In Episode 574, Rob Walling chats with Andrew Fiebert, a founder who just couldn’t get away from software. He’s a software developer, turned podcaster, turned marketer, and now he’s a software entrepreneur and on this episode, they discuss his success and struggles while building Lasso.
The topics we cover
[4:15] WordPress plugin with an annual subscription
[5:51] Starting a podcast
[8:00] Experiments with monetizing a podcast
[13:26] Starting Giftlab.co
[15:08] Starting another software business
[16:35] Building Lasso
[21:23] Launching without the right pricing/product
[23:32] Discovering the sticking points in the UI/UX
[29:29] Freemium vs paid users
[31:06] The biggest struggle with building Lasso
[35:23] The future for Lasso
Links from the show
This episode of Startups for the Rest of Us is sponsored by Software Promotions. Get better results from Google.
If you have questions about starting or scaling a software business that you’d like for us to cover, please submit your question for an upcoming episode. We’d love to hear from you!
Rob: We’re back with another episode of Startups For the Rest of Us. I’m Rob Walling. This is episode 574. This week, we’re back talking to a founder who just couldn’t get away from software. He’s a software developer-turned-podcaster-turned-marketer, and now he’s a software entrepreneur. He’s the founder of Lasso at getlasso.co, which is affiliate management software for WordPress websites.
The founder is Andrew Fiebert and he co-founded the business with his wife, Laura, back in 2019. I really enjoyed my conversation with Andrew because of the path that he followed. It was so not predictable to watch him be a software developer by day and then to start a podcast about personal finance almost by accident, and then to have such success with that that it rolled him into his next thing, and his next thing, and he just keeps reinventing himself.
Before we dive into my conversation with Andrew, I wanted to let you know that the State of Independent SaaS survey is live once again. This is our third annual survey. We will have the report ready in just a couple of months. We usually present that at the end of January. If you haven’t heard of the State of Independent SaaS, or haven’t participated, or if you have, we’d really love for you to take about 8 minutes, maybe 10, if you sip your coffee while you’re taking the survey, head over to stateofindiesaas.com.
We will have a link there where you can get to the survey. It depends on the path, and the choices you make during the survey, or the answers you give, but it’s about 30–40 questions and it should be things that you know off the top of your head—how many founders do you have, what’s your MRR, that kind of stuff. It’s all anonymous.
We put this survey together to help the community, the mostly bootstrapped SaaS founders that we’re calling independent SaaS or indie SaaS. The idea is for us to have some type of benchmark. Not only that we can look at a point in time, but then look at trends over the years. Now that we’re doing our third survey, I’m super excited to see if the trend continues from last year of more people offering free plans, of more companies offering free trials, and fewer companies asking for a credit card before their trial.
Each of those ticked towards basically moving the free line about 3%–4%, something like that, so I’m curious to see if that’s going to hold solid, if it will reverse, or if it’ll keep going. We need your responses in order to be able to do that. Again, everything’s anonymous. I’d love to have your data be part of that report. With that, let’s dive into my conversation with Andrew Fiebert of Lasso.
Andrew Fiebert, thanks for coming on the show.
Andrew: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.
Rob: It’s not often that I have a podcaster or a former podcast or on this show. I got to be honest. From way back in the day, you started Listen Money Matters in 2012.
Andrew: Yeah, before it was cool. I think we left right when it became cool.
Rob: How long did the show run?
Andrew: I want to say eight years. It was a large part of my life at this point.
Rob: I bet. I had heard of the show before you and I connected. Obviously, you’re a part of batch three of TinySeed with your WordPress plugin, the Lasso. It is interesting how there’s this thread through your story of you start the podcast with your wife, start an affiliate site, and then you need to scratch your own itch and build a WordPress plugin. Those sound disjointed or they sound like they’re all over the place in terms of a podcast, affiliate site, and now software.
There’s a thread that ties them together. That’s what I want to cover today, is how interesting these stories can somehow unfold? When you started the podcast, did you know how you were going to monetize it? Did you plan to make it an affiliate-type product?
Andrew: We knew how we were going to monetize it from day one, and then that didn’t work. Then we knew what would work next, and that didn’t work. I think it took us about three years to actually make money. But we were certain for the whole first three years how we were going to do it wrong, I guess.
