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July 21, 2020
On today’s episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob catches up with guest Derrick Reimer as they discuss shutting down a slack competitor while building and preparing to launch a new calendar SaaS. They discuss topics like user research, defining and validating an idea, choosing a big market, viral loops, and more. The topics we cover with Derrick Reimer 2:49 Shutting down a Slack competitor 6:32 Building StaticKit to get something in the market 13:16 Developing the next idea 17:03 Validating the Mighty Cal idea 19:07 Potential dangers of going into a big competitive space 23:38 Choosing the specific customer/s to target for Mighty Cal 25:45 Built-in Viral loops Links from the show @derrickreimer | Twitter The Value vs. Stress of Twitter, Pros and Cons of Remote Work, and Digital Minimalism – A Discussion Show with Derrick Reimer | Episode 482 How Derrick Reimer is Validating His Ambitious Third SaaS Application | Episode 399 The Art of Product with Guests Derrick Reimer and Ben Orenstein | Episode 354 What It’s Like Selling a $128k Side Project (With Guest Derrick Reimer) | Episode 311 How to Mentally & Technically Prepare For Your Launch (With Guest Derrick Reimer) | Episode 274 StaticKit Drip Mighty Cal Codetree The Mom Test | Book How can I support the podcast? If you enjoyed this episode, let us know by clicking the link and sharing what you learned. Click here to share your number one takeaway from the episode. If you have questions about starting or scaling a software business that you’d like for us to cover, please submit your question for an upcoming episode. We’d love to hear from you! Subscribe & Review: iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher
July 14, 2020
Show Notes You’ve probably heard a lot about the #NoCode movement but may not know what it means, exactly. Today, we have the great pleasure of talking with someone who is knee-deep in the #NoCode movement. Helen Ryles has launched 42 projects over 10+ years and on this episode, she shares with us why she builds so many products, her process for choosing what to work on, and how she determines a good time to sell a #NoCode product. The topics we cover with Helen Ryles 6:11 Ryles on why she chose to launch so many products 9:04 The snowball effect for learning new skills 14:10 Advice for reluctant marketers 16:05 Keeping side-projects small on purpose 18:27 Deciding when to sell a business 21:41 A primer on the #NoCode movement Links from the show Helen Ryles | Twitter Side Project Review – 2020 – @HelenRyles | Google Sheets TinyHello NamesAce FeedbackFridays.com NoCodeo.com NoCodeo.com SideProjectors Borderline.biz Podwords NocodeExchange.com IndieMaker.co Carrd How can I support the podcast? If you enjoyed this episode, let us know by clicking the link and sharing what you learned. Click here to share your number one takeaway from the episode. If you have questions about starting or scaling a software business that you’d like for us to cover, please submit your question for an upcoming episode. We’d love to hear from you! Subscribe & Review: iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher Transcript Rob: Welcome to this week’s episode of Startups For the Rest of Us. I’m your host Rob Walling. This week I talk with Helen Ryles about the 42 side projects that she’s launched over the past 10 years. We dig into the No-Code Movement, which I know what it is. Like you, I probably have a concept in my mind, but I wanted to speak with someone who’s knee-deep in the No-Code Movement and find out how she thinks about it. Before we get into that, I wanted to tell you about something we’ve launched with MicroConf On Air. What it is, is we’re going back through the best MicroConf talks of all time, and we’re taking the audio tracks from those talks. We are releasing one every Tuesday morning on the MicroConf On Air Podcast. So, microconfpodcast.com, or you can go to any podcatcher and search for MicroConf On Air. Every Tuesday morning there will be a new MicroConf talk and every Thursday morning there will be an audio release of our Wednesday MicroConf On Air live stream. We have three talks that have already been released. You can go check them out. These are three of the top five rated MicroConf talks of all time. The first one is from Joanna Wiebe, Proven Ways to Widen Your Funnel Using Just Your Calls to Action. The other one is Designing the Ideal Bootstrap Business from Jason Cohen. The third is Playing the Long Game: Making Entrepreneurship a Sustainable Life by my wife, Dr. Sherry Walling. Coming up with our talks from Patio11, a talk from me 11 years to overnight success, where I talk about the Drip exit and what that will look like. We’re going to go on. We’re going to dig into the best talks of MicroConf. We have close to 200 of them. We have a lot of content to release that you can listen to the audio. You don’t have to sit and watch a video because I struggled to watch videos even at 1.7x speed. This is a way where you can stream it or you’re doing the dishes just like any other podcasts and we’ll drip them out over time, so it doesn’t feel like a bunch of homework. It feels like a jolt of creativity or inspiration at that moment when you need it. For that check out the MicroConf On Air Podcast. In addition, I have mentioned in the past that Basecamp is a headline partner of MicroConf. As part of that, here is the 60-second message from Basecamp. As I’ve said in the past, I don’t plan to sell ads on Startups For the Rest of Us or to have ads running every week or anything like that. At this point, it’s pretty inf
July 7, 2020
This week we chat with Tracy Osborn (@tracymakes) as we discuss 15 of the top tools we use to run our businesses. As a followup to a previous, popular tweet, we thought we’d give an update on what tools we continue to use today, as well as share some of the new tools we have started to use. While tools are necessary for founders, it’s important to find a good balance between good-enough and perfect when it comes to evaluating which tools to use. As Tracy says in the show, “It’s a good lesson for founders because they often want to build something the ‘right way’ from the start. Many times there are tradeoffs and sometimes you have to use the tool that has constraints so that you can work faster. It might not be perfect, but it gets the job done.” Are you using any of the tools we mention in the show or have a tool you think we should use? Let us know in the comments! The top 15 tools we cover 6:04 #1 Calendly vs YouCanBook.me 7:45 #2 Slack: how and why we use it 12:20 #3 How we use Notion for permanent documentation 16:21 #4 Google Drive vs Dropbox for Business 18:42 #5 LastPass for Business 20:05 #6 Dasharoo 21:57 #7 Squadcast.fm & Castos.fm to run this podcast 23.57 #8 Drip & RightMessage for email marketing 25:15 #9 Trello for personal business (vs other task management tools) 26:57 #10 Squarespace for websites 30:35 #11 Voxer push to talk audio vs text messaging 32:52 #12 Keynote for conference talks and eBook PDFs 36:02 #13 Tweetbot vs Twitter.com 38:08 #14 Buffer 39:29 #15 Submittable and Pipedrive 42:20 BONUS: FrontApp for email collaboration Links from the show Tracy Osborn | tracyosborn.com Tracy Osborn on Twitter Rob’s tweet on tools used | Twitter Calendly YouCanBook.me Discord Discourse Basecamp Notion Dasharoo Lastpass Sunrise KPI Trello Establishing a High-Performance Productivity Stack with Tracy Osborn | MicroConf on Air Squarespace Voxer Guides: 18 Things SaaS Founders Should Know | Startups For the Rest of Us Zencaster Squadcast Castos Drip RightMessage Tweetbot [Buffer](https://buffer.com/?) Submittable Pipedrive FrontApp Helpscout Boomerang How can I support the podcast? If you enjoyed this episode, let us know by clicking the link and sharing what you learned. Click here to share your number one takeaway from the episode. If you have questions about starting or scaling a software business that you’d like for us to cover, please submit your question for an upcoming episode. We’d love to hear from you! Subscribe & Review: iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher
June 30, 2020
