Friendly recently crossed $10,000 in monthly recurring revenue (MRR)! It took us 1 year, 1 month and 25 days to get there.
Here are my 10 most important learnings from growing to 10k MRR:
- 1. Start with the audience, not with the idea.
- 2. Be persistent.
- 3. Data protection is not a burden, it’s an advantage.
- 4. Find your communication sweet spot.
- 5. Be transparent.
- 6. Don’t look for customers, look for partnerships.
- 7. Avoid building on someone else’s platform.
- 8. Embrace open source.
- 9. Grow better, not bigger.
- 10. Enjoy the process.
1. Start with the audience, not with the idea.
This tip from Arvid Kahl helped me tremendously in deciding which products to create.
Since I already had a large audience of marketing professionals, I made something that this particular audience might need.
2. Be persistent.
It took us over 50 trial cancellations and 30 churns to get to the 81 active subscriptions that we have now.
3. Data protection is not a burden, it’s an advantage.
We pay more by hosting our customers’ data at local European providers instead of the clouds of big tech.
Many companies choose us because of this. Our strict stance on data protection helps them avoid legal risks, and that is a major selling point.
4. Find your communication sweet spot.
Talk about what interests you, what interests your audience, and what you can speak about with credibility.
I learned this from Daniel Vassallo’s Twitter course, and it’s true: This is the content that will resonate the most.
5. Be transparent.
We’ve followed the example of Buffer, Nomad List, and several others by becoming an open startup and publishing our metrics.
This not only creates trust with buyers and employees, but it also gives you a lot of original content to share.
6. Don’t look for customers, look for partnerships.
I got this advice from Daniel Priestley. And it proved very successful for us. Partners became our primary acquision channel.
Here’s how you can build your own affiliate program with only 30 lines of code.
7. Avoid building on someone else’s platform.
From growing my first company, Wortspiel, a digital marketing agency, I’ve learned what it means to be dependent on the goodwill of platforms like Google and Facebook.
That’s why at Friendly, we rely only on open standards like the web and email.
8. Embrace open source.
We got started super fast thanks to open source. We went from idea to our first Product Hunt launch in only 26 days!
Today, we make it a priority to give back to the open source community by sponsoring and contributing code.
9. Grow better, not bigger.
Everyone tells you to grow. Few people tell you that growing fast, or even taking outside money, massively increases your odds of failing.
If you’re interested in learning more about this approach, I highly recommend the book Company of One by Paul Jarvis.
10. Enjoy the process.
You’re probably going to have to do what you’re doing now for a long time. Therefore, you should rather make this time enjoyable.
In the beginning, I was working all the time. Now, I try to compress everything important into half a day.
That way, I can spend the rest of the day doing things make me happy: Walks in the forest, spending time with friends and family, exploring new ideas, and lots of other things.
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