Rob: No doubt. I guess to flash forward—I’ll talk about Lasso briefly—from your H1 on your site, it says your affiliate site is losing 30% of its revenue, fix your broken links, find new affiliate opportunities, and create product displays that convert. It’s a WordPress plugin that you charge a monthly or a yearly subscription, which in itself is a relatively unique thing.
I think annual subscriptions are sometimes common with WordPress, but have you—having a WordPress plugin with a monthly subscription—gotten pushback on that? Because so many WordPress plugins are free, and then some of them charge annually, and I think there’s a smaller number that do monthly recurring.
Andrew: I’ll maybe give up my cards a little bit. We’ve only gotten pushback on price for sites that clearly would not be a good fit or are not really bringing in revenue. But maybe the giving up the cards’ pieces, half of our revenue is monthly and half is yearly. I think the existing people out there, being only yearly, they’re just turning away half of their customers, I think.
Rob: That’s super interesting. You have a team of nine people working on Lasso. You yourself are a developer and you co-founded these businesses with your wife. I have some founding teams that I love in terms of the roles. I love a subject matter expert and a developer. That, to me, is what the two of you are.
The subject matter expertise in terms of Lasso is affiliate marketing. Your wife runs an affiliate site. It’s called giftlab.co. Unless I continue to just monologue here, I want to roll back to where this story starts. I feel like it starts with Listen Money Matters, is that right?
Rob: It started as a blog. Why did you start podcasting? Because you told me that story offline and it’s hilarious.
Andrew: I started the blog because I want to make passive income. Obviously, I thought it was as easy as it was not going to be. Then someone commented on the blog, his name was Matt Giovanisci. I had maybe two other commenters at the time, so I was really excited. I reached out to him, we chatted, we actually met in person.
I just would Skype with him on building business things. We didn’t know what we were doing. I would talk to him about money. He was living with his brother, he was poor, he wasn’t making money, he quit his job. I kind of berate him for being bad at money or tell him what I would do maybe slightly. I don’t know.
Anyway, my wife would hear it and she was like, you guys should record this. I didn’t even really care to do any audio or use my face. We recorded it. There weren’t really any other personal finance podcasts out there at the time, and it blew up.
Rob: That’s crazy. Do you think it’s because you were early? Was it especially good? Because I’ll just tell you, when I look back at the first 10 episodes of this podcast, they’re not good. We were early, we were in 2010, and we just built over many years. Do you feel like you had a better handle on it? Did you have that performance aspect? Or are they also equally not good?
Andrew: No. We didn’t know what we were doing and it was objectively really bad. I don’t even think we had decent mics. But I think what resonated is that it was off the cuff, honest conversation between two friends. So instead of an elderly man lecturing you on how to do things and you’re doing it wrong, we were just figuring it out, discussing it, and doing research. I think it was very approachable. Then people stuck around enough that we were able to get decent at it.
Rob: Approachability is so huge. I think it’s much more common these days in podcasts. Obviously, radio was never approachable when I used to listen to it. It always seemed far off in the distance, like Hollywood or just being in a movie or TV show. But podcasts, at a certain point, a few of them started creeping out. Tropical MBA was an early one for me where I was like, wait, it’s just two dudes talking about stuff. My guess is Listen Money Matters in the early days, that’s a huge piece of it.
You already mentioned that you had ideas of how to monetize it, but it didn’t work. What were a couple of those experiments that just blew up in your face?
Andrew: Everyone’s like, oh, you just have to use Patreon, and then everyone will come, and they’ll just pay you. I was like, ah, that’s awesome and it’s so easy. So I recorded this video. I don’t know how to do videos. I want to say, I literally took my wife and I like a week to put this together.
I don’t think anyone paid us through it, which was very demotivating. Then it was like, oh, no, no, you create premium content and then they’ll pay you through Patreon or whatever. So we created other peripheral podcasts. We had three podcasts at one point, but that didn’t work. No one wanted to buy ads, we were small. The only way we were able to do it was through affiliate income. Because personal finance payouts are so high, one conversion to personal capital was $100. That was serious revenue for a business that made nothing.
Rob: Affiliate revenue? That’s the thing. Offline, you mentioned that you had listened to Pat Flynn before that. It seemed he made it look easy to make money online. That was a piece of it. People listening, they should know what that is.
