It’s Raining Mobile

Out of 20m global software developers, very few have built a profitable SaaS business.

To give some context, consider “software developers” as a group, have built 4m mobile apps, but only 15k SaaS businesses.

This is especially odd, given the amazingly commoditized and fickle nature of app marketplaces, with low price points and levels of competition never seen before.

Funny story. Last year, I joined a membership site of a mobile app guru, he’s made millions from mobile apps. I sent him a private message describing my skill-set and asking what the best thing for me to build was. His response?

“Build a SaaS app. It’s a better revenue model.”

True that.

Romancing the SaaS

In the hacker world we like to romanticize impressive outliers like Zuckerberg building Facebook or Koum building WhatsApp. Yet, a solo developer building a profitable SaaS app, is also an outlier and deserves of some romancing.

So let’s get started 😉

The practical reason to build a profitable SaaS side project is because, on the lower end of success, it can net you a second salary while being a fairly low risk endeavor when done right.

In my case, my apps monthly $3.5k enabled my wife to quit her job, take a year off work, and establish herself as a play therapist in private practice.

I was then able to sell my modestly successful app for $100k which helped us to shift gears with regard to our quality of life.

But the real, unexpected gain that I feel, is the sense of personal achievement and growth as a result of the process.

I don’t think I’m being over dramatic when I say I feel like I trained for, ran, and won an ultra-marathon. It was a four year journey of ups and downs that forced me, many times, to push through my own self limiting beliefs and cognitive bias about what I was able to achieve.

Or put another way, it’s a bit like playing a four year strategy game, against a zomby hoard opponent, in god mode, and winning.

As a solo developer you need to wear every hat to build a business. And I mean eeeevry hat.

Customer relationships, Marketing, PR, UX, Pricing experiments, Conversion Funnels, Mailing lists, Case studies, Product road map, Infrastructure management, Customer Support, and the list goes on and on.

If you do that and emerge victorious from the other side, it is impossible to NOT be profoundly changed as a person.

That’s the reason why when you tell someone who has gone through this process your world changing “idea” they are seldom impressed – they simply know too much 😉

It’s also the reason why we have the saying “Execution is everything” because, execution, literally is, everything.

My favorite part of all of this is that if you can do it once, you can do it again, but this time with knowledge.

Rob Walling’s career is the perfect example of someone who repeatedly did this and with each business leap frogged in size until his Drip exit.

The Grand Quest

So, if you’re the kind of person who likes to play a one month game of D&D or run an ultra-marathon, or climb a mountain, or spend a year fixing a vintage car, or get your teeth stuck into a really hard problem, or deeply challenge yourself, then I would like to invite you to try the journey of being solo software developer building a SaaS side project.

It is a worthy and life changing one.

. . .

I’m creator of Nugget, an online incubator & community. We help founders start and grow profitable side projects.