Five years

I noticed an interesting trend from the discussion about the percentage of profitable companies on IH the other day.

It's a lot of work. I had several failed attempts at other businesses before I landed on this one as a last-ditch effort to make some additional side income. But, I've been at this for 5 years now. Sometimes it takes a bit of time. I was working a day-job for 4 years of those 5.

37signals existed for something like five years before Basecamp, during which time they were busy serving customers as a consultancy, and blogging, and growing an email list. Five years!

My income immediately and substantially dropped as I focused on ConvertKit. So how long do you think it took to set a new one year income record? A year? Two years?
Nope. I didn’t earn over $250,000 in a year again until…2018. 5 years later!
@NathanBarry (somebody linked his essay)

🤔 I think there might be a pattern here.

Obviously not every business takes 5 years to build but it seems wise to plan for the long slow SaaS ramp of death.

More on the same topic:

In the end, IMO there is no substitute for commitment to one idea that you are passionate about + a slow but steady stream of subscription sales + compounded over a long term time horizon of more than a year. That's it. That's the boring recipe for success.
@yongfook (posted on Twitter)

The only way to make your life better is consistent actions, over time, in the right direction.

All returns in life come from compound interest in long-term games.

Keep going.

  1. 4

    I love reality checks like this over "$2k in sales after three days on Product Hunt launch!!1!!1!" I mean, the hype is fun and it's great to celebrate the small things. But it's seeing stuff like this that keeps me motivated.

    1. 1

      A lot of people pursue big launches... while many of the people who do them pursue ways to build a sustainable business without repeated launches.

  2. 4

    Sometimes I try not to tell people it's going to take that long - because some people's reaction is to never even attempt it (they want short-term success, but don't think long-term).

    I try to get people to bias towards action and solving new problems that arise. To be able to develop, market, support, and run a SaaS product takes several years just to learn the skills, let alone build the business.

    Start by learning one skill. Then another. Then another. Practice your skills by building things for other people that demonstrates competency. Then, when you have several valuable skills, they can be combined into a unique skill that allows you to create something the world has never seen before.

    There's no substitute for work. You have to do it. It takes a lot of time. But a few (2-3) hours every day for a handful of years is what it takes to change the rest of your life.

  3. 1

    Awesome post. Just curious - did “Keep Going” come from Mike Posner?

    1. 1

      Sorry I don't know his work.

  4. -1

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