This week Rob answers some great listener questions. We discuss the best way to validate a product idea, how to expand a product with traction internationally, advice on launching a restaurant product during COVID-19, and whether to start an affiliate program. If you have questions about starting or scaling a software business that you’d like us to cover, please submit your question for the next episode. We’d love to hear from you! The listener questions we cover 1:39 [Arturo Ceballos] What’s the best way to validate an idea and pre-launch without an audience? 13:33 [Ger Apeldoorn] When a product has product-market fit and existing customers, how would you grow internationally? 20:31 [Davis] Do you have any experience running an affiliate program. I’m worried about people that sign up for affiliate would be people that would signup anyways? 26:40 [Jacob Warren] Should I launch a startup in the service/hospitality industry during COVID-19? 28:21 [Casey Collins] Following the Stairstep approach, what’s the best marketplace to use? Links from the show Vetting a startup (or two): The systematic birth of @WPEngine | Jason Cohen Idea Validation & Risk Avoidance | Episode 324 The Stairstep Approach to Bootstrapping | Rob Walling Clay Collins on Leadpages and how they used affiliate marketing | Podcast How can I support the podcast? If you enjoyed this episode, let us know by clicking the link and sharing what you learned. Click here to share your number one takeaway from the episode. If you have questions about starting or scaling a software business that you’d like for us to cover, please submit your question for the next episode. We’d love to hear from you! Subscribe & Review: iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher
June 23, 2020
In his second appearance on the show (he first appeared on Episode 367), we chat with Benedikt Deicke from Userlist. Along with his co-founder, Jane Portman, they are building an easy to use customer messaging tool catered specifically towards SaaS companies. In this show, we talk about some of the challenges in building a product while working full-time, finding the ideal SaaS pricing model, their underwhelming Product Hunt launch, as well as their recent purchase of the Userlist.com domain name. Jane & Benedikt are also part of Tinyseed batch #2, and we explore Benedikt’s experience so far in the program, and the lessons he’s learned. What we discuss with Benedikt Deicke 1:37 The story & motivation behind helpfounders.com 4:30 Userlist and slow growth in the early days 5:30 Challenges with building a SaaS while not full-time 7:50 What has helped with recent Userlist growth 9:00 Navigating SaaS pricing 12:30 An underwhelming Product Hunt launch 15:30 Acquiring the userlist.com domain name 17:30 The most challenging moments thus far in building Userlist 20:48 Why did Jane & Benedikt apply to Tinyseed Links from the show: HelpFounders Benedikt Deicke | Twitter Jane Portman | Twitter Slow & Steady | Podcast Userlist Fighting to Gain Traction in a Crowded Space with Jane Portman of Userlist | Episode 471 Userlist on Product Hunt Tinyseed How can I support the podcast? If you enjoyed this episode with Benedikt Deicke, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out on Twitter: Click here to thank Benedikt Deicke on Twitter. Click here to share your number one takeaway from the episode. Subscribe & Review: iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher
June 16, 2020
In the first episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us since our 500th milestone, Rob checks in with Mike Taber about his progress with Bluetick. It’s been nearly 7 weeks since Rob last checked in (Episode 494) and a lot has happened in the world since then. They talk about business trajectory amidst COVID-19, the health of the sales pipeline and unique partnership opportunities, as well as technical debt and making decisions about code optimization. What we discuss with Mike Taber 6:38 Rob and Mike reflect on what made the podcast successful 12:05 Has Bluetick seen an uptick in interest since COVID-19? 16:58 Is Mike an optimist, or a pessimist (and what would Mike’s wife say)? 18:55 The highs and lows from the past few weeks 20:41 Mike on driving new prospects for Bluetick 22:38 Bluetick and unique partnership opportunities 30:47 Managing technical debt and making decisions on optimizing your code Links from the show: Mythical Man-Month | Book Mike Taber on Twitter BlueTick How can I support the podcast? If you enjoyed this episode with Mike Taber, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out on Twitter: Click here to thank Mike Taber on Twitter. Click here to share your number one takeaway from the episode. Subscribe & Review: iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher
June 9, 2020
This is a big milestone episode for Startups for the Rest of Us. Episode 500. Since the very first episode nearly a decade ago we’ve had more than 10 million downloads, answered more than 1,500 listener questions, and shared more than 292 hours of startup content. Over the years, this podcast has developed a particular lens through which we view building and growing startups. We’ve focused on: Maintaining freedom, purpose, and relationships throughout the journey Diving deep into topics relating to building and growing startups, using an ambitious yet sane approach. Thinking in years, not months Not talking about the typical Silicon Valley startups (where fundraising is a goal in and of itself) Building real companies with real customers who pay us real money Not sacrificing our health or our relationships As we look to 1,000 episodes and beyond, we decided to highlight the stories from the community as they share how the past 500 episodes have made an impact on their path to starting and growing successful (and sane) startups. The cache of stories, lessons, real heartfelt moments are what really keep me coming back to Startups for the Rest of Us and why I recommend it to so many people. It’s not just one particular episode or one particular lesson, it’s the complete story arc of Rob, Mike, the team, and what they’ve built. It’s an exciting time to be a small part of this journey. — Matt Medeiros Building a self-funded startup on the internet doesn’t have to be complicated. We’re making a thing, we’re solving a problem. We’re selling our solution to customers. Rinse and repeat. The more attempts at doing that, the more that we’re going to learn and the more mistakes that we’ll make, the more wins that we’ll have. — Brian Casel What we discuss 2:26 – Launching MicroConf from the podcast 4:11 – The many types of episodes we’ve tried 7:18 – Why we think the show has worked 9:49 – How you can support the show 11:22 – Ian and Dan (Tropical MBA podcast) on the importance of the stairstep approach 13:33 – Ben Orenstein (Art of Product podcast) on the value of consistency 14:13 – Matt Medeiros (Matt Report podcast) says this podcast is the startup single source of truth 16:42 – Brian and Benedikt (Slow & Steady podcast) on small continuous progress over time 19:50 – Adrian Rosebrock (Listener) 20:16 – Jordan Gal (Bootstrapped Web podcast) speaks to the importance of perseverance 21:57 – Andy Baldacci (Effective Founder podcast) shares his experience with the stairstep approach 26:48 – Brian Casel (Bootstrapped Web podcast) on knowing there are “others just like me” 28:52 – Matt & Peter (Out of Beta podcast) on how they feel connected to the community 32:58 – Alvin (listener) loves the actionable, specific, and realistic feedback 34:58 – Shawn DeWolfe (Shawn DeWolfe Consulting) on how entrepreneurship feels attainable because of the podcast Links from the show: What is a Micropreneur | Episode 1 MicroConf The Stairstep Approach to Bootstrapping | robwalling.com Moving on From AuditShark | Episode 255 A Startup Acquisition Story | Episode 298 How can I support the podcast? If you enjoyed this episode, let us know by clicking on the link below and sending us a quick shout out on Twitter: Click here to share your number one takeaway from the first 500 shows! Subscribe & Review: iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher
June 5, 2020
This week is a conversation between Rob and Jordan Gal, the founder of CartHook. In the episode, Rob and Jordan dig into the 4th, 5th and 6th stages of SaaS growth and compare their journeys 1:1 between growing Drip and growing CartHook. They come across several parallels between their journeys, as well as some differences. This episode is part two in a two-part conversation. Jordan started CartHook as cart abandonment software and later pivoted into a checkout replacement solution for Shopify. He has been on the podcast several times answering listener questions, and has spoken at a handful of MicroConfs. He is also the co-host of the Bootstrapped Web podcast.
