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How I launched a SaaS Product in 63 days while working full-time.

Today is an amazing day 🤩
Because I got my first 3 paying users on my SaaS Product, FeedHive.

I began working on FeedHive on the 28th of November, 2020.
That means, that it has taken exactly 63 days to go from start to paying users.
All while working +40h/week with two clients as a consultant.

How did I manage to pull this off?
Let me share some tips on productivity, management, and growth 🚀

Have a dedicated audience

First of all - and this may not come as a surprise - spending time building a dedicated audience makes a huge difference.

I started building my very first SaaS Product in February 2020.
I made a lot of mistakes, but the biggest one was underestimating the value of having an audience.
At this point, I had around 250 followers on Twitter and barely used LinkedIn.

I launched Sigmetic in June 2020 - and no one cared.
It got close to 0 traction and I had to almost drag users into the platform by force.

It was the book "Rework" that made it clear to me, how important a dedicated audience is.
So I decided to build one, and I made it my primary goal to grow a dedicated following as fast as possible.

I made a public announcement about FeedHive in a tweet on the 3rd of January this year.

This time, it was different.
I now had 30K followers, and the tweet got 1.1K likes and a lot of comments!

Since then, FeedHive has been mentioned over and over on Twitter, and a lot of people are very interested in the product.

Get early users and feedback FAST

Yeah, you've probably heard it before. Most likely, many, many times.
But it's because it's crucially important.

Through Twitter, I invited 20 users in, already 12 days after I started developing FeedHive.
The application didn't do a whole lot - only very basic functionality.
And it was full of bugs.

I created a small focus group on Twitter (a group chat), and I have been talking to these users daily.

Not only did they provide invaluable feedback and catch 90% of all the existing bugs, but a lot of them also came to fall in love with the product and are some of the biggest advocates today!
It's very clear: Without having this group of users onboard this early, FeedHive would most likely have completely missed the target!

Reuse everything you can

I have built FeedHive on a technology stack using AWS and React.
Two super popular solutions.

The biggest takeaway here, is that there are so many awesome libraries out there that can save you a lot of time.
I've used Chakra UI for the front end, AWS Amplify and AppSync for the back end, and a lot of small libraries that were already made and ready to use.

Do yourself a favor and use as much of this as you possibly can!

In addition to that, I also got a great habit of reusing my own code.
From previous projects, I encapsulated small modules that could easily be reused.
Templates for landing pages, utility functions, authentication modules, etc.
I've also gotten into the habit of reusing some of the code that I've been writing during my work as a consultant.

Remember - it is not appropriate to use solutions that you do not own the intellectual property of!
But it is mostly ok to take individual small code snippets, approaches, and general know-how that you gain from your daily work.
Of course, make very sure what you are allowed to take.

If anything you do outside the project can have any side-effects that you can take advantage of - do so!

Spend time on marketing

It probably goes without saying - if you don't market your product, you'll never get users.

I have spent a good deal of time creating initial hype around FeedHive.
This includes making promo videos, demos, and example screenshots.
I have shared a lot of insights, details about the technology stack, and user statistics.

It's popular to build in public.
People love it - they are curious, and they want to get inspired to build on their own. Take advantage of that. Keep people in the loop. Share your progress, and don't be embarrassed about sharing the negatives as well.
People rarely judge - they actually really appreciate the openness about it!

Hard work

Yes, we're not gonna get around it.
I've been working a lot in these past two months.
Counting all work hours, including working as a consultant, I have put down around 80-100 hours every single week.

This is not healthy, and I wouldn't recommend doing this on an ongoing basis.
But for a limited period of time, it really helps if you can buckle down some serious work!

Some small hints and hacks.
It's not healthy to sacrifice sleep. But again - for a shorter period of time, you can sleep a little less than you ideally would.

See if you can cut 30 minutes - 1 hour pr. night on average.

Ideally, I need to sleep 7 hours every night, but cutting 30 minutes - 1 hour has helped me get in extra work.

So I typically get up at 4.30 AM and start working on my project.
Then I switch to working for my clients from 8 AM until 5 PM.
Then I continue working on my project until 9.30 PM and getting ready to sleep at 10 PM.

