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Arve Solland
Arve Solland

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Creating a SaaS the wrong way

So, I’ve created a product without really verifying whether people will buy it or not.

Ok...i messed up

I know, I know – stupid right ?

The whole thing got started when doing some client work last year, and I was getting requests to do similar work, to tackle the same problem from multiple clients.

The solution I delivered worked – but it was hard to test as it was installed on the client's servers, and I had limited visibility and access to test, monitor and improve the solution after delivery.
Then came my brilliant idea: why don’t I turn this into a SaaS app that I can get multiple clients using?

It sounded like such a great idea in my head, I mean, I already had developed a first ‘version’ of it…I just had to “tweak” it and turn it into a generic tool that I could release as a product…easy right?

Yep...I know

Uh oh – a few months and hundreds of early morning and weekend hours later – I had created a SaaS version of my solution. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. It took longer to do than I expected, and now this other part: what do I do now to sell this solution ??

While building the SaaS app I consumed so much, way too much, information around startups and bootstrapping. And annoyingly they all reiterated the same thing: before you go and build something – make sure you talk to potential customers and validate your idea!Â

I kinda heard these words all the way through my development, but I didn’t really want to hear them because I knew I had not done this. I knew I had done this the wrong way around.

I was still getting interest from clients in doing customised solutions to solve the problem that my new SaaS app was solving – but turns out it is a big difference selling a subscription to an unknown online service, instead of just selling my hours to create a custom solution clients could implement on their servers.

I have had literally no direct experience in marketing digital products or non-digital products for that matter.
Neither have I had experience in direct sales for this kind of products. So what was I going to do next?

What to do now

Everywhere I turn, there is advice on how to grow your startup – but once you get down to the point that you are starting with no audience whatsoever – what are potential next steps? Most advice assumes you’ve already done your homework and followed the rules – not like me.

So I have a product – and just because I might have done things the wrong way and not really done any good product/market fit validation– I still want to test out if it this thing could fly. I don’t want to just scrap it just because I didn’t go out and find like 100 people who’d be interested first.

Now, this does not mean I will never give up on my product – I know I have an emotional attachment to this little offspring that I’ve created (as most developers do) – but I will try my best to be realistic as I try different tactics to try to get this thing off the ground.

But I sure as hell just want to give it a good go!

So whats next for rule-breakers like me now? How can I get my solution in front of prospective customers? Whats my best bet in marketing/promoting this thing? How do I know when to give up?

As I go through this journey of discovering what my options are at this time – I will document my findings in weekly blog posts so that others might also try out some of the strategies that I discover.

My first step this week is to really try to define my ideal customer(s) and get some ideas on who to find and target these.

Until next time…

crossposted from Medium

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