Before launching Hawk Prospecting, I was anxious about what the results will look like after it goes live.
I was worried that people wouldn't sign up for the software.
I was worried that it wouldn't work the way my audience want it to work.
I was worried that Hawk Prospecting was too early for anyone to adopt it as their go-to solution.
With all these doubts and feelings, I decided that launching was inevitably going to happen eventually and that I need to do it now, or it'll only get worse.
As soon as I launched, I held my breath, waiting to see what'll happen.
First few hours went exactly as I thought they'd go, quiet.
My anxiety and stress levels grew and so I decided to turn off the computer and go do something else for a change.
I thought that taking my attention off business for a while can help me clear my mind.
I went to play basketball at my local park and came back home later that day to see something that I truly did not expect.
I already had over 10 users signed up for the platform.
People were liking, talking, and even reaching out to our support system.
It gave me a glimmer of hope, "maybe I'm done bouncing from idea to idea, maybe this is what I've been looking for all along!"
At the end of that month, I'm happy to announce that I managed to close out with $1500 in revenue - smashing my target out of the park.
So within 7 weeks overall, I managed to take an idea, a hunch, and turn it into a profitable business.
Here's how I went from idea to paying customers in 7 weeks.
In the business realm, there's a little 'hack' that a lot of people turn to when they're looking for business ideas.
We're all human at the end of the day and so we all have our own problems.
Entrepreneurs use this to their advantage by thinking of a solution to their own problems.
That's exactly what I did with Hawk Prospecting.
Not long ago, I was still actively running my marketing agency - on the brink of giving up.
Everything I tried was not working and the tools I needed were way too expensive for me to dump money into with no clear system or strategy for finding clients.
I was on a Zoom call with one of my agency friends when I thought to myself 'What if there was a tool that not only finds emails, but social media accounts, numbers, and so much more on prospects?'
I let my idea out to my friend and he agreed!
"It would be perfect!" he said.
I tried incredibly hard not to let the idea get to my head, to fight shiny object syndrome.
Every waking day following that one, I was constantly reminded of the idea and so one day, I decided to sit down and do a little bit of research on the matter.
I searched so many different search terms and came up short every single time.
This gave me a hint that I might be onto a winning idea - how come no one else has done this?
There were so many other tools and software out there already that found prospect's data like names, emails, industries, jobs, and even numbers in some cases.
Each one had hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of visitors per month to their site, and so this seemed like a great industry to jump into.
However, there was not a single tool that I could find which found everything including social media.
When you have a problem, chances are that other people like you also have the problem too.
To make sure of it, I went into one of my paid Facebook agency groups and commented:
"Who'd be interested in a tool that finds emails, numbers, and social media for prospects?"
I had quite a few replies which pushed me over the edge. It was time to really see how far this idea can go.
After all, I had recently discovered SaaS and I was keen to jump into this industry.
There are almost no downsides to SaaS other than the pools of competition and the barrier to entry for non-tech founders.
Never in my life have I written a single line of code.
This was where my grit and determination were really about to be tested.
With no coding experience, my only choice was to approach developers from Upwork or LinkedIn.
I made an Upwork post that briefly outlined what I was looking to build, however, I was too worried that people might steal the idea and so every team I decided to jump on a call with, I made them sign an NDA.
The NDA was in place to stop the parties from taking the conversation with anyone outside of the call.
Thinking back now, there was absolutely no reason for me to do that!
An idea is just an idea, nothing more, nothing less.
We're all humans, and so we all have ideas.
What's important is not the idea itself, it's the execution behind that idea that truly matters.
When I got on the call with developers, I explained the idea in full and received a stream of quotes.
Some were better than others, whilst a few were ludicrous.
$15K, $30K, $17K, and some went as high as $60K.
When I spoke to a few developers, they told me how this is a big project and it would need a professional, highly skilled team to pull it off.
Therefore, the lower-priced developers also seemed like a risky bet to make.
After a few days of talking to developers, I came up short, disappointed, and felt like this idea may not really come to life.
Whilst working on the agency, I was also working on a project called Condensr.
I had a call with someone regarding Condensr which I was about to cancel since the project was being discontinued.
