I Built A Simple AI Writing Tool That Makes $60K/Year

Abhi
Founder, Rytr
$5K
revenue/mo
2
Founders
1
Employees
Rytr
from San Francisco, CA, USA
started April 2021
$5,000
revenue/mo
2
Founders
1
Employees
21.6K
alexa rank
78
followers
482
followers
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I Built A Simple AI Writing Tool That Makes $60K/Year

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi, I’m Abhi, founder & CEO of a startup platform and business incubator where we incubate and scale new ventures regularly, and Rytr is one of our flagship products that has now become one of the leading AI writing assistants in the market serving 300,000+ customers across the world doing seven figures in ARR. It’s great to see the overwhelming response we’ve received from the market.

With 13+ yrs of combined experience across consulting, venture capital, and startups in the US, Europe & Asia, I have helped build and scale multiple products over the years that have touched millions of users and revenue. I've also led large product & growth teams, mentored 100s of founders on product, growth, BD, sales, hiring, and fundraising, and raised funding from investors like 500Startups, Entrepreneur First, and more.

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

As an entrepreneur, I've always found content generation to be a pain especially when you’re a small team just starting up. It’s a fact that many startups and professionals fail because they don’t possess effective marketing and copywriting skills. Moreover, a lot of entrepreneurs potentially give up on their idea due to the overwhelming nature of content creation.

Keeping your eyes and ears close to the ground is the best way to grow.

So while dabbling with GPT3 on another chatbot project of ours, I realized the potential of this technology and the large market it could address. We looked around and evaluated existing writing tools but found the experience frustrating — overwhelming with sub-par output. At that point we decided, let's give the market what it deserved — an intuitive AI writing assistant that offered the best quality outputs!

Although late to the party, with limited resources and a small team we launched in Apr 2021 and haven't looked back since then. With a growing base of almost 300,000+ Rytrs globally and close to perfect ratings everywhere, we are now recognized as the market leader in this space and have even bigger plans for the future.

Take us through the process of building the MVP.

A big part of being an entrepreneur is looking around, observing things, and finding gaps in the market. It takes skills, experience, creativity, and a little bit of luck to identify opportunities that desperately need a better solution. Fundamental human needs are always constant but ways to address those needs continuously evolve, for the better.

So I always first try to see what solutions/alternatives that people might be using to get a specific job done and which aspects of their workflow they are currently not happy with. This helps me narrow down the pain points and design a solution that is at least 5X-10X better than existing options.

There are various methods of doing this exercise such as keyword research, Google trends, social communities, asking friends, competitor analysis, local needs, etc.

With Rytr, we could already see the market had a clear appetite for AI copywriting tools but the alternatives didn’t offer the right experience - they lacked quality output, seamless interface, and several important features.

So we started by designing a simple sketch of the experience we wanted to offer, and after a few iterations turned into a mock-up using tools like Figma. With initial mock-ups in our hands, we started the MVP development process to quickly roll out the first version with the core functionality we wanted.

Describe the process of launching the business.

After briefly testing it internally, we launched on 1 Apr 2021 and started giving it out to folks in our circles and some private communities before releasing it publicly.

We used mostly organic and inorganic social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Reddit, etc.) to acquire the first few beta testers to get feedback on the product and iron out any kinks in the experience.

i-built-a-simple-ai-writing-tool-that-makes-60k-year

In the meantime, I had set up the email marketing funnel to run drip campaigns to educate customers on the product side and nudge them to become paid customers to get our premium offering.

Having done the first round of testing and talking to the first set of customers personally, I was confident the product was ready for prime-time, and with the kind of audience in mind, AppSumo felt like a perfect channel to acquire early adopters and get some cash rolling in.

We strategically decided on pricing and our deal structure and created a decent-looking offering page.

On 13 Apr we first went live on AppSumo and immediately saw customers checking out our website. We acquired ~100 users on day 1 and did ~$500 of sales. More importantly, we got tons of useful feedback and comments from folks who checked our site and became paid members.

