Not sure if same applies for bootstrapped SaaS efforts - the “valley of death” and scaling is not something one would like to worry about.
Yeah, this doesn’t seem very applicable.
You will almost die somewhere between $2m-$10m ARR because there is too much to do and not enough people to do it.
I won’t, because I won’t ever hit $2m ARR. I’m quite happy to have just hit $100k ARR.
It takes 7–10 Years in SaaS to Get Anywhere.
I’m fully supported by my SaaS business and it’s totally changed my life. That took less than 1 year.
You have to love, or at least commit to, recruiting constantly.
Literally never hired anyone. Might hire a person or two in the next year or so.
It actually never gets easier.
The hard part was doing the programming without knowing if it would make any money, and finding a good enough product market fit. Once you’ve found that, you’ll still have problems, but you’ve solved the big one. As long as there’s no catastrophe, my business will continue to pay my bills for a good long time.
Same thoughts here. Although I don’t run a bootstrapped SaaS but an agency, still, the experience is no different.
I had the same thoughts while reading the article (and some of the linked ones as well) — while I do agree with the 24-month timescale to get anywhere meaningful, I think a lot of the advice and caveats do not apply to self-funded businesses, especially those started on a really small scale (single founder).
What I don’t understand about these services is why they don’t prominently list example sites on the page.
I definitely want to see a list of features and also examples without having to spend any time signing up and trying it out.
I agree. No mention on the benefits of using the app and what features you can use to achieve them.
Love this post. And I run my company on similar values. To me success isn’t defined by the size of my business, rather the lifestyle it gives me (not only financially).
As someone wise once said (forgot who it was though): only two things in life grow without a reason - tumors and businesses.
I agree with you. This has always been my goals for my side projects. It’s never to make them huge with dozens of employees and investors pounding at my door, but to work a few hours a day and make a satisfying income that allows me time to enjoy life. Fame and working tons of hours for a company you ‘love’ is overrated.
Fame and working tons of hours for a company you ‘love’ is overrated.
Ha ha, well put! Yeah, looks like we share a business philosophy. Nice one, hope your projects work well for you!
Big accomplishment this week - I delivered my first public speech yesterday, speaking at DigitalOlympus.net event about lead generation with content. Still buzzing from the experience.
Other than that… ummm… I was just too focused preparing the talk :)
Good points here. I’m a big believer in processes, checklists, etc. and mapping out the entire customer experience is a great way to spot any inconsistencies or missing links. Really good read.
Although the article content seems solid, I find a bit strange that you don’t follow your own advice and your popup has no image at all.
Fair point. Having said that, I didn’t say that a popup HAS to have a visual. I shared advice on how to make the most of the visuals IF you want to include them on the popup.
Here I am paying full price for things like a chump. Clearly, I need to add a bunch of stuff to my cart and then walk away. Two emails later -> BAAM significant discount.
You’d be surprised how often it works exactly like that. Many software applications use this strategy too. I recently trialled a productivity tool. Didn’t like it so I let the trial expire. And over the last couple of days I’ve been getting emails with higher and higher discounts…
That’s one reason why I advocate to stop after the second discount. Otherwise you run at the risk of giving the stuff for nothing.
I’m torn on this. For physical products I think this makes total sense. But for software and (god forbid) SaaS, i suspect you’ll end up getting a bunch of customers that are hard to support and waste all of your time.
I totally agree. It’s a good strategy for eCommerce (if you want to recover those abandoned carts) but awful idea for SaaS. But as said, I'mc seeing one such company doing it right now. And I tell you this, seeing those emails had devalued their offering for me. This never happens if I get a discount from an online store.
Similarly, I offered my book with a 25% discount for the first day to drive sales, but I don’t want to train my audience to expect discounts. I think in the future the launch promotion will be a time-limited offer to join a webinar, receive an extra appendix, etc.
The biggest problem with content marketing is the perception that it’s free. From an outside view it’s difficult to see the hundreds of hours that go into producing and promoting the content. Once you realize the cost and time involved it becomes a lot easier to compare it to other marketing channels.
Off topic, but the trend of writing blog posts where every paragraph is a single, 10 word sentence drives me a little batty. Not that there isn’t some useful info in here, but it feels like it’s written for every paragraph to be shared as a tweet rather than to be something valuable in itself.
Yup, you’re spot on here. It’s a completely wrong perception. And you’re right, there’s so much that goes into it, even before the actual content production begins.
the trend of writing blog posts where every paragraph is a single, 10 word sentence…
Ha ha, sure. But the problem is that with so many people now consuming content on mobile devices or literally on the run, it makes for the best reading option.
Speaking as a writer, I like it too (when used within reason, of course). Mainly because it helps to add a bit of rhythm to the copy. But that’s just my personal opinion.
It is indeed not free, but it has a couple of big advantages in my opinion.
The first it that the cost is time. That’s what many bootstrappers can only afford to spend.
The second is that it is an investment, not just a cost. Once the content is produced, it continues to work with no additional effort. It can even just sit on your blog and still generate traffic from Google. Moreover you can repackage it in different forms and make the ROI even higher.
The third it’s that it works better than other channels, where all you can do is tell people “buy my product”. Here instead you give value before any transaction happens, which helps building relationships and trust. In the long run that is much more valuable than a sale.
If you are going to do content marketing you should also invest time into learning how to write amazing content. Folks like Ray Edwards have books you can pickup.
We found that creating controversy online helped a lot with our site getting traffic.
I think that the fundamental part is planning. Before I do anything for my business I first open Omnifocus and lay down a detailed plan of what I need to do to reach my objective.
To lay out the plan, I use backwards planning. Basically, I first state the result and then ask myself what do I need to accomplish that. And so on backwards until I have single actionable items. Amy Hoy explains it in more detail here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/rgyi2rddempj5vu/The%2030x500%20Guide%20to%20Doing%20It%20Backwards!.pdf
My plan always includes different kind of objectives related to different business goals: increase traffic, increase signups, increase conversions, product creation etc. I have a list of everything I could do for each one of these. For each iteration I go through, I pick a few and plan them backwards. Then I proceed to cross each items until my iteration is done. Rinse and repeat.
I also recommend Amy’s “Just Fucking Ship” ebook. https://unicornfree.com/just-fucking-ship/
Backwards planning is just one of the techniques she explores in the book.
Love the backwards planning idea! I just flicked through Amy’s ebook and she’s right, we often go about planning completely arseways: think of the end result but then, try to plan how to get there from the starting line. Doh!
I love this.
I have to say that one of the biggest psychological barrier I have found is overwhelm and we rarely realize that that is the problem. When a task we have to do is to big, our brain automatically switches away from it to more simple things and we don’t notice the problem because it’s subconscious. When you break things into smaller tasks, it all magically becomes simpler. You know you can just pick any tiny to-do item and complete it. That’s huge to keep moving forward.
Hey guys, first comment here so ummm… hi :)
Thought I’d start off here by bragging a little .
Created a “Getting Started PDF” I’ll be sending to any new lead/opportunity. I’ve used this strategy in my freelance consulting business to a great success. Makes sense to use in for the agency.
Completed the website copy, launched our framework page (key to our sales process).
And wrote the first draft of our onboarding email sequence. I need to revise it and then, set the whole automation.
Looking back at the list now, it doesn’t sound like much. Then again, I’m building the startup while still running the consultancy full-time and I guess I should be happy I got all this done :)