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We just hit $1M ARR for the second time. Here's my best advice.

Zubtitle is our second Saas product that has hit $1m ARR. I want other founders to hit this milestone, so have been reflecting back over the last two years and wanted to share some advice that I think a lot of people miss.

We all talk a lot about product-market fit, pricing, onboarding, and [insert buzzword], and chances are you've spent a LOT of time thinking about how your product solves a problem, but if you don’t find a way to get your product in front of users, nothing else matters.

Figuring out your distribution channels is everything.

A distribution channel can be a lot of things. Sales, inbound marketing, outbound marketing, affiliate marketing, etc,. etc., You have to figure out what works for your product. If you feel like you are solving an important problem, built a decent product, but feel suck... it's probably because you haven't found the channel(s) that work for you.

How your competitors perform with distribution matters too. I don’t think this is talked about enough.

We have had (and continue to have) competition with VC backed & other Indie companies that can be intimidating. If you can beat your competitors in a viable distribution channel or two, your chances of a solid outcome increase significantly. Most of our customers for Wavve & Zubtitle don’t even know our competitors exist because they found us first through great SEO and ended their search for a solution.

I think about tourist trap restaurants (we have a lot of them here in Charleston, SC). Their food, service, and marketing can be average because they have built-in a distribution channel in the form of swarms of tourists & the beach. I'm not advocating being like a tourist trap restaurant 😂 but simply pointing out that distribution is the difference between success or failing.

Having great distribution doesn’t guarantee success but it’s arguably the most important aspect of your business.

Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet for finding the right distribution channels. The best advice I can give is to test everything. Write down a handful of assumptions you have for how you can get your product in front of potential customers and try them all. You won’t know what works until you do.

We're currently doing this all over again for Churnkey, a solution that helps SaaS companies cut churn with better onboarding flows. It’s our first B2B play so I’m sure what we have done in the past won’t produce the same results.

  1. 3

    THIS! This is so true, knowing how and where to sell your product is just as important as your product itself

  2. 2

    Hi Baird, nice one and totally agree that DS might be the most important aspect. One question, are all co-founders engaged in DS activities or you guys have focused responsibility each?

    1. 2

      It's definitely my job to do the searching & testing of all the different channels but once we figure out what works, they jump in to help with design, copy, etc.,. So a team effort.

  3. 2

    Wait, you make over one million dollars in a two person company? Cause it says no employees on the product page. Does this include no freelancer / contractors?

    1. 3

      We have 3 owners/equity holders and about a half dozen contractors working on various projects at any given time.

      1. 1

        it would be cool to read about this, how you guys find, manage, and work with contractors.

  4. 2

    Thanks for the great advice!

    I'm looking for the distribution channels right now and trying to find my audience.

    The best advice I can give is to test everything. Write down a handful of assumptions you have for how you can get your product in front of potential customers and try them all. You won’t know what works until you do.

    Nailed it, gonna try it.

  5. 1

    Great advice. If anyone wants to read more details, you can check out "Traction" by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares. Well worth the effort.

  6. 1

    Great articale , but for ZubTitile getting channels was i guess reletvly easy as you had already Wavve channels ,
    My question is how did you get you first channels in Wavve in the early days

  7. 1

    Congrats Baird, and thanks for sharing this great advice.

    Question for you – how much of Zubtitle's growth was cross-selling/customer-overlap from Waave?

    1. 1

      Not a ton because Zubtitle integrates with Wavve (so Wavve customers get Zubtitle features built-in). There are definitely some customers that come from Wavve to Zubtitle but it's not significant.

      1. 1

        Thanks for the reply. Makes your achievements even more impressive!

  8. 1

    Congrats Baird!

    Most of our customers for Wavve & Zubtitle don’t even know our competitors exist because they found us first through great SEO and ended their search for a solution

    Does this mean your main landing page, sub-landing pages targeting certain keywords, or blog posts? Or some combination?

    1. 1

      Combination of all three. Mainly blog posts. Paid ads would be included in this as well.

  9. 1

    Congratulations on hitting the milestone back to back for 2x. 🎉
    Completely agree with the distribution aspect and experiment is everything in this era.
    Wishing you all the best for the Churnkey 👍. The idea is solid and not every SaaS focuses on controlling the churn.

    1. 1

      Thanks! Appreciate it. We really want more Indie SaaS founders to be successful so hopefully, ChurnKey will help us do that.

  10. 1

    Thanks for the advice. This is so valuable 🙏🏽

  11. 1

    Definitely agree that finding a viable distribution channel is crucial.

    Which channels (other than SEO) have you tried?

    1. 2

      LinkedIn social & word of mouth growth was the first surprising distribution channel that worked for Zubtitle. LinkedIn launched video about 8 months after we started and we got in with the early influencers. We still get a ton of people sharing Zubtitle on LinkedIn. Never would have guessed that when we started.

  12. 1

    Congratulations on doing it a 2nd time and all the very best in pulling off a hattrick with Churnkey :)

    Question - What is your advice to new entrepreneurs trying to find and build distribution channels for products?

    1. 2

      Thanks! A hat trick would be nice 😆

      First up, try to find a few niches and learn about them as fast as you can. Then try putting yourself in the shoes of your potential customer(s) and try to figure out where they spend their time online and how you can get in front of them. Make assumptions and test. Gotta stick with a channel for a few months to make sure it will or won't work.

      1. 1

        Awesome advice Baird. Thanks and all the best with Churnkey. Rooting for you from over here 🙌

  13. 1

    Good post!

    What was the most successful DS for subtitle?

    1. 2

      LinkedIn was the most surprising DS for Zubtitle. LinkedIn launched video about 8 months after we started and we got in with the early influencers. We still get a ton of people sharing Zubtitle on LinkedIn. Never would have guessed that when we started.

      We also found a few paid ad channels that are pretty profitable and consistent.

  14. 1

    Did you have a system for finding a distribution channel?

    Currently at this stage for https://versoly.com/.

    We have a great product and a decent amount of paying customers but just don't have a good channel yet.

      1. 1

        Yes but way to early (while building a product), will take a look at the links.

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      You are focused on SaaS co's? To be honest, I'm doing the same thing now with Churnkey and not exactly sure what it going to hit best.

      If you are targeting new SaaS founders, I could content marketing (writing landing page guides) and paid Adwords working out.

      1. 1

        Yeah we have had good success with content, we built https://saaspages.xyz/

        Adwords is an interesting one i didn't think would work. But might be worth giving it a try.

    2. 1

      Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet for finding the right distribution channels. The best advice I can give is to test everything. Write down a handful of assumptions you have for how you can get your product in front of potential customers and try them all. You won’t know what works until you do.

      He's laid it bare in the post. You have to keep trying! Good luck...

      1. 1

        Take a lot of shots!

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