My First SaaS: Defining The MVP
It is important to limit and clearly define the MVP for your SaaS project. My goal was to launch https://hostifi.net in 30-days or less, and only build the minimum amount of features that would create enough value to be able to get my first few customers.
Even with a clearly defined, super simple MVP, it still took about 2 months to build it, and after hitting some roadblocks, I lost interest a few times and almost gave up along the way.
From the start, I had several features in mind for my UniFi controller hosting service — Let’s Encrypt SSL automatically installed, a nightly off-site backup script, and 24/7 monitoring agents on every server which would alert me right away to any problems that would come up. I considered all of them to be absolutely mandatory to be completed before launching.
But…I had read about the importance of building an MVP.
So I decided to launch the product with only a UniFi server installation…the self-signed SSL gave browser warnings, no backups were included, and there was no monitoring solution in place.
To my surprise, I was able to get my first 20 customers before completing those “mandatory” features, even though I felt the product wasn’t complete without them.
I was really glad that I had launched the MVP instead of the full-featured product. Those initial customers gave me a huge push in motivation to finish the features that I wanted to build. I don’t think I would have kept with it if I didn’t have those early customers depending on the service to be improved.
The decision to build and launch the MVP first was mainly inspired by Tyler Tringas’s Micro-SaaS Ebook, which I highly recommend reading all of if you are planning to build your first SaaS!
Micro-SaaS Ebook: from Idea to Shipping a Minimum Viable Product
Back to Chapter 3: Finding Micro-SaaS Business Ideas In June 2011, I was doing freelance work for several e-commerce…
Timeline of HostiFi Launch and Features
May 24, 2018 — Launch. 0 customers. https://hostifi.net/
June 13, 2018 — Added Let’s Encrypt SSL. ~10 customers
June 28, 2018 — Added Zabbix monitoring. 18 customers
July 10, 2018 — Added nightly off-site backups. ~22 customers
After completing all of the mandatory features that I had planned for the UniFi controller hosting service, I moved on to build new products.
Expanding to the new products was significantly easier than the original development because I was able to reuse so much of the work that I had already done.