Affiliate commissions are if you mention a product, whether in your blog or on the podcast, you then have a link that goes to that site. If someone signs up for a credit card, in your case because of personal finance, or signs-up for a bank account, then you get a fee, like you said, $100 per signup. It’s pretty lucrative if you get enough traffic.
Andrew: I think what people don’t realize is that so much of online and offline business is based on this kind of commission when you make a sale setup. It’s just not as mature online. If you were to buy stuff for your home because you’re doing work, your contractor might make commission on the things that they buy, or life insurance. There used to be insurance salesmen and they made affiliate commissions. I was just the extension of that.
Rob: Right. At a certain point, were you looking to launch other affiliate websites? Once you got good at Listen Money Matters, obviously, there’s a website, and a podcast, and you’re making some decent income from there, then was it like, well, let’s do more affiliate sites? Because at a certain point, like you said, your wife and you started GiftLab. How did that come about?
Andrew: GiftLab, Laura at the time was editing the podcast and she was running our editorial team at Listen Money Matters. Our writers write something, she’d review it, and make sure it fits the research of what we wanted to position articles for, and in digging around Ahrefs. This was years ago. She found gift keywords and the competition was zero.
I think I remember she was showing me quinceañera gifts, which is maybe a 1–3000 visits a month term. There was not a single article in the top 10 results that was a list or any ideas for gifts for quinceañera. There was nothing. So we felt it was wide open pastures, it was like just playing around, and it wound up sticking in a very big way.
Rob: Right. Someone hearing that story might think, oh, you got lucky that your wife stumbled upon this thing in Ahrefs. But there are other components to that, right? Because the two of you probably put in a ton of hard work and had some skills that you’re able to apply. Is that right?
Andrew: I had been building websites before college and during college for people. I was doing contract work and understood a lot of that stuff beforehand. I was a data engineer before we eventually quit our jobs to do this. I was really good at analyzing data and finding outliers. But even still with all of that at our backs, we failed so many times. We own bossypaws.com, a great cat website that no one goes to and homespun.co. We have all these failures, and a few worked.
Rob: That’s the thing, that survivorship bias that so many podcasts, or TechCrunch, or the media looks at, and these outlier things of this big success of GiftLab, or Listen Money Matters, or Startup for the Rest of Us, or whatever, you can say, oh, they did this, therefore, I can do that too. But it’s almost like a lot of things have to come together, and you probably have to fail a bunch to get there. That’s the usual story, right?
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Okay. You launched GiftLab. How long did it take to make it into something where you’re like, this really has legs?
Andrew: I distinctly remember GiftLabs like numbers and timeline because it happens so much quicker than Listen Money Matters. I think because we learned a lot of it building and failing with Listen Money Matters, everything is anchored to the Christmas season with GiftLab. We started halfway through the year. So the first 1.5 years, we made $9000 and then the next plus one year was about $30,000-something. It either doubled or tripled every subsequent year.
Rob: Wow, that’s a great business.
Andrew: No one listening should create a business like this. I’m just saying. I’m based on gifts.
Rob: Yeah, totally. Don’t compete with that.
Andrew: Don’t compete with me. You don’t want to.
Rob: When did GiftLab launch? Do you remember what year?
Andrew: I want to say it was like 2015–2016. I think we’re about like three-ish years into Listen Money Matters.
Rob: Got it, okay. GiftLab is still quite successful today, right? Your wife focuses on running that.
Andrew: Yeah. I think of it in terms of multiples of my engineering salary in the past. It is many times of me working a full year for someone else.
Rob: There you go. Then that begs the question. You guys are kind of set, you and your wife, you have kids. You have twins, right?
Andrew: Twins, yeah. Boy and girl.
Rob: Why then go start this? Software is such a pain in the ass, man. It really is.
Andrew: It really is.
Rob: There’s a reason I don’t start SaaS apps anymore. I started enough of them to finally learn. No. Obviously, these companies become worth so much in there. The adventure is amazing and everything. But I’m curious what the motivation was for you to dig into it, even though you had a successful podcast and successful, essentially, a personal brand, you had that affiliate site and then you had GiftLb, but something had to have been burning inside you to decide to build it.
Andrew: I want to say we’re maybe about a year-and-a-half, two years into building Listen Money Matters. We went to our first conference. I think it was a podcaster conference. I forget the name of it. It’s like The Podcaster Conference and it was the first year of it that we went to. We went to the first few years of it.
