Software Social

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Summary

Colleen leaves her SaaS alone for a few weeks, and Michele talks about being a founder with ADD.

Show Notes

Michele Hansen  00:00
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Colleen Schnettler  01:17
Hey, Michele, it's so good to talk to you. 
 
Michele Hansen  01:19
I feel like it's been forever.
 
Colleen Schnettler  01:22
It has. I think it's been three weeks since we've recorded together. 
 
Michele Hansen  01:26
So I'm not gonna lie. I am dying to know how things are going.
 
Colleen Schnettler  01:35
Sure. So as I have mentioned several times on this podcast, the past couple of weeks have been really busy for me. We have moved and work has been just very intense. And so I honestly didn't even check my numbers for like three weeks, which sounds ridiculous, but I just wasn't in the mental space for it. So in preparation of today's podcast, I did check. And I'm now at $515 MRI. 
 
Michele Hansen  02:04
Dude!
 
Colleen Schnettler  02:06
Right? Yes, I think the beautiful thing about this - 
 
Michele Hansen  02:10
Wow. 
 
Colleen Schnettler  02:10
Yeah, no, I just feel like the beautiful thing about this is just, I was able to just let it sit. Now to be fair, I always check my email. So even when I was on, I don't have time for this mode, like I always check my email just in case of you know, someone and my match, not my metrics, but like my stats to make sure everything is up. So it wasn't that I was neglecting the product. But I was definitely neglecting, like even checking how many people were signed up. And so that was like a great surprise. Like, just really cool to see. 
 
Michele Hansen  02:43
Last time we talked you were at like, three something. Right? And you were like, kind of like some right? 
 
Colleen Schnettler  02:51
Yeah, I think that's right. And I think I think this shows that getting too obsessed with like, checking every week. Like, I like to check. I mean, I check every week usually, but becoming too obsessed with it really can swing, you know, emotionally high and low. So it was actually kind of nice to just like, sit on it. And then see it increase. 
 
Michele Hansen  03:12
That's pretty awesome. Wait a year, like six weeks into this now? What was it?
 
Colleen Schnettler  03:21
It was February fourth.
 
Michele Hansen  03:22
Feburary fourth you were able to start having paying customers. 
 
Colleen Schnettler  03:25
Yep. So it's two months. I'm over 500 MRR in two months. 
 
Michele Hansen  03:28
That's faster than we grew.
 
Colleen Schnettler  03:31
Oh, wow. That's cool to hear. 
 
Michele Hansen  03:32
Yeah, I think it took us like, I don't know, five or six months to break 500.
 
Colleen Schnettler  03:38
Oh, my gosh. And now you make all the money. There's hope for me.
 
Michele Hansen  03:46
That's insane. 
 
Colleen Schnettler  03:47
So that's really cool. Yeah, I'm feeling really good about it. Yeah, so I think it's kind of also, you know, when you're stressed about other things, this is all - self doubt always creeps in. And so last week I was I was kind of in a little bit of a self doubt spiral, not spiral. That's the wrong word. But like, kind of in a self doubt, place, thinking that this like, again, was like, I don't know if this is going to work. But then I checked my numbers and things are going really well. And I haven't even implemented any of those amazing ideas you shared in your last deploying empathy newsletter. 
 
Michele Hansen  04:25
So your revenue grew without you adding any new features.
 
Colleen Schnettler  04:31
Yeah, how about that?
 
Michele Hansen  04:34
Isn't that interesting? 
 
Colleen Schnettler  04:36
It's like someone said that might happen. Who would have given that great advice to stop adding features. 
 
Michele Hansen  04:44
But you're also like you were doing customer support during this time? It sounds like.
 
Colleen Schnettler  04:48
Yeah, I'm always - well, no one emailed me because no one ever emails me.  Wait, hold on. So your revenue increased and nobody needed to talk to you.
 
Michele Hansen  04:58
That's exactly correct.
 
Colleen Schnettler  05:01
Right, like it's pretty cool. I feel pretty cool about it. So, yeah, so I'm feeling good. And I'm like kind of reenergized once I'm back at work next week to really focus on some of these marketing tasks and, and to start asking people to do customer interviews again. Because I still feel like I have momentum.
 
Michele Hansen  05:23
 It sounds like it.
 
Colleen Schnettler  05:25
Yeah. Yeah. So that's, that's what I've been up to. 
 
Michele Hansen  05:30
So what is like some of the first things you're going to work on next week for those marketing. 
 
