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GOLD! Ask Me Anything About SaaS ( I'm building my 7th )

404profound

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Ok, so a couple of ways to do this.

For one, I would ban usage of any free email account used to sign up. That would restrict a lot of users that say they are with copmany X, but truely are not potentially. Most, if not all, real corporations will have a domain they use for email. Most real employees won't be using a free email address for their company.

Not that leaves just someone from company Y pretending they are company X.

There are services to help with this too, where you monitor the IP of the user and backtrack who owns that IP. It's not a fool proof way to verify, but it can cut down issues if you used a "layered" approach to drilling down who is who. Clearbit is one such company that can generally tell you, based on IP, what corporation owns/uses the IP the user signed up with. Of note, this would probably work OK with large companies like LinkedIn and Google, but not small companies.

Past that, you could verify the company name on the credit card used to pay and a few other possible small tweaks. Again, all in an effort to keep layering solutions before narrowing down to manually calling and verifying people.

.
Awesome, I will definitely integrate this in the authentication plan. Thank you for the detailed insight!
 

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eliquid

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Ok, so a couple of ways to do this.

For one, I would ban usage of any free email account used to sign up. That would restrict a lot of users that say they are with company X, but truely are not potentially. Most, if not all, real corporations will have a domain they use for email. Most real employees won't be using a free email address for their company.

Now that leaves just someone from company Y pretending they are company X.

There are services to help with this too, where you monitor the IP of the user and backtrack who owns that IP. It's not a fool proof way to verify, but it can cut down issues if you used a "layered" approach to drilling down who is who. Clearbit is one such company that can generally tell you, based on IP, what corporation owns/uses the IP the user signed up with. Of note, this would probably work OK with large companies like LinkedIn and Google, but not small companies.

Past that, you could verify the company name on the credit card used to pay and a few other possible small tweaks. Again, all in an effort to keep layering solutions before narrowing down to manually calling and verifying people.

.
You could also integrate LinkedIn.

Services like Intercom will take a users email and pull up their twitter profile, linkedin profile, etc. Im not saying to use Intercom, I am just saying there is tech out there ( like ClearBit ) that can pull this up for you, for use.

Now in your CRM, you could look at signups and check out their social profiles ( Twitter and LinkedIn ) and see if they actually work at that company. It's not 100% foolproof of course, but I highly doubt someone goes through the trouble of making a fake twitter and fake linkedIn just to use your service.

If they did, well they are going to end up figuring out a way to use it anyway in the future ( like paying someone at company X to get access ).

.
 

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...

The problem with those tools is, they don't really give you 100% of all the RAW data.

You might get some graphs and funnels and nice charts, etc. But I want the RAW data. Like a CSV dump of what that user did. You can't get that really.
...

.
What granularity of raw data do you normally want to log?
 

eliquid

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What granularity of raw data do you normally want to log?
I typically start with timestamp and page URL ( can be tricky if you use ajax or pages where URLs don't update ). From there is grows depending on certain things.

For example, I might have a couple actions on certain pages that I can't determine unless I record button or click actions that DONT change the URL.

Example:
If someone is on the USER SETTINGS page ( I know this via the URL ) and then they jump to the SUBSCRIPTIONS page, I know they did this via a link from the USER SETTINGS page. How? Because my USER SETTINGS page has a link to the SUBSCRIPTIONS page. I don't really need to log anything about that. Pretty Simple. Unless you know the URL by heart, you are clicking over so this is pretty easy to know and understand.

However, if someone is on the USER SETTINGS page and then they update their name and credit card, that doesn't generate a new URL, so I need to start tracking button clicks or form updates now. This is when I need to think about whats on that page and what I want to track on that specific page that I can use later. I could log everything on that page, but I sit here and think, "do I really need to track them updating their name or email" - most of the time that answer is going to be no. So I end up not tracking it with the system.

But lets pretend they are on the SUBSCRIPTIONS page instead. They go there and they look at the prices and features of the subscriptions they could enroll in or change over to ( upgrade or downgrade ). This doesn't generate a new URL for me ( if they look them over and click to view more ) so I ask myself if this action ( recording it ) would be valuable and if I really need to track that. The answer is YES, because this could be someone wanting to CHURN possibly, but it could also be someone wanting to upgrade to a higher plan and I need to gently send them an email or in-app message about why they should upgrade ( via automated marketing ).

