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EXECUTION Get Rich or Die Trying in SAAS Land

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Silverfox148

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Hey Y'all, My introduction is Here.

I'm creating this thread to keep myself accountable foremost, it's good to have people to sound off on, as I haven't been talking about my business ideas in person, as it's for the most part met with passive aggressive hostility or surprise which then turns to some type of jealousy even from loved ones.

Problem/Solution
My plan is to create a SAAS(software as a service) offering, that targets small businesses, it can be as low as 1 operator/employee to 100+ employees, I want to target this offering at small businesses rather than mega businesses as I this will give me more opportunity to sell/fail. The SAAS will provide them with solutions to their scheduling/best business processes/invoicing/customer self service solutions to their specific problems faced in each area, the software will be tailored towards that specific line of business, but I will design/architect it to perhaps be expandable to other lines of businesses using the skeleton.

Learning Goals
I also want to use this project as a learning experience for myself on the sales front/legal structuring front(LLC vs S Corp vs C Corp), expenses/depreciation, setting up accounts, insurance, etc. as well as other fronts because this is my first businesses. This does not need to be a home run but rather a process for me to learn either way, from its failure or its success.This is my first true entreprenurial venture.

Technology Stack - I'm going to stick with a LAMP stack

Development Resources
- I'm a pretty advanced talented developer so I will be developing this myself, I have already started on the development, I've been programming large scale ERP systems for huge companies so this is different. I've been learning PHP and brushing up on HTML/CSS and encryption as well as database design and implementation. This has been fun. If need be I can rustle up other programmers from my own circles to polish things up but managing them for now is not the best use of my time perhaps after MVP and I have some sales.

Funding/Finances -
Haven't needed money so far, did buy a newer MacBook to code exclusively on but this has been my only expense, I can self fund if more is needed.

Sales/Marketing
- I have been interested in sales for a few years but haven't had any opportunities to sell a product, I would like to do sales for this product if possible. Cold calling/showing up in person/presentations that type of stuff. I am good at relationships and will
talk to strangers but this is an area of interest to me. When I get to the point of Marketing I may outsource that depending on how busy I am, this area is not of big interest to me.

Conclusion:
So far that's what I have, my plan is to have a quality MVP(Minimum Viable Product) before going out and selling this, I want to have the MVP finished in 1.5 months from now. I plan to cold call or in person sell at the business establishments. I will also be offering this for free to the first 5-10 businesses I can get to sign up.

Anyway this is what I have so far, I will use this thread to keep me accountable, logging my progress and hours worked as well as the challenges and successes I have. I have a 9-5 job, so this is extra credit, I'm part of the 5AM club and that helps free up my evenings for working on this.

Stick around and take the ride to freedom with , heck if you are an aspiring programmer/developer you may even learn something, as I am a pretty talented teacher/explainer of this stuff!
 

NMdad

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What's the specific problem your SAAS solves, and for whom?

Do NOT spend any time on building an MVP unless you've gotten at least soft validation from your target market. Otherwise, you're wasting time on something no one wants.
 

Silverfox148

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What's the specific problem your SAAS solves, and for whom?

Do NOT spend any time on building an MVP unless you've gotten at least soft validation from your target market. Otherwise, you're wasting time on something no one wants.

NMdad,

The solution will an all in one SAAS solution for small service businesses which have routes(cleaning, route management, is equipment management, scheduling, invoicing, etc). There are already many proven products on the market but I believe I can add value in this area given my plans of allowing the SAAS to interface with customers via the SAAS, and eventually mobile Apps also(IOS, Android) which some of the competitor products lack. This is also a proof of concept for a software development company I am setting up, so even if it's not successful in its intended purpose it can be used as an example of work for the consulting company.

Any more feedback you can add is appreciated as this is my first go around at this.
 

Silverfox148

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If you need any direction, a good start would be here:

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

Thanks Vigilante, I read a large majority of this thread and it was the reason I chose to go with the LAMP stack even though I had never done PHP, and had much more experience with things like JSP, UI5, .Net, Cold Fusion, etc.

I've been teaching myself PHP which at first was a little tedious but now I'm starting to like the lightness of it. I have a question for you, do you use any RDS(Rapid Development Solutions) type solutions or do just simply code everything from scratch? Vigilante thanks for the SAAS thread as it added value to my thoughts and directions around my effort.

I've done this in the past for a SAAS like product that I built as an employee, but here I think a good RDS could help save me much time.
 
D

Deleted50669

Guest
Hey Y'all, My introduction is Here.

I'm creating this thread to keep myself accountable foremost, it's good to have people to sound off on, as I haven't been talking about my business ideas in person, as it's for the most part met with passive aggressive hostility or surprise which then turns to some type of jealousy even from loved ones.

