Bootstrapping our Startup to Profitability with 15,000 Users in 2 years

Last week AeroLeads crossed 15,000 users. It actually only took 3.5 months (May to August) for us to cross the number from 10k to 15k whereas the first 1k signups took 4 months.

One of the reason of such high number of signups in last few months is, other than the organic growth where the number of sign up increases automatically as time progresses, we also started using the sign-up form at multiple places on the site and pushed it aggressively.

Of course, the downside of this is that we are getting many curiosity sign-ups. Majority of them are not paid user and most likely will never pay but we are OK with it as today’s signed up user often become tomorrow’s paid user. If nothing else, they may mention about AeroLeads to someone.

AeroLeads Bootsrapped Users

It certainly took us some time to reach where we are but considering we are a b2b bootstrapped startup, initial slow growth was expected. Almost all the time, organic growth is a function of nature of the product * market response and the 2nd variable is not in your control.

AeroLeads Philosophy Wall

Our Office Main Door

Here are some of our learnings of last 2 years

1. Half of the battle is to be just there. All you need to do is to grow a little each day and you will be fine in few years. We grew really slowly the first 8-10 months then lost track for few months when we started building some random mobile apps which had nothing to do with original product or the business roadmap. We realized our mistake and then started focussing on core product.

2. You will not grow exponentially, no one does – Most of the really successful web-based products have grown 10% month on month. No one maintains 30% month on month growth rate. Be realistic in your growth targets and don’t compare your growth with others. You don’t know what others are doing and going through. It is also stupid to compare your startup with others even if you are in same vertical. By being optimistically realistic with aggressive but achievable deadlines, you will keep it real.

3. Listen to users and see what they want and for what they are willing to pay. Henry Ford’s “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” is survivorship bias (arguably he actually never even said that). Other than selling product, we do offer services and sell data, as this is what people asked for. Initially we tried to build more and more features but somehow people were just not interested in them. We still have huge list of ‘todo’ features in our basecamp and Asana accounts but most likely we will never work on them.

4. For b2b products, the ticket size matters. Almost all the successful SaaS companies are making majority of their money from high ticket sales only even though they still offer their basic plans. We played with pricing a lot initially trying to offer cheaper plans but since there were products in lower pricing range, we just can’t compete with them.

5. Enjoy the time you are spending in office and with your team – It just not worth it if you are not enjoying your time spending in office with your team and building/selling your product. When we started, we were in a shared office space with lot of noise and people we were not comfortable working, now we are in a far better office space with very little noise, lot of air and sunlight and people around us with whom we enjoy to work. This improves productivity immediately and improves quality of work and life.

6. “Boring” is good – after building the product and after initial coverage, the “boring” part of b2b startup journey begins where you do same thing every day. This actually is not a bad thing as you grow business and make money by “repeat and rinse” and now by doing something new every day.

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About Pushkar Gaikwad

Howdy, I am the founder of AeroLeads, one of the most powerful prospect and lead generation software on the web. For sales and partnership inquiries, email me.

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