How Daniel Ch built a 7-figure product studio at age 24

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Daniel Ch’s journey has always fascinated me. He successfully built a website builder software business (Simple.Ink) on top of Notion and exited the business at a ripe old age of 24.

I’ve always seen him around on Twitter/X, but it wasn’t until I started doing my research on him while writing this article that my respect for him grew.

Simple.Ink was possibly his most well-known product but it wasn’t his first successful product. What what earned my respect the most was how level-headed he was about his success.

His blog here and here is a fascinating read.

It’s a little sporadic so today I will collate his key insights and lessons in this article.

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What You Will Learn

  • How 19 year old Daniel Ch “got lucky” with an accidental business success.
  • What the “Echo Your Success” is and how to milk your success.
  • The single biggest reason why start-ups succeed – it’s NOT about execution.
  • How Daniel Ch applied the “Distribution first, product second” startup strategy.

But first,

Who is Daniel Ch?

Daniel Ch is a serial entrepreneur. Together with his younger brother, David, they’ve built multiple successful SAAS and productized services including Legit Check, Thumbnail Test and Simple Ink which they sold for an undisclosed 6-figure in 2024. He runs the r/SAAS subreddit.

Daniel Ch’s Growth Strategies Growing Simple.Ink to a 6 figure exit in 2 years

You will explore each in detail. Here’s the TLDR:

  1. Distribution First. Product Second.
  2. Bet on tailwinds.
  3. If you get lucky, milk it. Then, echo your success.
  4. You should list your business for sale before you want to sell it.
  5. It’s all about the distribution.

Let’s dive into each in detail.


1. Distribution first. Product second.

Daniel is a strong advocate for this idea:

You should build your distribution first, before writing a single line of code (or no code).

One of his first successful startup, Legit Check is a productised luxury brand authentication service for items like watches and sneakers.

It was an accidental startup.

in 2017, he was 19 and was learning how to code. He wanted to add some projects to his personal portfolio page, chdaniel.com.

As he had a knack for being able to tell a genuine branded sneaker from a fake one (as you do at 19!), he created a project to share guides to help others spot imitation brands.

He launched it on Reddit and people seemed to like it. But he was working on other stuff at that time so ignored the website for a while.

But the website visitors kept climbing.

5000, 10k, 100k… then at 350k website visitors, he finally decided he should turn this into a business and launched a paid authentication service. For $20 you get your product reviewed and will receive his opinion in an email like this:

Then people started using his emails in court to fight counterfeit brands. Banks and PayPals started accepting his emails as proof for buyers looking to get their money back for scams.

And it all started with some simple guides he shared for free on the internet that got him a ton of eyeballs,

We’ll talk about HOW he got those website visitors later, but for now, remember this – build your distribution first.

2. Bet on tailwinds

I was listening to an interview he did with Andrew Gazdecki the CEO of Acquire.com when he said something interesting – that his second startup, Simple.Ink, succeeded only because he was building on top of a tailwind.

If you’ve never come across this term – a tailwind is an external advantage that accelerates your progress and success. It could be a growing market trend, tech adoption changes or anything that meant the market you’re operating in, is growing fast.

Simple.Ink’s tailwind

By the time he launched Simple.Ink in January 2022, he already had a couple of successes under his belt and can tell when something is (or isn’t) working.

But this time it felt different. He had a number of tailwinds:

  1. No-code was growing. Technical and non-technical people alike were all exploring no-code tools.
  2. Everyone was building side hustles post-Covid.
  3. His personal Twitter account blew up, going from 300 to 10,000 followers in 9 months.
  4. But most importantly, Notion was taking off. People love using Notion to build simple websites.
Simple.Ink is a website builder for Notion aimed at leveraging Notion’s aesthetic appeal and functionality to create websites

Of course, Daniel still had to do all the right things.

They launched and became Product of The Day on Product Hunt. With an attractive 50% off pre-order discounts, they got first 1,300 users and reached $6k MRR (monthly recurring revenue) within a month.

Then, Daniel turned to building in public to aggressively promote and grow the business.

But with tailwind behind him, every effort he put in was multiplied by the simple fact that the market was growing.

Bill Gross, CEO of billion-dollar startup incubator Idea Lab shared the same idea here in a Ted Talk about what he thinks is the single biggest reason why start-ups succeed.

Lesson: I will let you watch Bill Gross’s Ted Talk and draw your own conclusions but in short, choose a market with tailwinds.

3. If you get lucky, milk it.

Of course, you can’t rely on luck only.

But if you’re lucky enough to find luck, be prepared to squeeze every bit of juice out of it.

