$10k MRR is a magic number. Most of us have our sights set on it from Day 1.
It means a comfortable life doing what you love — and probably quitting your day job too.
I caught up with successful founders to find out how long it took. I also asked them for a little 20/20 hindsight on how they could have done it faster. 👇
It took me 1,035 days to grow from $0 to $10k MRR.
From my first dollar, it took me about 2 years in total before I started seeing 5 figures a month. I understand that this is pretty standard, neither fast nor slow. If you examine the MRR charts of founders who share their numbers openly, 3 years from $0-10k MRR is just about typical.
With my fastest growing SaaS that I sold a couple of years ago, I hit $10k MRR in about six or seven months.
I wish I had $10k MRR! 😂 The first time I made $10k within one month was after 6 years in the game, and 2 years as an indie hacker.
We started charging people in November 2019 and reached $10k MRR in July or August 2020. So about 8-9 months.
It took me 8 years, but my product was a free website providing resources for students. I wasn’t really focused on generating revenue until the last year 6, as it was a side project. I did build a large audience (2 million content views a month) and a well-respected brand in the space over that time period. We got to $10k MRR after launching native apps on iOS and Android with a paid annual subscription model. Source
Our initial client arrived on January 1st, 2020, and by November 1st, 2021, we had successfully garnered 10,000 MRR.
We're not an overnight success :) It took us four years to go from 0 to $10K MRR. Source
Twelve months after the launch of Start React Native, we reached the 10k USD monthly revenue milestone. Source
I never thought about how I could get there faster. I’m not in a rush. And I don’t recommend anyone else to hurry either.
Thinking in terms of time puts us in a stressful state that stops progress. Why don't we all just chill? 😗
Partnerships. If I had a dedicated business development person constantly reaching out to platforms, software directories, content sites, and individual influencers to partner with, it would have skyrocketed much faster. But this is very time-consuming and there's no guarantee of any success.
I'm firmly confident that the fastest way to grow beyond your wildest dreams is to leverage the massive reach and audience of others, get your product in front of as many eyeballs as possible, and give them a kickback for their help.
Seven months felt fast enough to me. But in hindsight, if I could go back and do it faster, I would've focused on targeting team accounts earlier on. Hindsight is 20/20 though.
I would have ditched the Mark Zuckerberg story sooner. I would have removed free plans and free trials. I would have focused on painkillers over vitamins. And I would have learned marketing.
We could’ve gotten there sooner if we had offered higher-tier plans.
It’s easier to sell higher-priced plans to fewer people than to sell $9 plans to many. A few months after reaching the 10k MRR mark, we killed our lowest tier plan and didn’t grandfather those users because we added so many new features. We had a high churn that month, but despite that, we still saw an increase in MRR by 40%.
I'd heard that $10,000 per month was the number that I kinda needed to reach before focusing on a project full-time. I tried to get there for a while but it didn't work. I had this feeling that if I just put myself in a position where failure wasn't an option, then I would succeed. So I went full-time with Intellifox anyway, pouring my last cents into the project. And that's when everything began to shift.
Selecting an appropriate distribution channel is essential. In our initial stages, we concentrated on developing on top of Slack to address a specific customer pain point of an SMS integration with Slack. However, if we were to start over, we would prioritize preliminary research before product development.
For example, assessing the potential market size and analyzing search volume for particular keywords we plan to target. Some questions to ask yourself include: What gets the biggest exposure? And what is the volume of searches for a specific keyword you are trying to rank for?
If your goal is to make 10k MRR, make sure you pursue a business that is sustainable in that revenue range. It's a lot easier to do this with higher priced SaaS. I'd stay far away from any SaaS that is less than $50 a month. Source
Google is really good at surfacing unique and quality pages. Spend the time to create meaningful content no matter how niche the topic is. Source
Once you've reached product-market fit, distribution is everything. So think about how you can have one of your current customers refer another.
We saw a huge increase in referrals when we made it extremely easy to sign up for our referral program. With one click people got a referral link they could share.
To this day, we still barely advertise. We get 90%-95% of our leads organically.
Relentlessly focus on customers. Especially in the early stages, it’s very hard to compete with products backed by substantial funding. So prioritize exceptional customer support - it has the potential to generate valuable word-of-mouth referrals.
Building strong relationships with your customers fosters loyalty, obviously, but it also could be a powerful catalyst for organic growth.
The $10k milestone is sacred. I even named my personal email newsletter "The 10K newsletter"! 😄 But do not make this an end in itself.
Your goal is not to reach $10k MRR. Your goal is to make a profitable, sustainable online business. Reaching this milestone is just one of the steps on your big journey.
I would actually recommend ignoring the number and focusing on the essential metrics of your project: Installs, signups, engagement, traction, LTV, and churn.
Don't be discouraged if you hit a plateau, which you likely will at some point. Revenue growth is rarely ever a straight line, it's non-linear for the most part. If your revenue stalls, just keep putting in the work. Keep talking to your customers, keep marketing, keep adding value to your product, keep refining your UI, etc.
My own revenue plateaued for months at $500 MRR in 2020, and then somehow after striking the right partnership, my MRR quintupled within the next 3 months. So never be discouraged if your numbers flatline or even regress a little; it's normal. You just haven't found the next lever that would unlock the next chapter of growth.
Keep your chin up, and soldier on!
Broadly speaking I think it’s possible for any B2B SaaS product to reach $10k MRR and beyond.
If you have good product-founder fit, you price sensibly, spend 50% of your time on marketing, and don’t give up too early, I think it’s basically an inevitability. Source
I see a lot of people trying to get their first customers with cold outreach without having had many conversations or knowing their target audience intimately. More often than not, this does not work.
In most cases, I suggest doing as many demos as possible to target customers. The primary goal is to get as much information as possible, and the secondary goal is making a sale.
Do as many of these as you can day after day, and you'll gradually find product/market fit. Before you know it, things will be headed up and to the right.
Make an app every month, add a buy button, and launch it. Repeat for a year.
Bootstrapping to $10k MRR is not hard.
Why do people overcomplicate this? Source
Remember that $10,000 is just a number. It doesn't translate to anything real in life. It doesn't make you any happier.
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