How granular you get really depends on how your system is setup and what actions happen on those specific pages.

Anything that even remotely touches on revenue ( churn or upgrades, etc ) always gets looked at first and designed out first, then you start working through other things like -
  • Wow, the last time this user logged in was 9 months ago, what's the problem?

  • This user just signed up 3 days ago and spends a ton of time on this one page/URL/feature, are they stuck?

  • This user is hitting a URL they have no permission to be visiting, how did that happen? Where were they before this URL?

You could get really deep in the rabbit hole here if you wanted. But I tend to find each case is different. However, I think things that deal with revenue, support, and onboarding should be the first things tackled and looked over. From there, its going to get really custom.

.
 

404profound

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You could also integrate LinkedIn.

Services like Intercom will take a users email and pull up their twitter profile, linkedin profile, etc. Im not saying to use Intercom, I am just saying there is tech out there ( like ClearBit ) that can pull this up for you, for use.

Now in your CRM, you could look at signups and check out their social profiles ( Twitter and LinkedIn ) and see if they actually work at that company. It's not 100% foolproof of course, but I highly doubt someone goes through the trouble of making a fake twitter and fake linkedIn just to use your service.

If they did, well they are going to end up figuring out a way to use it anyway in the future ( like paying someone at company X to get access ).

.
I thought of another strategy. Can you email the prospective user a link to create a profile, but not expose the link on the public interface? The only risk would be if the user shared the link with someone, but idk why they would do that.
 

KennyAronson

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First, I want to thank you kindly for sharing your experience.

Second, I was wondering if I could ask your advice on a few things.

This past year I have really gotten into entrepreneurship. I have learned a ton about marketing, sales, copywriting, product design, and a little bit of web development.

I have an idea for a SaaS which could solve a huge problem in the higher educational system which I want to sell to instructors, course creators online, and students.

This idea would essentially deliver messages from instructors to students on a periodic basis. I would like it to come in the form of a mobile application users could simply log into.

I have experience in materials engineering and education, analytical skills, and a small amount of python programming, but I haven't yet created a mobile application.

With your expertise I was wondering what advice you would give for the following questions:
  • What platform or framework would you recommend for the creation of this application?
  • What are the first steps I should take?
  • What resources or tools should I use to learn what I need to learn?
  • Anything else you wish to add based on what I have said?

Thanks and I can't wait to read your answer. :smile2:
 

eliquid

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I thought of another strategy. Can you email the prospective user a link to create a profile, but not expose the link on the public interface? The only risk would be if the user shared the link with someone, but idk why they would do that.
You could
 

eliquid

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First, I want to thank you kindly for sharing your experience.

Second, I was wondering if I could ask your advice on a few things.

This past year I have really gotten into entrepreneurship. I have learned a ton about marketing, sales, copywriting, product design, and a little bit of web development.

I have an idea for a SaaS which could solve a huge problem in the higher educational system which I want to sell to instructors, course creators online, and students.

This idea would essentially deliver messages from instructors to students on a periodic basis. I would like it to come in the form of a mobile application users could simply log into.

I have experience in materials engineering and education, analytical skills, and a small amount of python programming, but I haven't yet created a mobile application.

With your expertise I was wondering what advice you would give for the following questions:
  • What platform or framework would you recommend for the creation of this application?
  • What are the first steps I should take?
  • What resources or tools should I use to learn what I need to learn?
  • Anything else you wish to add based on what I have said?

Thanks and I can't wait to read your answer. :smile2:

I havent done a ton in mobile, so I am at a disadvantage to give you a lot of info on it.

However, if you know python already.. I would stick with that for now to build it out as a MVP and then figure out how to turn that python into a mobile app. PHP has Zend studio for that, and lots of 3rd party software can turn Json and HTML into a mobile app for you.

But the important thing is to start with what you know to get it to MVP ASAP.

