Table of Contents
- Tell us about your product and what inspired you to start it?
- How long did it take you to acquire your first 50 customers, and what was your growth strategy?
- Which technology stack are you using and what challenges and limitations does it pose?
- What are some of the most essential tools that you use for your business?
- What have been some of the biggest insights you've gained since starting your entrepreneurial journey?
- Your recommended books/podcasts/newsletters etc.:
Axel Hardy is the Solo Shopify App & SaaS Developer from France, with 4 active Shopify apps
Tell us about your product and what inspired you to start it?
I'm a french Shopify app developer with 4 active Shopify apps currently. I started working on Shopify during the covid lockdown - in 2020 - mainly because I had a lot less freelance projects to work on and a lot more time to dedicate to side projects like developing Shopify apps. I also wanted to be more "free" and get a revenue from my own projects instead of working on building the projects of others.
My number one app is called Easy Digital Products and it helps merchants selling their files or license keys on their Shopify store. I started developing it because I thought no easy solution existed to sell files on Shopify or because the other apps were lacking a lot of important features.
Today I work 100% as a Shopify app developer by maintaining my existing apps and by developing new apps for the future.
How long did it take you to acquire your first 50 customers, and what was your growth strategy?
I honestly didn't do anything crazy. I launched my first app on the Shopify app store, I optimized my listing in terms of keywords and content and got my first 50 customers organically.
Now, I also use Shopify ads when I start a new app. It helps to get direct exposure and the first users / customers. Not only it can directly serve to generate a revenue but it also brings users that will give their point of view or suggestions to improve a newly created app - especially in my case where all my new apps created are MVPs.
For my future apps, I would also like to use some social places like Twitter, IndieHackers, Reddit or ProductHunt to advertise my apps in some ways.
One good way is to "build in public". That's already what I'm doing on Twitter (@fraxool).
Which technology stack are you using and what challenges and limitations does it pose?
My apps are built in PHP using the Laravel framework. They are hosted at Digital Ocean. The limitation I'm facing is with scaling the database.
My main project for the next few months is to migrate with an auto-scale strategy to a database hosting like AWS Aurora.
What are some of the most essential tools that you use for your business?
The main tool I'm using in all of my apps is a support chat system. The one I have is Crisp. I can't recommend them enough. It's easy to use for both the SaaS owner and for the customers of the SaaS and it helps to give the best possible support experience.
What have been some of the biggest insights you've gained since starting your entrepreneurial journey?
I love the Shopify platform for the freedom it gave me. I can work from anywhere, just with my laptop. Thanks to the Shopify platform, I work on my own projects based on my own ideas. Since I work alone, when there is a support request or when a user has a problem, I quickly know what to do and what to fix since I coded the app myself. It also helped me to develop a lot of new skills and even helped me to learned some new programming languages like React.
My next goals are to build more apps, to hire a developer to manage my projects when I can't be on the computer and to hire a devOps to better optimize the server and to continue to bring the best possible experience to my users.
I also better understand the SaaS world that was a bit complicated before I started, when I was a freelance developer.
Your recommended books/podcasts/newsletters etc.:
I would recommend subscribing to the Mat de Sousa (@DsMatie on Twitter) newsletter if you want to learn how to start your Shopify app developer journey.