June 4, 2020
       
June 2, 2020
      Related StoriesEpisode 477 | Assessing Product-Market Fit, How to Find a Mastermind, and More Listener Questions with Brian CaselEpisode 472 | From Amazing Launch to Near Bankruptcy to Profitability with Shai ShechterEpisode 448 | Let’s Talk About Bluetick 
May 26, 2020
This week Rob talks with Steli Efti about selling during a pandemic. They also talk about how to set yourself up for success as a founder during a possible recession and how to adjust your sales process. You don’t want to shy away from sales, but you also don’t want to be tone-deaf to the current state of the world. Steli is one of the world’s experts in startup sales and B2B sales. He runs a successful app called Clothes.com. He has written a number of ebooks on the topic of sales, and he has been a recognized expert for over a decade. The finer points of the episode: 4:15 – Two big sales trends that Steli has noticed during the COVID-19 crisis 9:09 – The main thing you can do for your business right now 13:55 – How to approach a sales conversation while being sensitive to the current circumstances 16:33 – How Clothes.com managed to increase their revenue and grow through 2020 25:00 – How Steli sees his sales process looking after COVID-19 30:25 – Best practices for sending cold emails during the pandemic Items mentioned in this episode: BaseCamp Clothes.com The Startup Chat Email Steli for the crisis toolkit Follow Steli on Twitter
May 19, 2020
This week Rob answers listener questions with TinySeed co-founder Einar Vollset. Einar has been on the selling side of many SaaS acquisitions. He is also a developer with a Ph.D. in computer science, so he has a well-rounded experience, and it makes him the perfect person to answer these listener questions. There are some interesting questions from listeners who are growing SaaS apps. The finer points of the episode: 2:38 – What metrics you should be documenting on your SaaS app 9:04 – The things buyers checked on when we were selling Drip 13:00 – How to navigate creating the terms for a business partnership 18:43 – Should you be sending unsolicited marketing emails? 24:18 – Best strategies to make sales 27:32 – Potential opportunities to make sales during the COVID-19 crisis Items mentioned in this episode: tinyseed.com/invest Find Einar on Twitter
May 12, 2020
This interview was recorded several months ago, but is still relevant despite the pandemic. Colin Nederkoorn, the co-founder of customer.io has taken a unique approach to building their company. Customer.io does marketing automation for the entire customer lifecycle. They have raised funding, but not traditional venture money, and they’ve run it more like a self-funded SaaS. Colin and his cofounder John left their jobs with no savings, and they set out to build an analytics tool. Their story is powerful because of their unconventional approach and ability to persevere through hard times. The finer points of the episode: 4:05 – The customer.io founder journey 5:23 – Their approach to selecting investors 7:01 – Reflecting on how Colin and John bootstrapped a SaaS app after leaving their jobs with no savings 8:02 – Why they pivoted from an analytics company to selling marketing solutions 13:15 – Finding the balance between innovation vs following the best practices 18:37 – How customer.io became a remote company, and the advantages/disadvantages of building a remote team 22:05 – What customer.io is doing to support the bootstrapping startup community (and why they care about bootstrappers) 24:30 – Marketing approaches that customer.io used in the earlier days 31:55 – The highs and lows of building customer.io Items mentioned in this episode: customer.io helpfounders.com hugo.team customer.io/bootstrapper Connect with Colin on Twitter
May 5, 2020
Today, Rob flies solo to talk about 7 different things that he has learned in his 20 years of entrepreneurship. He also offers some feedback about what he is seeing in the startup communities today, advice on how to deal with competition, marketing tips, and how to build a team of developers. The finer points of the episode: 2:35 – Be careful about over-generalizing from one win 3:33 – The three things you need in order to succeed in building a startup 8:10 – How to handle feedback you get on your product 12:48 – Rob’s personal experience and opinion on dealing with competition in the startup space 15:35 – Why word-of-mouth is not the right answer for where your leads are coming from 18:40 – The importance of transparency when marketing your startup 21:05 – Advice on how to build a team of developers Items mentioned in this episode: Start Small Stay Small
April 28, 2020
This week we catch up with Mike Taber, he comes on the show every once in a while to share his progress as he grows his SaaS App, Bluetick. We haven’t checked in with Mike since before the quarantine, and the last time we spoke to him, he had more than doubled his revenue in the past 4-5 months. We will talk about how the COVID-19 crisis has affected Bluetick and other SaaS apps, some new insights that Mike has been learning about his customer base, and decisions he has made about the positioning and marketing of Bluetick. It is difficult to try and land new customers when we are facing a global pandemic and a possible recession. If you are working on a startup, you might find it helpful to know how someone else is handling this crisis in their business. The finer points of the episode: 5:00 – How Bluetick and other SAS apps have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis 8:35 – Mike’s biggest success and biggest defeat in the past 7 weeks 11:32 – Where Mike’s customers are finding him? 12:53 – What makes Bluetick different from its competitors 15:27 – An update on Mike’s email campaign to canceled customers 19:08 – Mike’s plans to change the positioning and copy on his website now that he understands how people are using Bluetick 25:28 – An update on Mike’s podcast tour 29:36 – What Mike is looking forward to over the next month   Items mentioned in this episode: MicroConf Video Vault Basecamp Bluetick
April 21, 2020
This is a round table discussion with Craig Hewitt (founder of Castos), Einar Vollset (cofounder of TinySeed), and myself. We are in three different cities on two different continents, so we have plenty of different perspectives on the COVID-19 crisis. We are talking about our own businesses and the advice we give to other founders. We also talk about the payroll program, and whether we think it’s going to be helpful to small businesses and startups. We share our tips and experiences working from home, for founders who may be just now transitioning to a remote team, and we discuss Stewart Butterfield’s Twitter feed, talking about the human side of experiencing this pandemic. Listen to get some insight, hope, and fresh ideas on being a startup during COVID-19. The finer points of the episode: 8:09 – Advice we all have for startups during the COVID-19 crisis 12:51 – Common mistakes we see businesses make working from home 14:42 – The main things that change when your team goes remote 17:37 – The payroll protection program in the USA and what this could mean for your business 28:04 – Stewart Butterfield’s real-time experience of COVID-19 and how it resonated with each of us as founders 36:46 – Some reasons to feel hopeful about business right now Items mentioned in this episode: RougueStartups Castos TinySeed How Apple Is Working From Home Bosses Panic-Buy Spy Software to Keep Tabs on Remote Workers MicroConf article on COVID-19 business relief Stewart Butterfield’s Twitter feed Craig Hewitt’s Twitter Account Einar Vollset’s Twitter Account
April 16, 2020
This bonus episode of Startup For The Rest Of Us is from a MicroConf On Air live stream in which Rob interviews Courtland Allen, founder of Indie Hackers, about interviewing 155 startup founders and what he learned from building a community from scratch.
