From a convict to 5-time SaaS entrepreneur: the story of Dan Martell


When a guest on a podcast starts his origin story talking about being high, drunk driving and chased by the police with a handgun in his bag, you know it’s worth a listen.

Dan Martell is a driven entrepreneur who, after turning his life around, has gone on to found 5 companies and successfully exit from 3 of them.

In this interview on the SaaS Revolution Show, Dan shares his journey from almost game over to successful, in demand, coach for SaaS founders.

3 lessons…

  • The inspiration for (most recent exit) came from solving his own problem – setting up a way to automatically contact people who were looking to him for advice. It’s a theme that comes up over and over, the seed of the idea comes from a real problem that the founder has.
  • Who not how. Connecting with the right people will make the difference in your business. “You get in a room of other peers and a lot of heavy lifting takes care of itself”. But you have to do this consistently.
  • Create assets in the business e.g. a blog. If you’ve got a firehose of traffic coming at you, you can point it at anything. 37 Signals / Basecamp had a blog with 50k uniques per month before they launched a SaaS. It makes it a lot easier to get the first revenue and feedback.

The start of Dan Martell entrepreneurial path has all the markings of a Hollywood film - driving a stolen car, chased by police, with a gun beside him. The latest guest on the Struggle, the Canadian 5-time founder has quite the story of trials, tribulations on the way to success.

Beyond being a dad, a husband and a Canadian, Dan would tell you that his defining characteristics are someone who is driven, someone who constantly asks what is possible and what does he need to do to fulfill his dreams and goals. We know where, when and how his entrepreneurial story begins but what has followed since is as interesting, tough and educational.

A lot of it was, in his words, soul crushing. It took him nearly 10 years and 2 failed companies to get a better idea of how to do business right. That coupled with coming across the book “Love is the killer app” gave him the knowledge to be successful.

15 years and three more companies after, Dan has managed to achieve successful exits all the while learning a massive amount of lessons when it comes to running SaaS companies. This total of 25 years from that night when he was 17 and the honesty with which he is able to speak about them, makes him a true treasure trove and we are grateful for the time he gave us on this extended conversation.

Hope you enjoy the interview and pick up some of the many lessons about building companies the right way.

If you can be as honest and open as Dan or any of the other guests we have hosted on the Struggle, get in touch and send us your story on