Productized Service Example: How Dan Kulkov and Sveta Bay went turned marketing into $10k/month product studio

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Productized service is the process of packaging your expertise or resources into a digital product that can scale. Dan Kulkov and Sveta Bay provide one of the most fascinating examples of executing this startup strategy that I’ve seen recently.

Unlike most SaaS founders who dive right into building a product, they took a less risky approach by first establishing themselves as marketing experts for indie makers. It wasn’t until significant authority and audience were built providing done-for-you services that they started automating themselves.

Today, we will uncover the exact progression they followed to create a $10k/month productized service studio on autopilot. Step-by-step, we’ll explore how you can adopt a similar roadmap to build your passive income.

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What you will learn

  • Why you shouldn’t start with the goal of building a product
  • An alternative business model to productized service that’s easier to implement
  • The step-by-step process they used to turn their marketing services into a product business
  • How to leverage side project marketing and controversy to fuel your growth
  • Actionable ideas you can replicate for your own business

Who are Dan Kulkov and Sveta Bay?

Before founding MakerBox and FounderPal, Dan worked for various EdTech and HR startups, and Sveta was a project manager at consumer brands like Unilever. Like most indie makers, they became disillusioned with working corporate jobs and wanted to start their own business.

In 2022, they created their Twitter/X accounts and got to work. As a couple, they regularly commented on each other’s social posts which helped grew their audience.

In time, they identified their strengths in marketing and rode the wave of the creator economy and AI. Within 18 months, they launched 13 products, sold their most viral one (Sponsor The Newsletter) and reached $100,000 in total revenue.

In this article, I went through their combined 30,000 tweets to reverse-engineer how they did it and any tips you can use to grow your own productized service empire.

Let’s dive in.


How Dan Kulkov and Sveta Bay built their $10/k productized service business that runs on autopilot?

Dan and Sveta found a way to progress from service to product in small, low-risk steps:

  1. Forget Productized Service. First Establish Your Authority – The biggest mistake most people make when launching a productized service business is to start with a goal of building a product. I will show you what Dan and Sveta did instead to first build an authority in the space with low-risk products for your target audience.
  2. Productize In Baby Steps – Once you’ve established a relationship with your target audience, you can start exploring different products you can create to solve common issues. You now have a choice of continuing to create bite-sized products or bundling them into your one product offer.
  3. Find A Way To Charge More– In this section, I will show you some examples of how to upsell effectively. This can easily double or triple your income per customer.
  4. Use Side Projects to Get More Traffic – After the initial launch hype dies down, you need a sustainable way to find new customers. This is where side project marketing comes in. It’s an incredibly powerful way to steal traffic from established competitors in the space.
  5. Don’t Be Afraid of Controversy – Most people worry too much about offending strangers on socials. Controversy have worked well for Dan Kulkov and is part of the reason he was able to grow his Twitter/X to 24,000 followers within 2 years.

Let’s look at each step in detail:

1. Forget Productized Service. First Establish Your Authority.

Most founders dive straight into building a productized service business because they like the idea of building a product that you can sell to many people on autopilot.

The problem is that customers don’t pay you to build a product. They want a problem solved. And with no authority in the space and no real understanding of your customer’s pain points, this can easily turn into months of wasted effort building things no one wants.

Instead, Dan and Sveta found a way to progress from service to product in small, low-risk steps.

  • Step 1 – Lean into your expertise and find an audience you’d enjoy serving.
  • Step 2 – Identify one pain point for your ideal audience that you can solve within 30 minutes
  • Step 3 – Launch with ONE product to establish your authority

Dan Kulkov and Sveta Bay’s first offering was a landing page roasting service for indie makers. For $100, founders get personalized 20-minute video review by a marketer.

Dan Kulkov Sveta Bay Makerbox Roasting

Offering services like this achieved multiple goals:

  • Validated their marketing skills
  • Built authority and trust
  • Allowed them to learn customer pain points
  • Generated cashflow to fund product development

Productized Service Ideas:

The best place to start is packaging a skill you already have into a simple, low-ticket service. Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  1. Landing page review – 30 minute video critique and suggestions for optimization
  2. Logo design feedback – Review of multiple logo options and choices with detailed explanation
  3. Copywriting audit – Evaluate effectiveness of key landing/sales page copy
  4. Email sequence review – Review and improve email nurture sequence
  5. Value proposition workshop – Refine and clarify product’s core value proposition
  6. Competitor analysis – In-depth review of top 3 competitor products, pricing, and positioning
  7. Growth strategy memo – Summary of top 3 distribution channels/tactics to acquire customers
  8. Instagram profile review – Suggestions to improve visual brand and captions
  9. Sales page teardown – Identify key areas for improvement on SaaS pricing/sales page
  10. Funnel strategy – Map out and optimize customer journey from awareness to purchase

Lesson: Don’t go straight for the big productized service idea. Start by finding an audience and offer a low-ticket service to start establishing credibility.

Which leads us to…

2. Productized Service In Baby Steps

Now that you got your foot in the door have 2 options:

  • Option 1 – Add more services to your main product offering. For example, you can extend an email sequence review service into email campaign creation.
  • Option 2 – Build other digital products for the same target audience.

