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Built a $3M ARR time management SaaS - AMA!

Hi,

I'm Manuel B. (@ttrauser on Twitter), CEO @ Timeular.

We aim to help 10M+ people live a more healthy and rewarding work-life by providing tools to spend more uninterrupted time on meaningful things.

Few bullet points that might be interesting to get the conversation started:

  • $3M ARR time management SaaS with a physical time tracking dice
  • $350k (400% target) Kickstarter campaign and $1.2M raised from VCs to get there
  • Before did a paid closed beta charging $150 (2x final price) and 450 people signed up
  • Fully remote since 2016, 20 people from 10 nations (hiring)
  • Multiplatform product (Win, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS) with 7 engineers
  • Techstack: Electron, React, Typescript, Rust, Kotlin, PostgreSQL, ...
  • Been a developer but now full time CEO
  • Have worked as a time management coach too
  • I'm Italian and don't like coffee

AMA!

  1. 1

    How do you guys managing onboarding now that you're growing the team?

    1. 2

      Good question Brandon.

      We do a few things:

      • We assign everyone an onboarding buddy just being there for you for anything
      • We record a 1-2min icebreaker video to be shared with the team as intro
      • We give a few small orientation tasks to get familiar
      • We organise 1:1 calls with your team and random group calls with others (donuts)
      • We host an internal AMA so everyone get's to know you better
      • We have weekly 1:1s in the beginning to make your ramp up period as smooth as possible and to gain feedback what we could improve

      I probably forgot a few things but I hope this answers your question?

      1. 2

        This is good stuff, bookmarked for future use :)

      2. 1

        Totally! Thanks for the explanation. After recently going through onboarding as a consultant with both my firm and then the company I was consulting with I noticed how awful it was. Figured there might be a niche there. Was hoping to learn a bit how smaller teams are handling it :). Thanks for the response!

        1. 2

          Onboarding is always worth improving.

          Couple of companies/startups have public handbooks where they describe their onboarding process too. Maybe that's helpful for your research.

          1. 2

            Thanks for the lead Manuel!

  2. 1

    Hi Manuel, congratulations on your success, these are impressive numbers! My question is about your marketing strategy. How did you gain exposure (first customers, increase growth...) and traffic on your website? What are your favorite social media to communicate? What was your approach to get customers on board to pay for your service? Appreciate your help!

    1. 3

      Thank you Pierre!

      We got exposure and got customers on board to pay us by:

      1. Talking to people to learn our voice and messaging
      2. Used that to spread the voice across channels like Betalist, ProductHunt, etc.
      3. Used those channels to build a community
      4. Engaged that community by being super transparent about our progress (Decent Espresso is doing that greatly)
      5. Did a closed paid beta to test demand and tune the product (as it was hardware we needed money to build a batch of devices)
      6. Used testimonials from that beta and PR to increase our community
      7. Launched on Kickstarter to spread the word widely
      8. After that word of mouth and paid marketing (FB, IG & Search)

      We tested with affiliate, influencers, and content, but never really figured that out.

      Favourite social media now are Twitter and IG, but in the past FB worked well too.

      I hope this answers your questions?

      1. 2

        It does, very complete!

      2. 1

        Can you give conversion rate you get from each acquisition channels?

  3. 1

    Hi Manuel! I recall meeting you and hanging out briefly at an Angular conf way back around 2015. I had no idea Timeular had become so successful, congratulations!

    How does it feel to transition from dev to CEO? What do you miss? What are the upsides? Do you ever want to just sit down and do a solid chunk of uninterrupted coding?

    Also interested in what you main successful marketing strategies have been.

    1. 1

      HI Michael, yes, I remember, nice to cross paths again!

      Overall the feeling is positive as I get to learn many more different things, but obviously I just miss going from idea to ship, test, and iterate on something on my own.

      Which in fact I still do sometimes to show my ideas to the team in a more tangible way, because some things you just need to experience them to see the full benefit.

      The upsides are that I learned a lot (and still do) about validating products without code, about hiring and managing people, about business models, about the pro's and con's of fundraising, etc.

      About our main successful marketing strategies:

      • Paid marketing (FB, IG & Search) has been our main channel so far
      • Building a community really helped us to get the Kickstarter off the ground
      • PR did really help us to build and grow that community

      What are you up to?

      1. 1

        Thanks for the reply! And yeah, I can see that for a dev, learning about people management & business can be really valuable. I'm just starting out on that kind of journey myself building a product and community around vendure.io (to answer your last question). Wrote a recent update here: https://www.indiehackers.com/post/50k-out-of-nowhere-15779e9d08

        Here's to your continued success with Timeular!

  4. 1

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