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I bootstrapped AppSumo to $90M GMV (can't believe it) - AMA

Over the past 11 years (what a long time!) our team built https://AppSumo.com/ to help entrepreneurs everywhere start and grow their online businesses.

I love promoting the best tools (and a great deal).

What questions do you have? Love to help you on your business journey.

Every week I also do a lot of content creation to help people in their startups at https://www.youtube.com/okdork

Ps. If you have software, book or course we opened our marketplace to help promote you at https://AppSumo.com/sell

  1. 9

    Hi Noah! Congrats on growing AppSumo!

    What simple business thing still blows your mind?

    AppSumo was influenced by your love of great deals, but in what way has it changed you in return?

    How did the $100k bounty for hiring a new CEO impact the quality of candidates you got?

    As you enter the "scale up" phase what companies are you modelling yourself on?

    If the bottleneck of growth in every company is the leader, then what qualities are the easiest to change/implement that have the highest return? What qualities are overvalued that have the lowest return?

    Be epic!

    1. 5

      PSTO - Epic questions. Love em. Thanks man!

      Email marketing. IT's literally the best scalable way to grow any business yet almost every person / company underutilizes it.

      AppSumo has made me become a man. Face my fears. Learn where I need help. Realize I'm more capable than I thought and it's really special to do it with people you're constantly impressed with.

      $100k was way bigger than expected. It was just different which I think is the big part. Also how do you become a farmer vs a hunter in your activities. That farmed a lot of inbound interest.

      Learning from Indeed, AirBnB, Pinterest, anyone who's gone beyond 500+ employees or $1bn in GMV.

      Biggest leverage in any company is people. Hire the people that hire the people and stay the f*ck out of their way.

      We are hiring : ) https://appsumo.com/careers

      1. 3

        AppSumo has made me become a man. Face my fears. Learn where I need help. Realize I'm more capable than I thought and it's really special to do it with people you're constantly impressed with.

        Thanks for an honest and touching response. It made me also want to grow a company to $90M GMV 😉

        Also how do you become a farmer vs a hunter in your activities.

        That's a great take! It reminded me of Robin Hanson's Two Types of People and Forager v Farmer, Elaborated. I never thought of applying it to business, though. Thanks!

        Good luck with AppSumo and keep crushing it on YouTube Noah!

  2. 3

    Hi Noah,

    I’m a susbcriber of Appsumo emails sence April 2011. Time flies…

    I am also a partner of Appsumo with https://Girisimler.net, and really happy to be a part of Appsumo. Thanks so much.

    My Questions

    1st; How did you convince entrepreneurs when Appsumo was too small? Or did you collect email subscribers before you start?

    2nd; What’s your advice for Appsumo’s aff. partners?

    3nd; What’s the % of aff. revenue for Appsumo?

    Love from Turkey,
    Firat

    1. 1

      Hey Firat

      I've always wanted to visit Turkey!

      Yay on Affiliate program.

      1- We started with bundles which made it easier to convince groups of partners.

      2- Focus on a specific type of customer and what value are you providing on top of AppSumo. Ie. we have nothing in Turkish so you have great opportunity to show the power of the tools to an untapped audience.

      3- "Think" it's around 20% of Revenue. What % of profit I'm unsure.

      1. 1

        Then I’ll be waiting for you when the pandemic ends. 😉

        That’s what I am trying to do with GirişimlerNet. 👍

        Thanks for the answers. 🙌

  3. 3

    Hey Noah, thanks for creating AppSumo! Your marketplace has been a vital source of revenue for me. I'd love to hear about anything new you're planning on the seller side (new tools, way to interact with customers, etc).

    1. 2

      This literally made my month!!!

      Our #1 focus is improving the seller experience. We are hiring more engineers, launch specialist and you should see significant improvements.

      If you have specific feedback, love to hear - [email protected].

      Ps. Link your product here, love to buy / support it.

      1. 1

        Awesome, will send over some feedback! My product is here: appsumo.com/products/divjoy :)

          1. 2

            Wooo thanks so much Noah!

  4. 2

    Hey Noah,

    Congratulations on the massive success with Appsumo, especially the huge growth in the last 1-2 years.

    I've been an Appsumo and Briefcase customer for a while now with 100+ deals bought, as well as an on-and-off affiliate with $133k+ in sales from May 2020 till June 2021 when I got kicked out of the program for promoting other lifetime deals, sadly 😔

    Just wanted to say thank you for the platform you created which has allowed me to get great revenue from clients (agency), as well as being part of the inspiration in creating my own Facebook community with 4,800+ SaaS deal buyers and founders.

    Wish you well! 👍

    1. 2

      Greg

      This made my DAY!!! Going to share it with the whole company. 🙌

      THANK YOU for living your best life and helping us do the same.

      To infinity and beyond 📈

  5. 2

    I walk past your office daily, I always wanted to say hi but always find it's super inappropriate - should I just do it? (I mean maybe when Covid stops a bit more lol)

    1. 1

      Permission Granted. I may not be there but so cool if you did!

