Bootstrapping from zero to $1m ARR in 2 years

Hey team,

Have been super interested in lemlist's bootstrapped growth from zero to $1m ARR in two years after interviewing their CEO a couple of weeks back.

I tried to understand how they've done it do studied them for a while and came up with the these nine growth strategies:

1/ Agency To SaaS

Hands down: the most effective way to build a SaaS businesses is to first provide the service with people. Guillaume did exactly that... first service then SaaS.

2/ A Textbook SaaS Marketing Launch

👉 Product Hunt - 350 beta users

👉 AppSumo - 3,304 customers and just under $50k in the bank

All within three months...

3/ Building A Cult

lemlist have developed shared principles and language to indoctrinate users/customers into their world. They can then leverage these relationships for their benefit.

4/ Giving The Brand A Face

People like to follow people, not brands. Guillaume is the face of lemlist... and he's crushing it.

5/ Brand Aligned Content For The People

lemlist don't write for search engines, they write for people.

They also ensure all content is aligned with their brand values... making them "rememberable"

6/ Canine Cold Outreach

Ugi's backlink cold outreach is generating between 1-200 backlinks per month... and he includes his dog.

7/ Piggybacking Audiences

Let’s take the “godfather of SaaS sales” for example: Aaron Ross.

Guillaume brought Aaron in for an interview in The Sales Automation Family Facebook Group. Aaron shares - free exposure for lemlist.

8/ Actionable Case Studies

Each week, lemlist feature a user and share their numbers with their community.

9/ Don’t F*ck Up The Culture

I think that as technology advances, more and more people will chose which SaaS to use not based on speed, features or functionality… but on brand, culture and values.

lemlist have a very unique and recognisable culture 🤓

I hope these points help anyone here growing their SaaS... there is the full blog post covering these here.

Also happy to answer any questions anyone has in the comments below... Ugi and Gui from lemlist have also agreed to jump in and answer any!

  1. 2

    Thanks! Really awesome post! I think the agency to SaaS - strategy is a magical insight.

    1. 1

      For sure, we're currently implementing it as we speak :)

  2. 2

    Good read! I just wonder how some people can find a good idea to dive in. Even I work in web / mobile app consulting work for several years, I don't find a valuable problem

    1. 1

      Haha sure, well they found their idea as they ran a outbound B2B agency service first, which exposed them to the problem of personalisation... which field/s are you in Benny? :)

      1. 2

        My agency had been helping companies to build websites and mobile apps from 2011 - 2016. After that, I work on a Shopify app.

        When I reviewed what tools I bought, I found that most were related to marketing budget, dev tools, themes, hosting, etc. Some problems can be fixed by open source tools. The landscape was different from his agency.

        Lead generation was important for my agency. But I mainly generated leads with inbound strategy. Outreaching was not my priority.

  3. 2

    This will be very helpful.
    Thanks for sharing Tom!

    1. 1

      No worries thanks Usama!

  4. 2

    Super insightful read. Thanks

  5. 1

    for me, one of the reasons why i signed up for lemlist was because of the actionable case studies they put up on youtube. huge factor for me because it went step by step on how to do the cold-outreach.

    without the case study videos, probably would have never heard of lemlist or signed up.

    1. 1

      Got it, I didn't spot those so thanks for pointing out!

  6. 1

    This is a very insightful post @tomhuntio.
    I literally spent the last 1 hour reading your case studies. Great work!

    1. 1

      Haha thanks man, which was your favourite? :)

      1. 1

        It's hard to pick one. All of them have their unique stories. :)

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