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Question regarding building a SaaS

Hello indie hackers,

I wanted to see if anyone would be willing I help me answer some questions regarding building a SaaS. I'm thinking about creating a SaaS that would help me at my job and the people who work with me. I will probably sell seats to the software, but I want to know how to build it. I've never created one, so my question would be around the marketing site, landing page, the dashboard, admins, and stuff like that. Please message me on Twitter @graviel_r; my Twitter link is also in my indie hackers profile.

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    Hi Graviel, first step is to validate the problem is painful and frequent enough that people will pay for it. DO NOT start building anything until you do this first step.
    My advice is to talk to your coworkers and get the problem defined very clearly. You should be able to say in one sentence, "The problem my product solves is _____".
    Then, ask "how much would you pay if I could solve this problem?". Then, this is important, if they say they will pay, get them to agree to pay you upfront OR agree to a set dollar amount they will pay you when the product is complete. You can show them how you will solve the problem and maybe, if they're interested, get them involved in prioritizing what features are necessary. If you get this far, then you can build.

    I know your question is about building, but I don't want to see you build something that isn't validated first. Which I've done many times.

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      Thank you, @MichaelDBrant, for taking the time to reply to my post. Honestly, I'm not looking to build it to make a crazy income or even replace my job's income. I want to build it because it will help me at work, and it'll be great to have it as a project under my belt. I plan to sell it, but if it doesn't make any money, I'm perfectly fine with that.

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        Ahh I see, sorry I assumed it was to make money. I do still think that validation is still worth it. It's a good practice to do this in order to priortize features.

        Back to your question about building. Do you have technical experience with programming?

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          You can say my coworkers validated the idea for me since it was my co-workers from my current job and my previous job that came to me and asked me to build it for them.

          Yes, I have some experience programming, I'm far from an expert, but I'm willing to put in the time to learn and build.

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    Hey Graviel,

    Few questions to ask yourself here:

    1. If this product solves any of your personal problems, how much time does it take to build out the MVP?
    2. Do you really want to start it as a SaaS or just a helpful tool on the side? (It can become SaaS later on)
    3. If your coworkers start using it, will you be at loss initially? (e.g. high server charges, usage charges, etc.)
    4. Compared to the time you put in, how much is the trade-off in terms of the time (or money) it'll save you & your mates.

    In a nutshell, if it's quick to build out the MVP (under a week), then it's a no-brainer - go ahead, worst case - it'll sit on the shelf unused. First, decide if it's worth your time, and if it is, let's come down to the tech stack.

    Don't write all your code manually, use external packages, UI libraries, tools, and freemium/free resources wherever possible. You don't want to spend time defining the hover effects on the signup button that no one clicks.

    There are templates for everything. Get an MVP out, see if it works! Then come back here to tell us how it went. Tag me!

    Good Luck!

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      Hello @shubhamkushwah,

      So I'm not concerned about how much time it will take me. I want to build it mainly for myself and my small group of co-workers. The reason why I want to make it a SaaS is because I want to learn how to actually to build a SaaS. Eventually, I will create a different product that I will spend time properly validating, marketing, designing, etc.

      When it comes to the tech stack, do you have any suggestions on the external packages, UI libraries, tools, and freemium/free resources? I've noticed most SaaS, landing pages, and websites look the same. Is there a reason as to why? Ugh, there are a million things I would love to ask. Is there any website or anything else you could recommend where I can jump on a zoom call with someone who has built a SaaS before for a few minutes and ask these questions?

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        Tbh, "SaaS is just a public side-project", it doesn't have to be monetized. Although for it to be viable long-term, you have to charge. So just go ahead and build out your thing, host it on a domain, then it's up to you whether to promote it or let it run as is. In a very broad sense, this is all there is to it.

        Once you start getting a better idea of what people actually want in a service like this, you can either pivot or create a new app for example. Try experimenting with things you already know, and if those could help someone who doesn't have the skills you have, or if it saves them time.

        Coming to libraries etc. it all depends on the technology you're familiar with, if it's React, for instance, there are tons of React admin dashboard templates that'll save you time, the same goes for landing pages, there's a whole category dedicated to SaaS at landingfolio.com. All SaaS landing pages look similar because they're all copying the design from someone else's SaaS, and also most services like these are very simple - so their landing pages have only the required things like a title, a CTA, some features list, etc.

        For the last point, you are already on the site where people who have built successful ones and are building right now, like me. Zoom is very time-consuming so I doubt anyone will do it, but look forward to webinars and AMAs, etc.

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          Yeah, I feel like creating this SaaS would help me better understand potential clients in the long run. Once again, it's mainly for me, but if I see the need and demand, I will push and sell it, but I honestly don't care about monetizing it now.

          Yeah, I am currently learning react, so I plan to use that to build my software. Thank you! I will be looking into that website and see if there's anything I like, thank you for that recommendation.

          I understand zoom is time-consuming, but it wouldn't be that long. I see people talking about building their SaaS here, but no one is talking about what goes into it, and it's hard to find any information online. I'm talking about the UI frameworks, how they use the dashboard, what services they use like baremetrics, how those services connect to their SaaS, etc.

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            This is bang-on.

            I've been building my website using Clutch.io + Supabase.io, and I can relate to this struggle.

            I'm building a CRM tool, and it took me a long-time to figure out that Ant-Design it the best UI framework for my tool, and then a long time to discover Clutch, because I was looking for a way to better collaborate with my React Developer.

            I stumbled across Supabase, because I was looking for a better backend solution, and found it through Twitter conversations.

            I'll probably do a blog on my learnings, which would probably help other SaaS founders here in launching their own SaaS, and save a lot of time spent in just figuring things out.

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