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132 Comments

First paying customer 🎉

I got my first paying customer for UserTake taking it to $50 MRR. It's been about a year since I started building and it's been a long and painful road to getting the first one but feels great.

If there's anything I'd say to other founders in the same boat waiting for their first sale, it's that persistence and a little bit of consistency is key. Good luck everyone!

  1. 3

    Congratulations!
    May I ask what techstack you're using?

    1. 1

      Thank you!

      I'm using Postgres and Rails on the Back end. React on the front-end. Also using Tailwind and AntD for the UI

  2. 2

    there's no sweeter feeling!

  3. 2

    How do you market the UserTake?

    1. 1

      Lots of channels (cold outreach, Quora, Reddit) but the main one I use is Twitter.

      1. 1

        How many people did you reached to get first conversion? 200? More or less?

        1. 1

          Well I can't say the exact number but I can tell you my landing page has 1700 hits in the last 12 months. Cold outreach would add maybe another 100 to that in terms of awareness. Lots of those would be poorly qualified traffic though

          1. 1

            You mean cold outreach generates low quality traffic? I thought that cold DMing generates one of the most qualified traffic and it is very effective method for acquiring customers.

            1. 1

              Cold outreach is only as good as the traffic you qualify. I still need to refine my ideal customer profile so in that sense the t=traffic was poorer quality

              1. 1

                Okey.

                So basically 1600 visits was generated by ads, right?

  4. 2

    Congrats, James! Keep up the great work and here's to many more successful sales in the future.

  5. 2

    Congratulations! More to come !

    1. 1

      Thank you, appreciate it!

  6. 2

    Oh! Congratulations! Great step!

  7. 2

    Congratulations, it's a good start。

  8. 2

    Congratulations James! the product looks simple, and lean too. 1 year of patience, and grit is something to be appreciated. Wishing you more customers in a quick time.

    1. 1

      Thank you Deepak, appreciate it!

  9. 2

    Congrats! Be sure to update us about customer #2!

  10. 2

    Congratulations James. It's really a great feeling for you. I would like to suggest you use social proof on your website and a tool to collect leads from visitors. You can try Notificationpro to increase your conversion rate.

  11. 2

    Sounds very painful indeed. Did it churn already?

  12. 2

    1 year! Wow. Congrats!

    How did you manage to stay motivated that entire time?

    1. 2

      i love building, so that part is easy. I know if I break things down into smaller problems and chip away at them I'll get there eventually.

      Marketing is harder because it's more of an unknown. I was still motivated there because I reflected on each week and could see I was still making progress, even if I didn't have customers at the time. People were replying to my cold emails and agreeing to do calls, so it was like the validation was there. I just needed to keep going

      1. 2

        I really resonate with this. I'm the exact same way, and I noticed the exact same thing re: the marketing side. Sometimes you just need to keep pushing!

        1. 1

          Yes it's tough, but there is a process to everything whether it's cold outreach, SEO, etc. just have to find the smartest way to execute 😀 I'm still figuring that out myself

  13. 2

    James, congratulations. I'm hoping that's the start of a long journey. The toughest part is getting your first money. Well done!

    BTW
    Great landing page. One very small suggestion: the CTA button should be fixed because it is not entirely clickable, particularly from the button.

    1. 1

      Thank you!

      Oh yes, you're right I'll have a look at this. Thanks for letting me know!

  14. 2

    Congratulations, James. Keep it going and share your future growth. I am curious.

    We also start monetizing ERA soon with the next release and give all beta users a huge discount for an LTD.

    Can't wait to share to results with you all 🔥

    1. 2

      Thank you! Best of luck with yours too!

  15. 2

    Congrats! May I ask what tool you use to generate the graph?

    1. 1

      Thank you! You mean the Graph on the landing page? I just did that up myself on Sketch

      1. 2

        No I actually meant the graph in the post, but I realise it is from stripe, right? :) I'm just curious about tools and such to visualise KPIs for dashboards.

        1. 1

          Yes this is Stripe. I just use google analytics and Heroku database console for other KPIs

  16. 2

    Congrats bro. I know the feeling of getting the first user on something that's been long in the making.

    1. 1

      Thank you, it's such a relief

  17. 2

    That's fantastic news! Congrats on your first paying customer for UserTake.

    It's no small feat to get a business off the ground, and it's a huge accomplishment to get to the point where you're generating revenue. Keep up the great work, and don't give up.

    Good luck!

    1. 1

      Thank you, really appreciate it!