April 14, 2020
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob interviews Danielle Simpson and Arvid Kahl, co-founders of FeedbackPanda, a SaaS business they bootstrapped to $55k MRR with no outside funding and no employees. They sold directly to teachers, a price-sensitive market, and they used referral programs and word of mouth to create rapid growth. You will hear about the struggles, victories, highs, and lows of their startup journey. Arvid and Danielle give honest, powerful insight into what it was really like to manage their company just the two of them, and what ultimately led to their decision to sell their company for a life-changing amount of money.   * We are in a slightly different headspace in this episode, because we recorded this before the COVID-19 crisis. But we still wanted to share this episode, because we want you to benefit from this powerful conversation.  The finer points of the episode: 2:12 – What it was like to sell FeedbackPanda for a lifechanging sum of money  6:40 – Why they ultimately made the decision to sell their business  12:40 – How the perfect combination of luck and skill led to their business’ huge success  14:38 – What it was like selling to teachers, a price-sensitive market  18:44 – Using referral programs and word-of-mouth to generate extremely rapid growth  24:20 – Can their approach to growth be replicated in other industries?  29:11 – More about their decision not to hire anyone  33:49 – The biggest low point of their startup journey and how they overcame them  38:25 – When did they start thinking about selling their company?  40:34 – What is next for Arvid and Danielle? Items mentioned in this episode: The Bootstrapped Founder Danielle Simpson Danielle’s Twitter Arvid’s Twitter
April 7, 2020
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob along with guest Matt Wensing, answer a number of  listener questions on topics including reaching high-touch prospects, finding advisors and more. Items mentioned in this episode: RiskPulse Olive Crewbooks Out of Beta Podcast Patrick Campbell’s MicroConf Talk
March 31, 2020
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob along with guest Einar Vollset, talk about the current crisis and as a founder what your mindset should be and what to do to be prepared. #1: Don’t panic, clear heads will prevail #2: No business is recession proof #3: Be cautious #4: Heavily scrutinize all marketing and sales efforts #5: Take care of yourself and those around you #6: At times like these, cash is king #7: We’re going to make it through this Items mentioned in this episode: ZenFounder Bidsketch MicroConf MicroConf On Air
March 30, 2020
Show Notes 10 years to the day….Startups For The Rest Of Us was born. In this episode Rob reflects back on he and Mike Taber starting the podcast all those years ago and the journey its been. This episode includes a 5 minute play of the very first episode of the podcast. Items mentioned in this episode: Startups For The Rest Of Us Episode:1 Product Hunt SFTROU Post
March 24, 2020
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob talks with Matt Wensing about his exit from his company Riskpulse, dealing with multiple investors, his new company Summt, and why forecasting is crucial. Items mentioned in this episode: TinySeed MicroConf On-Air Castos Summit Out of Beta Podcast
March 17, 2020
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob checks in with Mike Taber about his progress with Bluetick. They talk about new growth, where that growth is coming from, theories on why customers are choosing Bluetick over competitors, and more. Items mentioned in this episode: MicroConf Connect Bluetick.io
March 10, 2020
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob is joined by Jordan Gal and Tracy Osborn for a roundtable discussion. Some of the topics in this episode including Basecamp reinventing email with Hey.com, Leadpages being acquired by Redbrick, the growing popularity of subscription based pricing and how many active subscriptions a person or business has nowadays. Items mentioned in this episode: Bootstrapped Web Podcast CartHook Hey.com Leadpages acquired by Redbrick How a 2 person startup already uses 28 other tools Tracy Osborn
March 3, 2020
Show Notes In this episode Startups For The Rest Of Us Rob interviews Maren Kate of Avra Talent about her entrepreneurial journey.  She talks about her first company that raised 5.5 million in funding, hit $1mil in MRR, had over 400 employees, but ultimately failed.  She talks about how she recovered both mentally and professionally, and gives her system of hiring/vetting people for your company. Items mentioned in this episode: Avra Talent TinySeed
February 25, 2020
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, the tables have turned as Rob is interviewed by Dr. Sherry Walling. They talk MicroConf, the podcast, state of independent SaaS report and TinySeed but also explore bigger themes like what Rob wants to accomplish with all of his businesses and a unifying theme he’s established across the board. Items mentioned in this episode: SherryWalling.com ZenFounder TinySeed MicroConf MicroConf Connect State of Indie SaaS
February 18, 2020
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob along with guest Ruben Gamez answer a number of listener questions on topics including current marketing tactics, scaling from 5 to 10 employees, SaaS longevity and more. Items mentioned in this episode: Docsketch Bidsketch MicroConf Connect Peldi’ s article about profit sharing Quiet Light Brokerage FE International Empire Flippers
February 11, 2020
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob interviews growth marketer Andy Baldacci about how he got his start, his early days at Hubstaff, marketing for Groove, and he gives some practical tips/advice for the listeners. Items mentioned in this episode: MicroConf Connect SaberSim The Effective Founder Podcast
February 4, 2020
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob does a discussion show format with guest Derrick Reimer. They discuss multiple topics including the pros/cons of remote work, value vs. stress of Twitter, and more. Items mentioned in this episode: The Art of Product Podcast Derrickreimer.com StaticKit Baremetrics Blog Post: “I almost sold Baremetrics for $5M” Baremetrics Blog Post: “5 things I learned failing to sell Baremetrics for $5M”
January 28, 2020
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob checks in with Mike Taber’s progress with Bluetick. They talk about his big new customer, traction on the podcast tour, Mike’s outreach to his LinkedIn connections, and more. Items mentioned in this episode: Bluetick.io
January 21, 2020
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob talks with Christopher Gimmer of Snappa, about his journey to making SaaS his full-time income. He details how he stair-stepped his way from small apps and products to 7 figure SaaS. Items mentioned in this episode: MicroConf Baremetrics
January 14, 2020
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob along with Tracy Osborn , answer a number of listener questions on topics including founder hotseats, forgotten subscriptions, two-sided market places and more. Items mentioned in this episode: State of Indie SaaS Report Metcalfe’s Law Stack Overflow GrowthHackers Tracy Osborn
January 7, 2020
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob reflects back on his goals of 2019 and shares some lessons that are broadly applicable to founders/entrepreneurs. He also shares how he “unplugged” from the internet/devices while on a recent vacation with his family and the benefits he experienced. Items mentioned in this episode: MicroConf TinySeed The State of Independent SaaS Report
December 31, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Brian Casel of Audience Ops, answer a number of listener questions on topics including assessing product market fit, finding a mastermind and more. Items mentioned in this episode: Bootstrapped Web Podcast The TMBA Podcast Dynamite Circle Productize Course MastermindJam
December 24, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob talks with Jordan Gal of CartHook about his big move to stop his free trials, move to demos, and increase his prices. Items mentioned in this episode: CartHook Bootstrapped Web Podcast CartHook Pricing Change Blog Post Lincoln Murphy blog post about Qualification
December 17, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob checks in with Mike Taber on his continued progress with Bluetick.  The final conclusion to the Google audit is revealed, and they check in with the .Net component problem, the podcast tour, and more. Items mentioned in this episode: Bluetick
December 13, 2019
Show Notes In this half episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob makes the biggest announcement in MicroConf history and talks about the future of the conference. Items mentioned in this episode: MicroConf
December 12, 2019
Show Notes On this final episode following Craig Hewitt of Castos, Rob checks in to get the results of the “no credit trial” decision, and to see whether or not the move increased conversions.
December 10, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob talks with Brian Casel of Audience Ops, about recovering from a 40% decline in MRR.  They start the story back in 2016 and work through the decline, audience ops rebound, the start of Ops Calendar, and Brian’s decision to learn how to code. Items mentioned in this episode: Bootstrapped Web MicroConf ProcessKit Codementor.io
December 5, 2019
Show Notes This week Craig Hewitt of Castos, feels the pains of a growing team and talks about how his role as a founder must evolve as the team continues to grow.
December 3, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Laura Roeder joins the podcast to answer a number of listener questions on topics including managing annual subscriptions, being a non-developer founder, and more. Items mentioned in this episode: MeetEdgar MicroConf Stripe
November 28, 2019
Show Notes In this week’s episode Craig Hewitt “turns the business on it’s head” by implementing a no credit card trial.