As far as first steps, is this something you have good authority and knowledge in? How are you going to sell this? It's not the instructors or students ( who you mentioned ) who will buy this, but mostly likely the schools themselves. Have you talked to and identified the the right key decision makers at the universities and colleges to get their feedback and interest level in something like this? If not, why not?

You are going to have to sell the key people at the Uni's on using this, which will trickle down to the professors and students as a benefit.

Get an MVP going, line up key people at the colleges and universities, pitch them, and then listen to what they say afterward before you go any further to make sure you should spend time on this.

.
 

LeoistheSun

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First, I want to thank you kindly for sharing your experience.

Second, I was wondering if I could ask your advice on a few things.

This past year I have really gotten into entrepreneurship. I have learned a ton about marketing, sales, copywriting, product design, and a little bit of web development.

I have an idea for a SaaS which could solve a huge problem in the higher educational system which I want to sell to instructors, course creators online, and students.

This idea would essentially deliver messages from instructors to students on a periodic basis. I would like it to come in the form of a mobile application users could simply log into.

I have experience in materials engineering and education, analytical skills, and a small amount of python programming, but I haven't yet created a mobile application.

With your expertise I was wondering what advice you would give for the following questions:
  • What platform or framework would you recommend for the creation of this application?
  • What are the first steps I should take?
  • What resources or tools should I use to learn what I need to learn?
  • Anything else you wish to add based on what I have said?

Thanks and I can't wait to read your answer. :smile2:
I would actually walk in-person to local schools. Probably after school is out (3p) or before (8a). All the emails also should be public, so that makes your life 100% easier.
 

Solid Snake

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Hi @eliquid, great read ITT.

The product I am looking at making has decent competition so far, but the subsector itself will grow at a CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of 38%+ from 2019-2025. So I conclude that there is still room for more players, and a lot of changes in dynamics still to capitalize on.

I do not have domain experience in the field I am interested in, but my father works in one of the niches in the submarket I would be selling to. The question is, how can I identify unique "gaps" or inefficiencies that other companies have not placed their focus on? Or is this just a matter of choosing an "angle", as you stated earlier?

So in that case, I would need to do competitive analysis, and then find which angle the competitors haven't chosen, correct?

I am planning to do a thorough discovery session phase with my father and will use the following as a template to follow: https://clearbridgemobile.com/the-step-by-step-guide-to-product-discovery/

Any tips in differentiating myself and finding unique angles? Best regards.
 
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eliquid

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Hi @eliquid, great read ITT.

The product I am looking at making has decent competition so far, but the subsector itself will grow at a CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of 38%+ from 2019-2025. So I conclude that there is still room for more players, and a lot of changes in dynamics still to capitalize on.

I do not have domain experience in the field I am interested in, but my father works in one of the niches in the submarket I would be selling to. The question is, how can I identify unique "gaps" or inefficiencies that other companies have not placed their focus on? Or is this just a matter of choosing an "angle", as you stated earlier?

So in that case, I would need to do competitive analysis, and then find which angle the competitors haven't chosen, correct?

I am planning to do a thorough discovery session phase with my father and will use the following as a template to follow: https://clearbridgemobile.com/the-step-by-step-guide-to-product-discovery/

Any tips in differentiating myself and finding unique angles? Best regards.
Sorry I missed this. It's been a combination of me being on vacation and not checking in on the forum much the last month or 2.

By far the best way to find the gaps and the unique angles and USP is to have domain authority.

I am not saying you have to have it to sell and make money, but having it makes a ton of difference in helping you.

Without knowing the market really well on your own, I feel there is no real way to discover this unless you have a lot of people around you, that do have domain authority that you can lean in on.

Thanks
Jason
 

adiakritos

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I'm doing your process. I bought the other tests you suggested and I took the enneagram and 16 personalities tests. I also took the Tony Robbins DISC profile test. I'm going to track my results over the next month and take the tests three times a week so I should have 12 sets of 3 tests to go off of.

I'll add in the other test that should be coming in the mail soon as soon as I get it.

Also definitely want to get a very clear, objective awareness of what my REAL values are so I'm not just a reed in the wind.

