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How to monetize a free product?

At the end of January I launched my first product, the HashtagCalendar. My original goal was to create products that will generate a passive income and as a free product, HashtagCalendar doesn't seem to help me achive this goal. Or does it?

Well, at it's actual state, it doesn't. 😂 But, you can always use ads to generate some money from a free platform. I'm not gonna do that 😊 At least, not in the traditional way. I could also "sell" the main functionality of the website. For example, I could create and API that would provide the same hashtags for others that I use in the calendar. This could be a premium feature, and bam, there is my money. Well, I don't think that's a feature that loots of people would pay for. And if you take a closer look at the source of the HashtagCalendar, you'll also see that the hashtags are loaded from a JSON file, so there is your API endpoint 😄 (btw, feel free to use it and let me know if you created something great with it)

At the moment there are no other features on the site that I could monetize right away.

I was thinking about to build a widget feature so websites can "create" their own calendar by embedding the original one into their platform, but again, this isn't something I can ask money for. (although, I think this would be a great feature to grow the audience of the calendar, so I'll probably buld it later on)

Ok. So, if no ads, no premium features, then what?

I would like to use the product to support other tools I'm building. Because of the target group of the calendar, most of the visitors will be in the target group of my other producst (mainly small businesses). So there will be "ads" on it, but those ads will promote other tools I created and I'll monetize those products instead.

That's why I didn't really started to "promote" the HashtagCalendar in all possible platforms. I'll do it after my first paid tool is publicly available. I think, it's easier to get some coverage with a free tool than with a paid one. We'll see 😊

I missed the deadline to launch my second product in february, because it is waiting to be approved by Google. I hope it'll happen soon and I can start to test my theory in practice.

Till then, I'm working on the third product.

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