Problem/Solution
My plan is to create a SAAS(software as a service) offering, that targets small businesses, it can be as low as 1 operator/employee to 100+ employees, I want to target this offering at small businesses rather than mega businesses as I this will give me more opportunity to sell/fail. The SAAS will provide them with solutions to their scheduling/best business processes/invoicing/customer self service solutions to their specific problems faced in each area, the software will be tailored towards that specific line of business, but I will design/architect it to perhaps be expandable to other lines of businesses using the skeleton.

Learning Goals
I also want to use this project as a learning experience for myself on the sales front/legal structuring front(LLC vs S Corp vs C Corp), expenses/depreciation, setting up accounts, insurance, etc. as well as other fronts because this is my first businesses. This does not need to be a home run but rather a process for me to learn either way, from its failure or its success.This is my first true entreprenurial venture.

Technology Stack - I'm going to stick with a LAMP stack

Development Resources
- I'm a pretty advanced talented developer so I will be developing this myself, I have already started on the development, I've been programming large scale ERP systems for huge companies so this is different. I've been learning PHP and brushing up on HTML/CSS and encryption as well as database design and implementation. This has been fun. If need be I can rustle up other programmers from my own circles to polish things up but managing them for now is not the best use of my time perhaps after MVP and I have some sales.

Funding/Finances -
Haven't needed money so far, did buy a newer MacBook to code exclusively on but this has been my only expense, I can self fund if more is needed.

Sales/Marketing
- I have been interested in sales for a few years but haven't had any opportunities to sell a product, I would like to do sales for this product if possible. Cold calling/showing up in person/presentations that type of stuff. I am good at relationships and will
talk to strangers but this is an area of interest to me. When I get to the point of Marketing I may outsource that depending on how busy I am, this area is not of big interest to me.

Conclusion:
So far that's what I have, my plan is to have a quality MVP(Minimum Viable Product) before going out and selling this, I want to have the MVP finished in 1.5 months from now. I plan to cold call or in person sell at the business establishments. I will also be offering this for free to the first 5-10 businesses I can get to sign up.

Anyway this is what I have so far, I will use this thread to keep me accountable, logging my progress and hours worked as well as the challenges and successes I have. I have a 9-5 job, so this is extra credit, I'm part of the 5AM club and that helps free up my evenings for working on this.

Stick around and take the ride to freedom with , heck if you are an aspiring programmer/developer you may even learn something, as I am a pretty talented teacher/explainer of this stuff!

I am impressed with your 1.5 month MVP deadline. I'm currently building a node app set to release in early June, and I started it in October (granted with zero programming knowledge). I look forward to seeing where your process goes!
 

Silverfox148

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I am impressed with your 1.5 month MVP deadline. I'm currently building a node app set to release in early June, and I started it in October (granted with zero programming knowledge). I look forward to seeing where your process goes!

If I could devote 100% time towards it , I might crank it out in 2-3 weeks , but I have to settle for around 4 hours of work a day given my other commitments. This however is the area I am most excited about these days. A drawback for me is that in my career I like to deliver quality polished solutions that have every angle covered but there somebody was paying me, here we don't have that luxury as we need to get it out to market as soon as possible to test the concept, that mindset is going to cause issues as here speed is key.

Zero programming is tough, but it can be done as you are showing. Normally it takes new college graduates in programming, 3-4 years to find their programming legs and some never actually do in the corporate environment. It took me around 1-2 years before I could really begin adding true value at my first job so you are actually ahead of the curve. It's very simple to do a "Hello World" in any language, but once you get into actually creating something of value it turns into another world of pain.
 

Rabby

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I'll echo the idea that you may want to run your hypothesis by someone in the target customer group. A few quick conversations at least (if you haven't already). You might have some kind of validation information (the best kind is money, but after that comes enthusiasm and reaching for the check book) and we don't know it. If so, good :)

Would you still build it if 5/5 you surveyed said, "I hate interacting with customers, I don' wanna." Or otherwise rejected the feature you think helps them?

Likewise, would you feel more certain in the Dark Night of the Soul if 3/5 were enthusiastic about the feature, and some are calling to ask if they can buy it yet? It's worth talking to people early, if you have a chance... and it only takes a few minutes. You can still spend time coding.

Likewise likewise, what if they say, "I don't need that, but we're all fed up with xyz system because it doesn't w!"

That said, if it's really only 1.5 months, the risk is lower than in many cases. I've seen people spend years building things nobody wants in the end. I've also... built things nobody wanted :inpain:
 
D

Deleted50669

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If I could devote 100% time towards it , I might crank it out in 2-3 weeks , but I have to settle for around 4 hours of work a day given my other commitments. This however is the area I am most excited about these days. A drawback for me is that in my career I like to deliver quality polished solutions that have every angle covered but there somebody was paying me, here we don't have that luxury as we need to get it out to market as soon as possible to test the concept, that mindset is going to cause issues as here speed is key.

