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EXECUTION Progress Thread: SAAS and Beyond

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Brandon B

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Sep 29, 2020
14
16
17
Indiana, US
Hey gang! I’m jumping in. Like many others have done, I'm starting my own progress thread for the purpose of keeping myself accountable, and to help others learn from my journey.
Quite honestly, I’m starting this journey from sort of a down-and-out state of my life. I won’t go into details, but that’s the reality. Here's the plan.

Goals​

  • Build a SAAS (software-as-a-service) “business system” that will set my wife and me free from our day jobs and fund our lifestyle.
  • Pay down unnecessary debts.
  • Take any excess money (beyond our living/lifestyle means) and invest in a "money system."
  • Sell the business system and exit with the money system established...maybe. (If I'm happy with what I'm doing, I might not exit).
  • Live off the money system. Enjoy retirement & donate to causes I believe in.

Plan Details​

Phase 1​

Study up on coding and copywriting. I work in the tech field. I have an education in web development, but my programming skills are rusty and I need to go through a handful of Udemy courses that I have purchased a while back to brush up. I already know "how to code" but I need to hunker down and learn a few concepts a little better.

I also want to go through some of the more famous copywriting sales letters and copy them by hand. Probably the Gary Halbert stuff, and many of the stuff on swiped.co. I remember Jon Benson once said that whatever business you're in, you should devote a large percentage of your time to learning sales copy. I will be doing that.

The programming language that I am most fluent in is JavaScript, all the way from the front into the back end. My bread and butter will be the MERN stack. And of course HTML and CSS. All of this is dependent, of course, on market needs and what the product(s) require.

You can do a heck of a lot with Node these days, and once I combine that with front-end skills it should cover me for what I plan to do. Honestly, I have more work to do in educating myself on dev-ops more than anything else.

I'll start out using PWAs (progressive-web-apps) for the mobile versions of my apps. Not a fan of using the App/Google stores since I lose some control.

Phase 2

Build a couple of practice projects. After going through my Udemy courses I want to build at least one or two practice projects that I will offer for free just to get my feet wet in the SAAS world.

I play the guitar. For quite some time I’ve had an idea to build a practice app for guitar. I will likely use this as a starter project. I’ll market it on guitar forums and then get feedback from users. The goal of this project is to simply develop a full-stack application. It may be something I offer for a fee, but I'll explore that later.

Phase 3

After reaching this point I’ll have to assess the situation further, but as of now, my plan is to develop my MAIN product in this phase. It really just depends on what the needs are in the marketplace, and what gaps I think I can fill. It may mean taking an already existing market and adding a twist. I may use intentional-iteration (II) to develop multiple applications/websites, etc.

I'm very familiar with the thread by @eliquid and have studied it very much.

Phase 4

Possibly sell off business(es) and invest it into a passive money system. This is where “retirement“ comes in. I would be looking at my options at that point, but real-estate is high on my list of investment ideas.

Phase 5

The grand vision. Aside from buying a few toys for myself and probably a vacation home or two, I want to use my money for political causes. I’m almost 40 and I see the direction a lot of things are going in the United States, and I’m not happy about it.

At this point in the game, I would be looking to be a donor to political causes that align with my beliefs to make some change in the world. When I was younger I used to be motivated by the material things in life, but as I get a little bit older I start to see the way things are trending in the world and I am scared for the world my kids and grandkids will have to live in.

Summary​

That’s really about it. I have lofty goals but I believe that I have what it takes to make it work. A criticism of this plan could be that I'm choosing a business model before I find a need. I understand that, but I simply believe that the demand for cloud-based software is not going anywhere. I'm sure finding holes in the marketplace won't be too difficult. If not, I'll just create a Blue Ocean. ;)

I’m going to shoot for weekly updates to this thread to let everyone know how I’m doing. Thanks for reading and I hope you can benefit from my journey as I document it here!
 

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Last edited:

Andreas Thiel

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Aug 27, 2018
315
259
130
40
Karlsruhe, Germany
Interesting. Can't wait to see how this develops.

but I simply believe that the demand for cloud-based software is not going anywhere

I have a hard time finding opportunities. I think my main issue is that B2B always comes with huge sales related expectations that are not easily automated ... and B2C is harder to monetize.

So I think you are right to be wary of the "just put it in an appstore" approach.

Personally I would probably look into taking cues from people who sell information products and try to sell a B2C subscription service - where the app itself is free but you need an account to use it ... which seems to be what you have in mind!?
 

afrankmore

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Nov 5, 2020
30
14
17
35
Central California
Hey gang! I’m jumping in. Like many others have done, I'm starting my own progress thread for the purpose of keeping myself accountable, and to help others learn from my journey.
Quite honestly, I’m starting this journey from sort of a down-and-out state of my life. I won’t go into details, but that’s the reality. Here's the plan.

Goals​

  • Build a SAAS (software-as-a-service) “business system” that will set my wife and me free from our day jobs and fund our lifestyle.
  • Pay down unnecessary debts.
  • Take any excess money (beyond our living/lifestyle means) and invest in a "money system."
  • Sell the business system and exit with the money system established...maybe. (If I'm happy with what I'm doing, I might not exit).
  • Live off the money system. Enjoy retirement & donate to causes I believe in.