So far, my life has revolved around studying, working a programming job, and then again working at home on my business doing more programming and talking to people through the internet. I got a coach with the Tony Robbins company for a year, and my coach uses my DISC profile to coach me. She seems to know me quite well by using the profile. She knows how to speak to the things I care about. (This confirms your theory on how you can use these assessments to create ads Eliquid).
 

Adrien Msx

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Hi @eliquid !

I'm an owner of a SaaS which works pretty good. I developed it on my own (code and marketing) and now I kind of have "rich" problems...

I'm not good on the server part. So, my question is where did you host your software to be able to scale infinitely (1000 users to 100 000 users without having troubles)? AWS? Dedicated server?

Or maybe you only made desktop software?
 

eliquid

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Hi @eliquid !

I'm an owner of a SaaS which works pretty good. I developed it on my own (code and marketing) and now I kind of have "rich" problems...

I'm not good on the server part. So, my question is where did you host your software to be able to scale infinitely (1000 users to 100 000 users without having troubles)? AWS? Dedicated server?

Or maybe you only made desktop software?
Congrats on the success.

To answer your question:
  • Multiple VPS's at Linode.
  • A couple at Digital Ocean

.
 

Elbert Dockery

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Thank you everyone who is participating in this via answers and questions. Both are helpful. My questions are:

  • How do you offer upsells with a SAAS company?
  • When is a good time to sell for a nice valuation? What processes are needed to be put in place to reduce fees during the M&A?
  • SAAS multiplier is about 3-5x?
  • When building your website how did you/would you incorporate a iOS and android version while still remaining on a subscription service or would that be another pricing model?
 

brief

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What's your approach on building a SaaS product? How do you balance your own (creative) feature ideas and the needs of customers? What's the ratio here?

Thanks!
 

eliquid

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What's your approach on building a SaaS product? How do you balance your own (creative) feature ideas and the needs of customers? What's the ratio here?

Thanks!
So throughout this thread in multiple places I talk about domain authority. That's the whole basis to the answer I would give you here for approach on building and also the features ( mine vs customers ).

I build a lot of my own features first for 2 reasons:
1. One, I have domain authority and use my own product. Thus I am one of my own target customers.
2. I think Henry Ford said 2 things.. "If I would have gave customers what they wanted, it would have been faster horses", and "You can have any color as long as it's black". Even if he didn't say it, someone did and I live by that because of #1 above.

I do listen to the market though. If I see people churning or not using specific features in the SaaS ( or asking about features ), I will build it in when I can obtain that info.

However, first building it out.. it's largely everything I want and plan. Once built and people are in though, it becomes what they want based off that. Kinda like tweaking to their needs. But the core functions were something I needed/wanted first.

.
 

eliquid

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Thank you everyone who is participating in this via answers and questions. Both are helpful. My questions are:

  • How do you offer upsells with a SAAS company?
  • When is a good time to sell for a nice valuation? What processes are needed to be put in place to reduce fees during the M&A?
  • SAAS multiplier is about 3-5x?
  • When building your website how did you/would you incorporate a iOS and android version while still remaining on a subscription service or would that be another pricing model?
1. Upsells could be many things. One could be different plans. Base plans don't contain XYZ, but higher plan do. Upsell that in your customer journey. You can also offer services like data retention, white labeling, concierge service, api, etc as an upsell if you want. However I tend to offer "everything" for a price ( all options ) and then move people up in plans based on "usage" limits.

2. I don't know about this. I don't build to sell out. I build for cash flow and the option to be later handed off to others full-time while I build another cash flowing SaaS and rinse and repeat mainly. So I am not the best to ask this. My goal would be to be an absentee owner in each SaaS and taking the cash flow from each. Not to sell any of them. At least not unless it was a substantial amount done in cash and I would then be 100% removed from it.

3. See above, but I typically think it is higher based on SaaS listings I have seen sell before at broker sites. I could be wrong since I don't plan to sell and thus can not really speak about this. I am just going off what I have seen on broker sites.

4. If your service and audience can use an app, by all means include it in WITH your price. If you don't, a competitor will. My SaaS didn't really lend itself to an app because of how our data is and graphs are made, but if your's lends itself to that then by all means include it with the pricing, not with new pricing. Give your users the option to use the app and web-based for the same pricing.

