StartupRadius interviewed 1Kprojects – an exclusive marketplace where makers can buy and sell their digital side projects. The best thing about 1Kprojects is that most of the products are real digital products or services, not just blogs, content websites or domains. We all know Flippa where most of the websites and projects are sold, but 1Kprojects looks way more interesting – just browse the marketplace and you will see an obvious difference! For us, the StartupRadius team, it is a love at first sight (sorry Flippa, but 1Kprojects is something we browse every single day now, because projects listed there are awesome!).

Learn how the creator of 1Kprojects turned a simple experiment into a viable project, how 1Kprojects got 103 projects on board and gained 1500 subscribers in less than a week, and why it’s a good idea to pick an unordinary monetization model for a marketplace. Enjoy!

1Kprojects - marketplace for side projects

Can you tell us about what you are working on? What is 1Kprojects?

1Kprojects is a marketplace for neglected and abandoned side projects. Makers can buy and sell their side projects for $1000 or less without the hassle of going through Flippa or similar sites.

Why are you building this? Was there a particular source of inspiration or a money-making idea?

1Kprojects is the first product out of a personal challenge I set for myself, where I publicly committed to shipping at least two products per month.

I’ve always wanted a place where I could casually buy cool and interesting projects and focus just on the marketing instead of building from scratch. Although marketplaces for side projects exist, the prices for anything remotely interesting always seemed too high to just buy on a whim without thinking too much about it.

As a maker, I also know most of us are constantly shutting down old projects and moving on to new ones.

Time for bragging! How big you are – traffic, users, anything else?

1Kprojects was launched less than a week ago. We have over 1500 subscribers to the buyers newsletter, 185 signed up, 103 projects on sale, 350 offers sent to sellers, and 11 projects sold.

1Kprojects - marketplace listing 1

Who are your main competitors, and how good/bad they are?

Marketplaces like Flippa are the closest thing to competitors. Our audiences are different though, so I’m not sure we can consider them as competitors.

And yeah, they’re pretty bad. It’s all just re-skinned apps over there. At least that’s how it was during my brief experience trying to purchase a new project to play with.

Who uses 1Kprojects? What is your perfect buyer persona or user persona?

The seller side is mostly independent makers, and developers who like to build side projects.

On the buyer side, there’s a mix of makers and developers who are looking for cool projects to pick up and build on, as well as marketers looking for great products with poor or no marketing.

Were there any early ‘growth hacks’ or tactics that have contributed to your current success?

Since this was part of a challenge where I had to blog at least once a week about my progress, I had a few subscribers waiting for the first product to come up before I even picked the idea.

That’s basically it. The whole thing took off on it’s own because it seemed like it solved an actual problem for both sellers and buyers.

What were some of the biggest challenges while building 1Kprojects early on and how did you solve them?

The only problem so far has been figuring out a revenue model that benefits everyone. I didn’t feel like asking sellers to pay a listing fee to submit their projects, because I felt like I wouldn’t pay it if I was in their shoes and would rather just keep my old projects to myself.

And since the project was supposed to be ready in less than two weeks (per the rules of my challenge) I couldn’t invest the time and work into setting up an escrow type of system where I get a commission on successful sales.

I ended up going with an uncommon model for marketplaces: sellers can submit their projects for free, but they would have to pay a one time fee of $19 to unlock the messages and contacts of the buyers who made an offer. You only pay the fee once per project, and you get to see all existing and future offers from buyers. It worked out great!

1Kprojects - marketplace listing 2

If you could give a marketing advice to other companies, what could it be based on your experience?

I would say talk about your idea before it is built, during the development phase, and after. Be genuine in your messaging, don’t use any gimmicks, and just tell a story your customers can relate to.

Which marketing channels you prefer and why?

Right now, it’s all referrals for 1Kprojects. A bunch of people with big followings have liked it and shared it with their network.

Personally, my favorite marketing channel would be content marketing. Mostly because it can be done honestly, and can yield results over a long period of time

Are you monetized? Why did you choose the current monetization method?

The current model (when sellers pay to unlock the messages and see incoming offers from buyer) was what made sense for me. If I was in the seller’s shoes, I wouldn’t have a problem paying.

What are the top 5-10 products/services you use in your company (marketing, development, business) and why do you like them?

  • Mixpanel – Great tool to figure out bottlenecks in your app.
  • Hotjar – Love the recordings so I can see how the app looks on different screens and devices and spot small UI bugs.
  • Google Analytics – For website tracking and analytics
  • Trello – For keeping track of basically everything and getting organized.