I remember, I still had my full time job and I was listening to all these speakers talk about how they’re unhireable now because they do their own thing. I literally cried while my wife was there at the conference. I felt so strongly about it and I wanted it so bad, but I was so far away then. I was like, you know what, I’m not going to be able to get there fast enough with the podcast, but I have this really good idea. I registered affiliatetoolkit.com.
I tried. My eyes are red from crying, and I wipe them off, and I’m pitching Laura. I’m pitching Matt on this and I’m like, guys, this is what we have to do. They’re pretty much like, Andrew, stop, no, you’re being stupid. I’ve been mowing on it for a while. Part of it’s been burning in me, but the other part is, I’m a developer. I went through all these years of college and at the highest levels of doing big data stuff. I feel like if I don’t succeed with my core skill at tech, maybe. It’s […] of a podcast, but I’m not a radio guy. I’m an engineer, so it was a lot of that.
Rob: Did you launch Affiliate Toolkit?
Andrew: No. Everyone told me I was really dumb and that I shouldn’t do it.
Rob: Flash forward then to 2019 and you start building Lasso, which is an affiliate. You might say it’s an affiliate toolkit for WordPress sites, right?
Rob: How did you convince Laura that it was a good idea at that point? What was the burning desire there? Was it still just to own a software company or is there something else?
Andrew: I didn’t want to build it to sell. At first, I wanted to sell it because I just wanted to make money so badly to quit my job. I almost didn’t care what I had to do to do it. But I’d already quit my job and we were building it to help make our lives easier. GiftLab, I think there are like 15,000 links to Amazon products on the site. We have a lot of people on the team that are replacing broken links and creating new lists.
To be honest, I had no idea if things were monetized, or not monetized, or what was going on. The same became true with Listen Money Matters. I think we peaked at almost 800 articles on the site. For me, I had anxiety thinking about how much money I could be making because I didn’t know what was going on. So I developed this to automate the monetization in GiftLab, make cool displays and comparison tables in Listen Money Matters, and eventually, friends in the space asked if they could use it.
Rob: If someone visits the site, obviously, the ability to have these really nice product displays with, you have an example of the book essentialism. It has the cover image, and then a nice little description, and says buy from Amazon. You can put that together. You can manage all your important links in one place and that’s what you’re talking about, where if you have 1000 affiliate links on a site going into every WordPress post, it’s a disaster. So somehow, you tie into that and allow someone to basically manage it in one place. Is that the idea? Those are the key benefits?
Andrew: Yeah, if these links are monetized to pull it out to the extreme. In Listen Money Matters, we would recommend debt products or investing products. But many of these products are literally the same as other ones, difference by name, perhaps a sign of funnel. Using Lasso, we’re able to test Earnest versus Credible, two debt product companies to find out, oh, we make more money with Earnest literally putting the link in the same as I placed. So we converted everything to Earnest.
It was bringing in unmonetized links, discovering we’d link to a domain that had an affiliate program. All we had to do was monetize the link. After we resolved one issue, we’re like, I want more. Let’s see if we could push it a little further. It grew into this kind of monetization suite.
Rob: That’s the thing. It’s one thing to write software to effectively scratch your own itch, which is the phrase people have used for solving your own problem with software. But to then take it and to productize it is a whole other thing. Not only just to make the code productizable, but to then build the marketing website right on the copy, figure out the positioning, and then drive traffic, and get folks to subscribe. You had the product. I often say, the code itself is maybe 25% of the battle.
Andrew: It’s the easiest part.
Rob: It’s the easiest part.
Andrew: It’s the fun part.
Rob: We’re developers. This is very predictable. There’s no technical challenge in most of the products that we see or use that are that hard. The challenge is in the marketing, the execution, and all that. At a certain point, you must have thought, this is a great idea, I want to sell it because it’s working so well for us.
It sounds like your affiliate, friends, or colleagues were using it. But when did you really decide to take that plunge? I am curious. Was Laura on board with it at that point or was it still, do you really want to go off and do this kind of shiny object thing, or by that point was it not there?