      1645 e 6th Street #125 Austin,TX 78702

      =)

  6. 2

    Just wanted to say thanks for the content you put out!

    1. 1

      Thank you Dylan. Glad we can help each other.

  7. 2

    A few q's:

    Do you see the start up space as moving away from SaaS and embracing other forms of business or are start ups still predominately SaaS businesses?

    What is the curation process for allowing products to join the AppSumo catalogue? do you view it as competitive too?

    1. 1

      Hey Webinside!

      SaaS is huge and getting bigger. Plus there are even more online business opportunities with eCommerce, Crypto and Content Creation. Literally in my 20 years I haven't seen a better time to start a company. It's easy and nearly free these days.

      Anyone can add a product on the AppSumo Marketplace (AppSumo.com/sell)

      To become a select deal its a "gauntlet" and long process. There's a team of people internally actively scouring the web, then beta-lings give you feedback on how to improve the product and this whole process can take ~60 days. But the partners get a great experience & results from that.

      We allow nearly any product that helps entrepreneurs on AppSumo besides illegal items.

  8. 2

    What was your personal biggest challenge when scaling the company up from nothing?

    1. 2

      Being afraid to ruin it all.

  9. 2

    Hey Noah,
    When you decided to start AppSumo, how did you figure out that that was what you wanted to work on? Was there anything else that you almost chose instead?

    1. 1

      After 10 years of everything else not working or I ran away I took all my learnings to create 1 thing.

      I wanted to do something super important and everyone wants more customers. I love software and a great deal. So combined all 3 =)

      Everything at the time and still now was helping the underdogs (small biz) grow.

  10. 1

    I was bit late to Appsumo platform, wish i had found sooner. You guys really helped my one person company to manage and expand my services with LTD deals.

    here are my questions,

    1). What do you see Appsumo future looks like in next 10 years? Do you guys have plan to take this to next level, like adding services for example may be ?

    1. How do you balance your work life?

    2. What is your favourite book & quote ?

    Thanks man :)

  11. 1

    Hi Noah! I'm in a phase that I'm completely OBSESSED with your content. For real. I'm watching your youtube videos non-stop, rs. I even found that interview you did with Tim Ferris yeeeears ago with an audience. So good.

    I've been listening to your podcast for years (the first one that got me hooked was that one that you described how you celebrate every Friday with a nice dinner with friends - way before the pandemic, of course).

    You and your team are really one of the main sources of content and frameworks for my side hustle - after a decade working in investment banking and fintechs, I'm finally starting my small project in the creators economy.

    Enough about me - my point here is: I think you are one of THE best B2B content creators out there. You are authentic, straightforward and actionable. How much can this 'business vertical' be detached from AppSumo 'marketing' strategy? Does it even make sense to try to do this segregation?

    Thanks and once again in case my point wasn't made: you are awesome.

  12. 1

    Hi Noah,

    Thank you for this fantastic platform. It is a boon and lifeline for developers like us.

    We launched our product last month on the marketplace, and now the Alexa rank has reached 300k with tons of new users! Sumoday was a huge boost!

    I was just wondering that what milestone (number of weeks, questions, reviews, etc.) does it take to get on the Appsumo homepage? We will be launching many new features in our software in the coming days and wondering how can we reach even more sumo-lings :D

  13. 1

    do you use any particular tool to edit/produce your YT vids? pretty high quality, man.

    1. 1

      Thanks JerryRamano.

      We use frame.io for group comments / edits on the video.

      And Final Cut Pro for the actual editing.

  14. 1

    I just watched your video about Mint and your marketing plan - do you think there are as many creative opportunities for finding unique and affordable marketing channels like you did with bloggers pre-launch for mint today?

    1. 1

      10000%.

      1- Look at places that don't have advertising yet or not everyone is paying attention. This is hard. It also significantly matters WHO your customers are. For example, NextDoor, Venmo, Slack, Zoom - those have lots of people depending types of customers you want and kinda creative "growth hacky" ways of getting them.

      2- STILL think niche sponsorships are underutilized. Worked then, works now.

  15. 1

    Hey Noah,

    Congrats on building such a huge marketplace!

    I was interested in selling on AppSumo, but I somewhat lost my interested as I couldn't find the information I was looking for (price, commissions, expected exposure numbers, etc.). Are the AppSumo fees not visible before you register?

    1. 1

      Thanks XCS

      For listing on the marketplace, I could be wrong but it's 5% fee if a brand new customer buys and 30% if it's an existing customer.

      It's literally the best deal on the web for any software provider.

      If you show me a better place to guarantee promotion for less for your product. Let me know and we'll move all our own AppSumo Original products there :)

    2. 0

      appsumo charge 30% on the sales

      1. 1

        30% on the Marketplace, not Appsumo Select - it's an important distinction ;)

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