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Progress Thread SaaSify

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by LeoistheSun, Oct 18, 2017.

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  1. LeoistheSun
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    LeoistheSun Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Heres my journey to building a money-tree of my own.

    ***
    I got into SaaS about 6 weeks ago. I've got a heavy IT background (no programming XP) so it's not difficult to get into.

    I've been calling lots of businesses, approx 500 now and spoke with 27 people. The niche I've chosen isn't panning out like I'd thought. Not enough painful problems, or ones that can be fixed fairly easily.

    Building a SaaS is no easy task. It's no wonder theirs no training material anywhere for it. That's a good thing! I wouldn't want thousands of people piling on like they did with Facebook Ad's and "own your own marketing company!"

    The (n-E-c-s-t) ENTRY is quite frankly massive, so that's a good thing! Takes a lot of hustle, calling, talking, going in circles and frustrations to get anywhere- and I'm just getting started!

    A little background on myself: I started a SaaS some months ago, that I thought was a good idea. The problem was, was that I didn't know who wanted it. So I decided to start over and find a need first.

    So I'm calling... lots and lots of people.

    Sidenote: I am in the pre-selling phase with a small program.

    That's all for now.
     
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  2. LeoistheSun
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    LeoistheSun Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Slow going but going nonetheless.

    I haven't set a concrete goal, so I am going to do that now.

    Long-Term: 100 paying customers @ $50/mo.
    Short-Term: Discover a problem that people NEED to be solved, that is present with 10% or more of the people I cold-call.

    How do you discover those needs? By asking the right questions.

    I've learned that you will only get those answers if you ask the right questions and dig deeper than what people tell you. Zone in on the actual problem. It's not always what the person says it is.

    Example Questions:
    • "Are you procrastinating doing anything at this moment?"
    • "In the last week/month did you stay after work to work or work at home after work?"
    • "Do you use MS Excel? What do you use it for?"
    Questions like these help identify pain points for software or anything really. I had a conversation with a lady a week ago and the idea I got was for a book on how to persuade people to take care of their pet's health.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
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  3. LeoistheSun
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    I figure I'd detail my exploits for the day over a cold beer.

    Today was well, okay. Ups and downs galore. One minute your second-guessing yourself, another minute, you're having a meaningful conversation even though it's not really going nowhere.

    Today, I pretty much decided not to call any more Social Workers. This was my niche, and I felt it would be empowering to help those who truly help other people. I set up RVM (Ringless Voicemail) to call some of the cell #'s that I had got and left them a message about what I was doing.

    I got about 4-6 calls today from that- out of 60-ish #s. Not too bad I suppose. Most didn't really go anywhere since what you do varies so much as a Social Worker. I had one lady who helped Homeless Vets and another who helped disabled people. I don't remember the rest.

    Rule No 1: Don't pick a niche that is so varied.
    Rule No 2: Don't pick an idea that potentially has to deal with HIPAA. It will likely cost a fortune.
    Rule No 3: Don't pick Govt. unless your okay with selling something that may take a lot of "approvals" from people. You won't be able to sell your SaaS through a Facebook Ad.

    Indecision, Indecision... Who should I call now? Where should I go? Being persistent is the first step to being successful, but it may take time to validate that your idea or hunch was correct- and your persistence paid off. My hunch was Real-Estate Appraisal. Something I used to do awhile ago (all I remember was SPREADSHEETS!!) and BPO's.

    So I called a couple people. Didn't get anywhere. Still, I called more.

    Rule No 4: Finding a niche should not be like pulling teeth. People should be eager to speak with you.

    I called another a man with a very deep voice answered. Immediately I thought I was going to get a "no not interested", but nope... he turned out to be very friendly and talked and talked and talked.

    You never really know who you'll meet. I had a lady who thought I was a scammer- yet I asked for no personal details... hmm yeah... okay.

    Peace.
     
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    I hate cold calling.

    I outsourced it to someone with lots of experience for $50 from Fiverr.

    I asked him to ask 10 people 1 question. "What do you find to be the most frustrating thing about X".

    From there I've been able to work out that in my niche people are frustrated with the cost of doing X, and not having the time or skills to do X.

    So I'll create my product around solving those 2-3 main problems that kept popping up.

    There is a course or content on how to build apps - Dane Maxwell's Foundation. Other than his course... not so sure. It is a tough niche to enter.

    All the best to ya.
     
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  5. LeoistheSun
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    LeoistheSun Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Wh
    What niche is difficult to enter? I managed to find a PDF of The Foundation and am Re-Engineering it from there?
     
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    Erhm the whole "SaaS" niche. :p But I guess difficult is all relative.
     
