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Cover image for How I Built a Markdown Editor Earning $1300/mo Profit — Inkdrop

How I Built a Markdown Editor Earning $1300/mo Profit — Inkdrop

Takuya Matsuyama on February 04, 2020

This article is originally posted here. From idea to first sales and growth strategies. Here I’m going to share my experience on crea...
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leob profile image
leob

My problem is that I don't really have a problem. :-)

So I don't have a clearly identifiable personal problem that I could solve with an "app". Otherwise I would probably have developed it already.

But a steady and predictable income of 1300 per month, yeah that would be a dream.

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Jesse M. Holmes

If you have a handful of friends in a particular industry, or if there is something you are really passionate about, you could always ask what their pain points are. E.g, maybe you have three or four friends that are parts store managers. Call them up! Ask them to tell you what is most frustrating about the software they're using. You might get nothing, or you might get ideas and beta testers at the same time.

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leob

Ah, but I forgot to mention that since a couple of months I work with some people who are knowledgeable in a particular "industry" and have a real problem to solve. So I'm now indeed working on a 'real' problem! Even though it's not "my own" problem.

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wolfhoundjesse profile image
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abdurrahmaanj profile image
Abdur-Rahmaan Janhangeer

Lesson 1: Start with a great base

So I started off by forking Kitematic, an open source Docker container manager (Apache License)

Lesson 2: Domain knowledge

So I always make a service that would solve my problem because there’s my market.

Lesson 3: Think aesthetics

When it comes to UI design, I greatly got inspirations from Airmail's beautiful UI.

Lower prices is not always the way to go

The app's target would be those who are similar to me who don't hesitate to pay for their favorite tools.

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smoke fumus

With the app based on the subscription model, you just need to provide an ongoing valuable service.

Yeah. No. Everyone hates those. Today you have the moolah, tomorrow you're out of luck. Once subscription runs out - you're also out of your tools.
Any developer craftsman worth their salt knows that. I like to own my tools. Not perpetually pay for them. Support or not, I don't care.

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Sam Cross

Agree with this, although the subscription model also makes things more affordable for a lot of people.

The issue I would have is: when your subscription runs out, do you get your data back? Subscriptions on Adobe CC, for example, don't have this issue, because you save your files to your hard drive anyway. But all these online-only services have the issue of losing access when your subscription runs out - or when the service just randomly shuts down one day without warning.

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smoke fumus

Adobe blocked Venezuela - suddenly all these subscriptions became worthless. Which pretty much confirms that corps can make whatever excuse they can to shut your subscription down, money or not.

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YuanHao Chiang

This is really awesome! Very inspiring and having any sort of passive income is really great (I used to live off of it from stuff I made 10 years ago, but that slowly died down a couple of years ago).

Will try the 60-day trial and if I like it I'll purchase it, big fan of Markdown here.

Quick question, if you may answer, did you use contenteditable for the editor itself?

I am using it for a small Markdown Tables Editor I am writing as for fun as a React-Redux hooks project and it is quite tough to use. If you have any recommendation do let me know. I will be reading your blog and hopefully one day following your footsteps into selling a Saas.

Thanks for sharing your input. Cheers from Taiwan~ 🍻

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Sam Cross

That editor is really cool! I've bookmarked it in case I require a markdown table one day (I haven't as yet, but one of my project ideas may actually require MD tables)!

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YuanHao Chiang

Thanks! I'll be improving it every week, so make sure to check back regularly and let me know if you have any suggestions :)

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samcrossdigital profile image
Sam Cross

I ignored all criticisms and focused on satisfying users who seem to be enjoying it.

I heavily disagree with this. If it worked for you, fantastic; however, some of the criticism you may receive is valid and should be addressed. For instance, data storage and trust - your users need to know their data will be safe, and you need to discuss with those offering this criticism about how you're planning to keep their data secure. Why? Others may see these interactions and instead of thinking "he's just another dev who doesn't care about people's data", they'll think "wow, this app is great AND keeps my information safe", which in turn generates more users and more customer trust (a very important thing). If companies started ignoring criticisms, their products would begin to fall drastically in popularity.