Plan Details​

Phase 1​

Study up on coding and copywriting. I work in the tech field. I have an education in web development, but my programming skills are rusty and I need to go through a handful of Udemy courses that I have purchased a while back to brush up. I already know "how to code" but I need to hunker down and learn a few concepts a little better.

I also want to go through some of the more famous copywriting sales letters and copy them by hand. Probably the Gary Halbert stuff, and many of the stuff on swiped.co. I remember Jon Benson once said that whatever business you're in, you should devote a large percentage of your time to learning sales copy. I will be doing that.

The programming language that I am most fluent in is JavaScript, all the way from the front into the back end. My bread and butter will be the MERN stack. And of course HTML and CSS. All of this is dependent, of course, on market needs and what the product(s) require.

You can do a heck of a lot with Node these days, and once I combine that with front-end skills it should cover me for what I plan to do. Honestly, I have more work to do in educating myself on dev-ops more than anything else.

I'll start out using PWAs (progressive-web-apps) for the mobile versions of my apps. Not a fan of using the App/Google stores since I lose some control.

Phase 2

Build a couple of practice projects. After going through my Udemy courses I want to build at least one or two practice projects that I will offer for free just to get my feet wet in the SAAS world.

I play the guitar. For quite some time I’ve had an idea to build a practice app for guitar. I will likely use this as a starter project. I’ll market it on guitar forums and then get feedback from users. The goal of this project is to simply develop a full-stack application. It may be something I offer for a fee, but I'll explore that later.

Phase 3

After reaching this point I’ll have to assess the situation further, but as of now, my plan is to develop my MAIN product in this phase. It really just depends on what the needs are in the marketplace, and what gaps I think I can fill. It may mean taking an already existing market and adding a twist. I may use intentional-iteration (II) to develop multiple applications/websites, etc.

I'm very familiar with the thread by @eliquid and have studied it very much.

Phase 4

Possibly sell off business(es) and invest it into a passive money system. This is where “retirement“ comes in. I would be looking at my options at that point, but real-estate is high on my list of investment ideas.

Phase 5

The grand vision. Aside from buying a few toys for myself and probably a vacation home or two, I want to use my money for political causes. I’m almost 40 and I see the direction a lot of things are going in the United States, and I’m not happy about it.

At this point in the game, I would be looking to be a donor to political causes that align with my beliefs to make some change in the world. When I was younger I used to be motivated by the material things in life, but as I get a little bit older I start to see the way things are trending in the world and I am scared for the world my kids and grandkids will have to live in.

Summary​

That’s really about it. I have lofty goals but I believe that I have what it takes to make it work. A criticism of this plan could be that I'm choosing a business model before I find a need. I understand that, but I simply believe that the demand for cloud-based software is not going anywhere. I'm sure finding holes in the marketplace won't be too difficult. If not, I'll just create a Blue Ocean. ;)

I’m going to shoot for weekly updates to this thread to let everyone know how I’m doing. Thanks for reading and I hope you can benefit from my journey as I document it here!
Very excited to see how this progresses..
 

Brandon B

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Sep 29, 2020
14
16
17
Indiana, US
I have a hard time finding opportunities. I think my main issue is that B2B always comes with huge sales related expectations that are not easily automated ... and B2C is harder to monetize.

So I think you are right to be wary of the "just put it in an appstore" approach.

Personally I would probably look into taking cues from people who sell information products and try to sell a B2C subscription service - where the app itself is free but you need an account to use it ... which seems to be what you have in mind!?
I share many of these thoughts. I won't rule out a content system, or perhaps a "data system" that provides industry insights...I've got some ideas, but nothing serious yet. Not deciding on B2C vs B2B at this stage. I appreciate the advice.
 

Brandon B

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Sep 29, 2020
14
16
17
Indiana, US
Task for the upcoming week: Develop and deploy a dummy "todo" style app, using MERN stack. No authentication yet, just a simple app that persists data. There are plenty of tutorials on the web about how to do this. Will find one of them to follow.

Purpose: Improve my knowledge of dev-ops. To further learn the flow of using Docker and Git and figure out how to deploy an application to production. Also, to boost confidence in myself that I can actually pull off something like this and build an actual SAAS. :)
  • Develop a simple todo app using MERN stack
  • Learn more about Docker (containers, various commands, Docker files, etc)
  • Push it live to Digital Ocean or Heroku, and possibly other cloud platforms. This is the biggest learning task for me at this point.
  • Post again here when finished. Shooting for 1 week to accomplish this. 11-29-2020.
Onward I go!
 

Brandon B

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Sep 29, 2020
14
16
17
Indiana, US
I just deployed the first version of the small project I spoke about in the previous post. I don’t quite have all the functionality that I originally discussed, but I got something up, live, and deployed! That was my only goal for this little mini-project ... to boost confidence, learn some dev ops, and just get something deployed.

I didn't bother buying a domain for this yet, since it's about learning right now. It's a VPS I spun up at Digital Ocean. Had to spend a couple of hours setting it up and getting my workflow down, but I think I got the flow worked out.