His first lucky break – SEO

His first lucky break was hitting the SEO jackpot with Legit Check. Despite not understanding how SEO worked, he stumbled across a blog format that seemed to attract thousands of visitors to his site, “Real vs Fake” articles:

Recognising this, Daniel Ch quickly doubled down on this blog format and churned out guides after guides comparing all sorts of luxury items to improve their website SEO.

And it paid off.

Legit Check at one point did $180,000+ per year, attracting 6,000,000+ all-time users, and about 300,000-400,000 unique users per month.

The Echo Your Success Strategy

Here’s a question for you. What would you do when you make your first $10 or reach your first 100 followers?

Most people would do nothing. If they are savvy they might celebrate that milestone in a tweet. Once.

But Daniel learned the benefits of “milking” the success many times over. You could

  • Share your success.
  • Then do a presentation about your success.
  • Then tweet about the presentation you did about your success.
  • And so on. You get the idea.

He called this “Echo your success” strategy. Success breeds success in the digital entrepreneurship world. If you need any more proof, just look at Marc Louvion’s meteoric rise to indie maker stardom.

Lesson: Echo your success.

4. Your should list your business for sale before you want to sell it

This part is all about giving yourself OPTIONS.

You don’t want to be in a position of desperation when it comes to negotiating the sale of your business.

Daniel Ch Simple Ink Sale

In fact, you should probably read Built To Sell if you’re serious about selling your business one day. The book is the most relevant introduction to the world of business acquisitions for bootstrapped founders.

Here are a few lessons Daniel learned from selling Simple Ink:

  • Observe listings – Grab yourself an acquire.com account and learn from the businesses for sale listings. Even better, pretend you’re a buyer looking for an acquisition. What questions would you ask the seller? What concerns you? What excites you about the business? Use those reflections to shape your own business.
  • List early – There is no obligation to sell even after you list your business. Daniel listed Simple.Ink’s on acquire.com to learn how his business is valued by buyers. He did end up selling it for 6 figures, just 2 years after launch.
  • Treat each offer like it’s your last – I don’t necessarily agree with this but it is absolutely true that you should value each offer that comes your way. Be ready to “cash in your chips” (AKA sell your business) and don’t let ego get in the way.

Here’s what Daniel said about why he sold Simple Ink:

Daniel Ch Simple Ink Sale 2

5. It’s all about distribution

Let’s come back to the topic of distribution yet again.

Remember how he managed to get a ton of eyeballs to Legit Check thanks to his helpful real vs fake articles? That wasn’t the only time he thought about distribution for his products.

3 other ways Daniel Ch built distribution for his products:

  • Moderating r/SAAS subreddit (122k members)
  • Growing his personal brand on Twitter to over 10k followers
  • Made free Notion guides to grow an email list to 5k before launching Simple Ink
Source: simple ink blog

All these take time. But he understood the value of being (or befriending!) gatekeepers to large audiences, and the idea that once you own your distribution, you can always figure out a way to monetise it.

Notice the third bullet point – if you want own your own distribution, make friends with the gatekeepers of water holes.

Lesson: If you can’t BE Facebook, be a Facebook group moderator. Build your distribution.


Growth Strategies You Can Replicate

Daniel Ch is possibly the most level-headed 20-something year old I know. It’s rare to find someone so self-aware and attune to the role of luck in his business success.

Let’s summarise what you can takeaway from his growth:

  1. Choose your market wisely – If you can, find a market with a large enough audience and a strong tailwind. Your business is in a state of growth just because you’re in the right market. Don’t forget to think beyond AI – there are plenty of tailwind there if you look hard enough.
  2. Appreciate the role of luck – It’s one thing to bet on the right market but it’s another thing being RIGHT about your bet.
  3. Echo your success – Don’t be embarrassed about sharing your success. Tweet about your success. Give a talk about it. Then tweet about the talk. Be your own PR agent.
  4. Learn what buyers are looking for when it comes to acquiring your business – Browse listings on acquire.com. Learn what buyers are looking for. Then build your business into the valuation you want to see.
  5. It all comes down to distribution – It’s hard to build a product without distribution. It’s much easier to build distribution, then create a product.

What’s Next

In a future issue, we will look at HOW to create a product once you own your distribution.

In the mean time, be sure to check out How Danny Postma sold Headlime for $1,000,000 and his strategy building an AI product studio over the next 10 years.

And if you haven’t already, subscribe to get notified when the next deep dive drops.

Growth Strategies of Top Indie Makers Delivered to Your Inbox

Each week, we will reverse engineer the growth and distribution strategies used by top indie makers to grow their startups past $100k annual revenue. Subscribe so you don’t miss the latest issues!