Andrew: The conversation became, Andrew, you can’t invest any more money into developers building this hobby toy thing. It was basically enough. I was like, oh, okay, well, I guess I have to make money to support my hobby. Because you build these businesses and you’re like, but they’re boring now because that’s what I live on. I need a new thing.
It was really to bring in revenue to afford. My thought was still just to subsidize the tech stack of our existing businesses. We have another SaaS tool that was a tack-on to Listen Money Matters, that capped me $1500 a month. It’s fun. I’m playing with code. Pushing Lasso this boulder up the hill is very different from a passively sold toy.
Rob: It was early 2020, right? Covid was hitting that you did launch last. Was it March or April of 2020?
Andrew: Yeah, it was April. We were in beta, or alpha, or whatever since January. We had a few people paying us $49 a month and I am so grateful. We did it, we had a lot of the pieces, the interface was wrong. No one could understand what was going on except for me and I was really frustrated. I couldn’t get that no one else got it. So we redid the interface.
We relaunched at $19 and it was this massive inflection point. I’ve been dreaming of graphs like these my whole life. It was really, I think the price was right, the interface, the marketing side. We just really nailed the launch, and it’s been steady as she goes ever since, just a straight line.
Rob: That’s interesting. You launched it, and not only the product and the pricing were off, which is not uncommon because it’s hard. That’s the thing. So many developers and even when I was, let’s say, building my first software products, I was a developer so I thought I can write code, I can therefore build a product. Those are two different things.
I was always writing a line of business apps for a credit card company I worked for. There was a pet insurance company. These little businesses that would hire us and spend $50,000 on back office automation. That stuff doesn’t need to be that usable because you have a pool of 5 or 10 users. They can click around and do it. But to build a product that is consumed by a lot of people, it’s a very different skill set.
There’s a reason the phrase ‘UX exists.’ It’s different from the code and it’s different from the UI itself. User Interface, obviously, is like, oh, the fonts and the logos, but user experience is what you’re talking about. So it sounds like you took your best guess as a developer and built something that was just not intuitive for other affiliate marketers. Is that right?
Andrew: Yeah, I just took heavy inspiration from the Ahrefs interface, which they’re like a superpower tool. But objectively, it’s a really thick interface. You have to be a nerd to want to go in there.
Rob: Got it. Obviously, people were saying, I’m confused, I don’t know how to use it. That’s not like that was the message, but then how did you fix that? Because that’s the hard part is knowing how to make it usable.
Andrew: At the time, it was Matt and I building this. We just whiteboarded a lot. We had this relationship. Not like we yell at each other or don’t like each other, but just, I think it should be like this. We’re very passionately building.
We figured out, I guess, slowly, and we’re still working out the kinks, like where the sticking points are, why maybe pieces were a bit extra we’re finding, or there’s this quote that I’ll really destroy. But it was like, give me two hours and I’ll write you seven pages. If you want one page, just give me seven days. It takes so much longer to edit it down to less, so really figuring that out took us almost a year on how to make it less.
Rob: Wow, that’s crazy. Okay, you spent a bunch of time on the UX. During that time, you had learned that the pricing was too high for the market.
Andrew: I didn’t even think the pricing was too high. I’m super aggressive, where I would want it to be more. Matt lobbied me almost the whole year to get it down. I literally was so tired of having a conversation. I was like, whatever, we could always raise it again and we cut it.
The funny thing is, no matter what price we’re at, $49, $19, and now $29, people always said it was too expensive and it was too much. So I think we were desensitized to it at $49 or maybe we agreed. Then in $19, it was like, come on, it’s so much more value than that. You convinced me to raise the price and we did. Honestly, the same number of people still complain about it, but the same amount of people also don’t care.
Rob: I like that story because there’s a lot to it. Lowering your prices is hard and it goes against a lot of the advice you might hear out of MicroConf or here on this podcast because most—especially developers—entrepreneurs underprice. They undervalue and underprice how valuable their product actually is.
I spend a lot of time just saying, you need to raise the price, you need to raise the price. But you started arguably too high for your market. Yes, that does exist. People who listen to this podcast, you can overprice your product, of course. If I launch an ESP today to compete with MailChimp, or AWeber, and I just said, oh, the starting price is $500 a month and it’s feature parity, it is too expensive. So you can get there.
