Hello, fellow bootstrappers!
My name is Anton and I’m bootstrapping a product called HgLab, which is a self-hosted behind-the-firewall Mercurial server and source control management system. Think GitHub Enterprise, but for Mercurial. Or BitBucket on your servers.
I started building HgLab almost three years ago. What took me so long was my vision of a product which will be trivial to install and maintain, which meant minimizing dependencies. To achieve that, I had to effectively rewrite core Mercurial in C#, and do all kinds of fancy stuff with WiX, MSI, database migrations, in-place upgrades and a lot of other things.
I turned the “for pay” switch about a year ago and so far I’m at around $2K a month. Mind you, this is not a SaaS product, so no true recurring monthly revenue here - the only recurring part is a non-obligatory yearly license renewals.
I’m targeting Mercurial users shops because Mercurial is more popular in Microsoft shops (which I’m also targeting by being Windows-only for the moment), and these guys are more accustomed to paying for software. Plus, there are really few good self-hosted Mercurial servers out there, whereas Git has quite a lot.
Now that my product is reasonably mature and quite stable, I’m trying to do some basic marketing stuff, which I find myself hopless at. One of my blog posts got to #1 on HN, which brought me about 18K visitors and no conversions whatsoever. I’m trying Google Ads and some basic promotion, but without great success.
So, this is my story.