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Getting a Brand New SaaS Business Off the Ground with Mike Taber of Bluetick

Episode #062

Mike Taber (@SingleFounder) dives deep into the steps he took to develop a viable idea for a company, validate it with actual customers, secure thousands of dollars worth of sales before writing any code, build a product from scratch, and get it into the hands of his first customers.

  1. 4

    Great interview and lots of learnings in there! Thanks for sharing your experience openly. Side note: I've been super impressed by @csallen interviewing skills.

    1. 2

      I agree. I've listened to just about every episode and he's really good at it. He also does his research in advance, which I think helps him know what questions to ask which people would find interesting.

  2. 3

    Great podcast! I loved the part where Mike talks about how building one things leads to ideas for other things and he has to keep a spreadsheet.

  3. 3

    Good podcast. Thank you for pointers.

  4. 3

    If anyone has any questions, just ask.

  5. 2

    Great podcast. Thank you :)

  6. 1

    My Main Takeaways:

    • Bluetick is an email follow-up software

    • Mike validated the idea for about a month before beginning working on it for another 4-5 months. He then spent another 6 months getting new users. Soon he started having people pay for it.

    • He works on it full time, but it does not yet make a full time income. At the time of this interview Bluetick was making about $1,500 per month.

    • (1) Work with a co-founder. (2) Reduce the scope down to the bare minimum. (3) Outsource the rest.

    • Mike, at age 10/11, would rent out games to his friends as a business.

    • Mike made an online game 5-7 years before the era of Farmville, and he had about 500 daily users, but struggled to monetize them.

    • Mike worked at a startup in the early 2000s that got acquired for $75 million, and he was the 8th engineer that worked there, but he only received $8,000 for the acquisition. This was the line in the sand where he decided that he’d not be an employee again.

    • Solve your own problem - Mike got the idea for Bluetick, an email follow-up software from his own needs.

    • Mike is all about automating repetitive tasks.

    • Start multiple businesses over time: This will give you the breadth of experience and enable you to gather lessons from each one.

    • Mike has too many ideas, he says that the real problem is in identifying ideas to NOT work on.

    • Validate THEN build: Mike prototyped Bluetick using Balsamiq, because he didn’t want to build something that people wouldn’t buy. He learned from his mistake in Autoshark, he built the Autoshark software over a long period of time only to find that people didn’t want to buy it.

    • Ask for referrals: Mike got his first few users for Bluetick by talking to people he knew and asking them if they had the problem that Bluetick solved. If they didn’t, he’d ask if they knew anyone that had that problem.

    • Mike had already built an email list from his personal blog by the time he started working on Bluetick, but this email list was not tailored to his product Bluetick, so it was of no use.

    • Mike secured about $2,000 in pre-orders for Bluetick.

    • Mike was doing consulting while working on Bluetick, so once it was validated, although he is a developer he decided to hire 3 other developers on Upwork to build bluetick, because he had a lot more money than time. (He says he would not have done this again. Instead he would have hired developers to teach him how they would individually develop the software, to gain different perspectives so that he could do it himself. As a result, he spent a couple more months rewriting parts of the code).

    • Mike loved consulting when he started, because he’d work in many different environments and get paid a lot. But soon the reality sunk in, because he would be on-the-road 40-50 weeks a year, flying in and out of different cities to work with clients, and he’d hardly ever see his family.

    • After launching Bluetick, his focus was on making the product as good as possible, and asking people for referrals.

    • Mike has a list of 30 competitors that he tracks.

    • Marketing is making people aware of your product and having them trust it.

    • Advice for beginners: If you’ve never sold anything online. Find something that you can create, that you can charge people for. And you’ll learn a lot about selling online.

  7. 1

    Love your podcasts, hate the player. There's no way to hit the pause button if you've adjusted the volume. You have to mute it, then the pause button is uncovered.

    After you've done that more than half a dozen times on a particular page, the mute button stops reacting, and you have to reload the page. Chrome 68.0.3440.106 on macOS 10.13.6 on macbook pro 2017.

    There's many other open-source players out there. Suggest you find one where the controls don't overlap or block each other.

    1. 1

      Clicking the tick after adjusting volume helped me hide the control. (FF on Win). Maybe it is a glitch when on mac.

  8. 1

    Love the process shared in the first part of the interview regarding the 3 referrals, Mike! Insightful interview guys, thanks :)

    (I've also posted it to my blog http://thegodfounder.com/post/176473849174/mike-taber-singlefounder-on-user-growth-ive)

  9. 1

    This comment was deleted a year ago.