I’m always scared to lower my price or I used to be when I run SaaS apps because I didn’t want to crush my MRR. I didn’t want to hamper our growth. I didn’t want to bring in lower-end customers who would need a lot of support. There’s just a lot. I don’t want to increase churn potentially with people who are tire kickers and all that. As you went to $19 and then $29, did you find that the quality of the users and customers changed or did it stay pretty consistent?
Andrew: It absolutely went up. I think it’s almost like explicitly telling people like we’re not for you yet. A lot of our customers and honestly, our ideal customers, people who are perhaps having sites like Listen Money Matters where it’s becoming unruly to manage, are making hundreds of thousands of dollars a month and $19, $59, it doesn’t matter for us.
We wanted everyone to try it because we knew we had bugs. We just wanted a lot of tire kickers. Cloudflare, I love the company. They have this great article they wrote on why they have a free plan. Their bread and butter is their enterprise. But they use the free plan to bring in small sites like mine or whatever to really just test their features. They do rollouts bottom up. So the thought was, if we can get a lot of people, they’ll help us fix our bugs or tell us where they are.
Rob: Oh, my gosh. That’s crazy. You don’t do that anymore, right?
Andrew: No. They’re still fighting bugs, but you know.
Rob: That’s funny. That begs the question because when you and I spoke and we were talking about TinySeed because you had applied for the most recent batch, I don’t remember everything that we talked about, but I can almost guarantee you that I brought up the price. Your average revenue per user at $19 a month, it just isn’t much.
My mental framework for startups that I think have a higher chance of succeeding is the three Ps. It’s the people involved, the founders on whether they have product/market fit and you can just look at numbers from that. Our customers are raving about it, it’s churned low, is it growing, blah-blah-blah. Then price sensitivity or pricing is the third.
Having an average revenue per user of (let’s say) $19 a month, is really, really, really hard to build a seven-figure business with that. I’m guessing that I brought that up in our conversation. How are you thinking about that? In terms of raising that over time or having the enterprise plan—Cloudflare can do it because they have the enterprise and that drives it—what’s your mental model of how to grow Lasso at that scale?
Andrew: I remember in this conversation. I don’t know if you remember, I know you talked to a lot of people. I was actually explaining how it’s $19 a month now and the ideal price would be zero. Then I was going to drive the price down to nothing.
I was explaining all the other components that will add on, and we’ll make money over here and over there, and not not on the plugin. You basically told me, no, that’s ridiculous. You bring in people who have no traffic and they don’t really feed all the other things that you build. I had this thought like, well, if everyone would use it, it would be more valuable, but I think where you helped me refine was everyone that has value, being a customer should need to use it. You don’t need the guy who started yesterday. He may give up and then he was never even worth supporting.
Rob: Yeah. To do Freemium like that at that scale, again, to come back to Cloudflare, they’ve raised a lot of money that often requires more support and more money in the bank just to live out that Freemium, because freemium pushes off revenue. It’s obvious, but if I start a free plan today, I may make more money next year, or three, or four years down the line, but I need cash in the bank then to run my team in the meantime. That’s the struggle.
Andrew: Lasso sits in the spot where there are a lot of people who just started yesterday or they’ve been doing it for years. We pretty much found that people who need the lower price are more needy. The people who just started, or the people who need the lower price versus the bigger people. For us, we’re a small team. We’re spinning our wheels multiple times more on these baby customers. Big customers would come in, sign up, overlook all these annoying things and just pay us.
Rob: Yeah, it’s counterintuitive the first time you hear it, but it’s another data point that lower paying customers, in general, tend to have a little more drag on them.
Obviously, the product is successful, it’s growing, you have a team of nine working on this. But I don’t know that we’ve covered any, aside from some bugs, and some early launches, and UX stuff, and having to change pricing. When was the moment where you just felt kicked in the teeth as you were growing this? What was one or two of the hardest times you’re like, this […] is not going to work or why the […] am I doing this when I don’t need to be?
Andrew: We launched in April, and it was just Matt and I. We had a VA that we used on our other businesses that we brought in to help do little tiny tasks, but it was Matt and I in Intercom, in support. It was Matt and I pushing the bugs. I would push fixes that would have new bugs and people were complaining. It was just a lot of work and we were kind of at each other’s throats.
A year ago, October of last year, it just wasn’t for Matt. Matt wanted a more lackadaisical lifestyle. He wanted to do his things. I don’t think he wanted software as much as I did. To your point, it’s a pretty brutal business. So we split ways.
