Zero to $20k MRR in 20 “Easy” Steps: The Story of – James Kennedy – MicroConf Europe 2016

The MicroConf Europe 2016 Talk Recaps can be found on the central hub page.

Twitter: @JamesKennedy


  • Launched multiple products over the course of 7 years. Had to resort to consulting each and every time to stay afloat
  • “Find out what people want. Go and get it. Give it to them – in that order”
  • I suddenly knew what I did wrong all that time


  • Piehole was the first time I headed that advice
  • Piehole is a marketplace for voice overs
  • We started to travel the world, starting with Argentina
  • Only $20,000 revenue –> essentially trapped in Argentina. Couldn’t return to Dublin if we wanted
  • Read “Instant Cashflow” by Bradley J. Sugars
  • Implemented weekly schedule
    • Monday: increase # of leads
    • Tuesday: focus on conversions
    • Wednesday: increase average $ per sale
    • Thursday: increase # of transactions
    • Friday: increase margins
  • Problem: 50% churn was killing the business
  • Steps 1-5
    • Find out what people want
  • Attended MicroConf Las Vegas 2013 and heard Jason Cohen’s talk about the ideal bootstrapped business
    • B2B
    • recurring pain point
    • non business critical
    • big market
    • finance dudes pay more
    • No marketplaces!
    • $45/$99/$249
    • CPC = MRR / 25
  • Meanwhile in Dublin my co-founder-to-be had two customers with identical pain points
    • Idea for was born
  • Did sell only one copy at $49/mo in the first 12 months – almost gave up
  • Found one customer who cut us a $20,000 check
  • We used the Tesla approach to marketing:
    • embraced customization first
  • Steps 6-10
    • Watched Jason Cohen’s Talk
    • Found a partner I could trust
    • Used the Tesla Model
    • Picked up the phone
    • Did a Brexit
  • Had links from app directories link directly to signup page (App directory IS the landing page)
  • Offered a $20 Amazon voucher in return for a review of our software
  • Steps 16-20
    • Financial planning for maximum motivation
    • Ordinary things, done consistently…
    • TechHub in South Africa
    • Got funded
    • Went to Barcelona

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About Christoph

Christoph lives in Munich, Germany and is bootstrapping his own SaaS application as a part-time entrepreneur.

He likes to write on this blog about anything of relevance to single-founder bootstrapped software startups.


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