Million-Dollar Projects Created by Only One Person
Sometimes even solo developers can be competitors for huge companies
Many projects started as a one-person side hustle but eventually grew into a successful large business. Good illustrations are projects like Gumroad created by Sahil Lavingia, MATLAB created by Cleve Moler, and the most known example — Facebook, founded by Mark Zuckerberg.
However, there are also many smaller projects that are very profitable and supported by only one enthusiast. Let me share them with you, and probably something will inspire you to make your own.
Solo Creator Takes on Adobe Photoshop
In 2016, Ukrainian Ivan Kutskir launched the Photopea.com web application. This full-fledged image editor works in the browser, absolutely free. Today, the product brings Ivan more than $1 million a year. At the same time, Kutskir does not have an office, employees, and other mandatory attributes of a business — he does everything alone as he said in his interview with Lunadio and highlighted in Ain’s article.
Before Photopea, Ivan worked under the development of flash games, which in the early 2000s literally teemed with the Internet. Developers monetized such games by displaying banner ads in them. In the future, deep knowledge of this monetization model will be helpful to Kutskir for his graphical web editor.
Ivan used Photoshop a lot in his work and studied it very well. At some point, he became curious if it was possible to parse .psd files in the browser. So he created a simple web tool where you could open a .psd and display all of its layers separately. This tool was just the beginning — the programmer was on fire with the idea of developing a free analog of Photoshop, which would work entirely through the browser.
Photopea from $0 to $1 million per year
Ivan started working on the Photopea project eight years ago and launched monetization five years ago. Today, the app has become his primary source of income: in 2020, Ivan…