I bought him out. Then it was one from a team of two that was not enough to a team of one that was super not enough. I really just have my nose to the grindstone. I don’t know how I survived. It was tough.
Rob: I bet, and how long did that last until it started feeling better? A question I often get is, how long should I grind not enjoying it before I either give up, or sell it, or whatever?
Andrew: I will say that it maybe is always a bit grindy. It’s just the grind shifts and maybe it’s interesting like that. But for us, it was December. Actually, I wind up writing Indie Hackers because I was like, oh, maybe I’ll find customers on Indie Hackers. So I wrote a thing. I think I titled it like We Escaped Integration Hell, which was like integrating with the WordPress platform at large. Like many other politicians or leaders, I think I called victory way early. But the worst of it was over in December.
Rob: Of 2020? It sounds like 10 months ago.
Andrew: I want to say maybe January, February was markedly better for me to mess up, which I repeatedly do.
Rob: Right, but you seem okay with that. Some people, when I talk to them on the podcast, if we start to dig into mistakes they made or failures they had, they feel bad about it, like it’s a negative thing, but you almost are wearing it as a badge of honor. Like, yeah, I launched a bunch of businesses, they didn’t work, I tried to monetize the podcast, three times it didn’t work, I eventually found it. You’re basically saying I messed up UX. You’re very open about that. Is that just a character trait or did you have to develop that?
Andrew: Maybe it’s a character trait. My dad is very humble. He would always tell me that everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time. I tell my team humble beginnings, things like that. I think we need to stay humble. It’s easy to let your head get the better of you. But I don’t know, I think we just mess up so much, you kind of just get over it, I guess.
We live in this space. When I have Listen Money Matters, I still own it, but people do income reports like Pat Flynn, everyone’s killing it, they have all these crazy numbers. People are dropping launches, hundreds of thousands of dollars in these launches. I have launched courses, books, other SaaS products, new websites.
I feel like I know what I’m doing. I’ve never had a successful launch. We’ve never blown it up more than maybe $5000. I honestly don’t believe it. I think they’re lying or it’s this lightning struck and it’s oversubscribed. It’s like those Tesla battery fires from a few years ago.
One car blows up, everyone flips out. What about all those gasoline cars that are constantly on fire on the sides of the highway? That’s old news. So I just think that you have to just push through the brick wall. There’s no around.
Rob: That’s a pretty healthy way of thinking about it, to be honest. I think it’s something a lot of people struggle with. Me, as well, sometimes admitting, I really screwed up there. In retrospect, that was just a dumb decision that I should have made better or I will do better next time. I think it’s a healthy attitude that you have.
Andrew: A core character trait of being on the team is you have to be able to tell me when I’m wrong, where I’m wrong, and all the things. We do it to each other, but I need counterbalance. I could just be too headstrong and I’ll get lost in the woods.
Rob: What’s next? Here we sit, entering the holiday season. Is Black Friday, Cyber Monday an uptick for Lasso? Is it seasonal at all or is it not? It’s not like ecommerce.
Andrew: We’re not going to run a deal. We are launching into our beta group that we have, comparison tables in four days, which has been by far the most asked-for product feature pretty much from day one. We started telling everyone no, that they don’t know what they’re talking about, they don’t need it. Eventually, it was like, okay, enough people want it. We just literally have to do it and so I think that will be really good for sales. Then we’re building our space plan things.
Rob: Awesome. If folks want to find out what you’re up to, they can head to getlasso.co. On Twitter, you are @andyfieb. Thanks for joining me on the show.
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me.
Rob: Thanks so much for joining me this week. If you haven’t downloaded the secret episodes of Startups For the Rest of Us, we have two of them. One is eight things you should know when you’re starting up and the other one is 10 things you should know as you’re scaling your SaaS. I have gotten a lot of positive feedback about these.
If you sign up for the email list at startupfortherestofus.com, you’ll get both of those episodes as MP3s, and also we turn them into PDF guides so you can read through them if you decide that you just want to read instead of listening. Those are both Rob solo adventures. If you’re not on the list, you should be.
Thank you so much for joining me this week and every week. Hope you’re able to push your business forward. I’ll be back in your ears next Tuesday morning.
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