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41 Comments

What I've learned building an indie SaaS business

  1. 7

    I think everything depend on the actual end goal of yours. For example, you want to keep it low key and indie, but others but actually have dreams to grow into a CEO of a big tech company, so it's super individual and perspective-dependant.

    1. 2

      I agree, I want to have a mid-size corporation. But also be able to work anywhere remotely. There is no way you can run a business without people.

      1. 5

        There is no way you can run a business without people.

        You’d be surprised.

  2. 1

    I don't know why, but I read this in a calm, wise person's voice haha. Much of the advice kinda goes against what I read on the current trend of Saas building, but in a good way. That last point really hit me. Right now I am sacrificing so much to build my product. Probably not the best way to do it haha. Thank you Pavati :)

  3. 2

    Great article. I kinda resonated with almost all the points.

    Every problems needs to be solved. If it's not big enough, well then create a smaller solution. What if it does not pay you enough? Solve one more small problem. Solve many. As they say, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." Diversify.

    1. 2

      Well said, I guess we need to make PMF first and then look for people

  4. 2

    I'd argue that some points could go either way - such as "charging for everything". I still think there's room to have things for "free". Though obviously that can be a harder battle.
    There are arguable products that haven't done too badly with charging for (extra features) on top of a free, even open-source, core codebase.

    1. 1

      @ShortCipher, definitely. I agree with your comment. It's hard to say which method will be more successful, as there are a lot of factors.

      It depends on the product, your marketing strategy (if the free plan is part of it) as well as what's your end goal. Sometimes you need a good user base to attract investors.

  5. 2

    Great article, especially the part, where you said Charged everyone. Too many freebies are not at all good for new entrepreneurs

  6. 2

    Loved this article,

    especially the part dealing with the concept of "failing fast"

  7. 2

    Thank you for sharing! It was really insightful!

  8. 2

    Thanks for sharing 😊 I totally agree with the importance of having hobbies and other sources of self-worth. Otherwise, the risk of becoming overly stressed/depressed is too high. And frankly, there is no good reason to put your entire being just into one thing.

    1. 1

      Another possible advantage: staying involved in other areas can bring you new insights, enable you to see new parallels, and - who knows - might lead to even further innovation on the business side.

  9. 1

    "You don't need to be a 'startup'. Your end goal doesn't have to be "CEO of a big tech company with lots of employees". There are viable alternatives and being an indie-sized business is quite a comfortable way to do things."

    This one really hit me hard. I've been wanting to build a big startup ever since I learned about startups. Tried startup school and watched almost ALL of YC content, even went to startup meetups in the Philippines.

    Really glad I got to watch a Microconf video earlier this year which eventually led me to the IndieHackers community. This feels more natural to me, burning cash iresponsibly for the sake of spending money sounds like an absolutely terrible way to run a business.

  10. 1

    Love the point that you don't need to build this big massive company.

    I don't care to have millions of users. My mission is to help other SaaS founders and startups grow using podcasts and content marketing strategies. That doesn't require endless users.

  11. 1

    This was very useful thanks. I am planning to start my own saas as well.

  12. 1

    I like the last point "Make sure you have other hobbies and sources of self-worth." I mean that's very unique thing i heard for the day

  13. 1

    great views, but i dont know if it fit for startup,

  14. 1

    This is article had me nodding with almost every point. Well-written and succinct; it could easily be turned into a book with expanded notes.

    The part I would differ with is the part about "On the other hand, you probably can get away with not doing stuff you really don't want to do".

    Not wanting to do something is a sign of discomfort. And it's uncomfortable usually because it's unfamiliar. This is why you should push yourself do it. Comfort is almost always the enemy, and just doing things you like makes it impossible to learn new things. So, unless there really isn't any meaningful impact from the endeavor, do do the uncomfortable; it will change and improve you in ways you never thought possible.

  15. 1

    Thanks. Great Piece . About Freemium : YEs it may give loads but may attract future paying customers as well

  16. 1

    I really appreciate content like this and thank Josh for taking the time to share.

    Many points mentioned are what keep us from starting or keep us from growing. Sometimes we limit ourselves by the knowledge we have at the moment and we don't even start, but to obtain this experience like yours, you had to do it.

    Thanks for sharing.

  17. 1

    Definitely agree with the support section!

    Good customer support (or even just "good enough") can carry businesses.

  18. 1

    Very interesting , tks!

    But related to charge users, how do you link that to community based apps? (i.e. indiehackers).
    Is it Ads based the only way to monetize these kind of sites?

  19. 1

    Interesting point on chargebacks, and I would say it might be worth changing that approach.

    For context we've had 15 chargebacks in 2022, won 9 (~$450) of them.

  20. 1

    Thanks for sharing, keep up the good work.

  21. 1

    "Don't waste time on collaborations, opportunities to work together, or deals with big companies"

    I agree with this ... but... being helpful to people without any expectation can be super rewarding with benefits you don't expect.

    Say yes to things just because they might be nice people.
    Say no to any ask you don't feel is right for you

    If someone offers you something in the future it doesn't exist (until it does)

  22. 1

    Great article, thanks for writing it!

  23. 1

    Super interesting, thank you for sharing!

  24. 1

    Good article with a lot of value, thanks for this!

  25. 1

    Thanks for sharing this great article! I totally agree that it is a waste of time to communicate with big companies on the phone in the early stage of the project.We need to find a way which suits ourselves to promote the project.

  26. 1

    Thanks for sharing this great article

  27. 1

    Thanks for sharing the grate article, I believe these valuable suggestion apply to people of any background, regardless of age, country, or market context. It is worth reading many times, more importantly, we need unity of knowledge and action.

  28. 1

    Thanks for sharing. Will go through the post soon.

  29. 1

    Where do you find your mentor?

  30. 1

    I think the other problem with Saas is that there are people who are building it without software engineering experience. They don't fully understand architecture, without dabbling into it and 'wasting' time I wouldn't know how to structure my code.

  31. 1

    Really good advice! I especially agree with the support part. Offering great support to customers can definitely be a main differentiator to your competition.

  32. 1

    This is pure gold, thanks for sharing!

  33. 1

    Brilliant advice. What I really see in this post is a founder whose passionate about their business as opposed to just starting a business to make money. It's this approach that really shines through and makes you a successful businessman. Passion first and the money/customers will follow.

  34. 1

    Great article. I'd say this pretty much reflects my own experience too. It's funny how it all seems obvious now but when you're just starting out you really don't know anything and just go with what is the 'norm'. For example, you mention how a lot of founders resort to looking for funding, when bootstrapping is a completely viable option, and better in many ways - this would be the number one piece of advice i'd give to other indie founders.

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