Zero programming is tough, but it can be done as you are showing. Normally it takes new college graduates in programming, 3-4 years to find their programming legs and some never actually do in the corporate environment. It took me around 1-2 years before I could really begin adding true value at my first job so you are actually ahead of the curve. It's very simple to do a "Hello World" in any language, but once you get into actually creating something of value it turns into another world of pain.
Yep, pain about sums it up lol. You get to a point where tutorials, books, and even StackOverflow can’t help you. But I’m excited to see how it goes. I’m going through user testing at the moment, then I’ll have to tune it up.
 

Silverfox148

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Action: Filed for my LLC and paid the fees yesterday, I thought it would be more complicated. It doesn't really mean anything yet until I can get contracts with customers.

Decision: I filed it because I have chosen to put the SAAS stuff on the back burner and focus on consulting and getting customers that way, I am confident that with cold calling/cold approaches I can get technology contracts from small businesses.

Catalyst:
I am about 30% done with Unscripted , and I realized I was action faking as MJ put it, it was going to be a buffer for me from taking real action, there are no buffers to me selling consulting services as I am deeply familiar with technology and can assemble a team if needed, I am also ethical and honest and will deliver in this area, in other words no excuses.

I'll keep y'all updated.
 

Castillo

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Thanks Vigilante, I read a large majority of this thread and it was the reason I chose to go with the LAMP stack even though I had never done PHP, and had much more experience with things like JSP, UI5, .Net, Cold Fusion, etc.

I've been teaching myself PHP which at first was a little tedious but now I'm starting to like the lightness of it. I have a question for you, do you use any RDS(Rapid Development Solutions) type solutions or do just simply code everything from scratch? Vigilante thanks for the SAAS thread as it added value to my thoughts and directions around my effort.

I've done this in the past for a SAAS like product that I built as an employee, but here I think a good RDS could help save me much time.

Btw this was @eliquid and not Vigilante :)
 

Silverfox148

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Coming back to this thread to hold myself accountable, I started this in April and my last post in April was pretty much the extent of it. I completely failed on this, this year.

I see looking back in hindsight I was nowhere near committed when I wrote this stuff in April. I've kept working on myself and my mindset and practicing taking action in small steps in other areas and it's a world of difference. Action faking is real, and at the end of the day if you want to be successful in anything complex you have to be deeply committed to the very core.

It's interesting now I realize that in order to hit the desired goals you have to be 100% committed in your core. I learned some valuable lessons.
 

James Klymus

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Coming back to this thread to hold myself accountable, I started this in April and my last post in April was pretty much the extent of it. I completely failed on this, this year.

I see looking back in hindsight I was nowhere near committed when I wrote this stuff in April. I've kept working on myself and my mindset and practicing taking action in small steps in other areas and it's a world of difference. Action faking is real, and at the end of the day if you want to be successful in anything complex you have to be deeply committed to the very core.

It's interesting now I realize that in order to hit the desired goals you have to be 100% committed in your core. I learned some valuable lessons.

The self awareness is impressive. I think you'll be successful with the lessons you learned from your failure.
 

Clueless Newbie

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@Silverfox148, is there anyway you can reduce the scope from "scheduling/best business processes/invoicing/customer" to may be one thing and get out an MVP out after a couple of weeks?

One thing I noticed is that it's really hard to deliver on big projects but if the scope is little, then it's much easier to deliver.

I work at Amazon AWS and what we do here is to get out a service with bare-bones out as fast as possible. Then hope users complain about it. It is considered a huge success if customers use and complain about the service. This means it is important to them and we are in the right track to make am amazing product for the customer.

Can't you do something similar. May be ship out an MVP for scheduling and see if people sign up. It will have to be for a certain nitche in one of those areas (scheduling/best business processes/invoicing/customer). Making something for 1 employee to 100+ employees seem like a bad idea for a single person to do. This will require lots of coding.
 

Silverfox148

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Dang, been awhile since I've updated this thread, more than a year to be exact. Just goes to show you, we have all these ideas and at the end of the day it's all bullshit for the most part, something has to click inside you to get stuff done.

Dropped the SAAS idea, have decided to start a learn how to code school based upon how successful I have been at teaching coding to new college hires in my corporate career, more of a teacher at heart anyway.

Created a simple Wordpress site and will create a separate execution thread for my new venture.

 

Nick T

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Dang, been awhile since I've updated this thread, more than a year to be exact. Just goes to show you, we have all these ideas and at the end of the day it's all bullshit for the most part, something has to click inside you to get stuff done.