November 26, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob talks with Shai Shechter of RightMessage, about his amazing launch and then finding himself near bankruptcy and how he was able to right the ship. Items mentioned in this episode: RightMessage RightMessage.baremetrics Shai.io MicroConf Europe
November 21, 2019
Show Notes Rob is back with Craig Hewitt of Castos. They talk about learning to delegate more of his responsibilities as a new growth marketer joins the team.
November 19, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob talks with Jane Portman of Userlist. They discuss the struggles of growing slowly, gaining traction in the crowded space, and some of the lessons learned from her first SaaS app. Items mentioned in this episode: Userlist UI Breakfast Podcast
November 14, 2019
Show Notes Rob does another follow up with Crag Hewitt of Castos, they talk about his new hire (growth marketer) and news of a major break-through.
November 12, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob checks in with Mike Taber on his progress with Bluetick. They talk about the finale of the Google audit, a new integration. and trying to find differentiation in the market. Items mentioned in this episode: TinySeed Zapier
November 7, 2019
Show Notes Rob follows up with Craig Hewitt of Castos, as he shares some big news on the podcast
November 5, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike walk you through some of the talks and key takeways from MicroConf Europe 2019. Items mentioned in this episode: MicroConf MicroConf Europe Balsamiq HubSpot picture of an evening reception at MicroConf Europe 2019 at Vala Beach
October 31, 2019
Show Notes Rob continues his conversation with Craig Hewitt of Castos in this week’s episode of “TinySeed Tales”.
October 29, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, the tables have turned as Tracy Osborn interviews Rob about his past year. They talk life after Drip, focusing on the backstory of TinySeed and the ups and downs that have come along since its launch. Items mentioned in this episode: TinySeed TracyOsborn
October 24, 2019
Show Notes Rob starts his new podcast series “TinySeed Tales,” with an interview with Craig Hewitt of Castos.
October 22, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob talks with Adii Pienaar of Conversio, about his life changing exit, when and why he decided to sell, and what the whole process was like. Items mentioned in this episode: Conversio TinySeed Adii.me Discretion Capital
October 17, 2019
Show Notes Rob introduces “TinySeed Tales”, a show that follows one SaaS founder week by week through their struggles, failures, and victories.
October 15, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Craig Hewitt returns to the show to answer a number of listener questions on topics including productized services, podcasting, and more. Items mentioned in this episode: Bean Ninjas Podcast Motor LeadFuze Castos TinySeed
October 8, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob checks in with Mike Taber on his progress with Bluetick. They talk about Mike’s motivation, specifically over the long term , the continuing Google security audit, differentiating from competitors and more. Items mentioned in this episode: MicroConf State of Independent SaaS Survey Bluetick.io
October 1, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob talks with Steli Efti of Close.com, about his highs and lows of the past year as well as a in depth dive into starting your first sales process. Items mentioned in this episode: Close.com MicroConf Europe The Startup Chat Zapier CartHook LeadFuze
September 28, 2019
Show Notes In this half episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob announces the inaugural state of independent SaaS survey. A survey that looks at SaaS benchmarks for non-venture backed companies and how you can participate. Items mentioned in this episode: State of Independent SaaS Survey Rob’s Video setup
September 24, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob does a Founder Hotseat with David Heller of Reimbi, about dealing with his specific issues with enterprise sales. Items mentioned in this episode: Reimbi TinySeed
September 17, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob along with co-host Jeff Epstein, answer a number of listener questions on topics including competing against a giant company, splitting from a co-founder, having enough features and more. Items mentioned in this episode: MicroConf TinySeed
September 10, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob checks in with Mike Taber’s progress on Bluetick. They revisit some topics that were brought up from their last episode together including motivation, personal retreat, accountability, the Google audit and more. Items mentioned in this episode: Bluetick TinySeed Airmail Zapier
September 3, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and co-host Tracy Osborn answer a number of listener questions on topics including funded competition, growing an email newsletter audience, white-labeling and more. Items mentioned in this episode: MicroConf Europe MicroConf APSE.io Build Blockchain Tech UpCounsel Tracy Osborn
August 27, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob interviews Craig Hewitt of Castos, about the unique set of challenges to starting and growing a SaaS product as a non-technical founder. Items mentioned in this episode: RogueStartups TinySeed Podcast Motor Seriously Simple Podcasting  
August 20, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Mike returns to the podcast to give updates on the fate of Bluetick as well as progress updates on his motivation and health. Items mentioned in this episode: BlueTick Seriously Simple Podcasting FounderCafe
August 13, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob answers a number of listener questions on topics including starting a marketplace, marketing channels, resellers and more. Items mentioned in this episode: Kiwi for Gmail TaskTrain RobWalling.com Transcript Rob: Welcome to this week’s episode of Startups for the Rest of Us. I’m your host, Rob Walling. This week I’ll be covering a few listener questions about starting a marketplace, which marketing channels to pursue with the new app, evaluating re-sellers, and why the path from the agency work to SaaS is so hard. This is Startups for the Rest of Us episode 457. Welcome to Startups for the Rest of Us, the podcast that helps developers, designers, and entrepreneurs be awesome at building, launching, and growing startups, whether you’ve built your fifth startup or you’re working on your first. I’m Rob and today I’m going to share my experiences to help you avoid the mistakes I’ve made in the past. I’ve tweaked the intro a little bit today based on suggestion from my 13-year old. He said, “Built your first product or just thinking about it” is too narrow. He says, “Aren’t there people who’ve started their first, second, third, fourth that are still listening?” and I said, “Yeah.” So, tweaked it there. Each week on the show I talk about topics relating to building and growing startups, in order to better your life and improve the world in a small way. In our world of startups, we strive to have a positive impact on other people, be it your customers, your team, your family, yourself. We are ambitious founders, but we’re not willing to sacrifice our life or our health to grow our company. We have many different show formats. Sometimes, we come on and we teach a tactic, talk about philosophies and thoughts of starting startups and growing them. Other times we do interviews, then several of those over the past weeks. We have listener questions which is what we’ll be doing today, founder hot seats, and other things like that. My co-host Mike Taber is on a brief hiatus. I do think he’ll be back in the next few weeks, and we can catch up with him, find out what he’s been doing with the enormous amount of free time he’s had not doing this podcast. Listener questions have been piling up, including a couple of voicemails. Today, I’m going to run through a few of those and give you my thoughts and insights on them. First one is a comment from Adrian Rose Brock, fan of the show a long time, many times a MicroConf attendee, and his comment is about our Gmail clients, and even paste and match style which I was complaining that Mailplane didn’t support. He says, “In the last Startups for the Rest of Us, you were discussing Gmail clients two tips. Number one use Kiwi for your desktop client for Gmail. Amazing client, works really well, has good integration with other G products. Number two, if you need to paste and match style, you do Command+Shift+V on a Mac. It will work in the majority of applications and saves a right click.” Good tips. Thank you, sir. I have not checked out Kiwi yet, but it is definitely on my list. I’ve actually ceased the exploration for a desktop Gmail client for now. I have enough going on and somehow flipping back to doing it in Chrome it’s not bothering me anymore. There was some real performances which I was experiencing and I’m not seeing those any longer. Our next question involves starting a two-sided marketplace and TJ’s asking whether he should charge from day one. TJ: Hey, guys. This is TJ Astro calling. I’m focusing on a startup for artisan makers to get them more exposure. You guys have been a tremendous help to me, and I’m just trying to figure out if I can launch with a charging right away or what I should be doing. My gut instinct is to onboard them for few months. It’s a double-sided marketplace, so the synergy of all of them together as a collective community is where the value will be coming from eventually. My instinct is onboard them, sh
