TL;DR Growth Strategies

Jun 5, 2020

3 min read

How this English teacher started a side hustle that brings in USD1.1Million Dollars

A TL;DR on Dom Wells’s story on Indie Hackers


Dom Wells, then an English teacher living in Taiwan, started Human Proof Designs in 2013, a site that offers training and services in the affiliate marketing world, and bootstrapped to $1.1 million USD in sales in 2017.

The Problem

While teaching English in Taiwan back in 2013, Dom noticed that there were lots of interest in “turnkey websites” (a completely functioning website with everything needed to run a website already completely functional.), with people selling and buyers buying it.

“there were dozens of people selling junk “turnkey websites” on Flippa, and people were gobbling them up”

That’s when he saw an opportunity: these sites are trash, and yet people are not familiar with the with the product or the business, and expecting to make money automatically.

The Solution

He wanted to offer something better that would help people get started with a “Done For You” service, with training to assist these people since most of them are not familiar with running such a business.

That’s is how Human Proof Solutions, was created back in late 2013.

The Boostrap

Money does not guarantee your success, especially when starting out.

Dom did not have much money initially. He was still teaching English part-time, and using his affiliate site income to support the business. His original vision at first was just to build some sites, get some buyers’ attention and sell it. But with no money for marketing and audience to sell to, he had to find some other ways.

I didn’t want to build a bunch of sites, pay for their content, and then be stuck with them hoping someone would come along and buy them.

To fund his business, he started out building sites on commission. This approach helps him to scale the business, customers would pay up front for Dom to start the project, and he will hire helps to build more sites as he received more orders.

The Product-Market Fit

Many startups founders assumed they know what their customers want based on what they themselves wanted. However, this approach is often times incorrect.

Dom assumed he knew what his customers wanted since he already had a few success with some of his own affiliate sites, so he started out selling sites at $250 with no content included.

“Since I had success with a few of my own sites, I already knew what was required to make a decent affiliate website. However, I came to realize that people wanted content, and wanted researched keywords as well. They didn’t want me to just pick the niche, give them a skeleton site, and let them get on with it. “

Dom pivoted and began tweaking, increasing his price while offering more features accordingly. Ultimately, they arrive at their targeted product market fit: “This led to us creating “Done For You” sites that come with around 10,000 words of content, keyword optimization, on-page SEO, a fully built website, and a plan/blueprint to take the sites from there and grow them.”.

The Advice

Lastly, an advice from Dom to all aspiring entrepreneurs:

“You have to level yourself up if you want to level your business up. Not just mindset, but everything.”

Thanks for reading! More real-life examples and TL;DR marketing strategies from established founders at GrowthHunt.