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How @RoxCodes accidentally became a paid streamer living on an island with @levelsio and other indie hackers
Maker of Habit #32
Welcome to the 36 new subscribers who have joined since the last issue 🙌
Since making the switch from Revue last month, I’ve gotten ~50 subscribers thanks to Substack’s UX and recommendations features.
On Revue, it took me 1 full year to get to 100 subscribers. So basically, I’m growing 6x faster now. Which means I’m going to do my best to get back to a bi-weekly cadence.
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But enough about me, we have an amazing maker this week, so let’s get into it!
Why Rox is our Maker of Habit:
Rox is the quintessential indie developer with a portfolio of super cool products:
ThumbnailTest, a tool for A/B testing Youtube thumbnails, which recently had a big month and made $2.1k in November alone
Clipbot.tv, a tool for automatically creating TikToks from Twitch clips,
Sponsors.dev, a resource to help developer creators get sponsored
Birdbuds, a place to meet likeminded people on Twitter
Builds products just for fun too, like his Excuse Generator or when he tried to meme his way into Amazon’s Best Seller List
I met up with him (and @AprilynneAlter, his girlfriend) in Denver earlier this year and he was even cooler in person
A story of serendipity
In 2018, rather than getting another coveted software development internship at Microsoft or Apple, Rox moved to Chicago to focus on his first startup. He spent all of his savings in 3 months and got 0 sales. Whomp.
An accelerator, pivot, and global pandemic later, Rox suddenly found himself on Twitch. It was a productivity hack–if he had people watching him as he built, he would be more productive.
After streaming to an audience of 1 for a couple days, Rox got “raided” (a Twitch phenomenon I don’t really understand) and suddenly had hundreds of viewers and became a Twitch affiliate.
A few months later, Pieter Levels (@levelsio), AKA the OG Indiehacker, found his stream and offered to do a Q&A on his channel, “It is my most popular piece of content ever, and still how many people find me.”
It’s clear they had an impact on him, because he started shipping some really cool stuff.
Clipbot.tv was first:
Followed by EasyUpload and ThumbnailTest:
The serendipity continues after that. Mr. Beast, the highest paid Youtuber in 2021, recently saw his stream and reached out to hire Rox for a 3-month contract for a secret project.
But with any indie maker journey, as we know, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Rox also shares with us about the lows of the journey. And that’s how you know he’s a true indie maker.
All in all, it’s a great time to jump on the Rox train, so let’s dig in.
3 strategies that changed Rox’s trajectory as a maker:
🔎 Focusing on Creators
Specifically, most of Rox’s recent product offerings are focused around creators in the Twitch and Youtube space. By niching down, he’s able to position himself as a thought leader in the space. And by catering to creators like himself, he is already super familiar with the pain points and lack of tools available.
⚖️ Asking for Feedback via Twitter
I like how Rox will share screenshots and ask his audience to weigh in on the different options he’s considering.
It not only helps improve his product but gets people interested into what he is building.
😹 Using his real voice, not Twitter-speak
Rox never fails to write, tweet, or stream in his authentic voice. It makes his content very relatable and fun to engage with.
3 habits that changed Rox’s trajectory as a maker:
When I first asked Rox what his three habits were, he said he didn’t have any good habits:
Well, Rox may not see these things below as habits, but here are a few things he’s done that have had altered his trajectory as a maker.
📺 Streaming on Twitch
Streaming absolutely changed my life. I started streaming to be more productive because once you have 50 people staring at your screen you bet your ass you're gonna start coding.
This ended up turning into a small income stream for me, introduced me to some other cool maker friends like Piet (aka @levelsio) and helped me stand out as an indie hacker.
Everyone builds in public, but streaming gave me a bit of a competitive edge in the creator space because I was viewed as more of a "creator" myself."
💭 Tweeting every thought I have
Especially technical ones. Sometimes it's a joke or I’m angry about something. Occasionally I get so mad that it becomes a very good meme lmao.
What's really interesting is once you have some clout tech companies talk to you and become your friend. this has made it easier for me to build some stuff because if my tweets do well enough I can just reach out to tech companies for custom support or feature requests here and there
🙋♂️ Asking questions on Twitter
Questions are so big on twitter. A lot of people do engagement hacks but I swear just me asking about the best way to build something / implement something / the best tool to use to do something has gotten me waaaaaaaay more interaction than anything else.
I usually tweet while I’m streaming/building and tweet every question I have. Basically I treat twitter like Stackoverflow lmao. I find this gives the easiest results and the quickest growth.
That’s a wrap!
Thanks for sharing with us, Rox!
To learn more about Rox and stay up to date with his latest endeavors:
One question for you:
Oh, and one last thing! Stay updated on all the cool work of our past makers with the Maker of Habit Twitter list. It’s an awesome way to feel more connected to the maker community.
Habit trackers never work. Except for this one. Harold is the first-ever SMS personal habit coach powered by GPT-3.
You’ll be surprised at what just one text message a day can do for your self-awareness and personal growth. 🚀
I spent 2 months writing 50k words about my journey going full-time on my side project. The Honest Guide to Indie Making is a thorough documentation of everything I learned the hard way, so you can learn the easy way.
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