Yeah... I'm one of those. The non-techy who wants to build a SaaS product.
As a non-tech co-founder I've consistently struggled to build my ideas- and yes I've had too many ideas. My last start up was somewhat of a success story but it wasn't built into a fully fledged SaaS like I wanted.
Coincidentally while working on that start up, I struck another problem that I wanted to solve. Unfortunately for me, the underlying solution was a Saas too. Hmmm... if only I know how to code!
However, the universe does work in mysterious ways and if you ask for it enough times, maybe it does listen.
Through posting a quick job ad for a developer on Upwork for my previous startup, one guy (my-now co-founder) responded. Before I knew it, rather than discussing the start up I was working on, we were quickly talking about my other idea.
One thing led to another, and before I knew it, he became my co-founder. I wanted to start by first IH post with this milestone. For me it's huge. I really do believe that we live in truly 'interdependent' societies and we need to learn to operate that way to be successful. Finding a co-founder has always been a piece of the puzzle I've missed.
I just wanted to share this major milestone for me. Here are some quick lessons:
Don't be afraid to share your ideas - especially if you're the non-techy. Tech guys have heard them all. And trust me no one's going to copy your idea.
Build WHATEVER you can - for me, I learnt a bit of coding to hack together something for my previous startup. I also learnt how to use AdobeXD and InvisionApp - this means I'm the UI/UX guys for the start up now. If you're the non-techy- build wireframes, mockups, prototypes, even hack together something using a no-code solution if you can. Trust me, you'll have more ears listening to you and more opportunities.
Build your audience - if I couldn't build the product I was going to build an audience. Before I formed the partnership I had roughly 50 beta users signed up to the idea. People will take you more seriously if you bring value above and beyond an idea.
Co-founders and partnerships- make sure you discuss EVERYTHING. Communication is like blood for an organization - it's just as relevant between co-founders. Good communication is also a strong value I personally hold and expect from the people I work with.
My co-founder and I have never met in person - different countries. So we have a daily catchup and have been having one for the last two months.
Make sure you clearly define your roles and responsibilities, make sure you talk about the partnership, align on exit strategies, and understand where you want to take the business. It was extremely important for us to align ourselves early and quickly - especially as we hadn't met before. I came across a template that has 50 questions to ask a co-founder - that was an amazing tool to open up communication.
I also have a 'promises' document which we will review monthly. These are just promises we've made to each other- helping solve challenges quickly as they arise.
Discuss your equity now and discuss the things that are hard to discuss- this relates to the above and I just want to drive the point further. Be open with your communication - talk about salary, money, and all the hard things. What if you don't get along? what if the business fails? how long can you work without money? don't just assume stuff - bring it to the table and talk about it.
So that's it for now. I won't talk about the new start up right now because we've literally only started building it and it'll make for an exiting read next time! I look forward to sharing my journey and lessons I've learnt from my previous projects.
It's very early for us, and who knows what could happen. But here's to new beginnings - wish us luck!