  18. 2

    Congrats! That's a big milestone :)

  19. 2

    Congratulations. An important milestone, and wishing you more success going forwards.

  20. 2

    Hi,
    How long did it take for the first paying customer to appear after the product launch day? :)

    1. 1

      It took around 6 months from my initial launch if that's what you mean?

      1. 2

        Yes, that is exactly what I meant :)
        And did you had any ideas of quitting during those 6 month ?
        Also what additional actions did you take to get the first paying customer (marketing strategy)?

        1. 2

          Nah, I'm really stubborn with persisting with things for a long time until it works haha. The main thing that boosted my signups last month was listing on BetaList. I suspect my customer came from there but it might have come from consistent Twitter marketing either. I did cold outreach to over 100 founders on Twitter also but was wasn't responsible for my new customer

  21. 2

    Congratulations! I still remember that first subscriber notification, it's a very special moment worth celebrating. Wishing you continued success!

    1. 1

      Thank you Steven, appreciate it!

  22. 2

    Congratsssss! That is a great milestone to reach!

    1. 1

      It sure is, thank you!

  23. 2

    Congrats. Way to go!!!

  24. 2

    Congratulations! It must feel very special. Can't wait to get paying customers, too. Best, Aliona

    1. 1

      Thanks Aliona, you can do it 💪

  25. 2

    congratulations James. Getting first customer is always special :-)

    can you elaborate on sso(jwt)? i have mostly seen saml for sso.

    1. 1

      Thank you!

      Basically JWT is a token you put in your url (when linking from your app to UserTake) which has a shared secret between you and your UserTake account. In your app you can redirect someone to UserTake with this token that essentially says "this is jsmith@example.com, here's my signed token to prove it". UserTake uses the shared secret to verify this and says "Yep that all checks out, you can come in". That's a very naive example but you can read more about it here https://jwt.io/introduction

      1. 2

        got it. Thanks for the explanation.

  26. 2

    Congratz. Looks Interesting.

    Some random thoughts. I don't really have an opinion, just questions...:

    I would be stressed on letting users publicly asking stuff. Sometimes users want something but don't need it. When they get it, they don't use it.

    Voting on features priority you already plan to do, can be a great customer retention technique so that sounds great. Although it can be a double edge sword. Maybe other users will start thinking... we have no chance here, maybe look for that feature instead of looking at the whole benefit of using the product.

    But overall sounds great. It shows activity on a product page when you don't yet have a brand it can surrogate for that to generate trust. OTOH if you don't have activity that could backfire so better make sure there is always activity.

    1. 2

      Thank you, very good insights there.

      Absolutely it could dissuade others when some requests are more popular, and there's no guarantee those popular requests are from the right customers either. I have the idea of eventually tying these back to PMF surveys so we only focus on things from the biggest advocates (rather than popularity). i really want more customers first to validate that idea first though

  27. 2

    Congratulations! Any more insights on how you marketed it?

    1. 1

      My main "acquisition" channel has been cold outreach but it's a little bit painful with a long sales cycle. I'm still refining how I prospect in that sense.

      This customer I think came from BetaList, but I could be wrong. I've upped my consistency marketing in Twitter too so there's a chance that something came from there. Maybe it was a combination of both, eh?

  28. 2

    How did you get your first customer?

    1. 1

      I don't have attribution set up yet so I'm not 100% sure. I launched Betalist recently and I'm pretty sure it came from there. Failing that it's from increased marketing activity on Twitter

      1. 2

        I'm in process of launching a micro-saas. What are some tips you could give for Betalist et al?

        1. 1

          I would say just make sure your landing page clearly conveys what you do and what the benefits are. Make sure the Betalist screenshots convey the value too. Here's a good resource on writing landing pages https://www.julian.com/guide/startup/landing-pages

  29. 2

    Congratulations James!

  30. 2

    Congratulations James ! Happy for you :) Cant wait till I get there also

    1. 1

      Thank you! It took me a year to get there myself, you can do it!

  31. 2

    Congrats, to many more to come :D

    1. 1

      Thanks you, I hope so!

  32. 2

    Congratulations James, Onward and Upward 🚀

  33. 2

    Hey James, Congrats!

  34. 2

    Congrats mate!

    Why you're not adding features and pricings pages to home page?

    1. 1

      Thank you! I do have those links on the home page, it's under the mobile nav, do you not see it?

  35. 2

    Congratulations! Amazing website! Very informative and user-friendly website.
    Which template/theme did you use to create it?

