On how I started a SaaS service earning 1568$ within its first month

On how I started a SaaS service earning 1568$ within its first month

Hey from 2018: I wrote this article a while ago, a lot of things changed since then  (LiveReacting became the biggest service for creating interactive live videos for FB). But I didn’t change anything here to keep memory how it all started.


Greets to all of you.

It seems to me that nowadays almost everyone already knows about lots of various addictions as well as of alcoholics, shopaholics, workaholics wandering around us. Actually, I’m trying to say that those people are suffering of severe addictions while addict itself could be almost anything (or even anyone). For now, I wish to tell you of my own story about an addiction that gave me a chance to bring a monthly profit making a business I do like the most.

Unbelievably this story is not a kind of those you might hear on AA-meetings where others speaking of terrible addictions able to break some lives. Nevertheless, I feel you will literally love those things you are about to hear…

Thus, let me introduce myself. My name is Alex, I’m 22 and I am a born startupoholic.

It seems like you already guessed that my addiction, which got me that same day I learned of startups and its ideology, shown in a striving to create something new and useful for others. Those of my kind may confirm that the idea of startups itself is the best idea to be created in the last decade.

Without thinking twice, I decided to surrender the call of my heart and started my own SAAS service. Firstly, let me tell you that you never heard of my story if the service I am speaking of never brought me a profit as well as never had a chance to get quite nice reviews. Nevertheless, this awesome and pure gamble given me a chance to become the owner of more than $1500 for the very first month and that is why I decided to share it to you.

You have to know that the most important thing in this entire story for me is the fact that my idea turned out to help and become useful for others but not the profit itself. I feel like the best thing we can do is to help people around us and the same time this is the best key-stimulus for all of us!

Note that for those who like to read on diagonal and between the lines, this article is broken into sections and if you wish to read some concrete sections, then you can choose them at once. As for me, I will start my story from the very beginning!

In search of bright ideas…

It’s no secret that in mid-November, 2016 many of us found on the Facebook grounds fairly new kind of posts, which started to grow popularity in an instant. I’m telling of those viral live streams which allow to vote in a real time.

You have to agree that it was some kind of a boom on the net, which obviously might be considered as a «new virus».

What are reasons of such popularity?

I think that its secret lies in a huge involvement of target audience. From the very start of every live stream, each subscriber gets an invitation. Moreover, as soon as any viewer will react on any post by leaving a comment or like then all of his friends and neighbors (I mean followers) see it in an instant. It leads to the fact that the number of the viewers instantly increases in a geometrical progression. Whether it is worth saying that the number of viewings and interactions in times of such events may be many times (5–25) more, than at any usual post on the page?

I really liked an idea of such live streams and decided to learn more on how to start them. From the very start, it seemed to me that it’s a quite easy thingy to do. Moreover, after a couple of hours wandering around the net and YouTube on this matter I found out that it’s not that easy as it seemed before. Believe it or not, but you may view one of the videos devoted to this matter to be convinced at last.

Obviously, there has to be a sun in one’s eye to deal with this whole process!

I hope you remember that my addiction to startups was like a disease, which can’t practically be stopped while it’s on a full-steam …

That time my mind was literally spinning of 2 major thoughts I wanted to merge:

1. The actual process used to create and start such live streams is difficult indeed not to say impossible for some of us.

2. The idea of making such streams is very popular among internet users.

I think that you remember a story teachers often tell us about Isaak Newton while he was in the same thoughts. A brilliant idea was born the moment an apple fell down on his head.

So… I had a very similar experience but the idea itself was different…

Why not to make a special service that will help to ease the process of starting such live streams? I thought that such solution would be of much help for those interested in it.

That is why I decided to start my own project devoted to this matter. The problem is that such ideas never born in one mind and, most likely, there are those who already made the same before…

For now, it’s time to pass a few words on my competitors…

 

On competitors.

It’s quite obvious that the moment such idea struck my mind I started to look through the net in search of same projects. At last I found out that I’m not the only one to try to bring something similar to life and that there are already two completely working projects on the net. There was only one BUT!

Those projects demanded of users to install a special app named OBS Studio that greatly complicated a life of simple users. It’s obvious that all those third-party apps always bring inconvenience. In fact, they need to be installed, adjusted and never aborted while an actual stream is on the way. Sorry to say but these matters are only a heap of an iceberg if your internet connection isn’t stable. In such cases, your streams will be constantly freeze or interrupted without a possibility of further resume.