I'll add to this that I have an amazing girlfriend who has been incredibly supportive. She has been doing most cooking, groceries, and housework in this period. This has enabled me to keep full focus on the work.

Keep it organized

Be super tight with your schedule.
I am a huge fan of using Todoist in combination with Trello.
I write everything down - categorizing, prioritizing, and scheduling it.

I can really recommend spending time grooming your taskboard.
Keep it updated and make sure that no quick thoughts slip away.
Write everything down as soon as you remember.

Make sure you spend your time optimally.
I use a Pomodoro-inspired technique to keep my focus high while working.

Summary

Let's just do a quick summary here.

Build an audience.

This is a great investment, even if the product you're working on right now isn't going to succeed.

Get user feedback as fast as possible.

This will save you a lot of time in improving your product, finding bugs, and making fast decisions.

Reuse as much as you can.

Anything from existing libraries, code snippets that you wrote in other projects or at work (to the extent that you are allowed).

Spend time on marketing.

Put aside a significant time every day/week to do marketing.
This part can end up determining your success entirely.

Hard work

Get ready to put down hard work.
Remember - you shouldn't neglect your health.
But doing less workout, eating less healthy, and sleeping less for a shorter period of time is ok. Just don't make it a habit.

Keep it organized

Spend a good deal of time putting everything into structure and make sure that your time is spent as optimal as possible.

I hope this can help some of you indie hackers out there 😊

  1. 2

    congrats man! careful with audience building though.

    Make sure the audience you're building is full of potential users for the saas app. Unless you're very intentional about it won't be. I've been bit by this, have seen several others too.

  2. 2

    Congratulations and thanks for sharing.

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot!
      The pleasure is all mine 🙏

  3. 2

    Thanks for sharing. What was most the most important in building your audience?

    1. 1

      It probably sounds like a cliche, but:
      Provide valuable content without asking for anything in return.

      I see countless people wanting to sell their first ebook or directing sales when they are at 4000 followers or less.
      It becomes so super anticlimatic when you finally begin to get traction, and then immediately try to monetize it.
      People hate that.

      So, provide value!
      Without asking for anything in return. Just give.
      Do that every day for a long time.

      Then! At some point, you can begin promoting your stuff, but even then - keep it low.
      95% of what you post should be valuable with no strings attached.

      If you do that, people will want to follow you.

  4. 2

    Congratulations @SimonHoiberg Feedhive is a really amazing product.

  5. 2

    I'm curious @SimonHoiberg, what's your "exit strategy" hustling to get the app out makes sense, but where will you go from there? Jump to it full time? Hire a team? How will you plan to keep the momentum up? Either way dude, nice work — I'm looking forward to the rest of the updates!

    1. 1

      It's a great question!
      I'm currently working on opening an agency and hire a team.
      We will be taking on software projects for other clients, and will be maintaining products that are owned by the agency - FeedHive being one of them.

      I like to place multiple bets - but of course, if it turns out that FeedHive is becoming very popular and the demand is blowing up, I'm ready to hire a team and focus exclusively on this product.

      Best outcome is that Hootsuite or Buffer comes and picks it up in a few years 😎
      Haha, but let's see!

  6. 2

    Congratulations Simon! Feedhive is a great product. I love it!

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot, mate 🙏

  7. 2

    Hi Simon, well done on the project! I’ve been following you for a while now on twitter. I would say make the price higher.

    Keep going and thanks for the updates on your journey!

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot for your feedback 🙏

      You're not the first one to say this.
      And I am likely to introduce a new tier at some point, with a higher price.

      I think it's important to be competitive on the pricing here.
      Growing an audience and managing content is useful for everyone - not only businesses that can justify the higher monthly fees.

      I want to attract individual consumers by offering lower prices for this basic tier.

      There are competitors out there that are currently raising their prices, and I personally think it's a mistake.

      1. 2

        Maybe for this product being competitive on price is key! You define your own journey so you’ll figure out what works better for your product. I’ll start growing my Twitter audience as well and I’ll try to support you in the future.