    1. 1

      Thank you! I searched for a Tailwind/Gatsby template and then heavily modified it. I can't remember the template unfortunately, it was a long time ago 😀

  36. 2

    Congratulations! is this a side hustle or you're into this full time?

    1. 1

      Thank you! Yes still working a fully time job, working on this evenings and weekends

  37. 2

    Congratulation James :). That's an absolutely special moment! 🥳

    1. 1

      Thanks Danilo, it sure is!

  38. 2

    Congrats. Just curious to know if you think it is taking so much time for acquiring customers do you think your existing product does not have PMF. And when would you take a decision on whether to continue or stop and switch to new idea?

    1. 1

      It is taking time but only because things haven't started to compound yet. I need to spend a lot more time on marketing and eventually SEO. I've really only scratched the surface of cold outreach too so excited for the future. I think I'm on my way to PMF because this space is already quite crowded (I'll be looking to differentiate better with customer interviews and planning my roadmap).

      I think this one is the one for me. I've made 5 side hustles over 10 years and know enough to realise there's a market for this one if I can persist and find good positioning

  39. 2

    This is great to see, congrats! I do have two questions if you don't mind. When you say "a little bit of consistency", I imagine consistency with internal processes for the team as well as some sort of social consistency (community involvement, marketing, etcetera). Can you briefly speak about how you managed these tasks and made sure that the team was indeed consistent and pointed in the right direction? Were there any discoveries as far as what was worth the effort and what things you were consistent with that didn't exactly payoff?

    Thanks for sharing, this is a great moment for you and the team! If there is one paying customer, there will be more!

    1. 2

      Well first of all there's no team, there's only me 😀 By consistency I really mean marketing (I've never had a problem with building).

      I used to post the odd Tweet or article here and here but never gained much traction in awareness. I forced myself to schedule a months worth of Tweets and started to gain followers and build some relationships. TweetHunter have some [good articles}(https://tweethunter.io/blog/35-minute-twitter-growth-framework) on how to be successful on Twitter.

      In terms of going in the right direction I have 3 KPIs that I follow - sign ups, sales and "value". The value metric is just a measurable indicator to show your customer can see it's worth paying for. Each week I track these metrics and figure out strategies for hitting my aspirational targets.I do try to be consistent with my strategies too - e.g. you need to spend months on things like cold outreach before giving up and re-evaluating your strategy

  40. 2

    Nice!
    I wil l probably need this in a few weeks for my next project and become a customer. :)

    1. 1

      Feel free to reach out when you're ready, happy to walk through how to get the most out of it 😊

  41. 2

    Congrats mate! And keep it up!

    1. 1

      Thank you, and sure will 😀

  42. 2

    Congrats!
    Next step, 10x that!

  43. 2

    Congrats James! The first one is the hardest, you'll get a second customer in no time 😁

    1. 1

      I sure hope so, thank you!

  44. 2

    Congratulation on getting your first paid customer James!

    1. 1

      Thank you, much appreciated!

  45. 2

    Congrats ;-) Love to see how this would grow over time. Are you doing any marketing?

    1. 1

      Thank you! Yes I've only really started to be more consistent with posts on Twitter. I was doing cold outreach for a couple of months but it's a hard slog with a long sales cycle, had a few near misses there. Probably need to work more on niching down on my target audience and finding people that are "in-market"

  46. 2

    Congratulations James

  47. 2

    Congratiulations James! All the work that you did last year seems that it is starting to bear fruit. Having a product with nice visual efects that works right might have been your first steps. Now that the app is ready to support features, you just need customers in order to give you the requests for them.

    Keep it up mate!

    1. 1

      Thank you Toni! Exactly, very much the start of things. now the hard work begins 😊

  48. 2

    Congratulations James - It is a nice feeling, and an important milestone and validation. It was nearly 6 years ago for us, but I remember getting that first paying customer well. They stuck with us for a few years before churning last year actually.

    Keep at it. I know that you listen to your customers and iterate accordingly, so things can only get better and better from here.

    1. 1

      Thanks Devan, appreciate it 😊

  49. 2

    Congratulations on getting your first paying customer! That's a huge milestone and a testament to your hard work and persistence. It can definitely be a long and difficult road to get to that first sale, but it's worth it in the end.

    One thing to keep in mind as you continue to grow your business is to focus on providing value to your customers, and to provide the best possible experience.

    Keep up the good work, and best of luck as you continue to grow your product!

    1. 1

      Thank you Max.

      absolutely agree that value it the most important metric to track. The rest usually follows

  50. 1

    Congrats on the milestone, it's worth the effort!

  51. 2

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