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15 Comments

$1 million in 60 months

Sup hacker fam, got a short story for yah.

5 years ago I started a VoIP integration platform call Loup.

Today Loup makes $200k a year.

Yesterday a company offered to purchase Loup for $1 million 🤯.

Here is what I want to tell you...

THAT SHIT WAS HARD!!!

Also... I ain't selling...

Seriously though, the first 2.5 years that business made ZERO dollars and I quit 3 times.

Like I quit... quit...

I was out! Felt like I wasted years of my life and about $15,000 on development.

Not to mention the emotional damage of thinking "Well looks like I get to be an employee for the rest of my life..."

This is not some "I pushed through" success story. I fucking quit and the only reason the business is still alive today because I couldn't bring myself to shutting off the AWS environment.

Let me tell you something, it wasn't like on year 3 there was some huge breakthrough either. NOPE

Year three we (I) made a whopping $12,733.00
2019
Sweet! We are still losing money.

Oh let's talk about year 4. I am sure you killed it in year 4. NOPE
2020
We made $65,400.00. Nice!

Nope! $65k minus expenses is NOT a lot to live on for a family of 4.

But I quit my job anyways.

NOTE: $65k does not look like a lot via a Stripe screen shot, BUT this is a SaaS business.

In December of 2020 we billed $8,900.00.
December 2020
Assuming ZERO churn and ZERO sales, the ARR of the Biz was 106,800.00

WHAT!?!?!

You are telling me I am going to make $100k next year as long as I can keep this bitch alive!!! Haha

I QUIT!!

Have we made $200k in 2021? HELL NO!!

Did I lie to you? Nope!

Are we billing over $16k a month? 😁 Yup!

Is Loup a success story? It depends.

I would argue No. As you look at the above screen shot you might think this is great, or he is lucky, or whatever.

When I look back at the last 5 years all I see is blood and failure.

For the first 3 years I had ZERO to show, and if you read all these over night success stories like I do, ZERO felt like less than ZERO. So I quit.

If you are at Zero now, this might look great... But if you are at $200k or more you are probably thinking I feel bad for that guy. 5 years!?! Good god!

At $200k I am still an employee. The ONLY employee.

If I stop working the business dies. Period.

According to my Tax returns, Loup is just now paying me the same amount of money I was making 5 years ago as a sales guy.

Unless I sell, there is an easy argument to be made that I would have been better off never getting into SaaS to begin with.

Now here is the curve ball.

FUCK THAT!

Excuse my language, I work for myself! Nobody can tell me nothing! and my Business is worth a 1 million!!

Let me tell you something.

This shit is hard! This shit sucks at times! Building a product is expensive! Finding customers is impossible! Keeping customers is even harder!

The internet tells you, you are failing!

There are ZERO stories like yours for you to relate to.

There is no one to turn to for advice.

Your teeth have been kicked in like 15 times. Metaphorically Speaking.

You should for SURE quit. I did.

DON'T QUIT

Push through! Please push through!

Here is what I have learned.
1.) Everything in your life is an A/B test. You only ever have 2 options, do it or don't do it. The way to win is to do it and learn. Did this work? No? Why not?

If you don't do it then you are a genius (IMO), because only an idiot would do it if they knew what was coming.

That is why (IMO) the richest people in the world are the true idiots. If they knew how bad this shit was going to suck before getting started, they wouldn't have done it. Looking back it's easy for them to say "yup I would do it again". They are rich and it worked out.

The only way it doesn't work out is if you quit. Like me. Don't quit.

Learn as FAST as possible. The best way to learn is to do. Stop reading and start learning.

2.) Sales! Focus on sales as much as possible. The product doesn't actually matter. The more you try selling the more you will learn what the customer needs. Then build that.

PRO TIP: Do not build ANYTHING without getting someone to commit to paying for it before you build it. Those bums will waste your time an money.

Sales and marketing ALWAYS wins. My guy Russell Brunson makes $100 million a year with a WordPress plugin... Are you kidding me!

On paper he might be a Billionaire.

Is ClickFunnels amazing? NOPE.
Could half the people reading this build a better version? YUP.
Would he eat your lunch? Yup!

Focus on sales.

3.) A business owner is an employee until he can hire to replace himself.

This is the stage I am in and I have no advice here. haha.

If you have any, please share it below. I would love to stop working. 😁

In Conclusion

  • I love SaaS and since you are reading this I love you too.

