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24 Comments

Should I create a SaaS or provide a productised service?

SaaS would take time, but allow background revenue. The service would be quicker but not be as passive. What do you think?

  1. 5
    1. Provide productized service at first get xx clients
    2. Eventually you will find x clients ask for same things narrow to that area leave rest of the clients
    3. Build readymade solution based on common solution give it to x clients and open it up to the world as saas.
    1. 1

      Shall have to put some ideas together to pitch to my hosting customers to see what would interest them the most. There is also the balance of aiming for agencies with lots of clients, or directly to the end sites themselves. Could get better scale / feedback from an agency of different needs across their customers.

  2. 4

    You can learn a lot from customers with service and this will help with SaaS product decisions. But it may be difficult to get customers off service later if you choose to move SaaS - also hard to let go of that revenue (should you want to move completely SaaS). It is also expensive to staff for Service Delivery teams - so modeling the cost of the team would be really important when determining how pricing and profitability.

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      Thankfully for what I have in mind I could train up my wife to take over most of the day to day work on there, or automate parts and have a human review of the output.

      Definitely wouldn't be a larger scale than micro business, unless the SaaS part went massive (dreaming here).

  3. 4

    Thanks for the comments folks, it does look a lot like the "go service first, and it grows to be a saas".

    For me it started as a side project to learn new stuff while solving a pain point, so the rush to make money is less important than getting something up and running. But also do have the limited time factor so I think a productised service is the way to go.

    Interesting to see others are in the same boat.

  4. 3

    I started from productised service and it can bring you money right away. But it is very difficult to scale after some point. Also it's hard to make passive income there. Not impossible, but hard.
    I think It's a really good way to train some basic business skills.

    As for SaaS - I think it has more potential, but it much harder to get first money and ramen profitability. Also risk is much higher

    So, it's question of ambition and opportunity. If you have a pillow for a few months - start SaaS. If not, I would start with the service

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      I'd say for me its a matter of time, and design skills. I'm a backend dev so UI is not a strong point for a SaaS. So a product would be more "hobby" like and could support a lower number of active clients.

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        Great UI isn't important for early adopters. UX is more important. So you can start from completely scary things, get feedback, improve UX and after get first revenue - hire UI freelancer for some improvement

  5. 2

    Interesting.
    I started with some consulting, turned it into a service (10hrs and the startup has a ready story for pitching, some concepts about site layout and maybe even a tagline).

    Last few months been working on a SAAS platform that will enable people to do it by themselves. this took me on the book journey (F*ck the slides).

    What we are seeing in the testing phase, most people want to use our expertise, even on top of the platform.
    We might offer a consulting fee of a few hours that will include the book and a 1year subscription for the platform.

    Hope this helps

    1. 1

      Sounds like a good combination at different customer price points & needs.

      DIY
      We do it
      DIY with guidance

      1. 2

        Yes but note, the DIY seems reasonable in pricing, and comes after they got the hook, whether a book, talk or workshop.
        We do it - based on a specific amount of time and metric. We plan on onboarding them to the SaaS as part of that.

        Hope this helps

  6. 2

    I mean, these go hand in hand. You will end up making tools for yourself to perform the productivized service, and at some point you can sell access to these tools.

    1. 1

      Very true, dog fooding at its heart. Plus easier to fix issues that no one else sees in collection, so the end result can be polished instead.

  7. 2

    Productized service. Flat rate - higher subcontractors. Sign contracts for it to be a monthly subscription. Automate assignments.
    Sell it based on 3x revenue generated at $30km for almost a million. Send me a box of chocolates.

    (I learned all this yesterday, so please do your own research :))

    1. 1

      For a million I'd deliver the box personally, then take a holiday in the USA while there :)

  8. 2

    https://robwalling.com/2015/03/26/the-stairstep-approach-to-bootstrapping/

    Trying to start a SaaS is very hard. It takes years even with an "audience".

    If you have the money saved go for it. Just know if you have 6 months you most likely aren't going to make it and add just stress to your life.

    1. 1

      In the last 6 months I've just reached break even point on my web hosting side project (ironically the spin off from my tool, which then took over), so another 6 months to build a traditional SaaS might kill me off from lack of time and too many ideas. Or I try the Bubble route, but as a .net dev that just feels wrong vs learning and building own to suit.

  9. 2

    Both in the same space. Sell services, see clients pain in those services, then build a saas to solve that pain.

    1. 1

      I think the challenge for me is making my service sound like a pain killer than a vitamin. I have a few ideas for that side, but without putting all eggs into one basket to get relegated due to a WordPress new feature making a key feature not needed any more.

  10. 2

    What is your priority? If you have time and resources available for SaaS, then go that route. Don't simply choose the service because it is "easier" or "quicker" to revenue. If your heart isn't into it, then the work for the service is gonna suuuuuck. If, however, you are all good either way -- then go for... screw it, go for the saas. More fun :)

    1. 1

      Yes, I do think making a SaaS could be the more fun approach as not in a rush, as this would be a learning the different areas around it, like marketing / videos etc. However only so much you can fit into 2 evenings a week (sorry wife, got work to do!)

  11. 2

    Whichever path leads to quickest revenue is the one I'd take. Just start building and see what what happens

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      The service would be the winner. As in a matter of days I could make API calls to allow the data to pull to a Power BI report. Give that to any customers for a "see whats going on" and then make a summary report in https://hybiscus.dev/ for something pretty to look at each month.

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