Stories from the East is an ongoing series where I interview makers from Eastern Europe and Asia. For this edition, we are going to a small but mighty country which is not much larger than Skopje, the capital of  North Macedonia where I currently live, but has a population that’s double the one of my country. This place is Singapore. This is where Fajar Siddiq lives.

Fajar is a serial entrepreneur and the co-founder of multiple indie and bootstrapped creative companies in Singapore. He mainly works with clients on branding and marketing projects. He’s also currently creating short promo videos and documentary videos for indie makers at MakersFlix, which is currently pre-launch.

In his free time, he loves to give feedback on other makers’ products. He is also a professional yo-yo player and plays skill toy as a hobby.

On becoming an influencer in the maker community

 “My main reason for joining the indie maker community was to look for like-minded people who are designers, developers and entrepreneurs in the tech and design industry. At the same time, I was going through burnout, so I started to reach out to more people online. I joined the Maker’s Kitchen Slack community as well as Makerlog.”

“Since then, I’ve been shipping products and helping other makers in the community with product design feedback and reviews, testing their apps or websites. I have been very active on Twitter and Makerlog as well, where I met other indie makers from various community.”

“One day, I received an email from Product Hunt. The email subject was titled Do you want to be our first influencer?

“I read the email and accepted, becoming the first influencer for Founder Club. People who sign up using my link gets 50% off at Founder Club. I really love being part of this because it will help other makers!”

“Influencer is not really a job, but it is something the indie maker community needs. The community is small and many people need help, resources and information to build their next profitable business or make side projects for fun. Being an influencer means promoting the fun, healthy culture and the good vibes in the community.”

“One of the main benefits is to get to test many new products. I get a lot of notifications from people who DM asking for interviews, perks, or to try the beta version of their product, and it’s fun! You get free swags, you get to meet some of them in real life to listen to their experiences and stories, and if you are lucky enough, a company will sponsor you for travel. Other than that, I get a lot of virtual coffees from the community, which are valued at $5. Sometimes people send $10 or $25. Donating is a great way to support a maker in their efforts.”

On helping others

“I help others through chats or video calls. It’s very important because, even if we spend lots of time online, indie makers are real people. Sometimes, they really need help but everyone is just too busy coding, designing or nomading. Some ignore such requests, some just give a few replies via chat. As for me, I like networking in the community. I like to get to know people from across the world. It doesn’t matter what their gender, race or religion is.”

“I look for common goals. Being inclusive is important so we can build a better ecosystem for the indie maker culture and to be more recognized by the public. Indie makers I help in the community include lots of people who are co-working, doing remote work, but also digital nomads, indie makers from home or students, solo-founders, bootstrapped and open startup companies.” 

On building and marketing indie products

“I have built some projects which I always find fun to do because I get to learn new things and sharpen my skills. My projects are mostly not launched, but there are a few that are. Most of it is community-related, but I also love making products like videos.”

“I always use a similar strategy to raise awareness of my products. First, I build a community platform on Telegram or Slack, which is very powerful. I use Twitter for engagement purposes. Then, launch your product on Product Hunt and send newsletter to the users. Create deals, perks and free giveaways. Always tag, mention, and credit others.”

“Videos is an essential medium for me, but most people prefer articles. I think podcasts in audio format are good too.”

 “I’m currently earning more money from my bootstrapped company and little money from my side projects. I’m not earning anything from being an influencer for Product Hunt’s Founder Club, but it gives me access to a lot of perks and deals, as well as emails from other makers that lead to new opportunities.”

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