Indie SaaS Success
This guide is a work in progress. I plan on editing it regularly. Have feedback? Email me at or reach out on Twitter @jonhainstock.

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My story

On January 2, 2020, I sold my business, ZoomShift, for a life-changing amount of money.

When I look back, I see many things I would have done differently.

What were my biggest learnings? That's what this guide will answer.

What separates successful companies from unsuccessful ones?


Making the right decisions can improve the trajectory of your business exponentially.

For example, when Nathan Barry decided to double down on ConvertKit, he saw a 40% growth in revenue in the first month.

In contrast, we decided to rebuild our application from scratch when we could have refactored it. This decision cost us thousands of hours and over a year of opportunity cost.

Founders have to make countless decisions.

They need to answer things like:

  • How much should we charge for our product?

  • What features do we need?

  • Who should our market be?

  • What idea should I work on?

  • Should we quit or double down?

  • Should we change our positioning?

  • What channel should we use?

  • Should we hire someone?

Every decision has tradeoffs and consequences.

This guide will give you tools to think critically about many of these decisions.

What to expect

This guide is not meant to be a blueprint.

Every decision is personal and nuanced. All advice I share could be prefaced with, "it depends."

At times, I will share strong beliefs. These beliefs have been shaped by my experiences and research.

Other times, I will identify variables to consider, ask questions, and let you contextualize yourself.

Ultimately, my goal is to help you create, refine, and improve your strategy.

What you're about to learn

We're about to go more-in-depth on the following topics:


  • How to find a market

  • How to validate an idea

  • How to choose an idea


  • How to build

  • How to grow

  • How to price

  • How to position

  • How to pivot


  • When to hire

  • Solo or co-founders


  • When to move on

  • How to evaluate a buyer

  • Common pitfalls

Who is this guide for?

This guide is for:

  • Aspiring SaaS founders who want to launch their first product online. You'll learn how to think through critical decisions about how to build, grow, and sell your startup.

  • Indie-funded SaaS founders who are in the trenches. You'll learn strategies for staying sane and breaking through plateaus.

Now let's get going

Let's start with the foundation for better decision-making. If you read nothing else, this is the one to read.