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  7. LeoistheSun
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    LeoistheSun Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Satisfies the commandment of Entry! I can't think of one thing that wasn't difficult and yet was really worth it.

    On another note:

    I'll be meeting with a client today to discuss making some software for her. If I remember correctly, it will save her anywhere from 1hr/day to a week. Since she gets paid ~$125/hr that is $500-$2000/mo. It will take approx ~$300 to $500 to build. It's a simple calculator too!

    If she buys today and loves what I deliver, then I will possibly try to sell to others. However, in her niche (Veterinarians), the Veterinarians are SUPER HARD to get ahold of. That is the major barrier that I face.

    The current rendition of the software is a 1-time fee. I was thinking of turning it into a monthly $50/mo. SaaS- but it would require additional coding and some kind of Authentication Server to allow the program to run. It's a Windows program and not web-based.

    In this particular post, theirs a bit of wishful thinking, but I thought I'd add a bit to it.

    The program I made a mockup for is like a widget. It's something that's supposed to save time off a certain EMR program. I thought it might be difficult to sell since it was a shot in the dark to find people with this program (that might also have the issue that the widget fixes), but I just found their forum and it lists business names and states of the users on the forum...Bingo!

    Theirs over 6,000 users! Which is great! If I call them all and manage to snag 1% of them @ $50/mo = $3k. Increasing 3k for every % sold.

    So that's pretty cool!
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
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    There's more than 1 way to reach veterinarians.

    You could put together a 1-2 page brochure explaining their problem, your proposition and how you'll save them money & time.

    Then ask them to send you a sms to have a chat with you or contact you via e-mail or something.

    You could also target them via Facebook ads (if you know how to do that sort of stuff).

    You could also take out an ad in one of the magazines that only a veterinarian would read and get people to get in touch with you that way.

    Point is, there is more than 1 way to get in touch with people.
     
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    I can appreciate cold calling various industries for information, that takes balls and commitment, but it seems like a waste of time almost. You're also only talking to a few people a day and each of them may have different opinions or pain points even if they are in the same industry. Talking to people also eats up a lot of time. I would try to validate a need outside of cold calling, but that's just me.

    Also, veterinarians from my experience in online marketing anyway, are cheapo's....although for an in-house software program they may be willing to pay a little bit, especially just $50 mo.

    $50 a month is not a lot and you're going to need a good number of vets or whatever industry it is to sign up. I wouldn't offer a saas to a business for less than 99...but probably more along the lines of 2-300 a month. Once you get the first vet to sign on + agree to a new system, use that as leverage for any other vet you talk to...along with the benefits they are seeing with it. Try to integrate your software with other systems they have or replace them with yours. The more embedded you become in a business, the longer term you can expect to stick around.
     
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    I was thinking of direct approach of some kind. If I know who is likely to have the problem, that removes 90% of the difficulty. Now Vets are hard to reach out to, so I should try a multiple prong approach: Email & Phone (since I can get these easily), and possibly FB-Ads to a landing page with good copy.

    Thoughts?

    Cold Calling is never a waste of time for finding ideas. It might be inefficient for getting customers, but when you're starting out you can think about how you would want to Advertise to them in the first place. For example the Veterinarians, its super easy to Advertise on Facebook, because you can target them exclusively and by title. If you're targeting a banking manager, that might be much harder to do.

    I call 50 people on Avg. but I don't make the call # my goal. Its the meaningful conversations I had. For example, in a new niche I chose, I had a lady tell me "oh your better off choosing another niche, this one has plenty of software companies." But just the next call I spoke on the phone for at least 30 minutes with an older gentleman who had been in the industry for over 30 years! He had an idea that none of the other companies were doing. And it was fairly simple to create (compared to the competition). Also, he had been thinking about this idea for some time, years in fact.

    It seems like most companies make products thinking its what the customer wants. Funny how wrong they can be.

    Oh and the next call I had after that older gentleman, validated his idea and plainly said: "I'd buy that for a year."

    Today was great though! I had a meeting with the Veterinarian, about the product I'd like to build for her (her idea) and it's likely a "we'll purchase that." She kept mentioning: "I think other veterinarians would like this too!" But getting the idea in front of them may be the difficult part.

    Also got an App validation from a Firefighter I have been talking to (I posted a thread of "How to sell to Government).

    I have a lot of options open at this moment.

    I have written on my whiteboard: "Theirs ideas in every niche"
     
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    LeoistheSun Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    I saw Russell Brunson was releasing a new book: Software Secrets. As best as I can gather, it teaches them how to build/market a Saas.

    Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing...

    Edit: It's a good thing.

