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Laura Roeder, Transitioning from a Consulting to a Product Business, BoS USA 2016

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Laura talks about not letting the past limit your future at BoS USA 2016.

See all talks here: http://businessofsoftware.org/2016/07/all-talks-from-business-of-software-conferences-in-one-place-saas-software-talks/

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Laura Roeder, Transitioning from a Consulting to a Product Business, BoS USA 2016

  1. 1. Don’t Let Your Past Limit Your Future Laura Roeder - @LKR - LauraRoeder.com MeetEdgar.com
  2. 2. Or how I got from here to here.
  3. 3. From 2009 - 2015, I ran a social media marketing training company.
  4. 4. There were a few things I didn’t love about the model. I was central to the business. There were inherent scaling limits. I was stuck doing work that I didn’t love.
  5. 5. I wanted to do a SaaS company, BUT . . . I didn’t know how to code. I didn’t know how to design a software product. I had zero experience working around software in any capacity!
  6. 6. Then I met this guy.
  7. 7. Finding The Idea
  8. 8. We did NOT build a bunch of ideas to see which one would take off.
  9. 9. We tried our best to invalidate BEFORE code was written. (And still started code on two projects before abandoning them early.)
  10. 10. My criteria: 1. Are prospects actively looking to BUY a better solution to this problem 1. Is our solution better than what’s out there
  11. 11. Building The Product
  12. 12. We did not purely bootstrap MeetEdgar, we self-funded from the LKR profits.
  13. 13. The Team You Need to Launch Software 1. Dev team to build software (in our case, 6 mo of PT work) 2.Hours from designer to create logo/basic marketing site 3.Hours from writer for initial marketing copy/email sequences
  14. 14. If you don’t know software, listen to the advice of people who do.
  15. 15. Launching The Product
  16. 16. Our plan was to have a half training, half software company. (But that didn’t happen.)
  17. 17. The most important mindset: YOU ARE LAUNCHING A NEW BUSINESS.
  18. 18. You would not open a retail store by throwing a few t-shirts on the floor and seeing if anyone stops by to buy them.
  19. 19. If you “wait and see if it gets traction”, you are giving up.
  20. 20. If you treat it as a “side project”, it will remain a side project. Make it a core part of your business plan.
  21. 21. Hit 50k MRR within First 6 Months
  22. 22. BUT in 2014, 90% of our income still came from LKR.
  23. 23. The Pivot: I decided to go all in on software, shutting down LKR once we reached breakeven from MeetEdgar.
  24. 24. WHY would I do this? We were still making $1m from LKR.
  25. 25. 1.Because I wanted to.
  26. 26. 2. Because the potential upside was larger with MeetEdgar than LKR.
  27. 27. 3. Because building two businesses takes twice the time, effort, and cash.
  28. 28. That wasn’t the only pivot going on in my life . . .
  29. 29. Remove yourself as the bottleneck so the business can keep growing right past you.
  30. 30. During the three months that I was on maternity leave, we went from $74k to $110k MRR.
  31. 31. We made the hard decision to give up LKR, and let it become messy so we could stop devoting resources to it.
  32. 32. First MeetEdgar blog: Dec 2014 Last LKR blog: March 2015 Switched newsletter branding May 2015
  33. 33. Set the priorities for each quarter and stick to them.
  34. 34. By the end of 2015 - 2.2m ARR from MeetEdgar
  35. 35. Here’s how we did it.
  36. 36. No growth hacks. No hockey sticks. No viral coefficient.
  37. 37. Stop thinking about one-off tricks or hacks, and start focusing on your funnel.
  38. 38. Stuff we don’t do: -Integrations -Partnerships -Biz dev -Free trials -Free plans -One-on-one sales -Sales team
  39. 39. Organic is slow, paid is fast.
  40. 40. 2014 2015 2016
  41. 41. In September 2016, we’re at 3.5m ARR.
  42. 42. Make a plan, not an experiment.
  43. 43. Don’t let your past limit your future.

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