Micro-SaaS #2, GhostiFi
I launched my first SaaS business, HostiFi, in May 2018 and since then it has grown from 0 to $2,000 MRR providing UniFi controller hosting to over 100 paying customers.
During that time, I also had the idea to create a VPS VPN service featuring on-demand and automated IP/location rebuilds, but it’s been on the back burner while I’ve been expanding HostiFi until now.
I’ve recently been inspired to get started on it again after reading Pieter Level’s https://makebook.io, and I want to share the entire process of building it in a series of short blog posts from idea to MVP, and then (hopefully) revenue, new features, and growth.
I’m also looking for feedback on the idea itself, and beta testers, so if the product sounds interesting to you please sign-up for the newsletter at https://ghostifi.net.
Here is the timeline so far.
August 2018 - Recognized problems common to all VPN services
I’ve used several different VPN services over the years, but found common problems with all of them.
- Slow, inconsistent speeds
- Claim not to log traffic, but no way to verify that
- IP addresses they provided were commonly being blocked by websites and services because they are known “bad”/VPN service IPs
September 2018 - Created a proof-of-concept which solved the problem (for myself)
I decided to become my own VPN provider by running OpenVPN on a Vultr.com VPS. I found that this solved all the problems I had.
- Speeds were ridiculously fast, averaging 1–2Gbps
- I had control over logging, so I knew my logs weren’t being sold to advertisers
- The IP addresses were clean, not blocked by any websites or services
The only problem was that when I wanted to change IPs or move the VPS to another country, I had to rebuild it all over again.
So that’s when I came up with the idea of a web interface that can do that with a click of a button. Or even do it automatically, say daily, weekly, or monthly, cycling through IP addresses and locations.
November 2018 - Started development
I started working on the idea by sketching how the interface would look, and writing down a high-level overview of how each feature would be accomplished in pseudocode.
Yesterday - Announced development and began market validation
Branded the concept, and set up the landing page. Also, I’m putting this idea out there on LinkedIn, Twitter, and this post looking for feedback.
Is this a good idea?
Would you pay for it? How much?
Any features missing that you think are important?
Let me know!
What I’ve worked on so far:
- Created the logo, and ~10 variations (different colors and layouts) of it at https://logojoy.com
- Used GIMP to create the right sizes of the logo for the website
- Setup WordPress website, and used Startuply theme
- Integrated Easy Digital Downloads with Recurring and Stripe plugins
- Created Stripe account and setup plugin API and webhooks
- Created MailChimp account for GhostiFi, created a list, and integrated it with the WordPress plugin API for “Get Live Updates”
- Created a Facebook Page
- Created a LinkedIn Page
- Updated Twitter account
- Setup Google Analytics and integrated it with WordPress
- Created email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org email addresses in my Virtualmin control panel, for now I am just forwarding them to my primary email address.
Follow GhostiFi on Twitter for updates, and join our mailing list at https://ghostifi.net!