Top 9 Lessons Learned while Building my First SaaS at 18

By Ricardo, Founder | posted on 13.06.21

“We learn from failure, not from success!” this quote by Bram Stoker couldn't be more correct. Making mistakes and learning from them is a crucial part of the start up journey.
That's why I collected my top 9 lessons I made while building a SaaS at 18 years old and want to share them with you. Now take a pen and paper, let's get started with lesson number one:



1. Development takes twice as much time as expected

In the beginning, you are optimistic and thinking you'll launch the product in 2-3 weeks.
But development takes longer when including all the bugs you'll encounter during development and launch. So plan more time to save yourself unnecessary stress.



2. You need a solid foundation

People are praying the MVP to the sky. And I agree that the first product should be launched fast and doesn't need to be perfect. However, I made the mistake of not building a solid foundation. Fixing bugs was too hard, and adding new features, too.


Having a solid boilerplate as well as planning will save you time and energy. I wasted a lot of time rewriting my entire project because of too rapid development


3. Get Customers before building the product

Build it and they'll come. This sentence couldn't be more wrong. Building the product is the easiest part (at least for developers). I'd recommend following these steps before you're developing a product.

  1. Talk with potential customers and find their pain points
  2. You can find potential customers on different platform like Indiehackers, Reddit, Twitter and LinkedIn and oldschool email. Just write them a message and schedule a call where you talk with them about their problems.
    My tip is to add a "schedule a demo" button on your page.

  3. Presell your idea
  4. Grow a waitlist
  5. Collecting emails will save you much time in the future and also validates your idea. What a coincidence that we offer exactly this. Sign up and get 50 participants for free, no credit card required.

  6. Build it

There are always exceptions, and it might be easier to start with an MVP when you're doing it the first time. Remember to focus on marketing too and never waste too much time on development.


4. Connect with people

Find people who already did what you want to achieve and learn from them. Watch YouTube videos about Saas, find like-minded people on various forums, and attend masterminds. I'd recommend checking out lunadio.com. They are awesome.
Most people want to see you succeed and connecting will give you a much better time and some hidden doors will open.


5. Positioning. Positioning. Positioning.

There are a ton of articles out there about positioning. Going into detail would be too much here. Just read and apply them to your business and your life will be much easier.


6. Focus on 2-3 things and outsource the rest

Everyone has some core skills. Take advantage of those and outsource things you aren't good at. Yours might be design, marketing, development, sales, and so on.
The point is to focus on things you're good at and pay someone or a software to do the other tasks.


Focus on your strength and not on your weaknesses.


For example, I am good a programming and bad at design and server-related stuff. Instead of endless hours trying to figure out how to do things, I use Tailwind UI and render.com.
It does cost more money, but it saved me so much time and energy. Invest that time in tasks you're the best at and where your ROI is high.


7. Build habits and daily routines

I'd recommend you to read Atomic Habits by James Clear. In a nutshell, it's about the daily routines which sum up and lead to exponential growth
You'll be more productive and waste less time procrastinating after reading this book.


8. Take time for yourself

Life as a founder is stressful. It seems that everything is against you and things don't work out like expected.
Don't panic! Take time for yourself and enjoy a walk in the park, hanging out with friends or with your family. I learned that working too much does not get better results. You'll only be tired and without energy. So grab your phone and invite your friends to hang out.


The start-up mantra is to work 25 hours a day. Most of us can't work like Elon Musk. It's proven that productivity declines after ~4h of creative work. Don't be too hard on yourself and don't compare with others. Compare with yourself from yesterday.


9. Enjoy the journey

Last but not least. Enjoy the journey and have fun building things you love. Probably you're not the next Facebook or Google, but you'll get some valuable lessons.


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