Gumroad makes it easy to sell any kind of digital product and is loved by solopreneurs and passion economy creators. In contrast to Stripe they take care of sales taxes, provide a landing page and list products on a dedicated marketplace.
- Gumroad is growing like crazy and recently raised $5M at a $100M valuation.
- Creators earned $142 million in 2020 on the platform, up 94% over last year. Since 2011, 86,365 creators have earned over $437M.
- In 2020, 6 creators made at least $1,000,000, 179 made at least $100,000, 1,853 made at least $10,000, 7,945 made at least $1,000.
- Since last year it's possible to sell subscription products on Gumroad.
- By studying Gumroad products, we learn what kind of products solopreneurs and individual creators can sell successfully.
📊 The Data
- All bestselling Gumroad subscription products including active subscriber counts.
- JustSketchMe, a "pose reference tool" for digital artists, has 3644 active subscribers and currently generates $13k in monthly revenue.
- Paul Hudson has 5403 active subscribers ($20/month) for his Hacking with Swift+ course.
- Pavel Kuligin has 4730 subscribers ($20/year) for his Chart plugin for Sketch, Figma, and Adobe XD.
- The UnderConstructionPage PRO plugin for Wordpress has more than 2000 active subscribers ($39/year).
- The Songwriter Pro community has 1000+ active subscribers ($10/month).
- Elon Stocks ("When Elon mentions a stock in a tweet, we'll send you a text") has 210 subscribers paying $10/month.
- This Youth Soccer Academy for Jewish kids ("First academy in the USA to respect Shabbat.") has more than 120 subscribers paying $167 a month.
- The heART online painting club has 183 active subscribers paying $27/month.
🔑 Key Observations
- Many bestsellers in the list are B2Side-Hustle products.
- There's a shockingly high number of stock tip newsletters doing very well.
- Highly successful Gumroad subscription product categories:
- Ongoing courses like Hacking with Swift+, PyBites (Python exercises), Karate Nerd Insider, The Professional art course by James Richard, and the Pilates lessons by Karve Studio.
- Newsletters like The Sather Research eLetter, Trade Idea of the Week, and the Heidorn Report.
- Paid communities like Songwriter Pro, The Scholar Circle, and Lambros Society.
- Chrome extensions like the Poshmark Sharing Tool, CSS Scan Pro, , MerchFlow, and PrettyMerch Pro.
- Plugins like Pitchdeck for Figma, WP Reset for Wordpress, Agile Guy for Trello, Puzzle Generator for Powerpoint, and ORGanizer for Salesforce.
- Micro-SaaS like JustSketchMe, GeoImgr, and the Dividend Cultivator Web App.
- Given all the recent funding Gumroad will seriously level up. Currently, the platform still feels a bit stuck in their early "sell a PDF quickly" days. But this will change quickly. It will now evolve into a fully-fledged, and flexible payment provider similar to Paddle.
- More creators and entrepreneurs will realize that they should use a proper Merchant of Record instead of a barebone payment provider. If you're using Stripe or Paypal, you have to take care of VAT and other sales taxes yourself regardless of where you live. While there are tax tools like Quaderno that simplify the process, ultimately you still have to hand in the reports yourself and hence are responsible for all mistakes.
- For the same reason companies like Memberstack and Outseta will start integrating with Gumroad instead of Stripe.
- Soon multimillion-dollar SaaS businesses will be built on top of Gumroad.
- Competitors like Flurly and Mona will fail unless they realize that Gumroad's tax handling is its true killer feature.
- Pursue a portfolio of small bets strategy by launching multiple Gumroad products. You don't even need a finished product since Gumroad makes it easy to presell.
- Start a marketing agency that specifically targets Gumroad creators. Driving sales is the key challenge for most. You can use the database linked above to find clients.
- Create a directory or matchmaking service that connects Gumroad creators with affiliates. Gumroad makes it easy to work with affiliates but doesn't help you find them.
- Build a better Gumroad marketplace since the native one sucks. There are no real reviews and only limited search functions. Monetize with affiliate links.
- Launch a Gumroad competitor that combines Stripe's flexibility, powerful API, and beautiful design, with Gumroad's ease of use and tax features. You certainly don't have to reinvent the wheel to pull this off. Gumroad is also just using Stripe behind the scenes.
- Set up a service that makes it easy to create a paid newsletter à la Substack with Gumroad. Currently, there's no way to use Substack in a tax compliant way and Gumroad already has all necessary newsletter features built-in.
- Build Baremetrics for Gumroad. While Gumroad provides some analytics, they're quite superficial and there's not much you can do with it. Baremetrics was recently acquired for $4m.
- How a Throwaway Project Became a Full-Time Hustle - The story behind JustSketchMe.
- Gumroad Q1 2021 Open Board Meeting - Sahil Lavingia, the founder and CEO of Gumroad, shares key metrics and outlines plans for the future.
- Reflecting on My Failure to Build a Billion-Dollar Company - Sahil Lavingia shares the story how he started Gumroad and why it almost failed.
- Gumroad 1.0 on Github - The code Sahil wrote over the course of one weekend in 2011 so that he could sell a pencil icon he designed in Photoshop. It's basically just one huge Python file that he hosted on Google's App engine.
- Show HN: my weekend project, Gumroad - love that there's a big discussion if "Gumroad is the perfect application for Bitcoins" in the comments.