SUP / Productivity / Egypt

Just start out !! - Story of Instatus

Hello ! Who are you and what are you working on?

I'm Ali Salah, a maker & software developer from Egypt. I'm currently working on a simple, hosted status pages for startups. It’s name is Sup.

What motivated you to get started with? How did you come up with the idea?

I was trying to find a B2B idea that's still underserved. Status pages are mostly created now by (owned by Atlassian) which I think is too complex and overpriced. Other competitors lack many features and don't have a good user experience. So I'm creating an alternative that's faster and easier to use, and also more affordable for startups.

Can you tell us the story of your business from idea to where you are now?

I worked on it for 2-3 months till I reached a point where I thought it can be launched, even though it was still missing many features, but most features work really well and are simple enough for users to use. Currently, there are about 200 registered users and 140 status pages created. All of them use the free tier though. Now, I’m working on adding features that were requested the most (integrations), and also preparing to allow custom domains, as there will be a random draw for lifetime Pro accounts like I promised on twitter. Pro accounts need custom domains, so I’m making sure they’re working fine before doing the random draw.

Why one should use Sup ?

Companies have stressful experiences during downtimes. That’s especially true in startups where team members play different roles, so a developer who is trying to resolve the problem might be also responsible for replying to customer emails. So they end up not having enough time and focus to solve the issue as fast as they could. A status page is an easy way for customers to check the current status, which means less customer inquiries and more focus for developers to resolve the issue. Sup is easier and faster to use than competitors, and has a startup friendly pricing.

Do you think your mindset has anything to do with your success?

To leave your full time job and start working on something on your own, you need to take risks more than average. Prioritizing your long term growth and learning rather than having easy day to day experiences. To be honest, I don’t consider myself a “success” as an indie hacker yet, but I’m continuing the journeys till I am!

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

The launch is still very near, but some things I did got some traffic, like a reddit video post. After adding required features, I’ll focus on content marketing and SEO, as it seems like the most sustainable long-term method to attract customers.

Describe the process of launching the business.

I scheduled the post on Product Hunt to give myself a real deadline, as you can’t really reschedule. Before launching I sent a bunch of my twitter friends the website’s URL to try it out. They all gave me very good feedback that helped me fix many issues, and things  that would’ve confused users. Created a video and posted it using the same way Kitze did successfully before. I noticed that it works much better than regular twitter launches, so I followed it, and it worked very well on twitter

Did you use Betalist or PH or other Startup Launching Platform for Launching ? How was that experience ?

I used PH! I posted on Betalist but it’s not published yet. It was a good as usual, PH is awesome!

What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?

SaaS monthly subscription.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome? What are your goals for the future?

After stopping my full-time job, I had a very issue with procrastination that lasted a long time. It can be hard to work on your own with very high uncertainty and no accountability. I’m through it though, but it took a long time.

My goal is to reach financial independence from my projects.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

  • Give yourself a real deadline to launch.
  • Get feedback before launch.
  • Try to observe what methods works in other businesses and copy.
  • Avoid using new technology if your aim is to actually start. Getting accustomed to new tech will make building take much longer.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Tech: Prisma, GraphQL, Heroku, Nextjs (React), Gatsby.

Tools: Metomic for cookie consents. Crisp for chatting with customers. Sentry for sending me live errors. Hotjar for seeing how people are actually using the website. Google analytics.

Who’s your most inspirational CEO or founder?

Elon Musk.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Atomic Habits, Shoe Dog, Lean Startup, Naval Podcast. Indiehackers Podcast.

What’s your advice for fellow aspiring entrepreneur who are just starting out?

Just start out! Create small side-projects, until you feel you’re onto something, then focus on it!

About The Author : Binu Mathew

Binu Mathew is the CEO of itmarkerz technologies. It has been catering to the custom software needs of SMEs in India and abroad since March 2011. Binu started his programming and freelance carrier at the age of 17. over around 13 years of experience in startups, startup visas around the globe, and Blogging. You can reach him on Twitter or LinkedIn