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5 things I did to achieve $3K MRR

This is what I hope will be a valuable post for everyone looking to grow their SaaS revenue. Before I deep dive, here are some key figures about the product so you can have a big picture.

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Launch date: May 18th 2021 (3 months ago)

Industry: SaaS for social media copywriting and scheduling (more specifically, Twitter)

$1K MRR: July 23rd

$2K MRR: August 9th

$3K MRR: August 28th

Pricing: $19 / mo

Founders: 2

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If I'm being honest, I didn't expect the product to grow so fast. Granted it's not jaw-dropping (yet 😄), but $3K per month is something you can start paying yourself a decent "survival" salary with for 2 people.

So here's how we did it and what I learned.

Validation is payment

If I had a nickel for every time someone told me my idea was great but didn't actually buy my product, I'd be rich.

No matter the amount of emails you collect, or how favorably polls / interviews are to your product, the only validation for a product looking to have paying users is actually having a paying user.

*Must read: The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick *

My co-founder and I systematically build a quick and dirty MVP whenever we have an idea, and always include a payment form.

If someone is satisfied enough to leave their credit card, it's a great sign. If not, we move on.

It takes a bit more time than to just make a landing page, but at least our validation process is solid.

The product we're talking about right now had it's first customers 30min after launching the MVP.

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Twitter is underrated

I only started using Twitter in April and now have a decent 2.5K followers. My co-founder is around 12K.

Every single time one of our tweets starts to pick up some steam, we get a bunch of new people starting a free trial.

My recommendations would be to tweet every day and stay on topic. Depending on what you're selling, you want to pinpoint the problems your target audience is facing, offer advice and promote your solution every now and then.

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Compounding interests of audience building

As a maker, it's good if you have a consistent target audience and, ideally, a problem big enough to be solved multiple ways.

If you can manage to build an audience and stay consistent in terms of who you want to talk to, then every new follower or newsletter subscriber isn't just a potential client for one of your projects. He/she is a potential client for everything you'll do in the future.

For Tweet Hunter, people who had followed us because of other projects we made got interested in what we were doing because we kept solving the same problem: how to grow your audience and user base as a maker/creator.

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Add some services to your SaaS

A handful of people reached out to us because they wanted a custom service where we would actually ghostwrite all their tweets. These clients represent 10-15% of our MRR because they're ready to pay 10x more than regular users.

Of course, don't start offering services that aren't closely related to what your product does. Your goal is to stay a SaaS (or at least stay focused), not turn into some "I'll do anything for a buck" agency.

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Introvert/Extrovert 👉 Marketing channels are for everyone

I'm somewhat introvert when it comes to talking to strangers. Reaching out to individual people isn't easy for me. It's a lot easier for my co-founder.

Which is why I tend to focus on writing long-form content, making videos, tweeting, email sequences, landing page copy, etc.

While my co-founder is the one bringing in new opportunities because he just sent a message to someone.

We complete ourselves well in this case, but even if you're a solofounder with an introvert/extrovert mindset, you can just pick the channels you're comfortable with.

PS: perhaps once a week try to get out of your comfort zone by trying a marketing tactic that makes you feel uneasy. The more you do it the better it'll feel and the better you'll be at it.

--

So these are 5 things that I learned and that really modeled how we're finding paid users for Tweet Hunter.

FYI as far as channels go, here's what we have:

  • Our personal Twitter accounts (follow me if you want to, I tweet a lot about growing audiences and SaaS)
  • Twitter Ads
  • Google Ads
  • WhatToTweet (a competing site we bought from Jakob Greenfeld)
  • 4.7K subscribers to a newsletter I write for our product studio

I hope this was helpful, please feel free to ask any questions I'll try to answer the best I can!

  1. 9

    Hey Thomas, thanks for the post.

    "Validation is payment" 🔥

  2. 3

    "Validation is payment"

    This is so, so, so true and needs to be hammered in on day 0.

    I also would be very rich from the "that is a great idea" crowd, if they thought it was a great enough idea to pay for.

    People are nice, and they will say things they think you want to hear to make you happy (and sometimes to end the conversation quickly), you don't have validation until someone takes out their credit card and asks you to charge it.

    Tweet Hunter looks super cool - I've been warming up to Twitter as a channel so I've already bookmarked this for when we have the budget to invest more in Twitter for our marketing strategy!

    1. 3

      I think Reddit is also a great place to find a hostile crowd that's not going to tell you what you want to hear.