Dan and Sveta chose option 2.

In total they built 13 products on Product Hunt, including “70 Marketing Mega Prompts For Indie Makers” ($49) and “600 tools with generous free plans for indie entrepreneurs”.

List of MakerBox Product Launches on Product Hunt

Simple Digital Product ideas You Can Steal:

  • Excel Spreadsheets – Fundraising financial models, valuation calculators, cash flow templates
  • Resource Packs – Design asset packs, marketing checklist templates, email copy swipes
  • Mini Courses – Video lessons on web development, marketing tactics, business strategy
  • Interactive Calculators – Customizable ROI, break even analysis, decision making tools
  • Digital Downloads – Licensing agreements, HR policy templates, real estate contracts
  • Media Kits – Custom illustrations, icon packs, animated background videos
  • Interactive Guides – Style quizzes, worksheets, frameworks with fillable PDFs
  • Audio Files – Podcast edits, custom voice overs, background music tracks
  • Design Systems – Color palettes, custom brand guidelines, style tile libraries
  • Dynamic Dashboards – Interactive analytics, sales data, financial reporting hubs

How To Set Up Your Productized Service Business:

Find simple digital product ideas from the list above. Choose products that take a maximum of 5 days to create. Your aim is to launch one product a month to your target audience.

Then, see which ones are popular with your audience. Let sales guide you and use this understanding to shape your core productized service offering.

3. Find A Way To Charge More

One of the biggest mistakes I see indie makers make is lacking upsell opportunities after the initial purchase. They pour effort into acquiring a customer, but don’t maximize the value of that relationship.

Key to scaling profitability is providing additional value that customers will happily pay more for. Here are some example of how Dan and Sveta did it:

• Add monthly updates of new prompts (+$20)
• Access to a bundle of products (+$50)
• Unlimited marketing strategies (+$70)

Eventually they bundled all of their best-seling products into a giant marketing bundle.

Productize Service - upsells

Digital Product Upselling Ideas You Can Adopt

  • Monthly content drops
  • Access to wider product suites
  • Private community
  • 1-on-1 consulting
  • Automations and tracking

Just be sure not to over-stretch yourself. At this point, you will already have multiple products running so make sure you have the bandwidth to fulfil serviceable commitments like monthly content drops.

4. Use Side Project Marketing To Get More Traffic

After launch, finding sustainable traffic to your productized service website becomes your biggest challenge. This is where side project marketing can help you steal attention from established competitors.

Dan learnt how to build simple apps on Bubble (a Nocode platform) to quickly build free tools that tap into search demand. He looks for high-traffic, low-competition keywords relevant to his products.

For example, for FounderPal, this is a great keyword for them to target:

Productize Service Ideas - keyword research

Dan created a free AI-powered business name generator that taps into these monthly searches.

Productize Service Ideas - side project marketing

The tool is free to use but asks for an email address before showing the full report. It also links back to their paid marketing products.

Productize Service Ideas - freemium

Again, notice how they always offer a more expensive upgrade for their products.

Lesson: Side project marketing is such an underrated growth strategy for bootstrapped entrepreneurs. I will be sharing a separate report detailing EXACTLY how you can replicate this tactic, so be sure to subscribe to so you don’t miss this report.

5. Don’t Be Afraid of Controversy

Dan Kulkov and Sveta Bay are big on experimenting with different social media voices. Whilst Sveta leans into the “authentic female entrepreneur” angle, Dan adopts a more “I dare you to disagree with me” style of writing.

Here’s an example of Sveta’s TikTok videos

@founderpalai

Knowing your user persona is the key to grow your business or social media account. Save hours of user research with this free ai tool. Must for founders, marketers, and content creators. Thank me later! #aitoolsforbusiness #aitoolsyouneed #aitoolsformarketers #digitalmarketing #marketing #marketingdigital #techtok #artificialintelligence #uidesign #uxdesigner #aitoolsforcreatives #aitools #landingpage #greenscreen

♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey

And here’s an example of Dan top-performing, controversial tweet that either makes you laugh or want to punch him (or both!)

Dan Kulkov Sveta Bay- Social Media Strategy

Juicy ideas to Replicate Success

Here are the top 5 ideas from today’s deep dive to help you build a productized service business like Dan Kulkov and Sveta Bay:

  1. Start with a simple service to a niche audience. Avoid selling a complex offering like social media management, instead, sell something simple that takes less than 30 minutes to do, like a social profile audit. Use this to establish yourself as an authority in the space.
  2. Build more products. Make more useful products like swipe files, templates.
  3. Use upsells to generate more revenue from each customer. This can be a product bundle, access too more of your time etc. Be careful not to overstretch yourself.
  4. Build your core productize service offering. At this point you can start to think about how you might package up everything into one main offering, or keep them separate like Sveta and Dan.
  5. Use side project marketing to get traffic. Diversify your efforts away from launches into more sustainable efforts like making free tools to get a consistent flow of new customers.

What’s next

In a future issue, we will dive into Side Project Marketing – How It Works and How to Find Keywords You Can Target.

If you haven’t already, sign up to get notified when a new issue of Juicy Ideas drop!

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!