Ilya Novohatskyi Shares How He Built Microns.io, a Marketplace for Micro-Startups and reached $1K MRR, Using No-Code Tools

Ilya Novohatskyi is the founder of Microns.io - a marketplace to buy the best micro-startups without commission.

Tell us about your product and what inspired you to start it?

 
Microns is a platform and newsletter to help individuals and small businesses buy and sell indie projects for free.
 
My story started when I bought my first project on MicroAcquire for $1k. A Google Sheet add-on helped people send SMS messages from spreadsheets. I figured out this small project had insane demand, and people reached out about buying it.
 
Since then, MicroAcquire grew into a mid-size market and focused on more significant deals. The average size is $500k. So, I decided to build a product that will be focused on individuals rather than funds with millions in management.
 
But I needed a name for my startup. I didn't spend much time and just used a combination of my cat's name (Micron) + s. That's how Microns was born.
 

How long did it take you to acquire your first 50 customers, and what was your growth strategy?

 
It's important to say that we have different types of users on Microns. Getting our first 50 newsletter subscribers took me around three weeks. I used cold email primarily.
 
When we reached 2,000 subscribers and seven sold startups, we introduced monetization. And getting first paying 50 customers took us around 3-4 months. We used various channels: Product Hunt, Indie Hackers, Twitter, Reddit, Hacker News, sponsoring other newsletters, and SEO.
 

Which technology stack are you using and what challenges and limitations does it pose?

 
The whole platform is built via no-code tools. For example, when we started, I used Revue for sending a newsletter, Webflow, Webflow CMS for the website, Gmail, and Zapier.
 
When we grew, we added Memberstack for monetization, Rewardful for affiliates, and migrated newsletter to beehiive. Discord for sellers and buyers communities.
 
No-code tools have limitations in terms of customization, but it's a great option to get started and validate your idea.
 

What are some of the most essential tools that you use for your business?

 
I use a bunch of apps to run Microns. G suite for emails, docs, spreadsheets, basic forms, and meetings. WhatsApp, Notion, and Figma, to manage the team.
 

What have been some of the biggest insights you've gained since starting your entrepreneurial journey?

 
Give people benefits, not features. You should provide twice more value than you are asking to pay your customers. We didn't raise the price until we offered more value for customers.
 
Always be consistent and focused on things that matter. We're still doing cold emails because they tend to work for us.
 
Slow and steady wins the race. After one year after the launch, we reached $1k in MRR, which wasn't easy. However, I understand that building a brand that focuses on high-quality and loyalty is a task with asterisks, and there are no immediate results.
 
 
I do love reading newsletters and books, but I didn't find myself great at listening to podcasts, so here is my list of what I'm reading:
 
  • Indie Hackers newsletter is a must-have for every founder. Only here you'll find what works in modern tech space. Also, I like checking their forum from time to time and participating in conversations.
  • Product Hunt. I like reading their newsletter and checking their website for new products. It helps you figure out newly launched products and market trends.
  • Marketing Examples from Harry newsletter. Great place to start learning modern marketing with real-life examples.
  • Trends newsletter. It helps me understand what kind of projects could be trending or have demand, so I can suggest building them for our community members.
 
In terms of the book, No B.S. Ruthless Management of People and Profits by Dan S. Kennedy helped me build my front-end agency called Quanti Coders. Highly recommend it to agency owners.
 

What other products are you working on? (if any)

I'm actively involved in our community for sellers, where we help founders build, grow and sell their side projects for free. And MicroStartups.co is another project that allows these founders to promote their micro-startups at no cost.