Build Your SaaS – bootstrapping in 2019 on Smash Notes

Build Your SaaS – bootstrapping in 2019 podcast.

December 28, 2019

Can you bootstrap a profitable startup in 2019? 37signals did it in 2004, and since then thousands of entrepreneurs, developers, designers, and product people have tried to launch their own web apps. But with so many venture-backed startups now, is it still possible? Follow Jon and Justin as they build & launch their new product: Transistor.fm.



Recently updated notes

Which is better: B2C or B2B? When should you walk away from a sale? How do you make difficult decisions?

Updated on August 15

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One of our competitors was acquired; what does that mean for us?

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What happens when your SaaS grows 300% over the quarantine?

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Resisting oppression and resisting being an oppressor

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A quick update from Justin

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Will we still be supporting Internet Explorer in a decade?

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Simon is quitting his job and going full-time on SnapShooter

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What do you do when a competitor steals from you?

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Catching up with the real-life stuff that's going on

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Josh Pigford sees a lot of SaaS revenue analytics; what's he seeing that we're not?

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"This is like unveiling Banksy."

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We're still in it

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Waking up to the coronavirus

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Chatting with Marie Poulin, Oki Doki

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"Sorry for the delay"

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Michele and Mathias started their company with a hope for a better future

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"Everybody needs to build a website for Uncle Larry"

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Should you rebuild your app?

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What do you worry about when you own a software company?

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You need to get out of town

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"In our universe, the parts that people pay for is interesting."

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A chat with Nathan Baschez (Substack, Gimlet, Product Hunt)

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Don't optimize for the horse you're riding if you're riding the wrong horse

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Advice for new software founders going into 2020

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Predictions for 2020

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Some unpopular opinions on bootstrapping

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Should you be an "open startup?"

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What happens when you get a bug before bedtime

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First commit was six months ago!!!

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What does Jon think of Tailwind CSS?

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Wrestling with capitalism, SSO, and our spending

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Are we flailing now that our first cycle has ended?

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"All of these eyeballs are giving me anxiety."

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A lot of business owners have a hard time sleeping; what can be done about it?

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No safety nets – there's going to be some injuries

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We've started our 6-week dev cycle.

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Also: will paid podcast feeds be a thing?

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Do you feel it?

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How could we enjoy the journey more?

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Two peanut butter banana sandwiches at 2am

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Lots of feedback on our last episode with Jason Fried

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Should we delete our backlog? Also: it's our 1-year launchiversary!

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Justin visits Spotify, Chartable, and many others. Jon found an office!

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We want to improve the app, but we're stuck fixing bugs!

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Jon had a bit of anxiety about a growing backlog of new features and ideas.

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Also: tips for working on your own.

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Jon makes an overdue announcement about the future of Transistor.

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Bootstrapping, starting a software company, getting traction, finding cofounders?

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How we're going to use investment to fuel Transistor's growth

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Also: we were wrong about our target market.

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Transistor's launch has felt different than other products we've been involved with

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How do you prioritize with limited resources?

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Software engineer? Marketing? Product person?

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Should we aggressively go after the market?

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Would you take $5 million?

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We visit Oregon to answer some big questions about our business.

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Ben Orenstein, Jordan Gal, Patrick Campbell, and I discuss SaaS pricing

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How Taylor earns a living from a free, open-source PHP framework called Laravel

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I phoned up Spencer Fry, founder of Podia

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When should you take a salary from your startup?

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What happens when your app breaks on a Sunday

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Also: have you signed up for your app with your own credit card?

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Startup Kung-Fu, enterprise customers, status page, podcasting docs

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Jon ran into a famous podcasting man

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And, our accountant might be a socialist ;)

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Justin is worried about bandwidth costs and Jon is worried about getting hit by a bus.

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The CEO of Chartable calls up Justin to talk about bootstrapping and podcasting

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It's a struggle when you're bootstrapping, but you're not yet full-time. Also: Spotify buying Gimlet for $200 million?

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Want more paying subscribers? More Twitter followers? More podcast listeners?

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Are your SaaS competitors keeping you up at night?

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Looking for ideas on how to promote your software product?

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Why we're not drinking booze this year, and some new year's predictions for tech, podcasting, and startups

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There are different tiers of customers: B2C, B2B, B2Enterprise. Which is right for you?

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Justin is interviewed by Harry Duran on the Podcast Junkies show.

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Jon is tired from all the Black Friday madness. Justin is drinking flavored light beer.

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Justin answers listener questions on founder equity splits and more!

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Ideas on why you should podcast, and how you can use your podcast to reach your goals

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Bootstrappers are extending their runway with a new type of funding.

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Jon and Justin consider a new early-stage fund called Earnest Capital

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It's easy to get carried away with the "you gotta spend money to make money" meme.

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Nostalgia! Jon and Justin talk about their "tech origin stories."

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Want to hear a crazy story? Here's a crazy story.

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Follow-up on "what's the best metric for a new web app?"

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When you're building a SaaS, you don't have the bandwidth to focus on everything. So what's the one thing you should focus on?

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Making software in public – how big is your market?

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Responses from Des Traynor, Jason Cohen, Natalie Nagele, on the Bootstrapper's Paradox.

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To make our customers successful we have to help them create entertaining audio. Is that even possible?

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Also: should you ask for credit card upfront? How many signups have we had since launch?

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Still overwhelmed from their launch week hustle, Jon and Justin recorded a phone call to talk about their experience.

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We're 7 days away from the launch of Transistor. Justin is reflecting on bootstrapping.

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A change of plans. And, Jon and Justin go over their launch strategy for Transistor.

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After last week's cliffhanger ending, here's the follow-up. What's going to happen next with Transistor?

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Is the honeymoon over? Jon and Justin talk about what's not working with their new startup.

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Next week: Justin and Jon have a hard conversation about startup funding.

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Ben Orenstein, Derrick Reimer, and Justin Jackson discuss anxiety, increasing app usage, and tricks for building anticipation.

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We asked Patrick Campbell (Price Intelligently) and Rob Walling (Drip) to help us with our pricing tiers.

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Justin shares a phone call he had with Nathan, the founder of ConvertKit.

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Jon and Justin try to decide how much to charge for Transistor.

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Jon and Justin debate the pros and cons of being a "transparent startup."

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Don't waste time and money building something people don't want!

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Justin shares with Jon what he's learning at MicroConf, a conference for self-funded startups.

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We both work full-time. Here's how we find time to work on Transistor.fm.

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Money: how to get it (and how we spend it).

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How to communicate (and make decisions) with your co-founder.

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How do you know what product idea to pursue?

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Why we’re using Ruby on Rails in 2018, and Justin's hilarious live chat experience.

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When you're running a web app, there are worries that keep you up at night.

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Jon and Justin answer the question: how is Transistor.fm going to compete in the crowded podcasting market?

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When building a SaaS, going alone is a tough road. But finding someone to work with can be intimidating as well. Jon and Justin talk about how they found each other, the steps they took to safeguard each other in business, and making sure they're in alignment as they try to build and launch Transistor.fm.

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In 2004, 37signals started an indie SaaS revolution when they launched Basecamp and Ruby on Rails. But can you still succeed with something new?

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