.
 

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awestbro

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Hey eliquid! Thanks for all the information here, it's been an informative read.

I'm launching my SaaS product in the next couple months and was looking for advice on metrics/ goal tracking. I've traditionally used Google Analytics on other projects but more and more people are using adblockers so that data seems less reliable. I'm looking at backend data collection tools and wondered if you had any experience with third party services that do this, or if you roll your own. Right now I'm looking at Keen – customer-facing Metrics but would love to hear about more.

Also what other third party integrations do you recommend over the "build it yourself" approach? I like controlling everything in my system but I'm learning to let go in favor of speed :).

Third party integrations I have so far:
- Email - Mailgun
- Payments - Stripe
 

eliquid

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Hey eliquid! Thanks for all the information here, it's been an informative read.

I'm launching my SaaS product in the next couple months and was looking for advice on metrics/ goal tracking. I've traditionally used Google Analytics on other projects but more and more people are using adblockers so that data seems less reliable. I'm looking at backend data collection tools and wondered if you had any experience with third party services that do this, or if you roll your own. Right now I'm looking at Keen – customer-facing Metrics but would love to hear about more.

Also what other third party integrations do you recommend over the "build it yourself" approach? I like controlling everything in my system but I'm learning to let go in favor of speed :).

Third party integrations I have so far:
- Email - Mailgun
- Payments - Stripe
So a lot of things we set up years ago we had to do by hand.

Really not that many solutions around back then. Some were, but they were more complicated then today's solutions.

So with that, we didn't want to use solutions from Google ( because of privacy ) or first generation platforms ( because of bugs or complicated solutions ).

We ended up rolling a solution with Matomo which use to be called PiWik for most of our analytics.

On the backend, we rolled our own based on signals from Stripe and ChartMogul ( you could use Baremetrics too ).

We also integrate in with Amazon SES and Amazon S3.

We have a dashboard that compares with things like Keen actually we made on our own. Could be a possible SaaS in the future. But that's how we roll.

.
 
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awestbro

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I've never heard of Matamo, thanks for the recommendation! I may end up having to roll some of my own solutions to display metrics to users anyway, but for application wide analytics this looks great.

I'll also probably drop Mailgun in favor of SES. If you incorporate with Stripe Atlas they actually give you $5k in AWS credit over 2 years so that'll help save on operating cost for a little while.
 
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@eliquid forgive me if you've addressed this earlier in the thread, but I am nearing completion of my app (I never thought I'd say that). Do you recommend a time range for pre-launch marketing? I know it isn't best practice to just release an app with no build up.
 

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@404profound

I generally only do a couple weeks of pre-launch. A couple times I've done 0.

Since I stay in the same niche, I can afford to since I have a staple of customers I can hit at any time.

For anyone else, I would say you may need a couple months to do proper pre-launch.

.
 

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@404profound

I generally only do a couple weeks of pre-launch. A couple times I've done 0.

Since I stay in the same niche, I can afford to since I have a staple of customers I can hit at any time.

For anyone else, I would say you may need a couple months to do proper pre-launch.

.
Interesting, thanks for replying.
 

eliquid

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Anyone seen these new european regulations ( they actually been around for a few months now, but the deadline is approaching soon ) for billing?

We are having to redo a lot of our code to update to the new guidelines.

Which means that potentially many of our european customers will have to reactivate their subscription to us manually.

Always be on the look out for "what could go wrong" and make sure you stay up-to-date with 3rd parties in your industry. They pass a lot of valuable info that could impact you down the road.

If you use 3rd parties for anything ( Paypal, Stripe, AWS, anything ), make sure you are sub'd to their emails. Don't skip it or throw them in the trash. You never know what you might miss out on that is important.

.
 

eliquid

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Have you tried ScalablePath/xTeam/Digitalogy for finding developers? Where would you recommend to find someone competent + agile?
I haven't used them and I would be the worst person to give you an answer to finding competent developers because I rarely find them.

In my experience, it comes down to word of mouth really on finding the good ones.

