Related Book Chapters & Interviews
Brennan is a co-founder of Right Message. In this episode, we talk about the path he’s taken that led him to create Right Message and what he’s learned about building and launching SaaS applications based on his experiences with his various products.
Mathias is one of the original founders of Travis CI. In this episode, we talk about the difficulty of leaving the company he helped start, and the challenges of moving on.
Jaimee Newberry is the founder of Picture This Clothing where you can print a coloring sheet and design a one-of-a-kind ready-to-wear creation that they send to you. In this epsode we talk about making hard decisions and creating space in your life for ideas to take hold and give you time to work on them.
Free trials are a core part of what makes self-service SaaS powerful, but there are countless ways to handle trials. Don’t treat your trial period as an afterthought. Carefully consider the pros and cons of different approaches to free trials and demos.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, and with software it’s a fleetingly brief chance. Make sure you focus on the customer’s success and help them get started with your software.
Like sales, marketing is a fundamental but often overlooked aspect of building a business. There are countless forms of marketing, and many of them aren’t even sleazy. Don’t do yourself a disservice. Understand and appreciate what marketing can do for your business.
We’d all love to believe that for a great product, you don’t need marketing or sales. But if there’s anything that can separate you from every other founder, it’s taking sales seriously. You don’t need a sales force and pipeline on day one, but you should actively make it as easy as possible for potential customers to get on the phone with you.
Scott Nixon is the co-founder of Meal Mentor, a subscription-based vegeterian meal planning service. Scott handles the technology side of the business and works to keep the operational side of things humming with software.
Matt and I talk about running a SaaS business after acquiring it, the mistakes they made early after taking over Churn Buster, and the common ways that SaaS businesses get dunning wrong and how they can do better. We also talk about the value of iteratively improving automation for tasks and how important it is to clearly document and explain manual process.
Tracy and I talk about her experience building and running Wedding Lovely, raising some funding for it, losing a co-founder, and even going through a heart-breaking acquisition process with Etsy. Through it all, she’s kept going and even published books to help others build their own web applications. She’s a brilliant example of someone that simply won’t give up, and while there’s no IPO looming, she’s making a great living doing what she loves with a small team.
Recently I sat down this Thomas Smale of FE International. Thomas and FE International helped me sell Sifter and made the whole process seem easy. After selling so many online businesses, FE International has the process down to a science, and they’ve been able to pick up on quite a few trends. So Thomas takes some time to share what they’ve seen and what matters when it comes to buying or selling an online business.
Nathan and I talk about the early days of ConvertKit, reaching a point where he had to make a decision to invest more significantly in it or walk away. He invested a significant portion of his income from other projects and really doubled down to make it work long before it was obvious things were going to take off. He talks about his sales process and how it simultaneously helped him better understand the needs of potential customers as well as build a relationship and find his first customers.
Courtland’s story is great because he’s been on a bit of the roller coaster, and now he’s starting fresh with Indie Hackers. He’s interviewing other founders of businesses of all sizes and helping to shed light on what’s possible for small independent software-based businesses. At the same time, the stories are also grounded in realistic stories of slow growth and hard work instead of just focusing on those businesses that hit the jackpot. Courtland’s past experience combined with his discussions with other founders has given him some great perspective and insight on what works and doesn’t work for small software businesses.
Ruben’s story with Bidsketch is a great example of how a simple small business can grow into something healthy sustainable on a reasonable timeline. He started out simply with very little in the way of expectations, and bootstrapped the business to profitability it on the side of a full-time job and now manages a remote team of four additional people. We talk about the challenges of growing and managing a remote team as an introvert, the process of recovering after he accidentally deleted all of the customer billing data, and much more.
During a time when seemingly everyone is trying to build a product and move away from consulting, Allan is doing just the opposite and moving from SaaS and recurring revenue back to good old-fashioned consulting. We talk a little about the process of selling LessAccounting, the ups downs of trying to grow a SaaS application, and some ways to take a step back and make sure that you’re working on things you’re passionate about.
Drew and I discussed his various projects that led him to create Plasso as well as how successful businesses developed out of years of experimentation and cross-pollination. We also talked about some of the differences with bootstrapping versus raising an angel round through Drew’s experience on both sides.
Natalie and I talk about bootstrapping, learning that marketing is a necessary part of growing a software company, and the transitions that led Wildbit to be a family-focused company. We touched on the benefits and challenges of running a multi-product company, the inspiration for the various products, and the difficulties of hanging in there as a business gets older and the responsibilities grow and change.
JD and I talk about buying and selling SaaS applications and share some details from the process of selling and transferring Sifter. JD shares what it’s like juggling multiple businesses and how he makes it work, and he dives into the attributes and insights he uses to decide whether a SaaS application is a good opportunity or not and how he does business a bit differently. This is an episode that’s near and dear because I feel like it shares some of the less-often seen aspects of transactions like selling businesses. I really hope you enjoy it.
Format had seven people on the payroll before Tyler even got paid. We talk about bootstrapping in Canada, the amazing story of how they acquired the Format.com domain name, and what it’s like transitioning from a survival mentality to a growth mentality as a business grows.
Peldi and I talk about moving from California to Italy to lower his cost of living to start a company, juggling different delivery formats for software (and the associated payments challenges), giving amazing support, and bending over backwards to help customers. While he originally didn’t want to grow the business beyond himself, Balsamiq is now a team of 23 people based all around the world.
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