August 6, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob interviews Ruben Gamez of Bidsketch, about his 10 plus years of bootstrapping, lessons learned, improved decision making, and his new product. Items mentioned in this episode: Docsketch FounderCafe ZenFounder AppSumo Transcript Rob: Welcome to this week’s episode of Startups For the Rest of Us. I’m your host, Rob Walling. Each week on the show we cover topics relating to building and growing startups in a way that’s organic and sustainable and that works around your life. We’re ambitious founders, but we don’t sacrifice a life in order to build our startups. These are not the typical Silicon Valley Startups where fundraising can be a goal in itself and where people build slide decks instead of building businesses. In this week’s episode, I have an in depth conversation with Ruben Gamez. We talk about the new app he’s building, Docsketch, in the electronic signature space. But more importantly, we look back at the 10 plus years that he’s been bootstrapping. We look at lessons learned, how he’s learned to make better decisions, how he’s meticulous and disciplined, and how that leads to him being able to make repeatable progress and being able to have repeatable successes. This is Startups For the Rest of Us Episode 456. Welcome to Startups for the Rest of Us, the podcast that helps developers, designers, and entrepreneurs be awesome at building, launching, and growing startups, whether you’ve built your fifth startup or you’re working on your first. I’m Rob. I’m with Ruben Gamez. We’re here to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. The first email I received from Ruben was in January of 2009, which is more than 10 years ago, and he was asking about something I had written up, a few essays about acquiring software products. From there, he and I struck up a friendship. He had been reading my stuff for a while and wound up being one of the first four or five members of the membership website that I launched called The Micropreneur Academy that was teaching software developers, really teaching engineers how to market. This is back in the day just as SaaS was starting to become a thing and Ruben was an early success story. He hustled and as I said in the intro, he was meticulous, disciplined, and just shipped stuff every week, even though he was working a full-time job in “managing managers who manage developers,” as he used to say. What I’ve always respected about Ruben is his analytical nature, but he has the gut instincts of a founder, and he’s someone who you know that no matter what the chips deal him, he is going to succeed at what he’s doing. Today, in the interview, we talk about both his first product which is called Bidsketch and it started as proposal software made for designers, and he later expanded it to creating professional proposals as a horizontal play. We talk about trying to upgrade that from Rails 2.0 to Rails 3.0 and all the technical headaches that went with that in the six months of essentially wasted engineering time. And we talk about his new app that he’s running in tandem and building that in tandem with Bidsketch. It’s called Docsketch and it’s an electronic signature app. We talk about his AppSumo deal and why he decided to do that and his whole thought process of whether to do that or not. We dig into free plans at marketing first before building a whole bunch of stuff. Ruben doesn’t do a ton of interviews. He doesn’t do conference talks, even though I ask him every year to speak at MicroConf. Every time you hear him talk, you will hear someone who’s been doing this a long time, someone who’s had substantial amount of success, and someone who’s really thought through these issues. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to Ruben today about the ups and the downs and the sidewayses of being a bootstrapper for more than 10 years, and I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. So, let’s dive in. Thanks so much join
July 30, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob talks with Tracy Osborn about things she would of done differently during the 9 years she ran WeddingLovely. Items mentioned in this episode: TracyOsborn.com TinySeed Transcript Rob: In this episode of Startups for the Rest of Us, I talk with Tracy Osborn of WeddingLovely about things she would have done differently during the nine years she ran WeddingLovely. This is Startups for the Rest of Us Episode 455. Welcome to Startups for the Rest of Us, a podcast that helps developers, designers, and entrepreneurs be awesome at building, launching, and growing software products, whether you’ve built your first product or you’re just thinking about it. I’m Rob, and today with Tracy Osborn, we’re going to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. Welcome to this week’s episode of Startups for the Rest of Us. On the show, we talk about building startups in an organic sustainable fashion and while we are ambitious founders who want to grow our companies, we don’t do it at the expense of our life. We have many different show formats. Oftentimes, we will talk about tactics and teach things. We answer listener questions. We have some founder hot seats. Today, I’m doing an interview, but it’s more of a conversation with Tracy Osborn, founder of WeddingLovely which she ran from 2010 until late 2018. I believe she actually shut it down technically in early 2019. Tracy and I now work together at TinySeed. She’s the program manager for the accelerator. We’ve known each other for several years now. She spoke at MicroConf in 2016, and I believe that was the first time we met in person. Obviously, we’ve gotten to know each other much better over the past three or four months as we’ve worked together on TinySeed. What I like about Tracy’s story is that it really is a story of high highs and low lows, from teaching herself to code to bootstrapping the company in 2010 and then going through two accelerators—although one of them really didn’t put much money in—winding up going through 500 Startups. WeddingLovely was really hitting on all cylinders and then catastrophic stuff happens. It’s fascinating to hear her thought process of some regrets, things she would have done differently, and other things that didn’t turn out, but she made the best decision she could at the time. I really appreciated Tracy’s honesty and transparency in the interview today. It makes for an interesting story, like several of the guests we’ve had on recently who were able to dig into decisions they made, things they might have done differently, as well as things that they did do right, and the learnings that they took away from running a startup. As a quick background, WeddingLovely was a blog and a wedding marketplace that matched up wedding vendors with couples who were going to be married—the engaged couples. With that bit of background, we’ll take you right into the story. Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoy this interview, I’d really appreciate it if you’d reach out on Twitter. I’m @robwalling and Tracy is @tracymakes. Let’s dive in. Tracy, thanks so much for joining me on the show this week. Tracy: Thanks for having me. Rob: Listeners already have some context about WeddingLovely and how you started it. I want to start by looking at the decision you made to move from bootstrapped to taking $50,000 in funding from 500 Startups. What led to that happening and how did you make that decision? Tracy: That was a really tough decision because before 500 Startups happened, I was fully in the bootstrapped camp. This is 2011 so TinySeed didn’t exist. All these other alternate funding or different paths, they didn’t exist. It was like, “Are you going to do a full funding route or are you going to go bootstrapping?” That was it. There was no mi
July 23, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob does a throwback episode. Almost 9 years to the day Rob and Mike published episode 14 about overcoming fear and taking risks which is a message that is still applicable today. Transcript Rob: Welcome to this week’s episode of Startups for the Rest of Us. I’m your host, Rob Walling. On this show, we talk about building startups in an organic, sustainable fashion, in a way that focuses more on your personal life and your lifestyle rather than focusing on building a billion dollar business. We like to value freedom, purpose, and relationships on the show. You’ll notice that, while my co-host, Mike Taber, is on hiatus, I’ve been experimenting and dabbling in a few different show formats. If you’ve enjoyed the change-up and the focus on improving the podcast quality, including the recent interviews with Laura Roeder and Jeff Epstein, the Q&A sessions I’ve had with Tracy Osborn, Jordan Gal, as well as the hot seat with Matt Wensing, let me know. Reach out questions@startupsfortherestofus.com or you can tweet it out. I appreciate any feedback you can provide. Of course, if you’re able to give a five-star rating in any of the podcast apps you use, it’s much appreciated. Today on the show, I’m doing a different intro because I’m trying something I don’t know we’ve ever done before. It’s to do a throwback episode. What I did is I went back through the archive and I picked out one of the all-time most popular episodes of this podcast. It’s episode 14. It was published July 13th, 2010. It’s almost to the day. It was nine years ago. What’s also interesting is that when this episode went live, my second son was five days old. That’s just an interesting coincidence. Now and again, I go back and listen to old shows. Typically, I don’t go back prior to where they are […] just because it’s so hard to do, but this episode sparked a lot of conversation when it happened and it’s one of those where the content itself holds up pretty well even nine years later. Some funny things I’ve noticed relistening to this episode is we just sound so young and so naive. It’s so impressionable. The intro’s slightly different. I’m going to play the whole episode. There’s a Q&A section at the end. We did a whole episode of content and then two questions that I find are