Sorry I could not be of more help.

One thing I use to do was hire a bunch at once for a small task. I'm talking sub $100 tasks. Really small stuff. I'd give them very detailed instructions and tell them to email me daily.

Whoever doesn't email me daily, or does not follow directions or complete.. I would fire and keep who was left, which was typically out of 20 people.. maybe 1 if you were lucky.
 

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@eliquid - Thanks for the great info!

Had the idea to create a SaaS business to solve an issue we are dealing with at a large Marketing Agency I work for. I saw work in the M&A Finance field previously and thought hey why aren't we using something similiar.

Background, I work as digital Marketer (Search Marketing) at a large agency and used to work in Investment banking.

Issue: Inefficiencies created by the ever growing technicality with launching marketing assets.

I have thought of a solution based on what I saw work in the Finance Industry (although the pain point & security issue is less of a factor) I believe if done right can really help boost efficiency in Marketing agencies and for their clients/vendors.

Question: What are the first steps you would recommend getting this started (validation, creation, etc)? Considering I have zero coding background.
 

eliquid

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@Bitz As first steps go, I would say validation is done.

Why?

You have domain expertise ( you've worked and seen this working in the Finance field and now you see this need over in Marketing where you work now ) and you see the real life need where you are at now.

Basically, scratching your own itch ( at the Marketing agency ).

I'd go ahead and start on the creation and coding and get it to a base product that can be used by your marketing agency.

What's the worse that can happen? You build it and it works great and your company promotes you? Maybe they buy it from you? Either way, even if it is not a public SaaS you benefit potentially in other areas as a first step.

.
 

Bitz

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@Bitz As first steps go, I would say validation is done.

Why?

You have domain expertise ( you've worked and seen this working in the Finance field and now you see this need over in Marketing where you work now ) and you see the real life need where you are at now.

Basically, scratching your own itch ( at the Marketing agency ).

I'd go ahead and start on the creation and coding and get it to a base product that can be used by your marketing agency.

What's the worse that can happen? You build it and it works great and your company promotes you? Maybe they buy it from you? Either way, even if it is not a public SaaS you benefit potentially in other areas as a first step.

.
@eliquid

Very true, you make a valid point. the upside seems to significantly out way the down side.

As someone who has never built a Saas platform or coding platform would you have any recommendations on mistakes to avoid considering I could learn to build the base product myself? Or is it a viable path to work with a programmer to help design a platform?
 

eliquid

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Hard to say. How fast do you want this to go live?

If soon, you will need to work with a developer for sure.

If you can wait a year or 2, then I would say go for it yourself.

As far as mistakes to avoid:

1. Code in 1 language. Don't get distracted and think you need to do part of it in PHP, part of it in Ruby, part in Go, part in Rust, etc.

2. Always be thinking about the future. What if X person signs up and needs Y? What if this API provider goes bust in 6 months? etc. I am NOT saying you need to code that expectation in now, but at least be thinking about it and now it so that when it does happen, it isn't a surprise and by then you would have thought your way around itand can code in a solution quickly when needed.

3. Don't forget to backup. Have a backup for your backup.

4. People will NOT read anything. This includes your onboarding and directions on how to use the app/saas. They won't watch videos either. So this means your interface has to act natural and flow natural. Your interface is critical and needs to be even better than the actual code you write.

5. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just needs to solve a problem well.

6. Don't get emotional. You're building something with your hands out of thin air so you will get attached to it. When someone else says something negative or bashes it, just remember they are not you and didn't create it and they are not bashing you personally.
 

Bitz

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Hard to say. How fast do you want this to go live?

If soon, you will need to work with a developer for sure.

If you can wait a year or 2, then I would say go for it yourself.

As far as mistakes to avoid:

1. Code in 1 language. Don't get distracted and think you need to do part of it in PHP, part of it in Ruby, part in Go, part in Rust, etc.

2. Always be thinking about the future. What if X person signs up and needs Y? What if this API provider goes bust in 6 months? etc. I am NOT saying you need to code that expectation in now, but at least be thinking about it and now it so that when it does happen, it isn't a surprise and by then you would have thought your way around itand can code in a solution quickly when needed.

