What It's About
A web developer creates his own online version of a classic game.
Words of Wisdom
When it comes to starting a side hustle of your own, Holger says to launch it quickly. “Don't spend too long working on your initial project. Get it out there as soon as humanly possible, so you can see if people like it and you're able to make money off of it somehow. I've had several projects I've spent a long time working on that were flukes in the sense that people didn't really like the product or I weren't able to make some money off of it.”
In the United Kingdom, Solitaire is typically called “Patience” instead.
Notes from Chris
Back in the early 2010s, some of us were reading The Hunger Games, some people were doing the Harlem Shake, “Call Me Maybe” was playing on the radio, and Holger Sindbaek [hold-ger sind-beck] was really getting into bingo. Holger wanted to make an app or website of some sort, and he started to analyze several gaming apps. He used a popular analytics service called AppAnnie. With that, he could see how many downloads that apps had, as well as their ratings and estimated income. That research led him to notice something strange: there were a bunch of apps that were getting a lot of downloads and making money, but also had really bad reviews. If he could make a better version of one of those apps, he thought, he’d get even more downloads and make even more money than they were. Holger ended up settling on making a solitaire app, which he called Freecell. He knew that he could make a better version of the game than what was currently out there, plus it just seemed like fun. It took him about two weeks of work to get the first version to launch, and it was a moderate success. People were downloading it, and a few of them were even willing to make some of the in-app purchases he offered. He even made two other versions: Klondike and Spider Solitaire. For a few years, these three apps were garnering about $1,000-$1,500 each month. Since then, Holger has also implemented the opportunities for video ads. He has also increased the size of the ads and how frequently they change. Besides that, Holger says that he generally tries to continue making improvements on the website to get people to stick around longer or download the desktop app. He also continued to improve his SEO, which has ended up being his trump card. All this work brought in a lot more people, and in turn a lot more money, to his website. In the last few years, with introducing those ads and continuing to optimize, the website slowly began to rank for different keywords related to solitaire, which a lot of people search for. Now, the website makes more than $10,000 every single month. Holger is using that money to play his cards well. He’s going back to school to study mechanical engineering, and even starting a new side hustle. For this one, he’s focusing on making jewelry boxes with precision cuts from one solid piece of European oak. He doesn’t plan on stopping his solitaire game any time soon, and he also likes it the way it is right now: something to do on the side, bringing in real money every month, with no pressure to scale.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Deal yourself a hand and play Holgers game at his website online-solitaire.com.
- No Code, No Problem: Easy-to-Build Apps for Everyone: While waiting in line at a food truck, this Miami man discovers a way to build professional looking apps without learning how to code. He now earns a substantial side income building them for clients.
- Spanish-Language Bible App Generates 1 Million Downloads: Opportunity knocks for a Utah accountant and leads to a fortuitous side hustle making $70,000 in one year with a $0.99 app.
- Exercise App Encourages Fitness While Helping Sick Kids: A North Carolina man’s software app forces users to make donations when they slack off their fitness routines.
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