When my wife and I were preparing to welcome our first child into the world, other parents started sharing their earnest parenting advice with us. We genuinely appreciated the guidance, and we followed a lot of it. Listening to those who came before us helped as we navigated parenthood for the first time.
After settling in as parents, however, we learned that all the good advice in the world couldn’t prepare us for the responsibility, exhaustion, frustration, and joy of being responsible for another human being every second of every day.
In much the same way, when you start a business, you’re responsible for it every second of every day. This responsibility extends far beyond the time commitment, though. It can be extremely rewarding to take responsibility for doing something well, just like it can be difficult to take responsibility for your mistakes.
While nothing in this book will prepare you for the experience of building your own business and running it as long as you want—that is something you’ll get to experience on your own—it will help you skip over a lot of mistakes, avoid a lot of heartache, and increase your odds of success.
If you build a SaaS or recurring-revenue business the right way, it can provide for you and your loved ones for as long as you want it to. But that doesn’t mean the path to success is clear or easy to follow. That’s where this book comes in.
I can say from first-hand experience that Garrett knows how to get a business off the ground and ensure it’s built to last. In 2009, I took what little savings my wife and I had and started my first business, Simple Focus. Since then, I’ve started and acquired more than ten other companies, all of which are bootstrapped and profitable. Over the years, I’ve gotten to know a lot of founders like Garrett, and I’ve looked at a lot of online businesses. Garrett stands out; he’s the real deal—a clear-headed and experienced guide for your journey.
When I bought Sifter from Garrett in early 2016, we became friends through the process. Every time we’re in the same city, we make a point of getting together and catching up. I’ve learned as much about how he built and ran Sifter in these conversations as I did in the prospectus and due diligence from the transaction of buying the business.
Garrett is incredibly generous with his expertise and experience, and every time we talk it reaffirms what a good decision it was buying Sifter from him. He knows what goes into every aspect of running a SaaS business, and he has always done things the right way. If you are setting out to start a sustainable business, this book will equip you with foundational SaaS knowledge and give you confidence in your direction. It will save you time, and it will keep you oriented.
As you make your way through the pages, though, I encourage you to reflect on how you define success for yourself. Think hard about why you would read this book instead of another. Start by looking at the title: Starting and Sustaining. Garrett’s not laying out a get-rich-quick scheme or a formula for growth hacking to your first million. He’s giving you nuts-and-bolts advice on how to start a business that will be sustainable.
When Garrett sold Sifter to me in early 2016, he wanted to make sure the business was in capable hands. He always referred to himself as Sifter’s caretaker. Now, that’s how he refers to me. In a lot of ways, he’s like a parent who entrusted his child to someone else’s care.
He could have continued to run the business forever if he had wanted to, but he had other life goals to attend to. So now Sifter is my responsibility, and here’s why that’s such a joy: Garrett took really good care of his business for almost a decade, which made the business more valuable then and now. It rewarded him with the independence he needed when it was time to focus on his health and his family, and now it will provide for me and mine.
I only wish I’d had this book in 2009, when I was starting my first company. I’ve been fortunate to have had a lot of success with SaaS over the years, but getting to know Garrett and seeing how he approaches things has been really helpful. I’ve learned a lot from him by observing how he built Sifter, and how thoughtful he is with every aspect of starting and running a business, including selling one.
With any luck, you’ll get to experience the sense of security and independence that comes from building a sustainable company. Only then will you truly know how wonderful it feels. Until that day comes, enjoy the ride. This book will certainly make your experience getting there much more enjoyable.