      Not that people on Reddit are particularly evil or anything, but they are suspicious of most content that can be considered self promotion. So you better have something great to show.

      If your idea sucks, you'll find someone to roast it in no time on Reddit.

      1. 1

        Ha from experience I'd agree with you there.

  3. 2

    There's quite a lot I'd like to unpack here but can I start with this line:

    $3K per month is something you can start paying yourself a decent "survival" salary with for 2 people.

    So I'm not saying you're wrong but I'd like to break that down as a UK business owner

    Revenue: 3000
    Minus Business tax 20%: 2400

    Divided by 2 for 2 founders: 1200

    Minus Personal tax on that 20% (basic rate assumed): 960

    So my position here in the uk would mean that £3000 per month and 2 founders equals £960 in pocket. Is that roughly how it breaks down for you?

    EDITED

    I forgot to subtract business costs which I guess would mean even less in pocket.

    1. 4

      Yeah so due to our personal situation and the fact that we live in France, this actually translates a bit differently for us.

      We're not taking money out of the company yet, but if we were it would be around 700-800€ per person. Personally, this is enough for me to survive (no kids and I live in a low cost neighbourhood far from the city).

      Edit: I'm not saying this is something I feel comfortable earning. Basically this is enough to buy a bunch of pasta, pay my rent, my electric, phone and internet bill, and that's pretty much it. But if suddenly I have to burn all my savings tomorrow for something urgent, well I can rest assured I'll have enough to make ends meet.

      1. 2

        Understood. Very cool and congratulations!

    2. 1

      Hi @Primer as a fellow Brit I'm curious what you mean by 20% personal tax? As in National Insurance etc?

      1. 1

        The basic rate of income tax in the UK is 20%. If you're on higher salary brackets it goes up to 40%+.

    3. 1

      Your tax calcs are a bit off. If you were paying yourself a salary you wouldn't pay much tax because you have a 0% personal allowance up to £12k.

      Furthermore, if you are paying salaries that becomes part of the business expenses, so you wouldn't pay "business tax" (corporation tax) because that's on profits, not revenue.

      1. 1

        Ahh thanks for the insights 😉

  4. 1

    Hello Thomas,

    Thanks a lot for these lines, what you say about Twitter as a Marketing channel is super interesting, I have absolutely no experience with it! :o I'll learn how it works :)

    Cheers!

  5. 1

    "Validation is payment"
    One question: How does the flow look like? I mean, do you collect the payment, and then tell them to wait until you're finished developing the SaaS or what?
    Do you only build the landing page or do you also build the MVP?

    1. 2

      Yeah so usually we do already have an MVP in place and ask for payment in it. I insist on the fact that the MVP is "quick and dirty", we usually spend less than 1 week on it.

  6. 1

    "If I had a nickel for every time someone told me my idea was great but didn't actually buy my product, I'd be rich."

    You'd also be rich if someone gave you a nickel for every "like." I really wish I could be groceries with Facebook likes...

  7. 1

    Thanks for sharing. We have been getting trial users at https://sitefast.live since the initial launch, but our trial users do not seem to publish any websites using our tool. That has been bothering me.

    Any advice on that?

    1. 2

      My first thought is that people who sign up for a free trial think your product is "cool" (I remember the first time I discovered a "sheet to site" product).

      So they really want to try it out.

      But it's not extremely common to need to make a website with a spreadsheet.

      When I first tried such a product, I was like "Oh that's really cool. Wait, what should I do?". And didn't find a use case for me so I built nothing.

      My point is, you should find who really needs your product, and then make it obvious on the landing page what kind of things your target audience could build that would be useful for them.

      You'll probably see LESS free trial sign ups. But also you'll get people who actually use the product.

      1. 1

        That is a really insightful response. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer it.

  8. 1

    Looks very cool, and congrats on the growth!

    Question to ask here if you're OK with answering, how much have you guys spent on ads so far? Also curious if you think these are going to break-even when converting to paid (assuming too early to tell because you don't have a customer LTV).

    Based on what I'm seeing below looks like a few $100 and they're currently working well.

    Would you say your personal Twitter accounts resulted in the highest return?

    1. 1

      Hey,

      So for the past 2 months we've spent around $15/day in ads. That's comes down to approximately $900.

      It's really too early to say whether there will be ROI with this, for the exact reason you're mentioning. I think we'll be close to break even. One of the problems we're facing is with tracking and taking time to properly sit down and measure. We're more focus on trying new stuff, building features, etc.

