I could easily fall in the category of “fanboy” of Arvid since I started reading his blog, thebootstrappedfounder.com where he shares how he bootstrapped, built and reached $55k MRR and then sold FeedbackPanda in two years, with his business and life partner Danielle Simpson.
Truth be told, he’s the reason I’m on Indie Hacker. It’s after reading one of his many blog posts that I joined Indie Hacker to hack back on my founder isolation (which is mainly due to my living in a van).
He has met business success through his hard work, lean approach and persistence. I’m sure many of us would love to get the level of success he has—or to rephrase that—impact so many lives with the value he delivered.
It made a lot of sense to me to book some consultation time with him, as he offers on his website (https://thebootstrappedfounder.com/consulting/). It’s not something I do often, but I recently understood the importance of investing in mentorship and it was clear to me that Arvid is exactly the kind of mentor I need.
I was waiting for a strong enough reason to do it and I found it fast: I’ve never built a recurring payment system and I wanted some guidance.
With this inquiry, I sent an email to him, we set up a time comfortable for both of us and the we connected on Zoom for a one-hour video chat.
(By the way, he lives in Berlin which is perfect for my time zone, and his English is absolutely spotless [contrary to mine haha].)
It was absolutely perfect! We started with some small talk but he nicely steered us toward business and asked for how I would define my problem. He had prepared the interview by researching my specific problem for my specific use case, understanding what was my project about, where my company was based, what problems I could encounter with international clients. He shed some light on things I was simply unaware of.
He helped me understand the three solutions I had for creating a recurring payment system for a SaaS business with international clients:
Wow! You mean I can’t just plug Stripe and forget about it?? No one had actually told me about it before, I never read about this anywhere. Right there he already justified the cost of the consultation (which is 100€ + VAT by the way).
Next we talked about several topics around my project and his experience on FeedbackPanda. It was so awesome to be able to expose to him my project and vision and to have it gone through the filter gained by his experience. He saw everything with the right angle because he has been through it.
Thinking of your pricing as something that should be aligned with the goal of your product. The more your client achieve what they’re supposed to achieve with your product, the more it is expensive for them. Now you have to understand what key metrics work for your customers and how you can measure it. He mentioned https://twitter.com/Patticus on this subject.
Using customers as writers for the content strategy. Even though I love writing, I’m not an expert in the field where I operate (I know about the imposter syndrome and its consequences—to me it’s more about not being inspired to write which is a huge blocker) and its advice was to find members who want to share, either for also talking about themselves (promote a service or something) and/or for some money.
Use your customers to find communities where your product makes sense. Whether it’s a good old phpBB of a Facebook group, expand your communication channel by asking your customers where they talk about their activity and go there!
One thing he struggled with before selling FeedbackPanda was taking some risks with the business strategy. This project was his single source of income and it prevented him from experimenting with new pricing for instance. One possible solution is to sell a small percentage of your business (something like 20%) while you still operate it and use this cash to generate passive income and diversify your revenue source.
Thinking of hiring part time to help you with what you hate most doing. With FeedbackPanda, they went from zero to $55k MRR without hiring a single employee. But it cost Arvid his capacity to innovate during the last months. Reflecting on it, he explained to me that he could have hired someone part time (like two hours per day) to handle customer service at the busiest hours.
The tools and options you choose initially can be reevaluated after time. He talked about reevaluating his docker hosting provider, or managed PostgreSQL instance, or the fact that they didn't start with Intercom because it was too expensive, but switched to it after a time. Start with what’s affordable and switch to the superior service later.
There you can begin to understand the gift you get by talking to someone who dedicated two years of his life building a bootstrapped business as you’re getting through it.
Arvid is very smart, he understands SaaS business and is an amazing source of knowledge on the topic.
And if you want to spend one hour with someone who will help you take one big step further in your journey, book a consultation with Arvid, I promise you will not be disappointed.