From day 1 we had integrated Hotjar and GA to monitor the usage pattern and understand user behavior which immensely helped us in learning about what’s working and what’s not working.

The AppSumo community can get pretty critical if they detect any BS, and there were a lot of things that could have gone wrong but fortunately, we handled the expectations well and iterated quickly on the feedback.

Don’t get obsessed with what others are doing or saying - focus on your customers and get immediate priorities right.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

I’m a firm believer in picking only a couple of channels to acquire the customer base initially. Spreading your campaign across many channels is not a wise move in my opinion. Each marketing channel is unique and picking one depends largely on the nature of business.

SEO

I’m a huge fan of SEO and the compounding effects it generates for the business. I realize this process takes time, and that’s why from day 1, SEO has been a core part of our growth strategy and we have worked hard on this front.

I did extensive keyword research, analyzed google trends data, looked at social communities to identify the target queries we wanted to rank for. From there we wrote the copies & content accordingly on our website to optimize our pages.

Finally, I did a lot of blogger outreach to build backlinks from sites that had already covered other similar tools. In six months we’re now ranking in the top SERP results for most of our target queries.

i-built-a-simple-ai-writing-tool-that-makes-60k-year

Deal Platforms

The second channel has been deal platforms like AppSumo, StackSocial, etc. Since we were targeting small businesses, entrepreneurs, markets, and agencies, 3rd party deal platforms felt the right channel to reach out to our ideal audience.

I designed the creatives and set up the offer page with a compelling introduction post to showcase our value proposition.

Initially, I was personally sending a welcome email to each AppSumo member who joined which led to a lot of interaction and feedback. Nudging the customer to leave feedback goes far in building the necessary social trust.

A Product-Led Growth Engine

Thirdly, one of my favorite approaches to grow is to build product-led growth engines. In this case, we rolled out our referral & reward system that encouraged users to share genuine reviews in return for some credits. This drove organic users through social media, help with SEO, and built trust on 3rd party review sites.

i-built-a-simple-ai-writing-tool-that-makes-60k-year

Moreover, we also rolled out an affiliate marketing program with the right commission structure early on. This way we were able to organically build an army of cheerleaders who started promoting us in their circles.

Finally, our welcome series email drip campaign, delivered over two weeks after signing up, also worked brilliantly in retaining customers and nudging them to become paid customers.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We launched in Apr 2021 and haven't looked back since then. Rytr is a profitable and self-sustaining venture growing at >50% month over month with decent margins that you would expect from a typical SaaS product.

One of the main reasons for getting this far is our focus on building a high-quality product experience and working on organic channels to acquire customers that are likely to enjoy the experience and recommend it to others.

With a small 3-member team, we feel we have achieved a lot and have even bigger plans for the future.

Stay lean & mean in the early days, and do most of the tasks you’re suited to do by yourself. Keeping your eyes and ears close to the ground is the best way to grow.

Now at HelpTap I’m on a mission to simplify entrepreneurship and democratize fundraising by making it easier for people to build and back ideas they love.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

It’s important to start small and stay small in the early days of the business. With so many conflicting priorities and shiny objects, it’s very easy to get distracted and lose focus. One of the reasons for our success has been ruthless prioritization on the product, pricing, and only a few growth channels.

As a leader, you have to be comfortable connecting with and learning from the customers on any or all channels where they are hanging out. I personally spent the first few months handling all the support requests to see what's working and what’s not and gracefully handle any constructive criticism while capitalizing on the positive stories.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Learn to identify the right opportunities and build a clear value proposition that you know how to take to the market through 1-2 core marketing channels.

Don’t get obsessed with what others are doing or saying - focus on your customers and get immediate priorities right.

Stay lean & mean in the early days, and do most of the tasks you’re suited to do by yourself. Keeping your eyes and ears close to the ground is the best way to grow.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We’re always on the lookout for talented people who’re interested in our mission. If you’re one of them, please reach out at [email protected] or [email protected].

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

-  
Abhi   Founder of Rytr
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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