        1. 1

          Thanks a lot 🙏
          Really means a lot to me, mate!

  8. 2

    nice one Simon! really useful guide which will help a lot of people embarking on the same journey!

    1. 1

      Thank you!
      I'm happy you liked it 🔥

  9. 2

    Inspiring post.
    I wish I was as efficient. I've been working half-time on my project for 20 months, and my product still isn't officially launched ;-)

    1. 1

      This is one way of doing it.
      If you're ok with it taking 20 months - and if the market allows it - then, by all means, don't rush it.

      It made sense for me to do it here - but it's not necessarily a good thing 😊

  10. 2

    Awesome! Yeah, 80-100 hour weeks is tough. I did that in December, but it's not sustainable.

    Congrats on the launch.

    I hope to launch my product and get paying customers in under a month. However, I work on it full-time now, but I keep it at ±60 hours a week

    1. 1

      I totally agree - it's not sustainable in the long run.
      I've done this before, and I know my own boundary. It's around 3 months.
      Then I need proper sleep, rest, and proper workout rutines.

      But for a short period of time, it can be done - and it can be a beneficial move if one have the energy and discipline to carry it out.

  11. 2

    This is amazing, I’ve not delved into twitter yet, what’s the best way of starting out to build an audience on there?

    1. 2

      Thank you!

      It's really the same as on any other Social Platform.
      Write great content that delivers value!

      Start by interacting with big accounts.
      Be a bit insisting - in time, they will notice you, and if your content is great, they'll start retweeting/commenting.

      And a protip: Don't use hashtags.
      It's tempting for small accounts, but they do more harm than good.

      1. 1

        Awesome, it's crazy how most social media platforms work very similarly. What type of content performs well on twitter? For me on twitter, I'm not sure what to post...but I guess the answer really is to just try provide value, now to figure out how to do it. Congratulations on your success!

  12. 2

    Good job on launching while having full time job. Funny thing is that I also started on pretty much the same day as you and released early access today. But I had it easier, was committed just to my project (Chakra UI components).
    How do you plan to differentiate your product compared to already long existing competitors? At some point in time I wanted to build something similar but give up when I researched the market.

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot!

      FeedHive is actually using Chakra UI in most of the front end.
      What is your project about? It sounds interesting 🤩

      How do FeedHive differentiate?
      Price, first of all. But it also fills a couple of feature gaps that other platforms don't have. For instance, FeedHive is built around writing long threads on Twitter, which most other platforms don't support.

      1. 1

        I'm interested in one particular technical part in your project. How are you handling actual scheduling (triggering) of the posts? Do you have some cron job in your backend language of choice which triggers every minute and queries the posts which should be sent in that minute, or do you have something more sophisticated?

        And to answer your question, I'm building a set of prebuilt UI blocks with Chakra UI (https://reactui.boutique).

        1. 1

          Well, in its simplicity - yes. That's exactly what's going on.

          It is a little more sophisticated, though.
          Twitter needs to process attached media in advance (to avoid post delays), thus handling a lot of media in one Lambda invocation can end up blowing the memory cap, so there's a bit of planning, balancing out, and preparing before finally publishing a tweet 😊

          Wow!! This looks amazing.
          I think this is super useful 🔥

          Good luck!

  13. 2

    Well done Simon. Really proud of the work you do. I have been struggle with time management for delivering Sailscasts alongside client work. I am going to adopt your time schedule as I think it ca work for me as well.

    Rooting for you on your launch!

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot, man 🙏
      For sure, try it out! Let me know how it works out for you 🔥

  14. 1

    Thank you Simon, I love your work day style that you described! It is inspiring! Keep up!

  15. 1

    Congrats and nice tips you have there! Keep up the great work and I'm sure FeedHive will grow even stronger!

  16. 1

    Congraculations Simon. I have Just discovered you on linkedin after seeing your javascript tips sharing and I am glad to know you. I appreciate your effort to share your knowledge, and also you inspire me individually a lot. Keep it up man👏👏👏

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot 🙏
      I'm really happy to hear that!

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