    Edit 2: I'm about 44 pages through the book and I'm actually quite bummed. It talks nothing about validating your idea before getting a domain name or spending $$ for instance- which is something I would say you should do.

    Rule #5: Validate your idea with at least 10 other people before spending $$ on it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
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    looking forward to hearing from your progress. Im also trying to build a SAAS as well. I had to change my market target 3x already.......its definitely not easy at all.
     
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    I feel the same way. To find a niche that is well easy is not easy. But then again, thats the point.

    Nothing worth it is easy.
     
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    Today was a bit of a wash. I realized that every niche has established competitors. Which is fine. I think I forgot that I never set out to build a CRM anyway... yuck! Too big, too much support, too overwhelming for a newbie.

    My strategy is to find a need. Something small. Something overlooked by the big guys (competitors). Something that can establish myself as a beachhead to sell other more "advanced" products if I desired to do so. It's easier to sell to someone who bought than it is to sell to someone who hasn't bought from you.

    I forget that my current goal is $5,000/mo. not 100,000 or 1Mil. While those are awesome goals, I super strongly believe that IF I had those goals, then I would be missing out on the smaller stuff. Even the $100,000/mo idea might masquerade as a $5,000/mo idea. I just know that if you set your goal too high, you'll get depressed and give up early.

    Still waiting on my Veterinarian to get back to me on a Yay or Nay on the software I was going to build. If it's a yes, then that's awesome! I would need to pick her brain some more to figure out the "whys" she wanted it. I know some, but I would want more. Also, I think I would sell door-to-door in the beginning to perfect my delivery so that I can tailor my Cold-Calls or FB-Ads to the right people.
     
  16. LeoistheSun
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    Thinking about going door-to-door on my idea-finding adventures.

    Perhaps call first, then walk-in in person.

    It's 10x easier to sketch a solution if you're talking with your prospect right then and there.

    So the question is, in my local area what a large # of professions I can talk to? Ideally 100 (or maybe just 10).

    Relating to my last post: Being able to find the "whys" and the pain-point is so MUCH EASIER in person than over the phone. So if I talk to 10 people in my area (in person) and I can identify a common problem with 1/2 or even 1/4 of them, then I can figure out why and it will make my online sales much easier.
     
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    LeoistheSun Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Finished the book: Rethinking Positive Thinking by Gabriele Oettingen

    Thought it was really good and its about how to utilize goal and obstacle visualization to increase productivity and to keep you motivated. Dispelled the common advice of "Just think Positive" as a load of hogwash.

    I plan on using the methods to keep me focused and on task. Now if I could only find some flashcards...
     
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    Called 90 people today. Too bad my list was trash though. I got "wrong number" like 50 times.

    **I created a huge post but the server said "internal server error" and deleted my post :( **

    Anyway, I wanted to add that I spoke with my Veterinarian today, and they won't (for the moment) be continuing with the mini-SaaS that I had built a mock-up for. However I believe that I have hit the pain-point on the head, as she is super interested and told me multiple times that "I want this." So I feel good about finding a pain-point at the very least.

    I did offer 50% now and 50% when the software was received, but at the moment, they have to pay for employee bonuses and whatnot.

    Also I was reading similar threads today, most notably about Dane Maxwell's: The Foundation. I had mentioned that I could not afford the course, so therefore I was re-engineering it.

    The quotes that stuck out for me were these (in bullet points below), taken from this thread: Notable! - former student of the foundation(dane maxwell) willing to answer questions


    • The reason you're not where you want to be is because you didn't push hard enough

    • Lots of money chasing [HASHTAG]#FAIL[/HASHTAG] in this thread. Pay close attention Fastlaners. I want money. I need money. Money, money, money. Me. Me. Me. I. I. I. I don't this... I don't that. More money is here. Less money is there. Because this. Because that.

    • E-commerce, SaaS, Lead gen, etc etc etc are NOT business'. They are simply methods of solving problems.

    • EVERY TIME I've had a solution in mind to begin with it failed. I was trying to solve problems that didn't exist. I've ALWAYS had to pivot and do something else to become profitable.

    • As much as many don't want to believe, mindset is everything. Failures on the inside will lead to failures on the outside.

    • You fail or succeed because you have either accepted failure as an option, or you have not.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2017
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    LeoistheSun Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Talked with 6-7 people today of varying lengths.

    Total calls: 78

    I record all my calls- I will have to post some of them- after I edit any sensitive details.
     
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    I have yet to see a successful individual that has developed a business by ringing businesses/individuals to identify a pain point to capitalize on. Not sure where this idea has come from but it seems to be all over the forum. In my opinion, it's also one of the biggest sources of action-faking progress threads.

