What It's About
An introverted engineer tries, tries, and tries again—eventually doubling his income.
Words of Wisdom
Success in the SaaS game is about solving ONE problem, extremely well. It’s about serving your customers better than your competitors. You cannot give up until you're 100% sure you cannot find customers. If you have one customer, get 10. If you get 10, I guarantee there are another 1000.
SalesForce, a popular CRM (Customer-Relationship Management) platform, pioneered the SaaS business model and achieved massive success because of it. Founded in 1999, it now has yearly revenues of close to 9 billion dollars!
Notes from Chris
Episode 754Courtenay Farquharson was desperate for a change. He’d been a software engineer for years, and work was taking a toll on him. He earned good money, but his work-life balance was non-existent. He felt dissatisfied, stressed, and unhealthy. Things got even more complicated that year when he became a father to twin boys. Throw a lack of sleep into his already hectic life and something had to give. So, he decided to start a side hustle with the goal of eventually escaping the rat race and having more time to be present with his young family. This wasn’t the first time Courtenay tried side hustling. Since 2006, he’d launched 25 different projects. Everything from a social network to an e-commerce store—they all failed with only one earning even a single dollar. You see, Courtenay was a self-confessed “wantrepreneur”. He had dreams of making it big and building a company like the famous entrepreneurs he’d read about. But up until now, he’d been unable to make the dream reality. But this time, Courtney didn’t start with an idea—he started with a business model. He wanted to build a SaaS (Software as a Service) product. A SaaS is a program, run on the web, that customers pay a monthly fee to access. You probably already know some SaaS products. Dropbox, Slack, and Salesforce are common examples. It’s a popular business model because it has recurring revenue. To build a successful SaaS product though, you need to solve a real problem for people. Something they need fixed time and time again, otherwise, they’ll stop paying. Research shows that it’s undesirable for customers to stop paying. To find a suitable problem, Courtenay looked into his past as a software engineer and one particular thing stood out in his memory. Several years ago, his company dealt with a client who wanted to email documents to a special address. Then, have that email scanned, the information extracted and added to their internal systems automatically. This is commonly referred to as parsing email. For example, a restaurant may have a system to manage take away orders. But, orders come in via email through their website. Instead of manually reading the email and entering the order into their system. Software could read the email, parse the content, and add the order automatically so the chefs can get cooking immediately. After a few months, Courtenay had a very basic version of his product ready. He called it Parserr, with a double R at the end—Parserrrrrr. As of right now, Parserr is generating monthly revenue in the low five-figure mark, which, coincidentally, almost matches the income provided by his day job. But, Courtenay isn’t quitting work just yet. He views Parserr as the culmination of his 12-year journey to launch a successful side project. Because of his willingness to keep experimenting, he now has significant recurring income, and the ability to make more of his own choices.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Parserr: Turn emails into data—get Courtenay's SaaS application over on his website!
- Gmail Tool Generates $1 Million a Year: After looking for a way to send mass emails by Gmail, this web developer stumbles on more than a million dollars a year in recurring revenue
- Serial Business Builder Creates Digital Checklist Tool: A longtime side hustler develops a new tool that helps his clients optimize their business tasks
- Movie Industry Friends Rewrite the Credits, Earn $20,000/Month: Those long credit sequences at the ends of movies can include a LOT of names—and they also take a lot of time for producers to coordinate. When two industry friends team up to simplify the process, they crawl their way to a highly profitable side hustle
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