Luca Restagno is a software engineer who has been creating Saas products as an indie maker for a couple of years.
Today, he is working on a chatbot for customer support powered by AI. In this interview, he shares his experiences and ideas as a solopreneur.
Luca speaks about Validating an idea, growing a brand, and developing an AI product.
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Interview with Luca Restagno:
Hi, Luca! Tell us, Who are you and what are you working on? Which is your business?
I am a software engineer, but I have been doing indie hacking for a couple of years on the side of my full-time job.
I have launched three SaaS products in the past and sold all of them.
I’m currently working on Userdesk, a live chat customer support solution, powered by AI Chatbots trained on your websites, Notion pages, and PDF files.
Small businesses invest time in creating content, like knowledge bases, guides, and blog posts, but they don’t have an efficient way to leverage that effort.
What’s your story and how did you come up with the idea of starting this?
I have been an employee as a software engineer for more than 10 years. But in 2019 I decided to start building my own products.
I’ve built 3 SaaS in the last 3 years, so I know what it means to do customer support as a solopreneur.
You need to reply to a lot of questions, and most of them are already answered on your website, via an FAQ section, of a specific guide.
So I decided to start building Userdesk, to reduce the customer support effort for solo founders and small businesses.
How did you go from idea to product? How did you build it?
I did a pre-launch of Userdesk, offering a lifetime deal for $69 (the product was not built yet), and I sold around 30 licenses in 24 hours with a single tweet. This was my validation that the idea was worth my time.
So I started building it. I always reuse the same stack for my products, which ensures me high efficiency and speed in execution.
I use React and NextJS on Vercel, ChakraUI as the UI component library, and AWS for anything else.
Which are your marketing strategies to grow your business?
I invested my time on building an audience on Twitter in the last 2 years.
That is my main distribution channel.
But I’m also building a newsletter.
For Userdesk, I used AI directories, which brought some traffic, and I will definitely try outreach on LinkedIn in the future. It is where most businesses are present.
How are you doing today and what are your goals for the future?
Userdesk currently has $150 MRR, which is a good result considering that the product was publicly launched in June.
My goal is to find a good niche to promote the product and increase sales to $10K MRR so that I could switch from employment to full-time indie hacking.
Since starting your journey, what have been your main lessons?
Solve problems that you face. It’s going to be easier to solve it and resonate with your customers. This will dramatically speed up the process.
Try to find products that save money and time for your customers.
Integrate a payment provider as soon as possible, and add a pricing page — you need to validate your idea with payments early on.
Ship many different products, and see if there’s traction. The fact that others have success with a product, doesn’t mean you can obtain it too.
What were the biggest challenges you faced and obstacles you overcame?
Early 2023 Twitter applied crazy pricing to the Twitter APIs. Before the access was free, but they applied a $42k/month plan.
These made at risk my two main products at that time, Hivoe.com and Inboxs.io that were generating €4k MRR.
I sold both of them, but this event shifted my goal.
That was a very hard moment for my indie hacking journey, but I overcame it and I started building new products.
What sources of learning would you recommend for indie entrepreneurs who are just starting?
Follow people doing a similar journey on your favorite social platforms, but make a lot of experiments and continuously try new stuff.
There’s a lot to learn and a few good practical resources. Every business is different, every journey is different.
And first of all, focus on marketing more than building a product. Talk to people to validate your assumptions.
Where can we go to learn more about you and your work?
You can find my updates on X at @ikoichi and follow my newsletter where I share all I’m learning The Solopreneur on the Road to Freedom.
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