    I think @biophase touched on this before on his ecommerce/AMZ post but it's relevant here as well: You need first hand experience to be able to capitalize on opps. Experience with a given industry, product and/or customer. Through that experience you will be able to spot pain points, identify how to add value and build a product/service to solve that pain point.

    Look at the examples on this forum:
    @MJ DeMarco worked as a limo driver before spotting his opp.
    @eliquid develops SaaS tools in his industry (digital marketing).
    @biophase uses his hobbies/interests to spot product ideas
    etc.
     
  21. LeoistheSun
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    I get what your saying @maverick

    So far I have identified 4 pain-points in this particular niche. Its not super big ~60k professionals and about 25k businesses. I am only calling people within driving distance of myself, so that I can build a relationship with them (in-person) and really get to know the ins and outs. I also have a family member whos in the niche I am calling.

    The idea came from Dane Maxwell of the foundation. He posted here some years ago. Lot of mixed feelings about if it works or not (his course). As mentioned I am doing my own thing- as I didn't have the resources to purchase it.

    For me, I believe that you do not need to have prior experience to come up with a successful pain-point/idea. Put it this way: Most of the pain points I've seen either have something to do with Social Media/Branding or Software. Both of which I do have XP on.

    So as far as intimate knowledge on the niche, it comes down to: How many people do you speak with? How deep are the conversations? How hard do you push yourself?

    Social Media and Branding is one of the pain-points in this niche, and I was thinking about making a course. Maybe I could do it for free to get emails, the leverage them so I can speak to them and get to talk to more people... Or perhaps I could sell a course. But again, while I have Social Media/Branding XP, I do not have the working knowledge of how to apply it in this niche 100%. Maybe 70-80%.

    While the market is small, they are happy and eager to talk to me, and its not that hard either :)
     
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    LeoistheSun Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Oooh man. Okay, I action faked hard today. Something I regret, but I did.

    I get swept up in the notion that what I am doing doesn't matter.

    But anyway, I managed to find a gold-thread I was not looking for:
    GOLD - No network? No money? No idea? No education? NO PROBLEM!

    I'm going to be following this method with what I am doing.

    1. Learn Copy (while not action-faking)
    2. Find 100 top people in this niche
    3. Call them and interview them (Skype/Phone)
    4. Create a blog/website with all the interviews (my goal is 25), possibly add some side blog posts too... SEO?
    5. Create a PDF or Report or Video... in exchange for email address
    6. Communicate with these people to find another pain point.
    7. Presell
    8. Build
    9. Go-Live for whatever I build + Get testimonials
    10. Get some $$ to invest in Ads
    11. Scale
    12. Perfect + Get rid of bugs or whatever it is I create- improve upon it.
    13. Repeat step 6
     
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  23. LeoistheSun
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    WEEK 1 Progress:
    • 12 People talked to for varying lengths of 10-35m+
    • 218 Calls made

    Been trying to figure out what I should be doing on my weekends? I can't really call (since they are not at work), and I am thinking I should be:

    • Reading (Gold or Books)
    • Working on another idea?
    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
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    Nice progress man.

    Where are you getting these phone numbers from? Google? Or a paid list? Only asking since you said in an earlier post that a lot of phone numbers are either incorrect or out of date. As far as weekends, I would still focus on this business. Maybe use that time to find better phone number list, reading Saas blogs and/or work on that website for IceCreamKid's method if your going that route.

    Also, not sure if it will help but maybe let the people your calling know that your goal is to create an industry report on the top 5 problems that [market] professionals are currently facing. Let them know you will share it with them for free after you've talked to 50 other top [market] professionals for their help with your research project. It seems to get a way better response rate in email, maybe it will help with cold calling. The lady that created Namastream (successful foundation student) used that method when doing IE.
     
  25. LeoistheSun
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    I got the numbers from the site I told you about. I had a setting turned on that showed non-verified numbers. Thats why it was not accurate. It depends on the niche. Sometimes they are accurate.

    I've only got like 2 "no's" when calling so I think saying "im doing an industry report" is more than I need to say.

    BTW you know whats wierd (if your in The Foundation can you ask this to whomever?)? Some of the case-studies they have, the owners have not launched their products. They are still stuck on the "were launching soon page- enter your email here!" Also the guy who built the SaaS for Maids (Maidbooks) also went AWOL. Does that seem weird to you?

    ANYWAY... still working on my approach here. The biggest challenges IMO are finding the right group of people that need help. Since joining FLF I have been changing my mindset from $$ and niche's and all that to..."who can I help the most?" "Who needs the most help?"
     
    Elbert Dockery, 100k and Kingmaker like this.