Ashley Baxter – Talk Recap FemtoConf 2019

Get all the FemtoConf 2019 notes

Twitter: @iamashley


  • Self-funded
  • single founder

Lesson One: Position your product to a tiny audience

  • Ashley did not re-invent the wheel. She is selling an existing insurance product
  • Messaging (“We’re the insurance company for freelance designers and developers”)

Tips for choosing your tiny audience

  • Have experience in their world
  • Like the audience you serve (would you have coffee with them every day?)
  • Have an existing network in that space
  • Target an audience others in your field are ignoring (but be mindful of why they’re being ignored!)
  • Questions to ask when choosing your tiny audience:
    • Do you need high volume to make money?
    • Is churn high?
    • Is the market big?

Lesson Two: Resist the urge to over engineer

  • As a self-funded startup, you don’t have the resources (time & money) to build everything
  • Ashley’s expectations before starting:
    • A suite of products
    • A dashboard to manage your insurance
    • Instant quotes and cover
    • Polished customer journey
  • Reality:
    • One product
    • Manual quotes
    • No dashboard
    • Incomplete customer journey

The benefits of not over engineering

  • Customer conversations lead to insightful data
    • Where they’ve come from
    • their thoughts on the experience
    • what features to build next
  • Converting at a rate of 40%
  • Discover common questions to crate educational tools/resources
  • Can you scale back the tech?
    • Buffer emailed users when they got a sale because they didn’t launch with a payment system
    • Stripe delivered ‘instant’ merchant accounts by manually adding users behind the scenes
    • DoorDash collected food orders from restaurants and delivered to customers

Lesson Three: You’ll only discover problems post-launch

  • My process to gather feedback and discover problems:
    • Personalise the email
    • “As a small business, this feedback really helps”
    • Try surveys – when asking for feedback, I got more feedback with a survey form vs. asking for feedback in the email directly. I use

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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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