3. Don't forget to backup. Have a backup for your backup.

4. People will NOT read anything. This includes your onboarding and directions on how to use the app/saas. They won't watch videos either. So this means your interface has to act natural and flow natural. Your interface is critical and needs to be even better than the actual code you write.

5. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just needs to solve a problem well.

6. Don't get emotional. You're building something with your hands out of thin air so you will get attached to it. When someone else says something negative or bashes it, just remember they are not you and didn't create it and they are not bashing you personally.
Great tips, Thanks @eliquid

I will keep you posted on the progress. What I have seen work in the M&A Finance industry is a good base. However, I would like to make it uniquely useful for Marketing Agencies. Currently, I am contacting a bunch of other marketing agencies to discuss what inefficiencies they are dealing with. If I get answers that similar to what I have seen in the agencies I have been at than it will confirm my assumptions and I have a good idea where to start.

To be continued...
 

NMdad

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Apologies if something like this was already asked. I'm building a SAAS with a colleague who's doing most of the development; I'm doing ~20% of the development, plus all the client management, & the clients will pay me (after which, I'll pay my colleague per our split agreement). So we're essentially partners, splitting IP ownership & revenue.

How do you handle code respositories and ownership splits/partnerships? Does 1 party have sole control of the repository, or does each owner/partner have access to a separate & duplicate code repository?
 

eliquid

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@NMdad Both partners should have access to one code repository.

However, one of your should have the responsibility of it.

What tends to happen is both have access and both want responsibility, but situations arise where a conflict ( of code or strategy ) arises and neither will want to budge, causing a stalemate.

This is where the one with the responsibility of it will be able to determine the final outcome and help it move forward. Although both of you will have access.

As an example... both of you could have access to your Twitter account or your Adwords account. But only one of you is the main responsible one for all of marketing. You both have access and you both have different viewpoints of what you should be tweeting this month or setup of the Adwords account. One of you is going to have to prevent the stalemate that might come up by being responsible ( or in charge of ) for marketing and pushing it forward to prevent a stalemate. The other will have to give way. But you both have access to it anytime.

Does that make sense?

In your case since he is doing most of the dev ( you mentioned you are doing 20% ), you both should have access to the single code repo, but he should be the one responsible for it and managing it. But that should not exclude you away from access or changes to it. You will just have to run things through him since he will be managing it and responsible for it. He would get final say on stalemates for dev stuff.

When it comes to client management though, he should have access to the CRM, but he would need to run things by you for changes since you manage it and are the responsible one for it. You would get final say on stalemates for client issues.

.
 

eliquid

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Apologies if something like this was already asked. I'm building a SAAS with a colleague who's doing most of the development; I'm doing ~20% of the development, plus all the client management, & the clients will pay me (after which, I'll pay my colleague per our split agreement). So we're essentially partners, splitting IP ownership & revenue.

How do you handle code respositories and ownership splits/partnerships? Does 1 party have sole control of the repository, or does each owner/partner have access to a separate & duplicate code repository?
If I missed the point and you mean like, ownership for legality reasons ( if you separate ), I would for sure have a copy of the repo for myself in the background. He should too.

But if you just mean while you are working together... you should be using 1 repo that you both have access to.

Making a backup repo for legality reasons is pretty easy and can be done. I would advise it just in case but not actually working from it during the partnership.
 

NMdad

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Correct, it's mostly for legality reasons. Some background: I've been consulting for clients who use a specialized ERP for 12 years, and a couple of my long-time clients independently asked me to build a SAAS to solve a problem--so, same functionality for both clients, and I've talked to other clients who are also interested.

Without me, my developer has an extremely high barrier to enter the niche market, but I could in theory work with any developer who knows PHP & MySQL & can connect to a SQL Server premise-based database (the 20% of the code I contribute is on the SQL Server premise-based database).

So, I'm controlling the client relationships/communication & payments. My developer wants to maintain control of the source code as an enforcement mechanism of our agreement. We've known each other for several years & have mutual trust, but he's seen partnership agreements go south where people have been shafted, so he wants some protection.
 

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