Dropped the SAAS idea, have decided to start a learn how to code school based upon how successful I have been at teaching coding to new college hires in my corporate career, more of a teacher at heart anyway.

Created a simple Wordpress site and will create a separate execution thread for my new venture.



Reminds me of a quote from George Bernard Shaw...

‘Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.’

You are teaching people to code yet you are using a free WordPress site... that's not even rocking an SSL in 2020... Hopefully you are not teaching them how to run a secure website or do SEO... as its a forced implementation.

Not trying to hate on your dreams, but if you put that kind of care into your teaching you won't be doing that long either.

Best of luck
 
Last edited:

lwg8tr0514

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Dang, been awhile since I've updated this thread, more than a year to be exact. Just goes to show you, we have all these ideas and at the end of the day it's all bullshit for the most part, something has to click inside you to get stuff done.

Dropped the SAAS idea, have decided to start a learn how to code school based upon how successful I have been at teaching coding to new college hires in my corporate career, more of a teacher at heart anyway.

Created a simple Wordpress site and will create a separate execution thread for my new venture.

As someone who is knowledgeable in this arena the advice here was rough but honest. If you are building a better mousetrap you better make sure you have a market for people who have a revulsion to mice. SAAS offering..nothing wrong with them but has been said here what need did you seek to fill? Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics etc are all SAAS based offerings with billions and 1000's of people developing and evolving the product. You were not David vs Goliath but Godzilla vs An Ant. What you can do is learn skills like Trailhead on Salesforce or like me learn the Microsoft stack and do Dynamics CRM A good Salesforce\Dynamics consultant can make up to $200+ per hour. How you like them apples? You can also get paid handsomely while learning. Yes, take a Slowlane gig where you get paid 100k+ to learn and get proficient. I am thinking of moving more in arbitraging SAAS offerings. Meaning I function as PM and Architect and I hire offshore guys and take 50% of their hourly. I estimate with good business development I can get 10000 hours billing yearly at me making like $80-100 per hour of that. ALL without coding a line and with support contracts and new business could be a real money maker. Not easy work, but like CENTS\Fastlane you have a need and people willing to pay big money for it(magnitude and scale). Not sexy like being a Real Estate bigshot or an Amazon tycoon, but you can scale up to a million-dollar business. "Good money" as MJ says that you can leverage to great money.
 

Silverfox148

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As someone who is knowledgeable in this arena the advice here was rough but honest. If you are building a better mousetrap you better make sure you have a market for people who have a revulsion to mice. SAAS offering..nothing wrong with them but has been said here what need did you seek to fill? Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics etc are all SAAS based offerings with billions and 1000's of people developing and evolving the product. You were not David vs Goliath but Godzilla vs An Ant. What you can do is learn skills like Trailhead on Salesforce or like me learn the Microsoft stack and do Dynamics CRM A good Salesforce\Dynamics consultant can make up to $200+ per hour. How you like them apples? You can also get paid handsomely while learning. Yes, take a Slowlane gig where you get paid 100k+ to learn and get proficient. I am thinking of moving more in arbitraging SAAS offerings. Meaning I function as PM and Architect and I hire offshore guys and take 50% of their hourly. I estimate with good business development I can get 10000 hours billing yearly at me making like $80-100 per hour of that. ALL without coding a line and with support contracts and new business could be a real money maker. Not easy work, but like CENTS\Fastlane you have a need and people willing to pay big money for it(magnitude and scale). Not sexy like being a Real Estate bigshot or an Amazon tycoon, but you can scale up to a million-dollar business. "Good money" as MJ says that you can leverage to great money.

100% Gold Advice, I agree to be upfront I didn't pursue the SAAS idea all that hard wrote some code, understood the tech stack I was going to use, followed the idea for a few weeks and got the beginnings of an MVP and dropped it, my gut feeling was that I was on the wrong path with the idea and dropped it and I 100% believe I was right.

Consulting and software development arbitrage as you point out is a better road to follow and that's what I am setting myself up for. I am no longer interested in building a software dev product, I would rather leverage my knowledge and use it to invest in other areas such as real estate, physical inflation hedges, etc.
 

roguehillbilly

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100% Gold Advice, I agree to be upfront I didn't pursue the SAAS idea all that hard wrote some code, understood the tech stack I was going to use, followed the idea for a few weeks and got the beginnings of an MVP and dropped it, my gut feeling was that I was on the wrong path with the idea and dropped it and I 100% believe I was right.

Consulting and software development arbitrage as you point out is a better road to follow and that's what I am setting myself up for. I am no longer interested in building a software dev product, I would rather leverage my knowledge and use it to invest in other areas such as real estate, physical inflation hedges, etc.
Sorry to hear it didn't work out. The option is still there for you though. I really like the outsourcing option and I seem to remember seeing a thread on here about it -- anyone have a link?
 

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