared her experiences launching the book. It became the #1 Product of the Day on Product Hunt and had sold 950 copies by early December.
This may not seem like many accomplishments compared to other people on this list. However, Michele created an excellent product in addition to running a mature SaaS… during a global pandemic. She has also been a generous participant in the build-in-public community.
It has been an honour to follow her journey in 2021. It’s a privilege to watch it continue next year.
Tony is a software engineer and indie developer. He is the founder of Dev Utils, a set of small utilities for developers to replace online tools like format JSON, decode Base64 and convert timestamps. He is also the founder of a Twitter growth tool called Black Magic.
His free Twitter tools have earned a lot of attention in 2021. He created Real-time Twitter Banner and Profile Progress Bar, both of which have been incredibly popular in the indie maker community. Many quickly saw the potential with the project; in mid-October, he received a $40,000 cash offer to acquire Black Magic.
The main standout has been Magic Sidebar. In November, Tony launched the public beta for the browser extension and mobile app and quickly gained some high profile supporters. He promptly earned $10k from offering the membership, and the MRR reached $1629.
Want to learn more about Magic Sidebar? Check out this series of tweets.
I think that Magic Sidebar will be one of the big success stories of 2022. I recommend subscribing to his newsletter to follow the journey.
Ch Daniel is a SaaS business owner, designer and writer. He is most well known for Legit Check By Ch, which authenticates luxury items such as sneakers, clothing, bags and watches. Ch Daniel launched the service as a website and app in 2017. At this point, it was a series of free guides to help people figure out if their purchase was authentic.
In 2019, the website had received 350,000 users, and they decided to create a paid authentication service. They had created a mini-industry within a year, and the business was earning $200k each year.
This by itself makes Ch Daniel worth watching. But his journey doesn’t stop there.
In June, he launched The Usual Saaspects podcast. This got 2.5k listeners in 3 months. In July, he announced a Notion Website building called Simple Ink. Oh, and he also moderates the Reddit Saas Community.
His 2022 should be just as impressive.
Dianna is a candle maker, SaaS founder and serial creative.
In December, 2019, Dianna founded Terra, an artisan candle shop. By the end of 2020, the business had made $52,000. This would be a fantastic success in its own right – but Terra grew even further in its second year. By April, 2021, Terra had earned the same amount between January and October in 2020.
She also launched and grew a new business. In February, Dianna announced that she was co-founding an inventory management product called Inventora. By early March, she had 1,400 signups. By November, Inventora had two employees.
Dianna is one of the few people building in public who are creating physical products. I have been able to learn so much from her experiences. I believe that both businesses will experience a lot of growth in 2022.
Genes products have experienced a lot of growth in 2021. He had initially launched Swipe on Product Hunt in October 2020. By April 24, 2021, Swipe had crossed 30k in sales.
In June, Gene launched SaaS Blocks. By August 18, he had earned over $5k from the project. In July, he also launched 100 Mesh Gradients on Product Hunt. This finished as the #3 Product of the Day with 600 votes.
What will 2022 bring for Gene? I’ll be documenting it here at Indie Lessons.
One of his standout products for 2021 was UserBooster. UserBooster is a Notion Dashboard to build your launch strategy and leverage online communities. Xavier launched the dashboard in March, and it hit the $2500 revenues milestone after a month. It also became the #2 Product of the Day on Product Hunt.
Xavier is a skilled curator, and he has been very generous with his knowledge. I’m curious to see if he will create new products and resources in 2022.
Kenneth Cassel is a developer and product creator. He has been in the indie maker space for around five years, but his work mostly took off in 2021
Kenneth launched Vim in January, 2021. He had built and launched the MVP in 3 days. He made over $5k from the product in its first 14 days. By the end of the products first month, it was approaching $10k. He shared the whole process at How I made $10k in one month from an online vim course. By the end of November, over 1400 people had taken the course.
His audience started asking for other interactive courses targeted at developers. He quickly created an email list and launched the MVP in March. By March 16, the ARR for slip passed $5K. In June, Slip had joined the YC S21 Batch. Slip has become a catalyst for other indie makers success. In November, Kenneth shared that a Slip user had made $10k in a week using the service.
I’m excited to see what Kenneth creates in 2022. I’m more excited to see what his community creates.
Pete is an indie maker and no-code advocate. He is best known for his work at No CS Degree, a website where he interviews developers who are self-taught or have been to bootcamps.
He has also had a lot of success with information products. In July, Pete offered his Monetize Your Newsletter as part of the Make Bank Bundle. This was a collection of products by three Indie Makers that targeted newsletter makers. Pete earned $1,666 from the promotion, despite being on holiday. Pete Codes shared his perspective on the bundle in a thread. This week, he will be launching a new product, Grow Your Newsletter.
In July, Pete launched High Signal. High Signal is a community for entrepreneurs who have proved their revenue. It very quickly attracted several high profile indie makers. The community formally launched in December.
2021 has been a year of experimenting and creation for Pete. I think this trend will continue in 2022.
Potion is a SaaS that allows you to create custom websites using Notion. Noah launched the business in November, 2020, when he started building in public. Within a year, he was earning $4,169 MRR, despite being in a competitive niche.
In December, Noah gave his employer his 2-week notice so he could work on his products full time. We’ll likely be seeing a lot more of Noah’s awesomeness in 2022.