Again, if it works for you then great. "Ignorance is bliss" and all that. But I don't think this is good advice. I, for one, would be concerned about the privacy and data security (or data longevity) of your application, seeing as you've totally ignored the public-facing comments regarding this, but this might not turn someone else away so take what you will.

I didn't intend to sound mean throughout this - I think it's fantastic that you've built this and you've done a great job with it!

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Takuya Matsuyama Author

Well, questioning about security is not a criticism as it is regarding privacy concern.
About Inkdrop, it is answered on the documentation here and the forum.

What I mean criticisms is the comments something like "Is it subscription? Big no, Goodbye."
It's time wasting to convince all people who are also not willing to change their mind.
Some people complain because they just want to complain to someone about something.
You don't have to please everyone.

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William Grant

Thank you for a well written article. I'm inspired to keep working on my personal project. I look forward to future posts!

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Tramel Jones

Outstanding job mate

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Giorgos Kontopoulos 👀

@craftzdog very inspirational, nice looking landing page, keep up the good work.

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Ben Mitchinson

Often i think of a problem, and a solution exists.
There's plenty of electron apps that let you write and sync notes in markdown, bear, notion, etc...

What about inkdrop is different from those? How did you identify things you could do to separate yourself from the pack.

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craftzdog profile image
Takuya Matsuyama Author

I don't feel like pitching that my app is better than other apps because it all depends on your personal preference.
If you couldn't find any difference between other apps, then it will not solve your itch.
For example:

  • WYSIWYG vs Text Editor
  • Versatile vs Simple
  • Single-platform vs Multi-platform
  • Web app vs Standalone
  • Sync via third-party cloud file storage vs Dedicated server
  • Proprietary format vs Open format

The latter is Inkdrop.
It's a collection of my preference.
That's it.

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Raymond

I'd like to thank you for writing this article. I've been trying to achieve this for 2 years straight. This article has motivated me to try harder to overcome my existing problems and work to achieve something as successful and beautiful as inkdrop.

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Marko Shiva Pavlovic

Not interesting to me as it do not have all the features I use with markdown and also with Org mode of emacs.
plus payed service and its worse then some other apps out there like boostnote.

However if you think that for you the project is positive and as you have some users using it feel free to pursue it and develop further. I personally prefer other editors.

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csm-yujinkim

I'm learning design thinking in my university. I'll consult your article as an example of "real-life application."

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Clément Bourgoin

Very inspiring, thanks for sharing this!

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Adrian Bece

Congrats on your success and sticking with your idea and plan from start to finish. Really useful advice for any startup, thank you.

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Shovan

Outstanding job @craftzdog , well written.

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Alberto De Agostini

Nice article, thanks for sharing. Also congrats for the great work!

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Zane Milakovic

Well done. App looks nice, same with the site. It is a crowded market, so it’s impressive you carved this much out of it from a paid standpoint. I hope this keeps growing for you.

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Rom

The paper mention "last year (2016)", is the post that old ? What's the current update ?

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craftzdog profile image
Takuya Matsuyama Author

Yes, it is a cross-posting of my past blog article as I mentioned first.

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Gal Ben Ami

Great! Thanks for sharing!

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Vitalie Maldur

Wow! Really inspiring! Keep up the good work!

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mirko

@craftzdog I follow your blog since a long time. I like your mindset, very inspirational.

Big up for your solo dev life, well done !!

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Takuya Matsuyama Author

Thank you, mirko!!

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Habdul Hazeez

In the second paragraph you wrote:

I started developing it last year(2016)

Do you mean 2019?

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Rognoni

I am looking for you public blog repository 🖊️

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Ronye Vernaes

Hi, one question... In relation with the Stripe integration... Did you setup a company? Or could you integrate Stripe with a personal bank account?

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joon

A very inspiring read. Thank you Takuya!

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Roman Mikhailov

Thanks so much for sharing this. It's great to see a success story and how you managed to achieve it. Best of luck to you and much more to accomplish!