I went from $0 to $61k MRR in 2.5 years


But the path leading there was long.

Here’s how I got there:

2000 - 2007:

Got a job at a big tech company (was lucky, didn’t know much, was the end of the dot com boom).

Started to teach myself to code.

Fumbled and flailed with attempts at making money online.

Online revenue earned: $0

2008 - 2011:

Started noticing more solopreneurs doing cool things online.

(I’m looking at you, peldi, and patio11)

Knew I found my calling. Started looking for a SaaS idea.

Online revenue earned: < $1k

2011 - 2012:

Quit my job, went all in on my 1st SaaS, an appt scheduling app.

I knew nothing about this market / don’t know why I chose it other than I felt there was an opportunity.

Poor product choice, but I learned a lot from the experience.

Online revenue earned: < $1k

2012 - 2014:

Finally admitted my appt. scheduling app wasn’t going anywhere.

Opted for a stair step approach, making money again while continuing to try things on the side.

Started to immerse myself in the local (Portland) startup scene to learn from others.

Joined a 2-person startup in an incubator w/ a small amount of funding.

I was making much less than my previous job, but I was in it to learn from others and meet like-minded people.

Online revenue earned: < $1k

2014 - 2015:

Our startup got acquired.

I got a little money out of it but still didn’t make up for the low startup pay.

But the experience and friendships were priceless.

Worked at the new company for a bit.

Knew I had to try again on my own.

Got laid off. Good timing!

2015 - 2018:

Went all in on freelancing, positioning myself in various ways, experimenting a lot with services and apps.

As a freelancer ended up building SaaS MVP’s for individuals or startups that had a small amount of funding.

I was making decent money while getting an inside view to how others went about growing a startup/SaaS from scratch.

And while they had a little money, it was never much, and they were all scrappy. Like me.

2018 - 2021:

Up to here, my side projects were often trying to scratch my own itch. This has obviously worked for a lot of people like nathanbarry - but never really worked out for me.

And the apps that didn’t scratch an itch were targeting businesses with low margins (restaurants, salons).

In 2018 I decided to change course.

I decided to reach out to any biz owners, and higher-ups I knew.

I ended up in sales circles - which makes sense. Sales people have no problem spending money on tools that will help them make money.

I reached out to about 5 people at a time.

I’d take them to coffee and ask them tons of questions. Then I asked them who else I should talk to. Get intros, book more meetings.

I’d go home, review my notes, look for patterns, and recurring pain points.

And I kept repeating that. I’d build small proofs of concept, show them in my next meeting, iterate, repeat.

Then I had it.

I went deep into coding land for 4 weeks.

The app had a long way to go, and plenty of bugs. But it worked.

Almost 4 weeks to the day from writing the first line of code, I emailed all the people that I had met with to let them know we were live.

I swiped a card that day and had my first customer.


Fast forward 30 months.

By this time I was bringing in about $61k MRR, solo, with about $3k in expenses.

I then sold for a life-changing sum.


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