Escape Velocity
Aug 14, 2019

The Personal Journey Of a SaaS founder With Nathan Barry from ConvertKit


Awesome interview with Nathan Barry (founder of ConvertKit) on Escape Velocity.

He talks about the early days when ConvertKit was doing $2K MRR and increased to $90K MRR in the space of a year. Direct sales was the key to that growth and what he did is relevant to anyone starting out today.

4 (😄) lessons…

  • The first thing to do is figure out the specific group of people that your product is for. It’s the only way to compete in a crowded market where you’re selling people on switching from an existing solution. Unless you have a massive marketing budget. Once you know who they are, you can list them out by name and then go and target them with cold outreach.
  • When reaching out, short emails work best. Long looks copy and pasted. Short looks personal. Don’t sell in the email. Ask about problems with what they’re doing today and ask for advice about what you’re building.
  • If you’re going to use affiliates keep in mind the 98/2 rule. Only 2% of your signed up affiliates will ever make a single sale. You have to “sell” to your affiliates to sell for you. You need to help them with tools and encourage them to remember to promote you. It’s not a way to sit back and watch the money roll in.
  • It’s difficult to add scarcity to SaaS products to encourage immediate action (without discounts). ConvertKit sells via webinars with partners (so tapping into their audiences) and adds exclusive deals to the offer. Things like extended trials, courses, books. The audience gets them only if it buys there and then.

Imagine this scenario… You’ve launched a great SaaS product and things are starting to look up… GREAT! Now you are doing marketing, sales, dealing with clients, upgrading the product, doing everything you can to stack up your MRR. The more you grow, the more you have to delegate and rely on your team members. There comes a point where you have to decide what kind of leader you are going to be. And let me tell you, that is one of the toughest decisions you have to face… …dread it, run from it… it still arrives 🙂 So you better think long and hard about that! Having a team that shares your vision, is on top of things and REALLY CARES for your business is something that you need to build up and trust me “I’m the boss, do it my way or else” will not work. So what can you do to make sure that your people are empowered in the best way possible and bring success to your company? In this episode of Escape Velocity, I talk to Nathan Barry – founder, creator, speaker, good dude, and honorary Canadian (yes I have the power to bestow that title!).  We go into the story of his company –, what has he done to build up his employees and much more! Here’s an overview of what we covered on today’s podcast: - The initial stages of ConvertKit’s growth - Nailing your Ideal Customer Profile (<- My favourite story) - Who do you serve? – finding the right niche - Can you really rely on word of mouth for growth? - Running an affiliate program - Investing in your team members’ brand - How to take advantage of webinars- Focus on inbound marketing  - The personal journey of a SaaS founder I had a great time talking to Nathan (who btw, is an absolute stud on the cover of SaaS Magazine) and we got into many amazing topics, but I want to draw your attention to his ideas on building the brands of people on your team – around the 25th minute of the video. His thought process really highlights what the difference is between a real entrepreneur – looking to make a great product, work with amazing people and pursue lasting success, and someone seeking to play entrepreneur long enough to cash in and bust out. Investing in your employees brand, flying them out to meetings, empowering them to make decisions, giving them the space to innovate…  This leads to all of your people not only wanting to work for you, but trying to get their friends to work for you (and I mean their smart and capable friends), because you are truly providing a valuable environment for them. Now, I know that it can be tricky to trust people… man, have I faced my fair share of frustration with idleness, lack of motivation or commitment… But, along the way you learn that even with all that, there is no better leadership than genuine inspiration! To go about that, you need to serve your employees… yes, YOU serve THEM!  Your job is to wake up everyday asking how you can help them do their work better. Service leadership is the key. So, check out our full conversation and leave a comment below if letting me know what you biggest takeaway was! -- Dan Martell has advised more startups than his hometown has people and teaches startup founders like you how to scale.He previously created, raised venture funding for and successfully exited two tech startups: Flowtown and You should follow him on twitter @danmartell for tweets that are actually awesome. + Instagram (behind the scenes): + Facebook (live trainings + Q&A): + Twitter (what I'm reading):