  • It doesn't take 60 months to be worth $1 Million (on paper). It takes doing. If I didn't quit a bunch of times I could have saved 3 years of my life.

  • Double down! When I saw what I was going to make for 2021 I knew I wanted more. I started another company company called OnePhone and I went out and bought Median off of MicroAcquire. I know own 3 SaaS companies. Loup, OpenPhone, and Median. OnePhone is going to take down the VoIP industry and Median is going to be a $10 Million dollar biz, or I might quit 😜, who knows. I am flying by the seat of my pants over here.

I know I said this was going to be a short story but I just kept typing.

Hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers,

  1. 5

    We need more stories like this. Stories that show that not everything is a sea of roses. Stories thar show that if you persevere for long enough you might get to where you want to go.

    1. 2

      I agree! I am glad you enjoyed my trail of tears. haha

  2. 3

    What did you do in year 3 that started to bring in revenue?

    1. 3

      Started selling direct.

      The Loup offers white label software. Which is great for churn but bad for marketing.

      Our original deal was too good to be true.

      We partnered with a company that said they would sell our product to all their customers for a revenue share. 12 months in an not $1 of revenue was generated.

      We mutually agreed to cancel the partnership because nobody was making money.

      After the deal ended I was legally allowed to sell directly to their customers. A few mass emails later and we had revenue.

  3. 2

    Great story Spencer, and one that resonates with me as well, as my startup has gone through the same sort of journey. There is a lot to be said for persistence and resilience. And not just in yourself, but in your co-founders, your team and your supporters!

    1. 2

      Devan I can not imagine going through that shit with more people. haha

      It was stressful enough to go through it on my own.

      I will say, more people need to talk about time in business. The longer you do something the easier it gets.

      For example, I started getting invited to trade shows, people asked me to speak at conferences, we started getting referral business.

      Everything just gets easier with time.

      The first couple of years SUCK

  4. 2

    Amazing Story SPENCER. Wish to work consistently on https://www.chandrasaas.com/ after reading this.

    1. 1

      Good luck! I know you will make it work.

      1. 1

        Thank You! Spencer. Shall keep in touch - Venkat

  5. 1

    i want to quit my job so badly...but the fear of failure stresses me out...im working on my saas idea in my free time; but doing this stresses me out too! i.e. makes me want to quit my job even more!!

    1. 1

      Don't quit! If you read between the lines on my article above. I didn't quit my job until Loup was making over $100k.

      There is no right answer here for which revenue number you should quit at, everyone's situation is different.

      What I would tell you to do is focus on your happiness. What you are going to learn (I hope) is that 1 emotion will out way the other.

      Which do you hate more? Working at your job, or the fear of failure?

      Here is my advice.
      Do you actually hate your job? if so, then get a new one. OR do you hate your job because you want to work for yourself?

      If it is the second option, then you need to double down on your SaaS and focus on revenue.

      I didn't HATE my job, I hated feeling like a failure.

      Failure for me was not working for myself.

      Good luck bud!

  6. 1

    Thanks for sharing Spencer! Awesome story and congrats on the offer.

    Any tips on sales?

    1. 2

      Steve, how much time you got? haha

      With Loup I thought I was great at sales, but the truth is, I had an email list of customers who wanted my product... All I had to do was email them. Now, there was a LOT more to it than that, but my rule of thumb is you have to find your perfect buyer.

      So here is my advice.
      1.) Learn what software you perfect customer uses.
      2.) Go to builtwith.com and download a list of all the websites using that software.
      Example, Median integrates with LiveChat, Drift, Intercom, etc. So I paid for a list of 300,000 LiveChat customers.
      3.) Get their emails. For this I use Apollo.io
      4.) Email them. Email is free. If you can have success with cold email you can take over the world. haha. For email I use lemlist.com
      5.) Setup FB, Google, LinkedIn, pixels so when people do come to your site you can retarget them. Run retargeting ads on all the platforms spending $5 a day.
      6.) Point the ads to a landing page. The page should only have 2 things on it.

      7.) Once you get enough traffic to your site, create a look a like audience. Facebook's AI will look at everyone who has come to your site and build you a perfect customer profile. You can then run Ads to people who FB thinks are your perfect customer. Remember, Facebook wants you to succeed so you will spend more money with them. So trust the process and A/B test the creative.

      Hope this helped. This is what I am doing today.

      1. 1

        welp and there goes my weekend haha

        this is gold. thank you for again for the wisdom.

        1. 1

          HAha.

          Let me know how it goes.

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