How Micro SaaS grew to $10k/month

In your own words, what does your company do? 

Micro SaaS apps were successfully built to the point I could quit my crappy corporate job and eventually sell and exit from them. I’m now passionate about helping other software developers build profitable Micro SaaS apps.

As such, I’ve written the Micro SaaS Handbook which is a free 12-chapter eBook detailing all that I learnt on my journey from unhappy 9-5 software developer to a multi-six figure exit of my Micro SaaS apps.

FYI, my Micro SaaS apps were chrome extensions for Amazon sellers, specifically on two platforms within Amazon:

  1. Merch Wizard for Merch On Demand creators.
  2. KDP Wizard for Kindle Direct Publishing publishers.

Let me share the details of my apps for the 3-4 years I was running them:

📈 Monthly revenue: Approximately $10k MRR

📈 ~% Churn: ~5%

📈  ~% Net profit: ~$9k 

📈 Funding: None

📈 What was the initial cost/investment to start the company? – Bootstrapped

📈 Number of team members: Ranged from one up to four at its peak.

📈 Started July 2018

How does the company make money?

💰Through subscription income and one-off lifetime payments of the Merch Wizard and KDP Wizard chrome extensions.

💰The apps were available on a monthly or annual subscription basis:

💰However, we also received income from lifetime license purchases too:

4 strategies that have worked to attract and retain customers? 

✅ Customer Onboarding: We offered a free tier and then ran a series of onboarding emails to teach the user how to get the most from the apps. This then led to promoting the more advanced features and possibilities that were available in the paid plan which converted users fairly well.

✅ Great Customer Experience: By giving a best-in-class app experience and high levels of customer service we received many positive reviews and recommendations in Facebook Groups. We were able to get some great traction this way, and it’s generated a lot of word-of-mouth buzz for the apps.

✅ Influencer Affiliate Partnerships: Having a trusted influencer demo the product and how useful it was to them was a great way to show users exactly what the app could do, and helped to increase conversion rates. We had affiliates ranging from Facebook Group owners to YouTubers and Podcasters all promoting the apps.

✅ Pre-Launch Hype: For our KDP Wizard launch, we generated a series of pre-launch social media posts and emails to get people on the early access waitlist and to get them excited about the app before it was even released. This built up anticipation and helped drive sales once it did go live. 

3-4 things that haven’t worked (or didn’t work as well) when it comes to growing the company?

❌ Refer a friend campaign: Whilst we’ve seen this be successful elsewhere, in our case, there was a low take up on the discount we offered to new members signing up via the refer a friend campaign, even though it was a double-sided benefit 🤷‍♂️

❌ Facebook Group: If I was doing it all over again, I’d probably make a generic Facebook group for the niche rather than one specific for the app. That way, you get more people into the group and can promote your app periodically, rather than just receiving posts on support and feature requests.

❌ Lifetime Sales: Whilst lifetime licenses are great in the short term for cashflow, the users will never pay you again so you end up with a lot of user baggage to support for no ongoing income. Plus, these users are seen as negative during an exit, so if at all possible, I recommend sticking to subscription income (monthly/annual) only.

Through starting & growing the business, what have been the 3 key lessons that have possibly changed the trajectory of the company? 

✅ Start Marketing Pre-Launch: Don’t subscribe to the “Build it and they will come” mentality that is so tempting for founders to fall into. Instead, try to validate demand for your idea as best as possible upfront and then start the marketing flywheel spinning as early as possible.  

✅ Hire for your weaknesses: I assembled a micro-team around me that dealt with areas that weren’t my forte or that I didn’t want to do 100% of (front-end work, testing, support)

 Built To Sell: Before you take your first dollar, think about whether you’d be able to transfer the various accounts to a prospective buyer. If it’s your personal Stripe or PayPal account and it’s not possible to transfer it to a buyer, then your asking price is going to be reduced correspondingly 😱

3 things that you’ve learned about hiring and retaining great talent?

 Recognizing Achievements: Rewarding your team members for a job well done is key to retaining top talent. Making sure that you recognize the achievements of your staff not only encourages them but also shows them that their hard work is valued and appreciated. 

✅ Give Them Autonomy: Providing opportunities for team members to take ownership of projects helps to foster an environment where they can hone their own skills and grow professionally. This also builds trust, which empowers the team member to take on more responsibility and is essential in any successful team dynamic. 

✅ Focusing On Cultural Fit: It’s essential to focus not just on a candidate’s qualifications, but also on their cultural fit for the role. This means understanding their values, goals, and interests and seeing if they align with those of your company or team. Additionally, building a diverse workforce is critical in creating an environment that helps to foster a culture that encourages creativity, innovation, and collaboration.


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