How I Went from a Broke 15-Year-Old Employee to Launching My First SaaS Product

How I Went from a Broke 15-Year-Old Employee to Launching My First SaaS Product

From Broke Teen to SaaS Entrepreneur: My Journey to Launching Linkinbio

Two months ago, I started developing a free Link-In-Bio tool that pays users for each click. It's not finished yet, but it's getting there.

I don't usually do interviews, but a friend suggested I share my story. So here I am, talking about how I went from a broke 15-year-old employee to starting my first SaaS business Linkinbio.

This idea can help many creators and businesses, and I’d love your opinion on how to move forward and what do you think about the app. My story may inspire some of you to keep going despite setbacks.

Here's a quick overview of the article:

  • Broke and lost at 15 years old.

  • Waking up at 4 AM to work before school.

  • Finding my first job, being taken advantage of, and not getting paid.

  • Starting my first business and failing after losing $60K.

  • How I started Linkinbio.

Without further ado...

Hello Sotiris, Who are you and what is your background?

Hello Michael, I am a 22-year-old software engineer from Greece with an interest in Indie Hacking and entrepreneurship. But it wasn't always this way. As a kid, I was lost and faced many setbacks before I could develop my first business idea.

Like many kids, I dreamed of becoming a professional athlete. I played basketball, but things didn't turn out as I hoped. Injuries were a big part of it, and there wasn't much money to be made from it.

I didn't think about money as a kid, but when the economic crisis of 2008 hit Greece, my family struggled. A few years later, I wanted to earn my own money to cover my basic expenses, like school lunch, upcoming university costs, and basketball practices, as my parents couldn't afford everything.

So what did you do to face these challenges?

My father told me that I could go to university and then find my first job. But due to the economic situation back then, I wanted money immediately and couldn't wait 10 years to finish school and university to start making money. I needed something now.

Call it fate, but that year a new student joined our school. He was a nerdy-looking kid that almost no one talked to. Despite the economic situation, my father taught me valuable lessons like "never judge someone by their cover." So after a couple of months, I finally talked to him.

That young kid, at 15 years old, told me he made $1,000 from creating websites. What? $1,000? This was so much money for me back then; I could literally cover my expenses for the entire year.

From that day, I decided to start learning programming. Without ever having touched a computer in my life, I was determined for the first time. So I learned and I found my first job.

How long did it take you to learn programming, was it hard? Talk to me about it.

Hard? That's an understatement. I didn't sleep for six months. I remember that day vividly. It was the 1st of March, and I told myself that by the end of summer, I had to find a job.

The first few weeks were really challenging for me. I thought this was something I couldn't do. I studied after school for a couple of hours, maybe 1-2 hours daily, but I saw no progress.

In the meantime, I kept talking with my friend, and he told me, "You need to work hard. I've been studying since I was 12 years old to be in the position I am today."

That day, something clicked for me. I set an alarm clock for 4:30 AM, giving me 3 hours to study before school. I don't know how, but I was certain I could do it. I studied 3 hours before school, 3 hours after school, and read coding books for 1 hour at night.

Finally, after 2 months, I saw progress. I created my first HTML website. It was simple, but it worked.

Time passed and mid-July I started looking for jobs.

Did you find any? Talk to me through the process of finding a job.

I decided with that friend of mine to create a website where we would offer website creation services. So that's what we did.

But nothing happened. August came and we had no clients. Then one day, I got a call from an unknown number. It was a guy who wanted a real estate website. He told me he found us through Google Search.

We closed a deal with him for $2000. That amount of money was unimaginable for me back then. After a month, another guy messaged me on LinkedIn and said he wanted to hire us. So, for the first time ever, my friend and I closed another deal for $800 per month to work 4 hours a day. For a 15-year-old in Greece, that was a lot of money.

I don't want to be unfair to him, but I learned a lot on that job and created websites and applications from scratch that I couldn't believe I could make before.

Then, one month, he decided not to pay us.

Not pay you anything? What do you mean?

Yes, you heard right. One month, after a year of working for him, he did not pay us—neither me nor my friend. At first, I thought it was okay. He told us not to worry and assured us that everything would be fine. He promised to pay us double next month because they were making some internal changes to the company.

The next month passed, but we received no money. We then heard that he had stopped paying four other employees at the company. So, one day, we decided to leave. And that's what we did four software engineers left the company, with him owing us $1600 plus a bonus he had promised after one year of work.

But as kids do, we spent all the money we made. Just kidding, I saved all of it. So when I left the job, I had some money to invest. But what investments can a 16-year-old software engineer make?

I created an underwear store.

Wait what ? Why did you do that ?

Well, I had an uncle who had some money. He wasn't rich, but he was doing well. He always wanted to open an underwear store, not just an e-commerce store but a physical one as well. Don't ask me why, but older uncles from Greece who know little about business either open a coffee shop or a clothing store.

The thing with my uncle was that he lived on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere. So, he had the brilliant idea to give $50,000 to a 16-year-old to open a store.

That's what he did. I put in $10,000, and he put in $50,000. He told me,
- "Now you are a man, go sort things out."

I found a physical location, went to the IRS to handle all the paperwork, hired a designer to design the store's interior, found wholesale suppliers to order underwear, and created the e-commerce website. I basically did everything by myself. I was working 10 hours a day in that store at a very young age.

I must confess that everything went well for the first few months. But then the pandemic hit. It literally obliterated the physical store, and I didn't know what marketing was back then. I spent $0 on marketing. So, long story short, I left that business, and we lost all of our money.

For the next couple of years, I continued to work as a software engineer. Today, I have quit my job to pursue something new in my life and create my first SaaS product.

So tell me more about Linkinbio, your product. Where did you get the idea?

I spent a lot of time on social media as a kid. I noticed many creators using link-in-bio apps that lacked themes and customization options and had their branding, making them look unprofessional.

Most social media accounts use these apps without realizing it. They only showcase a few links and charge a monthly fee for it.

Then I thought, why not create a free tool without branding that also supports an internal economy where creators help each other and make money?

So, two months ago, I started developing, a link-in-bio tool with unlimited customization options. You can promote your links and buttons to other profiles, and 90% of the money you pay goes back to the creators. If someone promotes a button, you get paid for the clicks on your page.

The product is now in the early bird phase. I want the community to give feedback so I can make changes before the final launch in mid-July.

Check it out and leave comments about anything you don't like or any features you want to see. I'm open to criticism and want to know what the community wants.

If you want you can register and claim your handle on either for free or pay $3 for the early-bird premium package.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at, and I will respond.

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