You may already guessed that I had to think up my own «know how»…

Thus the idea of streaming live video by means of my own server instead of users’ PCs was born. Do you agree that such advantage is really great?

So, my next step before bringing all this mess to life was to thoroughly think of my own project’ capabilities!

A few words on capabilities.

In fact, it was of much importance for me to make my service easy-to-use and intuitive for all those interested in it. In short, the algorithm of its work should be something like:

1. Any user chooses any post that can be either comments or voting;

2. Then this user has to fill in the necessary data (pictures or some kind of test);

3. Then he ought to press “Create a post”;

4. At last, that treasured live stream appears on the webpage chosen by the user himself.

Those who are interested in watching my first video devoted to the very first version of my service may learn more here.

I think that for now you are ready to know on how I brought my idea to life!

On how to bring awesome ideas to life

In fact, everything that started to happen next was like a dream…

About two weeks being as a true and nature-born startupoholic I started to bring my mad ideas to life. Needless to say that that period passed without any sleep and eat. Moreover, I forgot to add that nobody cancelled my main job and instead of a quiet sleep during my restless nights, I just came home… to do some more work! Surely, there is a piece of masochism here!

Those who already were in the same state of mind know that there is no feeling of fatigue in the course of this madness to experience at all. You feel like you are lost in time and your mind and soul is fully devoted to the task needed to be done.
For now let me tell you a few words on some technical moments.

Firstly, the project I’m speaking of is written by means of node.js. I tried to accelerate developing so I picked node-skeleton as a backbone for my application. Those who do not know or never showed interest in such aspects should know that I’m speaking of a simple MVC skeleton, which includes express.js. It allows quickly setup the app and beginning to start making business logic of any project in an instant. It’s quite obvious that from the start I refused an idea of using frontend frameworks, build runners and CSS preprocessors for they were useless!

I needed to create an efficient product in no time and then start to study its necessity and popularity among users. Surely, in case it will become popular then I need to finish it for there were defects indeed.

You see, it’s really annoying and so upset one could cry when you spend several months for scrupulous creation of some “innovative” project, and then find out that there is no soul in the whole world to be interested in it. Mind my words for I do know what I’m talking about!
As far as I remember, I already told you of my advantage among my competitors. However, you should understand that invention of an idea of streaming with no additional external apps used and bringing this same idea to life are not the same! Moreover, that time I was unable to find any helpful info among the whole net devoted to such matter. You better believe me that I literally turned whole internet upside-down and never encountered the information I needed the most. In fact, I had to invent technology I needed on my own and this is the actual reason to be proud of myself. Those who know this problem should confirm that this task is more like hell.

When all was said and done, I decided to deploy my new app on a DigitalOcean grounds but this idea was not that good. Reasons? Never-ending troubles and each day their servers were like on fire. At some point, I decided to move to Google Cloud Platform (GCP), which proved to be much more stable and easy-to-use in comparison to DigitalOcean. You should know that when speaking of online streams and live videos we must bear in mind that there is lots of CPU power needed and in this matter, GCP happened to be of great help considering all those features it provides: Autoscaling, Load balancing and High CPU Instances.

Many of you may be curious on what results did I achieve at last.

My results.

Today (Jan. 5th 2017) my services got almost 2500 registered users and their number grows each day. The number of daily visits remains at the level of 150 among which the 65% are a brand new users:

Actually, there was quite a boom of newcomers when I launched my project on ProductHunt, but after that, the traffic itself remains approximately at one level.

Moreover, let me show you some info on my project’ conversion data:

In fact, the first month the service I started brought me a 1568$ profit. If we are to know the average profit brought by each user then it’ll be something around:

ARPU = 1568$/2500 users = 0.63$.
I do feel that you should agree that such results for a first month are quite good indeed considering that there were both a few troubles with a landing page and not a quite stable work. Note that by now all those issues solved!

What conclusion should we draw by now?

Conclusion.

It seems to me that this story tells us the simple truth that we shouldn’t be scared, lazy and think out various difficulties if and when we came up with an awesome idea and wish to bring it to life. The most important step is the first one, and all you need to do is try to make it!

In fact, I’m able to give you several examples when one 4-hour live stream attracted about 2000 new subscribers considering the fact that its own cost is about 2–4$.

By the way, I forgot to add that there were no pence in promotion of my own project involved!
«Where is the next part of this story and what to expect?» — is the most common question I should expect for now.

You had better believe me that I do have lots of things to share. I feel that you’ll be really interested in all the troubles as well as wish to learn more on marketing issues and bans brought to me by Facebook on my way to success.

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