      Edit: and yes I'm 100% certain that our personal Twitter accounts have the highest return. Every time a tweet picks up steam, we get 5-10 new sign ups.

      1. 1

        Gotcha, thanks for expanding.

  9. 1

    This was a great read, Thomas! Happy I came across this- I’ll be signing up for a trial at minimum soon. To get your initial users did you use twitter to build your audience first? (Assuming you used Tweet Hunter to build it).

    1. 1

      So my co-founder already had around 4K followers on Twitter. That got us started. I had... 1 (my co-founder ,lol).

      Since, I have used Tweet Hunter for myself and have grown to around 2.5K followers.

      Another good source of initial traffic was Reddit, I made a video of the MVP and posted it in subs like r/SideProject. Got about 300 access requests and a few payments.

      1. 1

        1-2.5k is a good jump! Good to know about Reddit! And congrats!

  10. 1

    Hey when you mention we added payment form in our landing page. Can you explain it more like what you use how etc. or if you have example that would great

    1. 3

      Yeah so we don't actually add the payment form on the landing page, we add it in the MVP. Meaning even if you requested access to closed beta, you'll still have to pay to use the product.

      This is the way it usually goes for us:

      1. Create a quick and dirty MVP
      2. Create a landing page w/ request access email form
      3. Create a video of the MVP
      4. Share everywhere
      5. People who requested access go to the MVP and have to pay to unlock full features
  11. 1

    how do you get people pay within first 30 min after launch? Where do you launch to get it so fast? How did you grow your twitter followers so quickly?

    1. 1
      1. Through Reddit and my co-founders personal Twitter account, we had +/- 350 people who requested access to the tool when available

      2. I know I'm biased, but Tweet Hunter helps me be very consistent in tweeting which is my #1 advice if you're trying to grow an account. I also reply to interesting people's tweets using Tweet Hunter. Finally, I tried Twitter ads and they brought me 10-15% of my followers, but the quality is lower.

  12. 1

    Of course Twitter is going to be a good channel if your product is based around this platform - seems like a no brainer. I'd be interested to know how you got to those follower numbers in the first place, presumably it didn't just happen over night but has been a process. I don't have quite the audience you have on Twitter and most of my tweets don't get any engagement, also I don't like to be overly salesy on it as I think it pisses people off. If you have any tips on how to market your SaaS without losing followers on Twitter I'd love to hear them.

    1. 1

      Sure. I don't get overly salesy either (or at least I don't think I am 😄).

      I started tweeting around April, and right now I'm at about 2.5K followers. Not huge, not bad.

      There's 3 main tactics I think are important:

      1. (most important) - Tweet everyday (stuff about the problems your target audience is facing, challenges you're having as a maker, etc.), ideally 3-5 times a day. Not all your tweets are going to be a success (far from that) but every once in a while a tweet will get more attention than others.

      2. Find interesting people who have more followers than you but are not out of your league (no use in me trying to grab attention from people with 100K+ followers, but 10K maybe). Turn on alerts for when they tweet, and try to be the first to say something interesting about what they wrote.

      3. Send DMs to offer your help to the same people. Like "hey I know about design, is there any challenge you're having I can help you with". This makes meaningful connections, not just followers.

      As for the "sales" part, I like to either share indirect promotional content (for example I just published a tweet with a demo video for my product, asking for feedback, or I share metrics, new features, etc.). I do that 1-2 times per week.

      Another thing I do is I use the auto-plug feature in Tweet Hunter (self promotion haha) which replies to my tweets with a promotional message whenever a tweet performs well.

      1. 1

        thanks! those are some good actionable things I can put into practice and hopefully it will result in some positive outcomes :) cheers for that!

  13. 1

    Hi Tom, thanks a lot for sharing!

    We're at a similar stage with Tally (3k MRR), but it definitely took us longer to get here. We haven't tried Twitter or Google ads. Which ones work best for you and could you share how much you roughly pay per lead?

    Thanks!

    1. 1

      Hey Marie!

      First of all, I LOVE TALLY. Been using it for a while on various projects.

      Twitter Ads bring us a lot more traffic than Google Ads, at a much lower cost. But the quality of traffic brought by Google is much higher.

      In terms of cost, Twitter Ads overall is better for us, costing us around $8 per free trial started. Google Ads is harder to tell because for some reasons conversion tracking is messed up, but I'm confident the CPA is significantly higher.

      1. 2

        So happy to hear you're using Tally!
        Thanks a lot for sharing your insights, will definitely try it out

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