not that interesting, so I’m going to cut those out, but the intro and the outro is slightly different, which I think is funny. The audio quality is not great, but for a 14th episode, for it being 2010, and for use just figuring this out, it’s not so bad, but it’s definitely a lot fuzzier than it is today. As well as the editing. You can hear the editing is really choppy because we didn’t really know what we were doing back then. Now we have a professional editor. And it’s hilarious. My book launch. I talk about my book about to come out. I think I threw out a URL, but this is pre-Start Small Stay Small. Again, I wouldn’t go back to an episode if I didn’t really think the content is still so applicable. This is one of those evergreen timeless episodes that I listen to and still get something out of, and I think that you will, too, because this is about overcoming fear in your own head, whether it’s to launch that first blog post, launch that first podcast episode, launch an app, take a risk, and it just always applies. I find that the conversation is as applicable today as it was then. Even the examples we used are still strong even here in 2019. So, I hope you enjoy revisiting this topic, especially if you weren’t a listener back nine years ago. This is Startups for the Rest of Us episode 14. Welcome to Startups for the Rest of Us, a podcast that helps developers be awesome at launching software products, whether you built your first product or just thinking about it. I’m Rob. Mike: And I’m Mike. Rob: And we’re here to share our experience to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. What’s new this week, Mike? Mike: I
July 16, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob interviews Jeff Epstein, Founder of Ambassador, about building and selling his multi-million dollar startup as a non-technical founder. They dive deep into the details of the acquisition and the toll it took on him. Items mentioned in this episode: TinySeed Ambassador Transcript Rob: In this episode of Startups for the Rest of Us, I talk with Jeff Epstein of Ambassador about how he, as a non-technical founder, built and sold a multi-million dollar SaaS startup. This is Startups for the Rest of Us Episode 453. Welcome to Startups for the Rest of Us, a podcast that helps developers, designers, and entrepreneurs be awesome at building, launching, and growing software products, whether you’ve built your first one or you’re just thinking about it. I’m Rob, and today with Jeff Epstein, we’re here to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. Welcome back to Startups for the Rest of Us. On this show, we talk about building startups in an organic, sustainable fashion that allows you to focus on your personal freedom, purpose, and relationships. We have different show formats and this week, I sit down with an accomplished, impressive founder named Jeff Epstein. I’ve known Jeff for around eight years and watched in awe as he built Ambassador—it’s at getambassador.com—into a $5–$10 million ARR SaaS company, and all the trials, the tribulations, the struggles of what he went through to get there. He exited about seven or eight months ago. What I like about Jeff is that at heart, he’s a bootstrapper. He bootstrapped Ambassador—which was, at the time called Zferral—for a year and he had to pay a developer essentially out of his own pocket. Then he raised a very, very small round between $25,000 and $50,000 just to basically keep the product moving forward. He’s a scrappy founder. He was doing sales calls constantly in the early days, really, a founder who was ambitious. One of the interesting things we dig into today is how he has a kind of what a bootstrapper mindset had to raise funding to keep the company growing and we talked through his decision to do that. We also talked about the toll that the company took on him over the course of this time. He said he didn’t sleep very well, he did feel stress, he put on a lot of weight that this company took a toll on him, and we walk through any regrets he has. It’s really a fascinating story. The latter half of the interview focuses on the acquisition because I find that level setting people’s mindsets of what a real acquisition looks like. The fact that Instagram was supposedly sold in a weekend for a billion dollars is like, (a) we don’t even know if that’s really true or if that’s just kind of a myth and the story around it, and (b) even if it is true, that’s like a once-in-five-year thing or once a year, once a decade, whatever, very, very, very rare. The other thousands and thousands and thousands of companies and startups that are acquired happen much more like what you’ll hear Jeff talk about today. Again, the latter half of the interview focuses on that. Then it’s fun to talk through with Jeff to hear what he’s been doing for the seven months since he was able to leave the company. I always enjoy sitting down talking with Jeff, really enjoyed the conversation and digging into his victories, his struggles, his failures, and everything that came along with it. Oh, and one side note before we dig in, it was an absolute comedy of errors trying to get this recorded so I’m actually impressed that we’re even able to ship it. I was in a Starbucks—which I normally don’t work from coffee shops—I especially don’t record interviews from coffee shops but due to extenuating circumstances, that’s where I was. Fire alarm started going off an hour before the interview then stopped, then went ba
July 9, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Jordan Gal answer a number of listener questions on topics including LinkIn outreach, building features versus fixing bugs and more. Items mentioned in this episode: CartHook UpCounsel Baremetrics Balsamiq Bootstrapped Web Transcript Rob: In this episode of Startups for the Rest of Us, Jordan Gal and I discuss the LinkedIn outreach, how to divide time between new features and fixing bugs, and we answer more listener questions. This is Startups for the Rest of Us episode 452. Welcome to Startups for the Rest of Us, the podcast that helps developers, designers, and entrepreneurs be awesome at building, launching, and growing software products, whether you’ve built your first product or you’re just thinking about it. I’m Rob and today with Jordan, we’re going to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we made. Welcome to this show. Each week, we talk about building startups in an organic, sustainable fashion that allows you to build yourself a better lifestyle, maintain freedom, purpose, and healthy relationships. Some weeks we talk through tactics, other weeks we do interviews⁠, we have founder hot seats, and some weeks we answer your questions. This week, I was very pleased to be able to sit down with Jordan Gal and answer some listener questions. I hope you enjoy this episode. Jordan, thank you so much for joining me on the show today. Jordan: Thanks very much for having me, Rob. It’s post-4th of July Q&A session. I’m excited. Rob: I’m stoked to have you. Folks will know you from Bootstrapped Web and you run CartHook. Before we dive into the questions, I’m curious what your take is on where you’ve come from and where you are with CartHook because CartHook is approaching 30 employees. It’s a fast-growing SaaS app. When you look back a few years ago, I think when you and I first started talking—I angel invested in CartHook for those who don’t know—I think you were like 5K MRR. Jordan: I was going to say way back in the day. Rob: Yeah. It was really early like what? What is that like? Did you pinch yourself? Is it surreal? Did you dream of one day having a SaaS app with 30 people? I can’t imagine what that feels like. Jordan: I think it’s the opposite for me that before this, the struggle was like a nightmare, and this is like, “Oh, this is where I was supposed to be.” That’s how it feels to me. This was the plan and I always telegraphed in my mind, like, “This is how it’s going to feel like when it’s the way it’s supposed to be.” Before that was just this annoying nightmare to go through to finally be like, “There we go. This is how it’s supposed to feel.” Rob: It’s such a trip. As you go through it, it’s these small changes. I remember thinking, “Wow. If I had a team of 10⁠ or whatever, it would just be these huge thing and it would be so bazaar and it would be amazing.” When we got there, it was like this just feels normal now. You didn’t go from 0 to 10. I didn’t go from working alone having 10 people. We just hire them one at a time and you just build the team. Does this feel the same way to get to where you are? Jordan: Yes. It feels incremental. In hindsight, it was fast. We worked from 4 people to 24 and we’re hiring a few now. That happened over the span of two years, I think that’s pretty fast for a 24 in two years. It was incremental along the way, weeks go by, months go by, new people get added. We have that additional element of having two offices, one inPortland, one in Slovenia. I would feel it in Portland when you hire a new employee. All of a sudden you have someone new in your day-to-day life, but we only have 11 people in Portland. Slovenia, I go back every 4 months. Everytime I go back, I have two new people to meet. That was more abrupt changes on the
July 2, 2019
