Create a portfolio of small bets

It was time to pull the plug.

Almost 2 years in on my first SaaS and I had made two sales, $100 each, on an annual plan.

It’s a hard lesson to learn on your own, that going all in on one thing for too long, without doing the right work up front (talking to customers) is a really bad idea.

But I wasn’t done, and over the next 8 years I built a lot of different things:

Want to know how to have an overnight success?

You build a ton of apps, for years. So many that you can only recall a fraction of them. And you don't stop. Then at some unpredictable point, things change (as visualized in my X banner).

Here are some of my app attempts, and how…

— Mac Martine (@saasmakermac) August 17, 2023

I always wondered if my problem was that I just didn’t hang in there long enough on any particular idea, or if I was terrible at coming up with ideas, or something else?

I often felt like moving from one idea to another wasn’t good, and that I needed to hang in there longer. I felt in a sense like I was screwing up by doing that.

But finally, something changed and I hit crazy growth:

What had changed?

First, I finally started talking to customers early in the process, as opposed to just building the moment I had an idea.

But also, something even simpler: I had tried enough things, and over time I spent less and less time on each one before moving on to the next one. Turns out, that bouncing from one thing to the next was actually not only okay, but critical.

Obviously there’s a balance to be had here, and it’s a bit of an art knowing when to move on. But the lesson is that in some ways this is a numbers game.

Most of us that succeed don’t get there on the first try.

My friend KP articulated this beautifully:

Since then, this strategy of making small bets, versus going all in on one thing for a long time, has become very clear to me, and is something I advocate for very strongly.

Last year I joined Daniel Vassalo’s Small Bets course/community, and that’s where it really hit home hard that trying a lot of things is such a better a approach than going all in on any one thing.

Especially early in a bootstrapper’s journey, getting in the right mindset, and having a overall strategy in place, is invaluable.

And with strategy, I’m referring to an overall plan of attack that we can trust, and live by without stopping and questioning our plan every week.

We need to remove friction and just keep going. And I believe there’s no better strategy than creating a portfolio of small bets.

I’m still guilty of occasionally spending more time than I’d advise on a particular project before getting the validation I need on it, but at least I know have a clear approach to follow, even if I do break my own rules sometimes.

If you aren’t convinced of the small bets strategy, the Small Bets course and community is one of my very favorites, and in the course he will convince you of this approach beautifully.

For one price, you get the course and the community, for life, which is a steal on its own.

Topics of the course are:

The cherry on the cake are all the ongoing live classes included (here’s a current snapshot):

It’s a ridiculous amount of value for the price, and he said he’s only offering one more cohort course before he changes the format.

I’m sure the new format will also be great, but I know that if you get in this last cohort, you’ll also get the new format, so you might as well get in on it now.

The last cohort starts on Sept. 11, so grab your spot now if you find yourself without an overall strategy as a creator, and I’ll see you in the community.

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