The 5 Laws of Setting Up a 7-Figure SaaS Business


Great interview with Clay Collins, the founder of the landing page software company Leadpages. He took the company from zero to 48,000 paying customers and 175 employees.

And it all started from a community he built around a blog.

He shares how he did it and what he’d do differently.

Why should you listen?

I’ve listened to a few interviews with Clay and every time he delivers strategies and tactics you can use in your startup, today. Doesn’t matter if it’s a SaaS, a physical product or a service (although there is a leaning towards SaaS in this interview).

You’ll finish this episode with something you can implement.

3 lessons…

  • Follow the rule of 5 ones to keep growth focused. ONE product, ONE persona, ONE traffic source, ONE conversion mechanism, ONE year of focus on this combination
  • If you can’t get someone to join your community, what makes you think you’re going to be able to sell anything to them?
  • Before you build a product, build a community and interact with it. “Building a community first allows you to get acquainted with the important players in the space

Clay Collins built LeadPages to over $30M in annual revenue with over 40k paying customers. In this interview he shares the 5 laws of building a 7 figure SaaS business from scratch based on the lessons he learned. Visit for the complete show notes of every podcast episode.  

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • [01:56] How Clay would start Leadpages if he were to do it all over again
  • [06:32] Why creating a content community first is important
  • [09:52] When you should start creating a product and how to solicit feedback from your community
  • [11:14] The Rule of Five Ones
  • [16:36] The Five Laws of Setting Up a Seven-Figure SaaS Business from Scratch
  • [23:51] Hiring the technical co-founder
  • [26:15] Doing top-down hiring
  • [32:02] Having upfront communication with your hires and how to manage them
  • [36:07] What Clay did that had the biggest impact on his growth

Key Takeaways:

  • If you can’t get someone to opt-in to be a member of your community, the chances of them actually giving you money is far, far less.
  • Building a community first allows you to get intimately acquainted with important players in the space.
  • When you feel like you have a dedicated audience, a devoted audience, and that they are consistently growing and not plateauing, and people are sending thank you notes with emotion, then and only then should you start creating a product.
  • Once you have an audience built to a certain size, it really behooves you to stay ultra-focused.
  • Most people, when they’re trying to make growth work, they do everything under the sun and they end up kind of drowning and in this very complex scenario. Following the Rule of Five Ones helps you to avoid that.
  • A CEO really only has three jobs: making sure there’s always money in the bank, communicating the vision, and hiring people. Anything other than that is not something a CEO should be doing at any point.
  • There are three determinants of success: what you’re working on, who you’re working on it with, and how hard you work.
  • At all times, the company needs to know what the employee needs to stay in their role, the employee needs to know what they need to do to keep their role, and the employee needs to know where they need to get to in order to get a promotion.

Action Steps:

  • Build a community around your product through content creation. It doesn’t have to be a blog. It could be a podcast. It could be a weekly webinar or Hangout with a group of people.
  • If you have a SaaS product, launch each feature no matter how small. Find the minimal marketable event and market that.
  • Find out what kind of persona your content attracts.
  • Solicit feedback from your community about what they want before you create a product.
  • Follow the Rule of Five Ones:
  1. Have ONE product.
  2. Market it to ONE persona.
  3. Focus on ONE traffic source.
  4. Send that traffic source to ONE conversion mechanism.
  5. Focus on this combination for ONE year until you have a consistent month over month growth.
  • If yours is a SaaS business, architect your business to allow for unlimited account expansion.
  • Have your technical co-founder be vetted and interviewed by other technical people that you trust.
  • Do top-down hiring. Hire a director of marketing or someone who, potentially down the road, can build a team under them. Know what excellence and world class really looks like in a given role and figure out if you can hire world-class for those roles.

Clay said:

“People are fooling themselves if they think they can get folks to pull out their credit card and pay for a product if they can’t even get folks to enter their email address.”

“The biggest problem that most people encounter when they go to hire for the very first time is they just don’t know what excellence looks like in a given position.”

More from Clay Collins and Nomics:

Nomics Website

Clay’s Twitter (@ClayCollins)

Sponsor link

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