Show Notes In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of US, Rob interview Laura Roeder, Founder and CEO of MeetEdgar. They talk about her fast success with growing MeetEdgar, dealing with platform risks, and the humbling experience with her second venture. Items mentioned in this episode: Laura Roeder.com Customer.io TinySeed Transcript Rob: In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, I talked with Laura Roeder about here uncanny ability to power through roadblocks. This is Startups for the Rest of Us Episode 451. Welcome to Startups For The Rest Of Us, the podcast that helps developers, designers, and entrepreneurs be awesome at building, launching, and growing software products, whether you’ve built your first product or you’re just thinking about it. I’m Rob and today with Laura Roeder, I’m here to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. On this show, we talk about building startups in an organic, sustainable fashion that allows you to build a better life for yourself. Every once in a while, we’ll sit down with an experienced, knowledgeable, founder who has overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, and we learn from that founder. We learn from their experience of growing their startup, of facing the roadblocks and turning them into speedbumps. Today is no exception. I’ve been a longtime fan of Laura Roeder since she started Edgar several years ago. That’s at meetedgar.com. It’s social media management software. Laura grew Edgar to seven figures of annual revenue within the first 12 months. It was one of the fastest bootstrap SaaS growth trajectories I had ever heard of. But in 2017, 2018, Facebook and Twitter, some of the underlying platforms that Edgar relies on really started to pull some shenanigans with their APIs. Edgar ran into some pretty intense turbulence. We dig into that. I had not heard her talk about this experience on a podcast before. Frankly, I wanted to hear what it was like in the inside and how that felt. She talks about the ups and downs of it in a very honest, raw, and transparent way. I really appreciate that about the interview today. The other thing we dig into is she went and started another SaaS app, raised an angel round, and rented some pretty major roadblocks with that early on. It’s fascinating to hear, essentially a third time founder, looking around and realizing, “Wow, this may not work like my other companies did. This may not go as well as my prior startups.” You can hear her thought process in what it was like to experience that in today’s interview. With that, let’s dive in. Laura, thank you so much for joining me on the show today. Laura: Thank you. I’m excited to be here even though we’re going to talk about some tough topics. I’m a little nervous. Rob: I know. We were talking before we got on this call that just like entrepreneurship, is about bumps and bruises; sometimes it’s a speedbump, sometimes it’s a roadblock, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. You’ve certainly had your share with the past few years. Laura: Yes. I’ve had speedbumps and roadblocks. Rob: Yeah, that’s tough. I wanted to start by talking a little bit about Edgar, which is frankly, a widely successful app. I remember that when you launched, I believe, you made it to seven figures within 12 months of launch. It was ridiculous in a great way. I don’t know that I had ever seen a bootstrapped SaaS app hit that level of success that quickly. What do you attribute much of that to? Laura: So much of it is just right place, right time, right brand. When we launched, we were really innovative in the market. Social media, scheduling tools, had been created, but they were literally just like, “Type your tweet in this tool and then hit send.” That was kind of all they did. The innovations that we created within the Edgar when we launched, it was jus
June 25, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of US, Rob does a Founder Hotseat interview with Matt Wensing of SimSaaS. They talk about how to develop a strong cadence of work as a one person company.
June 18, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob along with co-host Tracy Osborn answer a number of listener questions on topics including two side marketplaces, automated testing, building like-minded relationships and more.
June 11, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike talk about the current status of Bluetick. They discuss the Google approval process, external/internal motivations, current roadblocks, and Mike's future with Bluetick.
June 4, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike answer a number of listener questions on topics including pricing and customer development. They also continue to discuss Mike's verification journey with Google.
May 28, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike talk about how to build more successful integrations. They discuss how to approach the different areas of risk including work estimates, API integration, co-marketing opportunities and more.
May 21, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike talk about some of the pitfalls of absolute thinking. Things are rarely black and white, they are more nuanced and on a spectrum. The guys explore the advantages to this approach.
May 14, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike answer a number of listener questions on topics including what are their biggest regrets, how to deal with the loneliness of building a startup, and task management.
May 7, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike answer a number of listener questions on topics including which signals matter, staying on task without external motivation, and how they manage their time.
April 30, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Einar Vollset talk through the different kinds of corporate entities, how they differ, and how they can impact you in the future.
April 23, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike revisit their 2019 goals. The guys check in to see if they are on pace with their 2019 goals and well as discuss some topics including why remote companies grow slower.
April 16, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike talk about the process of putting together a case study and reasons why you would do it. They also share some additional thoughts on this years MicroConf and its future.
April 9, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike talk about their 9 key takeaways from MicroConf 2019. They give a brief synopsis of some of the talks from both starter and growth edition.
April 2, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike have a casual conversation about what's going on with each other recently. Some of the topics they touch on include Dungeons & Dragons, personal computer setups, new ideas for microconf, and Bluetick/TinySeed updates.
March 26, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of US, Rob and Mike answer a number of listener questions on topics including monetizing B2C, selling a small SaaS,and insurance. They also get a update from a past listener's question.
March 19, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike talk about how to respond to customer suggestions. The topic was inspired by a Tweet by Ken Wallace, the guys give six approaches they use to tackle this issue and as well as some additional thoughts.
March 12, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike answer a number of listener questions on topics including the value of startup accelerators, onboarding, liability insurance and more.
March 5, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike talk about what KPI's to look at when launching, key metrics you should track, and what they should be.
February 26, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike answer a number of listener questions on topics including managing emotions, cost of an MVP, taking a business idea and more.
February 19, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike talk about how to indirectly overcome sales objections. Solving the problem of having to answer some of the same questions numerous times, the guys come up with some ways to combat sale objections when you're not in a direct conversation with the potential customer.
February 12, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike answer a number of listener questions on topics including, converting free users to paid, vesting, business ethics and more.
February 5, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike talk about what to look for in a co-founder. They touch on different aspects of evaluating someone for the role including, honesty/integrity, skill-set vs future skill-set, fixed mindset vs. growth and more.
January 29, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob talks with Derrick Reimer about his new product Level. They go through the development timeline as Derrick gives insights on the early access phase, alpha testing, taking pre-orders, and going live with the MVP.
January 22, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike answer a number of listener questions on topics including building relationships with agency partners, selling across different currencies, determining equity splits, and more.
January 15, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike answer a number of listener questions, the topics include scaling a software product, raising prices, and when to use a CRM.
January 8, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike talk about getting started with event tracking. They share some tips and tricks, 3 Core Lifecycle Events, and the purpose/importance for tracking each event.
January 1, 2019
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike talk about how to launch a product into a mature market. They give a definition of what a mature market is, list some examples of established players in different markets, discuss how to tell if you should enter a particular market and how to execute on it.
December 25, 2018
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike make their predictions for 2019. They also look back at their 2018 predictions and rate how they did.
December 18, 2018
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike set their goals for 2019 as well check in and rate how they did for their 2018 goals.
December 11, 2018
In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike answer a number of listener questions on topics including the impact of GDPR, pruning e-mail lists, TinySeed and more.
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