I decided to take the call for the sake of just talking to someone and it was the best decision I've ever made.
On the call, I was introduced to 'Bubble,' a no-code platform that helps you build websites and software with little to no code involved.
I asked about its limitations but she mentioned how it can be used to build almost anything you could think of.
After the call, I had to do my research, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.
I scoured the internet, watched all the YouTube videos I could, asked for all the help I can get on the forums until a few weeks after - Hawk Prospecting was ready for launch.
It was extremely difficult yet fun to learn all about building on Bubble.
To see the endless possibilities on a tool like this showed me how far we've come with technology.
There were a few key features that I found difficult to build, however, I found a Bubble expert to help me out for around $20/hr.
Around 2-3 weeks later, Hawk Prospecting was fully functional and ready for users to jump on the platform.
The launch is where everything got real for me.
I've spoken about launching my first SaaS business before, however, I'm going to talk a little bit about it here again.
I was ready to launch a few days before I really did launch.
The longer I waited, the worse the emotions became, and the harder it was to pull the trigger.
For the past year, almost two, in business, I've tried many different ideas and all of them had failed.
It became part of my identity to fail and so I was worried that this one would meet the same fate.
One day, however, I realized that the only way I'll know if this is a success or if it's back to the drawing board for me was to launch it.
Although I built the software quickly, it had limited features and use cases - it was an early MVP and so I was worried that no one would find it useful.
Where does everyone go to launch an MVP? ProductHunt!
ProductHunt was the first place I launched Hawk Prospecting, and it was a success!
It drove a lot of users to the platform, got a lot of upvotes, and the traction it was getting went on for a few days.
Next, there was a Google Sheet full of websites that someone on Facebook shared with me where you could post your SaaS startups.
It was a great way to backlinks to the software, surprisingly, I was ranking pretty high on Google for 'prospecting.'
My only goal for the first month was to break even on our costs, in this case meaning getting at least one paying user.
As you saw earlier, I smashed that goal by 22X.
Instead of getting one paying user at £50, I managed to make $1500 in revenue for that entire month.
So what were the marketing strategies that I used after the launch of Hawk Prospecting?
Surprisingly, a lot of the revenue that came in was passive - here's how I did it.
The few days I spent procrastinating the launch, I decided to put together a marketing strategy.
It was more like a go-to-market strategy: the way in which I was planning to put my value proposition in front of prospective buyers.
After around an hour or two, I had come up with a complete strategy:
- 30 Facebook messages
- 15 LinkedIn messages
- 20 cold emails
- 10 Quora questions
- 1-3 weekly blog articles which mention Hawk Prospecting
After the launch, I made it my goal to do all of these things daily and it's what helped me drive growth for Hawk Prospecting.
The idea was to get as many users as possible on the platform who are willing to share their feedback.
To start with, I sent a spammy outreach message because I thought that it wouldn't matter since the tool is free.
Although what I proposed was free, people were ignoring me and not signing up.
So I had to refine my method of outreach.
I chose to only reach out to marketing agency owners (in the USA specifically) who were doing outbound prospecting already.
That way, I know what I was sharing with them will be beneficial to them.
Instead of sending a cold message, I sent a message that sparks curiosity and a reply.
After prompting a reply, I would ask a series of questions and drop a few lines in there which suggested I was just a marketing agency owner like them looking to connect.
This was a very powerful strategy because it put them off guard and let them know I was not there to pitch, only to talk about how we run our agencies.
However, the one thing that drove revenue was not my outreach, but Appsumo!
Appsumo is the largest marketplace for software deals.
It's run by one of my favorite entrepreneurs, Noah Kagan.
A few days after the launch, I was cold emailed by one of Appsumo's team.
They wanted to feature my software and invited me on a call - I was surprised.
Here I was with a new tool, barely a few days old, and it's already getting this much attention.
After the call, I ended up getting my software put on Appsumo which drove purchases and a lot of feedback too.
My outreach on Facebook, LinkedIn, emails, and Quora also paid off resulting in a bunch of feedback.
Within the first month, I managed to get:
- Over 100 users
- $1500 in revenue
- A roadmap for what features need to be added
That is how I went from idea to paying customers in 7 weeks.
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