My Journey to $1000 MRR as a solopreneur
I've failed numerous times in my life both personally & professionally.
At age 18 I tried hard to get into an Ivy League university by putting my heart & soul into it but failed miserably.
At age 22, I tried really hard to get into big tech as a software developer but that didn't turn out well either
At age 23, I first came to learn about entrepreneurship. Being an excited first-time founder, I brainstormed with a co-founder from school & built a sophisticated product to help startups hire engineering graduates (since that was the only problem that seemed big to me at that point)
You'd probably have guessed - The startup failed! Then I simply went ahead & did freelancing by manually shortlisting engineering grads for startups. This ended up making my first internet money from entrepreneurship - $300
At age 24, when trying to build a consumer startup, I had cofounders leaving due to their own personal reasons and them not finding entrepreneurship so exciting. That's precisely when I went all in, quit my software job, and began building Famewall as a solopreneur
This was the first time that something I did in entrepreneurship started showing positive results by making money profitably and reaching $1000 in monthly recurring revenue
Famewall's journey to $1,000 MRR
Since this was my first SaaS product as a solopreneur, I knew it would take time for me to learn everything that was necessary to succeed. I took appropriate measures by stashing up the runway for 2 years & spent frugally
I also mentally prepared myself to return to a job should things not turn out well in those 2 years. Luckily Famewall began turning profits 4 months in which gave me the confidence to keep going
To give you some context, Famewall is a testimonial tool that helps you collect testimonials from customers with a simple link & share the testimonials effortlessly across websites, emails etc. to increase sales & conversions for your business
First $100 MRR
As they say, the first few customers are always the hardest. I knew there was always the risk of not getting customers even if your product solved a good problem
I kept that in mind and began building Famewall in public right from February of 2022 on Twitter when I had around 100 followers. I used to post weekly & monthly updates
I had a handful of people interested in the product. So after launch, I manually cold DM'd potential people who might find the product useful.
From those conversations, I also got a lot of feedback & then finally in March, I got my first paying customer. It felt so amazing to see the notification from Stripe about the first paying customer
I got to $100 MRR by sharing my journey & talking to customers, improving the product & also reaching out to folks who might be interested in the product
$100 MRR - $500 MRR
I originally thought it'd be easy to scale once I reached $100 MRR, but at the time, my mind was wavering around
I wanted to try my luck at another startup. So I began working on an email product for 2 months
However, I started to notice that Famewall was getting customers even when I wasn't actively marketing it and things weren't going great with my email product. So I came back to Famewall with a lot of rejuvenated interest
The growth during this phase happened over a period of 4 months as I relied fully on posting on social media such as Twitter & Linkedin. The posts were informational about the usefulness of testimonials to business owners & my day-to-day learnings as a solopreneur
I also improved the in-app onboarding experience by allowing customers to see the value of the product immediately once they log in by helping them create a dedicated collection page & setup testimonials
This increased the conversion rate from free-to-paid from 2% to 4% since potential customers got to see the value of the product before dropping off
I also had conversations with creators who were already customers of Famewall and published their success stories with Famewall as case studies which also showed positive results
While these seemed to work, I also have to be honest about what didn't work - Ads.
Yep, most people would find success with paid ads on Meta/Google but in my case, it never really worked.
I've spent less than $150 on different types of ads but they didn't really work for me. There could have been a problem with the Ad copy but I wasn't able to figure it out as I was totally new to running ads
So after running 3 ad campaigns, I just stopped and relied on organic marketing channels instead
The Road to $1000 MRR
The last $500 MRR was comparatively easier. There were a significant number of paying customers and there were new signups coming in every week
Since I had well-known creators & entrepreneurs as customers, I collected & used a lot of testimonials as social proof on the landing page which worked really well in terms of increasing conversions. I know right, dogfooding my own product :)
The next biggest growth driver was SEO. I was a software developer still trying to learn marketing, so I felt it would be worth it to invest in learning SEO as I felt like I was running a hedonic treadmill by having to write on social media multiple times a day.
It felt like a good idea to diversify marketing channels
I started doing small experiments like writing articles on long tail keywords, creating help guides for embedding testimonials in platforms like Wordpress, Notion etc which garnered website traffic with good search intent
I set up an email onboarding sequence that customers received for the first 7 days after signing up and then went on for one email a week. It educated them on how they could use social proof and how they could collect testimonials from customers by sharing questions to ask etc.
This increased the free-to-paid conversion rate even after users abandoned using the product for the first time but later understood the product's value
I also noticed an increase in branded-search queries which was a good indicator that people heard about the product from friends/colleagues and most of those who came from recommendations had a higher likelihood to convert to paid users
I'm still trying out many more experiments and my ideal goal is to reach $5K MRR which would allow me to travel the world while also building a family at some point.
I'm really grateful to all of Famewall's customers who've seen value in the product and helped me get to this point. All this wouldn't have been possible if not for them!
I'll keep updating and sharing more on subsequent blogs as I learn new things while building this product
Try Famewall for FREE to collect testimonials from customers & share them on your website in multiple ways to increase sales