I built a SaaS from zero to a ~$75 Million valuation in 3 years.

Here are 8 lessons I learned the hard way (so you don't have to):
#1 Talent

Once you get past a million in ARR, your job changes.

It turns into finding the best people for the job:

>leading talent
This is super important.


You're not gonna be able to build a huge business without talent.

>Find very talented people
>Pay them a lot
>Leave them alone

#2 Always Be Testing

With SaaS,

You need to look at what users are doing in your app.

>Why are they doing that?
>How can you push them to do this?
You need to be looking at everything:

>landing pages
>marketing channels
>your copy
>your plans


...and you need to always be testing.

When you run these tests, you might improve 1% every week,

But this compounds over time.
If you're building a big business over a long period of time,

These mini improvements - as a result of testing - can be the difference between hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

Always be testing everything.

Whatever it is,

It can be tested.
#3 Make data-driven decisions

Don't decide based on your gut.

To understand your app,

You have to understand the data the app is generating.

(that's how Facebook got to where they are)

All billion-dollar businesses use data.
And this goes along with the 'always be testing rule':

You need to

>run tests
>analyze data
>use the data
>compare and test it again.

Test and make data-driven decisions only.
#4 Run your business as a meritocracy

The best idea wins, no matter who has it.

(it can be your cofounder, CFO, VP of sales, an intern, etc)

Look at data and also:

Accept input from everyone.

You need different perspectives from your workforce.

(homage @RayDalio)
#5 Raise your prices

I don’t care what you’re charging,

It’s not enough.
Pricing is the #1 lever SaaS businesses can use to grow faster...

But it's also one of the scariest things,

Especially if you're a 'bootstrap' entrepreneur and running 100% of the business.
You think "If I raise prices, people will cancel" and you start getting inside your head.
No. Just raise them.

We've done it at least once per year since we've started.

(I probably should have done that twice or three times per year)

And we're going to keep doing it.

And don't just raise prices by 5% either.

Raise them a lot.
#6 Focus on the areas you love (ideally that you're also great at)

For all the areas in your business you don't excel at,

Hire the best talent possible.


I love marketing and customer acquisition.
But I'm not the best at sales, hiring, and other aspects of business...

So I hire out those roles.

Do what you love and you're great at.

Hire the best talent you can find in all the other areas.
#7 Diversify your customer acquisition channels

Something I learned back in the day:

>I was doing some shady SEO for a business (long time ago)
>Got hit by a Google algorithm penalty
>We went from making a ton of money to basically nothing in a week
Don't just do Facebook Ads or SEO or whatever...

If you're good at them and it's working?


But don't avoid other customer acquisition channels.
When you're building a SaaS company,

The goal is to build a brand.

If you diversify your channels, you're gonna be fine if one platform fucks you up.

(and things can change overnight!)
Look at UpLead:

Right now,

The majority of clients hear from us via friend referral or a colleague (because we're everywhere).

And that's what you should strive for.
#8 Don't build something new

Find an industry that already has the product-market fit.

The reason for this:

Your chances of success are astronomically higher when you enter a market that already has product-market fit.
Don't get me wrong:

There's a .0001% chance you'll create a 'unicorn' business that launches you as the leader in your industry...

But the majority of the time you won't.

Find an industry already with a product-market fit and copy something.

Much better chances of success.
Thanks for reading!

I tweet about:

>cold email
>getting clients

If you're interested in those topics?

Follow me :)
I share threads weekly on SaaS, Startups, Cold Email and Entrepreneurship

Follow me if you'd like to see more of those ;)

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Will Cannon

Will Cannon Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @iamwillcannon

15 Sep
4 Reasons Why You Should Start Your Own SaaS

(And why becoming a multi-millionaire is way more likely than you think): Image
Even though I failed at

- Real estate
- Insurance
- Merchant services

And even filed for bankruptcy at one point,

Today I own 2 SaaS (one valued at ~$75Million) and they changed my life forever.

Here’s why it might change yours:
#1 Recurring revenue

For me, this was life-changing.

With recurring revenue:

>You have a rough estimate of how much money you will make (and when)

>Every client/customer you acquire is worth more than a one-off purchase
Read 11 tweets
8 Sep
My SaaS just broke $8 Million in sales this year,

And I'm incredibly grateful to be in this position.

But it wasn't always this way...

Here’s the 6 (and a half) business I've failed at:
#1 Real estate

I didn't have any money and I wanted to build a real estate empire at the time.

At one point,

I slept in my real estate office.

I was leasing an office (800 sq feet) for my own business and lived in it because I didn't have enough money for an apartment.
I slept there and woke up and showered in a bucket.

(there was no shower)

Yes, I had a small bucket in a little bathroom.

This was just me and my girlfriend at the time (now my wife).

We lived in our office until we hustled enough to finally buy an apartment.
Read 16 tweets
3 Sep
Crazy Story:

One time we had to stop a cold email campaign because we were actually getting too many replies...

(80% open rate & 62% reply rate)

Below is the exact cold email so you can steal it:
There are 7 moving parts here so don't get lost!

1. Subject line

"Your story"

The subject line is short, adds curiosity, and most important of all:

It doesn't look spammy.

If your subject line begins with something like "hey Will, wanna chat this week?"

You already lost.
2. First line

"Rand. I came across your interview with Alex Turnbull from Groove"

Very personalized.

Rule of thumb:

A good cold email doesn't look like a cold email.

We thought:

"Who are some thought leaders in the B2B customer acquisition space we want to learn from?"
Read 19 tweets
1 Sep
David Ogilvy once said:

“Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals”

But doing market research sucks,

So here's 5 tricks you can use to make it suck WAY less

(Bookmark this thread):
#1 Talk to them in person

Most people don't do this.

They think it's best to assume what they want...

But "assuming" never won anything in business.

When you talk to customers?

You get an idea of who they are and you can write to them much more easily.
#2 Go Unsexy

When you're starting, look for the 'unsexy' business.

Don't be a new "marketing agency for tech startups"...

Become a "marketing agency for dentists".

Start in a boring industry because there's less competition there.
Read 14 tweets
27 Aug

You're (probably) not gonna build the next Facebook or Amazon.

But that shouldn't demotivate you.

You can still build a HUGE business by copying an existing business

And doing 1 of these 5 things differently:
1. Make it easier to use

You don't have to develop an entirely new & unique algorithm...

Just make your product very easy to use.

A lot of software is very complicated.

(you get inside it and you're like "How do i do XYZ?")
Make it simple and get your clients.

By the way,

That's what we did for Signaturely.

Getting online signatures was hard...

So we did the exact same thing other signature SaaS's were doing + made it easier to use.

Read 16 tweets
25 Aug
Did you know?

You can sell your SaaS for 10x what it makes in a year.

So if you have a $4,000/mo SaaS?

You can sell that for $500,000.

Half a million dollars.

Here are 4 ways you can come up with the next big SaaS idea:
1. Copy what already works

Easiest way to see what works:

Look on G2 or other review sites.

Take a look at industries where there are players that don't have the best of reviews.

For example,
We found lead-gen businesses.

We saw that people weren't loving what was on the market (too expensive, you had to use other software, bad leads, etc)

These poor reviews will show you where there's an opportunity to enter an established market & disrupt it.
Read 12 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!