🎁 ItoM #2: AppSumo for the creator economy
A deal website with discounted digital assets and resources from top creators in a specific niche.
Hey fellow makers!
There are already 22 of you and I wanted to thank you for trusting me with your inbox. I promise to do my best to bring you creative ideas every week. I have a small favor to ask. If you know someone who would enjoy this newsletter forward it to them. And if you feel like throwing in your social clout, please consider sharing this on Twitter or elsewhere. I’d love to see the Ideas to Makers community grow some more. Now onto this week’s idea.
|🦉 The Background StoryMore and more people are joining the creator economy movement. According to VC firm SignalFire’s analysis, there are around 50 million creators around the world, and this number has risen last year as a result of people having more time on their hands during COVID.Gumroad, a platform for selling digital products, grew over 150% in the past 5 years on exploding topics:
|All these creators need tools and assets to keep creating. I’ve seen a bunch of cool asset projects launched in the past months, some made thousands for their makers:I recently re-discovered AppSumo - a deal website for online software. I used it once a long time ago with Cloudo (a now-closed startup I worked on). AppSumo allows you to buy lifetime access to software instead of paying a monthly subscription.It’s funny how your mind works. I forgot about AppSumo, until recently and only thanks to articles I’ve been reading about the creator economy did my mind make the connection: we need an AppSumo for digital assets and resources.This would need to be niched down, so there’s plenty of opportunities here. I can see this existing for people creating newsletters, teaching entrepreneurship, editing videos, podcasts, for visual designers, for poster designers, you name it.
|🙋 Why build this now?
- More and more people are creating side projects and digital products (eBooks, swipe files, fonts, icon sets, spreadsheets, etc.) are among the most popular category. Just look at the rise in popularity of Indie Hackes in 2020.
- Niche-specific platforms for digital products already exist: CGTrader for 3D models, BeatStars to buy beats, StoryBlocks to buy video footage, Epidemic Sound to buy music or Motion Array to buy video effects.
- Another trend taking off are product bundles. This is when creators join forces and share their audience. This for me is proof that there is space for alternative selling models. For example Maker Minions was bundled with How to Build An App With No Code.
|🐣 How to execute on this idea?
- Pick a niche: this should be one that you are familiar with and better yet, you already have a network in.
- If you don’t have a niche, focus on an area that you are interested in and willing to put in the work to grow in.
- Start building an audience from day 0:
- Find creators in your space. Go hunt on Gumroad, buy a database of the most successful Gumroad sellers (or whatever platform is most used in your niche).
- Start tweeting about creators in your space
- Start a newsletter highlighting one creator every week (do an interview with them to build a relationship).
- I would build a quick newsletter using Substack or Revue.
- or if I wanted to get fancy, I’d build a landing page with Carrd and use EmailOctopus or MailerLite as my email provider.
- Here’s the Carrd landing page I built for this idea: thriftypack.carrd.co. You can get it as part of my Build-it kit.
- See if they would be interested in providing their product at a discount to your subscribers. This is crucial for validating the idea.
- Validate the business model
- AppSumo works on a revenue share model. You’ll need to figure out a model that works for your partners. You can read up on the AppSumo model here.
- Build a listing website:
- Your newsletter can serve as a good jumping ground. Expand it with a listing website. For the MVP I’d use a simple tool like Sheet2Site to build the initial listing page. They even have a dedicated app listing template. They offer a Stripe integration, or you can just create dedicated Gumroad product pages to take care of the payments.
- Long term considerations
- I would make sure that I only let in high quality contributors. This will get easy over time as your audience grows, but will be tricky at the beginning. Good relationship building will be key.
- Stick to your niche: as the project grows, you might be tempted to venture into other niches. This could make sense way down the road, but I would try to resist this temptation as long as possible as it will distract you from building true relationships in a space you understand.
|🧐 How to validate it
- Build relationships with creators of digital assets and tools by creating a newsletter to showcase their work.
- Ask them if they’d be open to offering their products at a discount to your audience.
- Create a landing page for your newsletter advertising interviews with creators and product discounts.
- If people start subscribing and creators are open to offering discounts to your audience you are onto something.
|🚀 Distribution channels
- Start building a following on Twitter. Read this report on how to use human behavior to grow your Twitter audience.
- Answer questions and join conversations in your niche community on Indie Hackers, Reddit, Slack, Discord groups or wherever else they are hanging out.
- Offer a digital asset of your own for free. By giving great value upfront for free, people are more willing to pay money later on. This also helps with growing your following.
- Similarly to offering a digital asset you can build a tool that helps your audience. Good examples are: ...
- Ask creators to share the offer with their audience and leverage their followers.
- Create an online course that you know your niche would be interested in and offer it for free on platforms like Udemy or Skillshare. Make sure the content is of good quality.
- Pay for well-priced ads. Buy cheap ads in newsletters focused on the same niche, buy Reddit ads.
- Create a referral program. Use digital assets you created as rewards. See how Morning Brew used their referral program to grow.
- Use an affiliate program to leverage other your audiences network. If you build your MVP using Gumroad, they offer this out of the box.
- Build it in public and post about your progress on IndieHackers and Twitter. People love reading up on the stack you use, the costs you have and the revenue you are making. Make sure you are not bragging but rather educating.
| BUILD-IT KIT🧰 5 Resources to start building today
🔒Unlock The Build-It Kit
- Ready made Carrd landing page to launch your newsletter
Save time building a landing page and use the one I created. Check it out at https://thriftypack.carrd.co
- Ready to use logo
Don’t pay a designer for a logo to launch your MVP.
- 10 domain ideas you can register today
Domains you can register today. One of them comes with a logo.
- 8 Resources you can share on Twitter to start building a following
Start dropping some valuable resources today and grow your audience.
- 4 additional ideas to take this to the next level
More ideas for additional features to take this product to the next level.