On Starting An All-In-One Agency Management Software

Robin Vander Heyden
On Starting An All-In-One Agency Management Software
ManyRequests
from Singapore
started January 2020
2
Founders
1
Employees
199K
alexa rank
169
followers
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Start A White Label Saa S Platform Business

My name is Robin Vander Heyden and together with Gabriel Lecointere, I co-founded ManyRequests, an all-in-one agency management software.

ManyRequests helps creative and marketing agencies organize their business by having everything in one place: Clients, requests, billing, files, dashboards, checkout forms, and a fully customizable client portal.

Our software helps these agencies get organized and save time, which in turn helps them delight their existing clients and sell more.

Since we started in early 2020 we’ve acquired 1000+ agencies which in turn have more than 10,000 clients using our software daily.

on-starting-an-all-in-one-agency-management-software

What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship?

Before starting ManyRequests, I built two service-based businesses:

  • A student housing agency during my law studies that grew to 250k EUR yearly turnover and ~50% profits.
  • A graphic design outsourcing business in Indonesia / Philippines that grew to 30 team members.

Starting service businesses gave me entrepreneurial experience and helped build a financial cushion which was necessary to build a SaaS which takes time to build.

Knowing your key SaaS numbers and attribution is essential so that you know where to identify issues and opportunities to scale.

I highly recommend anyone who wants to become an entrepreneur to start their journey by consulting, or creating a small agency.

Selling services gives you so much experience about how to deal with clients and marketing. It’s also easier to make cash flow since selling for $50/hour or a $500 monthly package can quickly get you to decent income levels.

Take us through your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from day 1 to today?

While I was running my prior business we needed ticketing software to manage client requests.

Around the same time, I met Gabriel who at that time was building B2B software for a Belgian VC-funded company and also had the same idea.

on-starting-an-all-in-one-agency-management-software
Gabriel and I worked together for about 8 months before meeting in person for the first time in early 2020 while we were both traveling in SouthEast Asia

We both felt it was a good idea to combine his programming skills + our joined B2B experiences.

We spent the last half of 2019 building a prototype and we pre-sold about $20k of our software to validate demand.

This taught us: OK there is demand for this kind of product, let’s invest more time and money into this.

The first 6 months were super slow in terms of growth. Mainly because we had to rebuild our prototype from scratch, but also because we were targeting the wrong customers.

Things really skyrocketed after when the product matured and when we had a better idea of who our ideal customers were and how to acquire them profitably.

In May 2020 we raised a seed round from Calm Company Fund which focuses on backing profitable companies like ours.

The market for software like ManyRequests is already very crowded (with huge VC-funded competitors) so to differentiate ourselves in terms of the product we had to stick to a niche.

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

Today our mission is to build the best software and content we can for agencies to help them achieve their goals: Save time, streamline their operations, and grow their business.

The future might sound boring but: Keep doing what we do and enjoy our lives.

We have a profitable, location-independent business, and we work on challenging problems every day which makes us happy.

Perhaps if we ever sell the business one day we will attempt a moonshot idea but for now, we’re extremely focused on doing one thing very well which already requires a lot of our time and energy.

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

1/ Get a clear understanding of your target customers and their pain points

If you solve a problem really well for your customers, they’ll stick around and you’ll know how to upsell them and increase LTV.

To find your customers' pain points, one of my favorite frameworks to sell to B2B customers is the “Job-to-be-Done” where you basically have to learn the “job” your customers have and help them do that with your software.

2/ Have a distribution strategy in mind

No matter how great your product is, you can’t simply rely only on word of mouth. Learn about SEO, ads, or whichever channel makes sense for your business.

We built a Facebook group and started ranking on search engines and building our email list before writing a single line of code.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

  • Postmark for email delivery
  • AWS / DigitalOcean for hosting
  • Basecamp / Slack for internal projects and team communication

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I am all about the action so I’ll usually have some books I latch on to.

Some of those books are High Growth Handbook by Elad Gil, or Traction by Gino Wickman. On B2B positioning, Obviously Awesome by April Dunford is a must-read. I find taking some sections, then deciding how we can implement them has been useful.

Next to this, 1-on-1 conversations with founders that are a bit ahead of me have influenced me and contributed to my personal growth.

Finally, I think being genuinely interested in a range of other topics really helps to think creatively and with problem-solving skills.

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

1/ Learn about copywriting or programming (or both)

I think these are the two key skills a SaaS founder should possess. If you’re great at communicating your ideas with clarity, your team and customers will understand your vision and product better.

In addition, I think knowing how to build products helps a ton. There are so many free online courses or boot camps nowadays that coding shouldn’t be a barrier if you’re willing to give it time.

Finally, knowing your key SaaS numbers and attribution is essential so that you know where to identify issues and opportunities to scale.

2/ Learn from people who are a few steps ahead of you

I used to read TechCrunch or some general business articles. They’re great to scratch the surface and feel motivated but there are often very few actionable skills for what you need to do right now because they miss the context.

Instead, I am quite active on Twitter where I follow SaaS and B2B entrepreneurs such as Kevin Yun, Jon Yongfook, Moritz Dausinger, Amar Ghose, Sam Shepler, and many others.

3/ Things take time

Finally, I would say things will take way longer than you expect them to be because you need to learn. I started my entrepreneurial journey in 2012, almost 10 years ago. One of my favorite quotes is “We overestimate what we can do in a year and underestimate what we can do in a decade”.

Where can we go to learn more?

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Robin Vander Heyden   Founder of ManyRequests
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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