Welcome to your weekly edition of the SaaS Founder Gems Newsletter from @PocketBryan!
The #1 criteria for anything included below is it must be actionable. No fluff, hollow inspirational silliness, or platitudes (empty feel-good content) are allowed. Every item mentioned below is worth your time (IMHO)
Ready? Here we go!
A few of the most actionable and interesting articles that I ran across this week:
- Growing a SaaS to $40,000/year while freelancing
The story of how Jen bootstrapped her SaaS (a personal financing and budgeting web app) while also freelancing. It’s easy to identify with Jen as she struggled to grow and market her SaaS while also working to pay the bills. You can read about what worked (e.g. how she marketed it, what she focused on), what didn’t, and how you might be able to apply some of the learnings she shared.
- [PDF] Eight Things You Must Know When Starting Your First SaaS
Written by Rob Walling (from Startups for the Rest of Us, MicroConf, and TinySeed), this guide walks you through how you should be approaching your SaaS and what you should be thinking about. I would argue that it shouldn’t just be for “Your First SaaS”, but any new SaaS.
- SEO for SaaS: The Complete Guide to SaaS SEO
Good SEO works for you while you sleep. In this guide, the author argues that SEO for SaaS is different than traditional SEO and walks you through what you should be focusing on, why, and how. Even if SEO won’t be a major focus of your marketing, you shouldn’t ignore it. This guide feels a little sales-ey, but it has some things worth thinking about.
- How To Get Customers (Without Paying For Ads!)
This brief article outlines some of the ways you can attract new customers without spending money on ads. If you’re just getting started or are on a tight budget, these ideas can help you get your foot in the door. It’s a quick read with some practical ideas.
- The unreasonable effectiveness of just showing up everyday
Kishore began working on his SaaS, Typesense (an open source search engine) six years ago, while he was also working full-time, got married, hd a daughter, and all sorts of other life events. He shares the story of how he was able to make tremendous progress by simply showing up (doing something) every single day. It’s both inspiring and practical, and something I think we can all identify with (and follow)
- Should We Always Charge More?
“Charge More!” has been the mantra of SaaS founder mentors for years, but does it apply universally? There has been quite a bit of debate about it this week on Twitter (and frequently in the past). Justin Jackson offers sage wisdom about not necessarily applying this rule blindly, especially when you’re going up against strong competitors.
- There Could Be a Simple Way to Offset The Negative Health Impacts of Terrible Sleep
The answer is probably obvious: exercise more… but we all know that already. That said, if you often find yourself exhausted from not being able to sleep well, this article walks you through some of the research behind how a little extra exercise can actually help you make up for lost or poor sleep. It’s not conclusive on its own, but it’s a great reminder for those of us who spend a majority of their day sitting at a desk.
- Startup Mistakes: First-Hand Lessons from 80+ Failed Startups
Time to be honest with yourself: which of these are you making right now (or have made)? You can learn a lot (maybe even more) from failures, and this article walks us through the most common. Use this as a checklist to see if you’re headed down any of these paths (so you can fix them now!)
- First 1,000: ConvertKit
Read about how ConvertKit got their first 1,000 customers. If you found this interesting, take a look at the other “First 1,000” articles on this site.
Interesting Twitter Threads and Tweets
Here are a few key Twitter threads that you may have missed this week (or should read again). Click on the image below to read the full thread
- MicroConf Local is coming to the US and London, starting in London (Sept 2), then Portland (Sept 15), Boston (Sept 22), Austin (Sept 29). If you are an early-stage SaaS, speakers cover marketing strategies, what you should focus on in the early stages, and more. This will be my first time attending a MicroConf event (Portland), and I hear that one of the best things about it is the opportunity to meet and get to know other SaaS founders just like you. Let me know if you’ll be there!
- Catch up on all Past MicroConf Videos on YouTube
Speaking of MicroConf, did you know that they have a YouTube channel with all their previous talks and topics? Check out their curated playlists so you don’t have to dig through all the videos on your own. There are some serious gems in those videos — well worth your time!
Books that are actually worth reading, with actionable and practical advise.
- The Mom Test
If you haven’t read (or listened to) this book yet, you need to. How many SaaS ideas turn out to be failures because we didn’t properly validate the idea? Or even worse, we did try to validate the idea, but it was with our mom, friends, or people we know who don’t want to hurt our feelings and are cheering us on (even when our idea is awful). This book walks you through how to talk about your idea (or vet it) with anyone — even your mom — in a way that will give you real validation, and not just what your friends think you want to hear. These techniques work with anyone — even (and especially) your customers. It’s only about a 3 hour read/listen, full of practical advice that you can apply immediately.
My #buildinpublic Progress This Week
For those that are following along on my journey, here’s a summary of my progress this week:
- I’m building “Simple Invoicing for Freelancers“
- This week, I focused on building out the Client and Project areas, as a pre-requisite for creating invoices. I’ve been posting 3-4 minute video demos every couple of days on my YouTube channel.
- 🎥 Video: Day 4 – Profile and Account Settings
- 🎥 Video: Day 9 – Creating New Clients
- 🎥 Video: Day 10 – Projects and Invoices
🥂 That’s it for this week!
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