EP23: Paul Farnell, how does growth happen with a SaaS startup?

On the show today is one of the best bootstrappers in the business: Paul Farnell of Litmus.com joins me and shares some great stories.

On the show today is one of the best bootstrappers in the business:  Paul Farnell of  Litmus.com joins me and shares some great stories.

Highlights

“It felt magical to send an email to a random address, and then showing screenshots of the HTML email design. It was a magical thing when we got it working.”

“We found a technical challenge in automating Lotus Notes 7 on an old version of Windows, and then delivering that result to a beautiful Rails app”

“There are a lot of business opportunities in that stuff that people just grind through on a daily basis. Think Stripe, Litmus, etc…” – Justin Jackson

“If you look at our curve of revenue, it starts very slowly for the first 2.5 years, and then gradually picks up pace in the last year or two.”

“2.5 years in we were well under $1 million in revenue a year, probably $200,000-$300,000 in revenue per year. At 2.5 years we had about 500 users. Now we have 100,000 users (7 years in).”

“When we switched from Euros to American dollars, that week we saw a huge increase in sales.”

“How come America still seems to be the place where web apps thrive?”

“The environment in America is different than Europe. There are bigger entrepreneurial hubs.”

“In the early days, one of the things that set us apart was the designed of the software. I’m not sure how replicable this would be now.”

“We’re a company that has side-projects: we build other apps that (if successful) we roll into our main product.”

Show notes

Paul on Twitter

Paul’s blog posts on Litmus

Peanut Software archived page

Paul’s presentation at FOWD

Sponsors

Our premium sponsor is Sprint.ly. Sprint.ly is agile project management software with one goal: to help you ship more stuff. You can try them out for free at  www.sprint.ly. You can also thank them on Twitter:  @sprintly

Shout outs

Welcome to our shout-outs section. This is a chance for you to advertise your bootstrapped product, a job opportunity, or your side-project to our audience of product people, entrepreneurs, developers and designers. 

Shout-out #1: Justin Jackson’s book –  Product People Secrets [

](http://twitter.com/jstorimer)

I’m writing a book called “Product People Secrets”, you can find out more by going to productpeople.tv/book

I’ve interviewed great product people like Jason Fried, Patio11 (Patrick McKenzie), Brennan Dunn, Nathan Barry and Rob Walling.

Right now I’m writing a book that will feature their secrets: the techniques, beliefs, and habits they used to launch successful products.

You can sign-up at productpeople.tv/book and get a sample chapter as well as a chance to win a deluxe package when the book comes out.

Shout-out #2:  Product People newsletter

Second I’d like to promote our Product People newsletter. You can sign-up (and get product making resources sent directly to your inbox). Go to:  wwww.productpeople.tv/newsletter

Shout-out #3:  Save 10% on domains at Hover.com

Next up:  Hover.com. Register a domain with Hover.com and use the promo code “productpeople” (all one word) to get 10% off your order!

Shout-out #4:  Get $25 off at Ting

Finally: Ting! For our USA listeners, if you go to productpeople.ting.com. Ting is a mobile service that gives you great rates, no overage penalties, and multiple devices on one plan. If you go to  productpeople.ting.com you’ll get $25 off most Ting devices or $25 toward Ting service!

Want to be featured in this Shout Section? The cost starts at $39 per episode, and it’s a great way to reach thousands of people. To purchase a shout-out go to:  productpeople.tv/shoutout

Join our newsletter

Got it. You're on the list!