I Bootstrapped A $120K/Year Business Management SaaS From Pakistan
Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Greetings! I am Asad Ali founder and CEO of Agiled, an all-in-one business management software where you can manage everything related to your business like Clients, Finances, Projects, Appointments, Support, Proposals, Contracts, and much more in one place.
We aim to help small businesses, freelancers, solopreneurs, agencies, entrepreneurs, and service-oriented businesses grow by helping them efficiently manage their businesses.
Our software is making $10k/month and serving 5000+ companies. We launched in early 2020 and we are so proud to have come this far within two years.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I graduated in 2015 from FAST NUCES in Computer Science and immediately started a Web Development Agency. I was very fortunate and successful in our business, and I expanded our team really quickly.
Start marketing the day you start coding. Because getting the word out is really important in the early days. Otherwise, you will have no one to try and use your solution.
The one thing I struggled with when I was managing a growing team, sales, finances, and projects were that I had to switch between several tools. There was no way to keep everything centralized, so I could save my time and spend more time on growing my business.
I talked to other fellow company or agency owners and freelancers who were struggling with the same thing.
This is when I decided to start working on a platform where I and other business owners like me will be able to manage everything related to our business in one place.
I launched the first and beta version on Agiled in late 2019 and officially launched our product in early 2020.
We launched on Betalist and some other startup sites and got some early users.
We were soon approached by Appsumo, and In July 2020, we launched on their platform. Our Appsumo launch was a huge boost. We got thousands of new visitors to our website, new users, customers, etc.
We have been growing ever since.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
We designed our platform with customers in mind. I sat down with the team several times and brainstormed what the customer pain points were. I and my team also talked to several other founders to find out what they were struggling with when managing their business.
Once we had the pain points, we started designing the basic parts of the application. We already had a lot of experience in designing web applications, so this was not difficult.
We started with the basic parts of the application like client management, invoicing, estimates, tasks, team managed and evolved our product from there.
After our MVP was developed we invited fellow founders and business owners to try the platform and we kept updating our platform based on their feedback until a public beta was ready.
Customer feedback is really important when you are developing a software platform. But getting customer feedback can be really difficult. You have to get people interested in your platform so they become invested in it and start giving you their feedback.
Our Appsumo launch really helped us with this. Appsumo community is great in helping you shape up your product. Our Appsumo launch really helped us with this. We got thousands of messages with helping feedback and we have been improving our app based on that feedback ever since.
One thing we learned while designing a SaaS app is that you have to keep user experience in mind. User experience is the most important part of developing a product.
We have improved almost every area of our app. We have released a new small business CRM to help businesses manage their contacts, leads, and prospects in one place. Our project management features have also come a long way to make managing work easy.
We also improved other features like contract management, creating proposals, managing team, etc with the help of our users.
We also launched some new features like appointing scheduling and meeting booking, subscription management, workflow automations, onboarding flows etc with the help of customer feedback.
Our platform was bootstrapped and completely self-funded. We used our Agency income to fund this project. We were able to stay within the budget because we used Agency resources (Devs, Servers, etc) for Agiled. After our Appsumo launch, we expanded our team really quickly to increase the pace of development and to develop new features.
Describe the process of launching the business.
After our MVP was ready, we reached out to our friends who were business owners and invited them to try out the platform. Of course, we had limited friends so there wasn’t much traction.
We built our website and started posting in online communities and started submitting our app in software directories like Betalist, etc.
We actually acquired our first few customers from Betalist. After directory submissions users gradually started to come but there wasn’t much volume.
We also started working on helpful content to get organic traffic. We built huge template libraries like Invoice Templates, Small Business Resource Hub, Contract Templates, and other helpful content.
This content helped us in increasing our visibility in Google and helped us in getting organic users.
Sometime after our directory submissions and Betalist launch, we were approached by Appsumo.
Our Appsumo launch is what really made the difference in our user base grew exponentially after our launch.
Appsumo launch also helped us in cash injection which in turn helped us to grow from a team of 5 to a team of 15+.
The Customer is the real boss and customer experience is everything. You cannot compromise on user experience and user support.
This launch also helped us create a buzz around the product with reviews, videos, blog posts, social media posts, etc.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
After our first Appsumo Launch, we ended up with a lot of customer feedback. We immediately started working on the feedback and started giving continuous updates. This is what really worked for us.
We keep our customers in the loop on what’s coming next to Agiled and what changes and improvements are we making in our platform.
We also email our customers to help them with our product and that has really helped us in retaining our customers.
We have also worked on a lot of videos for our Youtube channel which has helped us in attracting new customers. We release a video on every feature launch where I give a quick walk-through of the new feature personally.
These videos have really helped us in attracting new users as these videos give a personal touch to our brand.
And the one thing that you can’t survive without is Customer Support. We have worked a lot and spent a lot of resources on customer support. Our team even worked on some holidays to support our customers. This has really helped us in keeping our customers happy and in growth via word of mouth.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
We have come a long way since our launch in a really short time. Right now our MRR is $10k and our goal is to reach $100K MRR by the end of the next year.
We have not spent any money on ads since our launch. All of our growth has been organic and with some partnerships like the Appsumo launch.
Our Appsumo launch was also a success and we raised some good money with our Lifetime Deal.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
There is one thing and everything else we learned just revolves around it. That is, the Customer is the real boss and customer experience is everything. You cannot compromise on User Experience and User support. You have to do everything to make it easy for them to use your tool, educate them, and help them along the way.
We did make some mistakes and because of them our customer experience suffered but that was a lesson learned. Now we are doing everything to improve Agiled. It's the center of all the other things we are doing or the decisions we are taking.
Our major mistake was approaching our product like a developer instead of our potential user. We thought our users would be able to figure out how things work in our product, but that wasn’t the case.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We use several tools for our day-to-day operations, marketing, and other stuff.
Here is the list.
- Customer.io for email marketing and customer onboarding
- Active Campaign for email marketing
- Segmentto integrate multiple tools
- Ahrefs for SEO
- Helpscout for customer support and knowledge base
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
- The SaaS Podcast
- SaaStr Podcast
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Here are a few tips for entrepreneurs who are just getting started:
- Start marketing the day you start coding. Because getting the word out is really important in the early days. Otherwise, you will have no one to try and use your solution.
- Have a pre-launch strategy in mind when you start. Start with blogging, directory submissions, community postings, etc to build the early audience.
- Do strategic partnerships with noncompeting apps to grow your user base.
- If you are starting and do not have a marketing budget, partner with Appsumo to grow your user base and create a buzz around your product.
- Use cold email outreach to reach potential customers.
- Analyze and optimize the customer journey.
- Provide excellent customer support because that is what will make a real difference.
- Have a clear direction for your app in mind.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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