The Micropreneur Toolkit

If you’re building a software product during your nights and weekends, then you don’t have any time or money to waste. That doesn’t stop most people from writing code they don’t have to write, spending time configuring things they don’t have to configure, and paying bills they don’t have to pay.

Here are some tools I’ve found that will save you thousands of dollars and hours as you build a software product in your spare time:

A static site generator (e.g. Hugo, Jekyll, Gatsby)

What it is: A tool that transforms a config file and markdown files (that you write) into a complete website.

What it replaces: Wordpress, Squarespace, or a bespoke website written from scratch.

Why it’s better:

  • Cheap (plenty of free themes and great ones for less than $100).
  • Quick to configure (you’re just editing a config file and writing markdown).
  • Totally customizable (you can always edit the HTML and CSS if you want to).
  • Hostable for free on Netlify (because there’s no PHP backend like Wordpress).

Netlify

What it is: A hosting platform with excellent tooling.

What it replaces: AWS EC2, Digital Ocean, a server in your garage.

Why it’s better:

  • No server to manage.
  • Completely free for teams of one.
  • Amazing integrations with GitHub (every time you open a PR it creates a unique URL previewing the changes).
  • Handles migrations and rollbacks for you (just click a button).
  • Automatically requests and renews SSL certs for you (once you configure it).

Firebase

What it is: A service built on top of Google Cloud that solves common problems for you. It was originally intended to support mobile apps but works just as well for SaaS.

What it replaces: A standard backend web API.

Why it’s better:

  • Handles common use-cases like account creation, email validation, and password resets (you just make an API call from the front-end and Firebase handles the rest).
  • Database support (SQL and NoSQL) that you can effectively and securely query from front-end code.
  • Extremely cheap (especially for MVPs). You’re charged based on usage - not a flat fee per month like if you were running a server.

Looka.com

What it is: A website that lets you design your own logo by browsing through thousands of variations on logos, colors, and fonts.

What it replaces: Making something yourself or hiring a designer for thousands of dollars.

Why it’s better:

  • Probably higher quality than something you could do yourself.
  • Fast (you’ll be done in 30 minutes).
  • Cheap (you can get both SVGs and PNGs for $65).

Unsplash.com

What it is: A place to find high-quality images.

What it replaces: Subscribing to some image repository, limiting yourself to images in the public domain, or desperately searching for “free images” and hoping they don’t have an attribution clause.

Why it’s better:

  • Hundreds of thousands of images.
  • Free.
  • No attribution necessary.

Those are some of the tools I’ve found especially useful in my micropreneurial journey. Hope you found it useful! Anything I’m missing?

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