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How to grow to 15k+ twitter followers and build a profitable business in 9 months | Sveta Bay Interview

Interview Marketing Guides For Startups
Hey Sveta! Nice to have you here today and thank you for sharing your experience with us! Firstly, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

What are you working on? What is Makerbox? How does it work?

The main product I’m building is MakerBox. It is a collection of templates, databases, videos, checklists, and guides. We create resources that help solopreneurs without a marketing degree to get profitable. I’d say it’s a DIY marketing kit - we give all the resources, theory, and examples adapted for Solopreneurs.
Also, I recently launched a newsletter with weekly marketing case studies from profitable Solopreneurs. Coca-cola and Apple examples are great, but they don’t help Solopreneurs grow their products. I’m here to change it.

Tell us about your tools stack in Makerbox - how did you build it and what tools did you use?

MakerBox is built without a single line of code. There’re only 2 of us in the team - me and Dan. All the tools we use are no-code:
  • Typedream and Webflow for building landing pages
  • Notion and Airtable for our content products
  • LemonSqueezy for getting payments
  • ConvertKit for the email marketing
  • Zapier for connecting everything together
  • Ghost for the blog
  • Bubble for digital products (in progress)

What channels do you use to promote Makerbox? Can you share some details about your marketing strategy, particularly your focus on Twitter? How have you been able to attract and engage a large audience on this platform?

Currently, we use only free channels to promote MakerBox. All our traffic is organic. Top-6 traffic sources are Twitter, Email list (direct/none in the image), Product Hunt, Google (SEO), Indie Hackers, and Betalist. These stats are for 10 months.

The 3 channels we’re focusing on are:
Growing personal brand on Twitter. This is the main platform where we can reach our target audience fast. We generate tons of content in our blog, newsletters, and products. So, Twitter is the best place to distribute and repurpose it. Also, we #buildinpublic and share all the insights about MakerBox. This is, for sure, the best community on Twitter. You get instant support and advice from like-minded people.
For all newcomers, we have an article on growing from 0 to 1000 followers in 50 days. Quick spoiler - it’s not that hard if you’re active on Twitter and post consistently. And here’s the article with 10 more tips from me.

Growing the email list. We use different methods: launch freebie products and collect emails in our blog. The blog is a long-term investment, but it already pays off.

Listing in startup directories. There’re hundreds of such directories, but Product Hunt and Beta List are the most powerful in terms of traffic.

What inspired you to start Makerbox, and how did you come up with the idea for marketing templates?

In June 2022, I planned a work relocation to Ho-Chi-Minh. But relocation for a long distance was like an endless work contract. So, Dan and I decided to build a side project while working 9-5. "If we get $1, we can quit jobs and make money online". At that moment, we saw a couple of videos from Pieter Levels, and it was enough to understand that it was possible.
We got this first dollar with MakerBox Tools - a list of 700 tools with great free plans. That was the moment when we decided to go full-time. Also, it was the time when I started writing on Twitter. That’s my first tweet!

When we brainstormed ideas for the fist product, we soon realized that all our desires crush into pricy tools. So, we started searching for cheap alternatives and realized it was not only our problem. We quickly validated the idea - ran 10 interviews with solopreneurs to understand their pain points and analyzed the market. Then, we shipped it in 1 month and made our first launch.
As we were building MakerBox Tools, we connected with other creators. We realized that marketing is a real pain point. So, we started building resources around this problem.

What are the biggest challenges you faced when creating and growing Makerbox, and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenges are those that we haven’t overcome yet. We have two of them:
  • MakerBox has only one-time payments and 0 MRR. This is nervous cause every month is a race to be profitable. We plan to fix it by launching SaaS around marketing. Thanks to all the launches, we already know the pains to solve.
  • The second problem is that product is only affordable to some. $110 average price is quite high. Not everyone is ready to give this amount of money right away. So, we want to gain trust with a low-ticket offer ($9-$19).

How did you decide to use no-code tools to build Makerbox, and what advantages has this approach brought to the business?

We had no choice as we don’t have a tech background. But even if we had it, we’d go with no-code. It saves tonnes of time. With no-code, you can test and launch a product in 1 month.
Another advantage is that you have enough time for marketing. We live in 2023. There’s a very low chance that the product you build will be innovative and won’t have any competitors. Especially taking into account that you don’t have a huge budget like corporations. So, you need to double down on marketing. Thanks to no-code, you have time to do it.

How do you differentiate Makerbox from other websites that offer marketing templates, and what unique value proposition do you provide to your customers?

Good question. A couple of months ago, we niched down to Solopreneurs. We adapt all the content, and we’re not trying to be “for everyone”. That’s our core differentiator. Of course, our resources can also fit SMBs and small teams. But we figured out that if we speak with everyone on our landing page, then we don’t form strong connections.

How do you plan to expand Makerbox in the future, and what are your long-term goals for the business?

We have lots of ideas, and they appear weekly because the environment changes really fast. So, we don’t have any long-term plans anymore. Currently, we’re building a product with ChatGPT and Bubble. Couldn’t resist jumping on the AI hype.

What advice would you give to other solo-entrepreneurs, particularly those who are just starting out in the no-code space?

Start small, and don’t try to build a Facebook competitor in the first iteration. Instead, build small products that solve one problem, build your audience alongside, and then scale. Even mind-blowing complex products can be tested with the content MVP. Job board - Airtable list, Niche products - ebook around this niche, to-do list - Notion template, etc. So, don’t overcomplicate it in the first iteration.