Check it out if you want. It's nothing fancy. It’s a simple to-do list application that uses local storage in your browser. Nobody else will see items if you add a task, including me, to add items. It does not persist data to any server or database yet, but I'll be working on rounding out the application this week.

Here it is: To Do List App

I'm also excited about the fact I can add it to my home screen on my iPhone and it works as a PWA.

Despite the application is so simple, I gained a major boost in confidence by just getting this thing up live. It wasn’t about making the next Facebook or Twitter. It was just about getting something out there live to the world, to give me the confidence to push forward.

I’m going to call this version 0.0.1. I’ve been reading up on semantic versioning as well, trying to learn that too.

I’d like to build on this application and get used to making updates and deploying updates. I’m trying to get the workflow down that I need to eventually deploy something bigger.

As I’ve mentioned in my first post, dev-ops was one of the major things I wanted to brush up on, and I am accomplishing that task so I consider this little app a success.

Future tasks for this application​


As I mentioned, I’m not using all of the features that I originally wanted to use. I wanted to develop a full stack MERN application Instead I’ve just developed a tiny single page application that doesn’t make any API calls. Here are the features I’d like to add to this app for practice over the next week.

  • Add a local database. I could use a cloud server but since I’m a fast lane and all, I’m all about control. I want to keep that data on my server for now.
  • Email notifications sent to me when anyone interacts with my application. Just for the learning experience.
  • Improve on using React as a front-end framework. I have used react before but I’ve never built anything with any significant size with the application. I want to learn it as my go-to framework for front end work.
  • Tying the backend with the front-end, API/AJAX requests within React.

When this is complete I’ll call this project done and move onto the guitar practice application I discussed in my first post.

That’s it for now. It's almost 3 am, and I have work tomorrow :zzz:. I will update again when I’ve built out some more functionality to this app that I’ve mentioned already.

P.S. Here's a recent YouTube video that I watched and found inspiring.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCRMzMnAb40

P.P.S. After reading through this post I can see that my grammar and phrasing are not the greatest. I was pretty sleepy and some of the text came from my dictation. I apologize for any sloppy wording and grammar.
 
Last edited:

Andreas Thiel

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Aug 27, 2018
315
259
130
40
Karlsruhe, Germany
Oh, guess I misunderstood your plans for week 1. Thought you just wanted to work on the topics you mentioned, not that you wanted to accomplish all of them in one week :happy:.

Good job. Definitely a good start.

We know about your MERN stack ... but what are your dev-ops plans?

Only setting up the MERN stack itself? Securing the server? CD/CI as well? Cuncurrent version management for your code? Docker? Are you thinking about scalability at this point, or do you save that for later?

Don't really know much about PWAs. What did you have to do to get it to work as one?

Btw, I don't think the way you think about the commandment of control is all that healthy in this context.
If there are reasons to use a cloud service (AWS, GCE, Heroku, OpenShift) you can probably go for it with little risk.
The main reason I see for self hosting is the better learning experience and potentially saving money.
You would need to rely on very exotic features of those providers to give up control in a way that prevents you from moving to another provider. Not sure if such features even exist and you'd just have to be aware of the pitfall to avoid it.
 

Brandon B

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Sep 29, 2020
14
16
17
Indiana, US
Oh, guess I misunderstood your plans for week 1. Thought you just wanted to work on the topics you mentioned, not that you wanted to accomplish all of them in one week :happy:.

Good job. Definitely a good start.

We know about your MERN stack ... but what are your dev-ops plans?

Only setting up the MERN stack itself? Securing the server? CD/CI as well? Cuncurrent version management for your code? Docker? Are you thinking about scalability at this point, or do you save that for later?

Don't really know much about PWAs. What did you have to do to get it to work as one?

Btw, I don't think the way you think about the commandment of control is all that healthy in this context.
If there are reasons to use a cloud service (AWS, GCE, Heroku, OpenShift) you can probably go for it with little risk.
The main reason I see for self hosting is the better learning experience and potentially saving money.
You would need to rely on very exotic features of those providers to give up control in a way that prevents you from moving to another provider. Not sure if such features even exist and you'd just have to be aware of the pitfall to avoid it.
In these early days, I basically just wanted to launch something. Something tiny, so I could get in the groove of deploying, updating, and adding features. I want to get that workflow in my tool bag to give me the confidence that I can do it again on bigger projects. That is all I’m focusing on at this point. Basically I’m creating a playground server/app to test on.

Your points are taken about the control over the data. I realize that a decent size application will probably require 3rd party hosting. Scale isn’t the first thing on my mind as much as deployment workflow.

Trying to become intimately familiar with bash, git, version control, logging, cron jobs, email, etc. My day job is working with Windows, so I’m trying to get used to Linux. I have various experience with Linux over the years but I need to round it out a bit.

About the PWAs. The Facebook package create-react-app comes with that baked in, and that’s what I used for development on this. I have more to learn about them but it’s basically a way to gain native functionality with service workers. You add a shortcut to the site to your home screen on your phone, and it behaves somewhat like a normal app. Pretty cool.
 
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