Business Insight

Practical Insights from Tony Dinh: How to Build Multiple Revenue Streams as a Tech Solo Entrepreneur

January 24, 2024

Today’s Entrepreneur : Tony Dinh

The story of Tony Dinh, an indie hacker from Vietnam who generates $45,000 in monthly revenue from four products, shows that a diversified revenue portfolio is important, even for solo entrepreneurs.

(Source : Tony Dinh’s Newsletter)

Tony Dinh is a software developer from Vietnam who have made $45,000 in monthly revenue in his first two years as an indie hacker.

He created a software service to solve his problem, and when it was well-received, he turned it into a product and monetized it.

He repeated this process, actively sharing the entire process through Twitter(X), newsletters, and more.

Organically, he gained followers and subscribers, who have become a great source of potential customers.

(Source : indiehackers)

Discovering the world of indie hackers 

Tony Dinh's professional life has given him a wide range of skills including front-end, back-end, DevOps, and UX/UI design.

In 2020, the pandemic forced him to work from home, which he says was very boring.

Then he came across a website called Indie Hacker, where indie hackers record their experiences and insights and certify their earnings.

It was here that Tony was introduced to the stories of successful solo entrepreneurs like Pieter Levels and Jon Yongfook, and was inspired to start a new dream.

He immediately started a side project.

Tony Dinh's 4 Monetized Product Portfolios

Like many indie hackers, Tony Dinh has had his fair share of failures before he was able to build a successful monetized product.

Below are four of his monetized products.

1. First Monetized Product: DevUtils


(Source : DevUtils)

His first monetized product was DevUtils. It's a macOS app with a set of utilities for developers, giving them the ability to perform most tasks with a single click.

When he got a good response from people around him, he added a payment feature and posted it to Hacker News.

Payments started coming in, but once the post dropped down the Hacker News rankings, traffic dropped and no more sales were made.

Of course, since then, DevUtils has built an audience through Twitter and newsletters, and sales seem to have organically increased.

2. Second monetized product: Black Magic

(Source : Black Magic)

He realized the importance of marketing and started trying different things to build his own audience, collecting Twitter and newsletter subscribers.

When He reached 1,000 Twitter followers, he then built a feature to celebrate. He used Twitter's API to display a progression of 1,000 followers on his profile picture.

Seeing what people liked, Tony turned it into a web app and launched it with a $4 subscription fee. The service is called Black Magic, and it provides features that help people engage on Twitter.

About three months after launching Black Magic, it started seeing monthly recurring revenue of up to $300. At this point, Tony decided to leave the company to pursue a full-time solopreneurs life.

A little over a year later, in October 2022, Black Magic hits $13,000 in monthly recurring revenue.

3. Third Monetized Product: Xnapper

(Source : Xnapper)

He built a few more products, but they didn't work out. Then a screenshot app called Xnapper caught attention and he was able to monetize it.

Xnapper is a service that takes screenshots and designs them into a nice (and pretty) format to share on social media.

It's hard to imagine anyone paying for a screenshot app, but Tony saw a need for beautifully designed screenshots and monetized it by offering a number of features.

Here are some of the features Xnapper offers :

  • Custom global shortcut
  • Custom background gradient/image
  • Window capture (press Space)
  • Arrows, shapes, text, blur
  • Screenshot history
  • Open from file & clipboard
  • Social media sizes & ratios
  • Presets, customized settings
  • Compress output image
  • Fast, on-device text recognition
  • Upload to cloud (coming soon)
  • Beautiful & fast native macOS app


Currently, Xnapper is generating $6,000 in monthly revenue.

4. Fourth Monetized Product: Typing Mind

(Source : TypingMind)

Tony was very frustrated with the web interface while using ChatGPT, and then OpenAI announced ‘ChatGPT API’ on March 1, 2023.

He decided to use the API to create a better UI for ChatGPT and launched a service called Typing Mind.

He released the first version on March 6, 2023, adding features one by one. The monthly subscription, which started at $9, went up to $39 as features were added.

He also offered a B2B version that allows companies to build their own ChatGPT UI, and the service generates an average of about $30,000 in monthly revenue.

The importance of building a revenue portfolio

From this perspective, Tony Dinh's rise to the top seems to have been uneventful.

However, he had an unexpected setback. After Twitter was acquired by Elon Musk, the company raised its API fees from free to $42,000 per month.

At the time, Black Magic was generating $14,000 in monthly recurring revenue, so this price was outrageous. Tony had to sell Black Magic for $128,000.

(source : Tony’s Newsletter)

It's a good thing he sold, because he could have shut down the service overnight. If he did, a big part of his revenue model would be gone overnight.

But luckily, he had other profitable products besides Black Magic, and he was able to avoid a catastrophic situation.

Tony's story illustrates the dangers of relying on a single revenue model, not just for companies, but for freelancers as well.

Who would have thought that Twitter's API, which was free, would charge $42,000 to use?

💡 Once you have a revenue model in place, don't just settle for one. Think about building another.

Written by Free Worker’s Club (Link)

Original Text: 베트남의 월매출 45,000달러 인디 해커, 수익 다각화의 중요성


Active Here: 0
Be the first to leave a comment.
Someone is typing
No Name
4 years ago
This is the actual comment. It's can be long or short. And must contain only text information.
Your comment will appear once approved by a moderator.
No Name
2 years ago
This is the actual comment. It's can be long or short. And must contain only what if text information.
Load More
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Load More


A community of freeworkers who work their own way