Colleen Schnettler  05:35
So what I have noticed, so I've talked to a couple other people who have, okay, only one other person who has a file uploader, but I'm at a totally different, different customer base. But he was saying that, like, one of the things that really helps people convert is being able to try it out. So on my landing page, you cannot try it out. To find the code pen. You have to like, dig through the documentation. And you talked, we talked to Drew about this. And you mentioned in the, your newsletter about like, what do I, like, what do you do after the customer interview, that obviously actually trying it, for Drew, was what helped him make the decision that it would be a good fit for his site. So I want to get that up front and center. But there's a problem. So there was this Hacker News thread, it was, must have been a month ago now about someone who has a similar product. And what happened to him is he has been running his site for three years with no problems. And Google has become very Trigger Happy on blacklisting sites. So his site got blacklisted. And he thinks the reason his site got blacklisted is because he has a free tier essentially. And so what happens is because everyone is sharing that same domain, that you upload files with, someone put malicious files onto his storage, and it shut down like, his entire business. So first of all, I'd like to say three people sent that article to me, which I'm really grateful for, because I don't read Hacker News. So thank you, if you sent that to me, so I so I know about it. And I was aware that like Google blacklisting is a potential problem, and they become pretty aggressive with it. And that's why I don't have a free tier because I don't want anyone, I don't want to take the risk of someone abusing the upload service to put malicious files, inappropriate files, whatever. But I do have to figure out now how to find the balance between having a demo on my website and protecting my domain. 
 
Michele Hansen  07:46
So with the demo, can people upload files and what would they be able to access them later?
 
Colleen Schnettler  07:53
That was kind of the idea. I mean, the idea at least this guy's service he was deleting. So he had it set up. So you upload files to a different bucket on your demo, and he was deleting them every 24 hours. But I guess that wasn't enough. Like that wasn't quick enough to protect him. So I think that, you know, I just have to figure out before I add, I guess my point is like, the first thing I want to do, I think the most important thing for me now is to change my homepage to basically be like, here it is, try it out, see how awesome it is. Before I do that, I have to figure out what I'm going to do to mitigate this Google risk, because it's a pretty big risk if you're using Chrome. 
 
Michele Hansen  08:33
Yeah, yeah, that makes sense.
 
Colleen Schnettler  08:36
So I think that's the first thing is figure out how to mitigate that risk and get that up. And then that'll just be a complete redesign of what is now considered my homepage. Like, I'll probably leave the other landing page up. But that is going to be kind of the first thing I want to do. I also have learned being new to SAS, that people put in fake credit cards that get through Stripe. Like, that's, I didn't know, that was a thing. Like I was like, how did it get through Stripe? How is this like, charge failure? And it hasn't happened for maybe it hasn't happened for a ton of people, but I naively like, have no nothing in place to handle that. So I gotta fix that too. 
 
Michele Hansen  09:20
Yeah, I think I was looking at this the other day, I don't know, like you can, you know, sort of the traditional methods are doing you know, like AVS, which is address verification of weather. Basically, the zip code matches the one on file with a credit card. I think Stripe has more sophisticated ways of doing it. Like they'll do things, you know, like, proximity of like, where the card is being used versus where the card address is registered and all of these other things to do it. But yeah, I mean, there's all these complications that you enter into when you have freemium, or what I mean, when you're accepting credit cards online like this is a very, is a problem that people have been dealing with for a long time. It's one I've been dealing with since the first product I -
 
Colleen Schnettler  10:09
Yeah, so that's, that's good because I only have a, it's not good, but it's good that I'm learning that now while it's only happening to two or three people before it starts happening to a lot of people.
 
Michele Hansen  10:21
Are those? 
 
Colleen Schnettler  10:22
And like,
 
Michele Hansen  10:24
Are those people adding fake credit cards? Are they are like, are they stolen credit cards? Or are they like adding gift cards that don't have a high enough balance? So I feel like those are all like, separate issues.
 
Colleen Schnettler  10:37
I have no idea. Do I have to handle all of those issues?
 
Michele Hansen  10:41
Those are all things we've run into.
 
Colleen Schnettler  10:44
Wow, I have no idea. I just know that a few people, a handful of people signed up for the free trial. And you have to enter a credit card that Stripe says is okay to get through the free trial to sign up for it. And then when they're trial expired, I'm getting the cannot charge card failure notifications. So it could be any of those things like probably not stolen. But I guess it could be any of the other things you said that you've seen before. 
 
Michele Hansen  11:10
I wonder if these things are related like people, they're just entering a fake credit card in order to just to see how it works. And I wonder if bringing the code pen forward would help with this credit card problem, too.
 
Colleen Schnettler  11:25
Yeah, I think bringing the code pen forward is a, I mean, like I said, that is my highest priority, like people have to see how it works. And I have done it, right. So I literally have it both in react and with pure JavaScript. And I really feel like getting that up front and center. So people can try it is going to help a lot. So I mean, I might just even spin up my app on a completely different domain. I don't know. But I need to solve that problem. And solving that problem is a high priority. Because I think that's really going to help with conversions because people want to try it, right. Like, I'm the same way, like I want to try something. So I just have to figure out a way to let people try it safely, without compromising the integrity. And it's hard to know, too, because this guy ran his site for three years and had no problem, right? So. So you can't you don't know. Like maybe it won't be an issue. Maybe I'm stressing over something. That's that's not a real issue. But I feel like since I can put mitigation steps in place now, whether I do a fake uploader, or I just put it on a completely different domain. I feel like that's the way to do it. So I don't have this problem in the future. And that could be a selling point to like, use this other guy's thing. And he got blacklisted by Google. But we're on a completely different domain. So only our test site would go down. If that happened to us. I think we're at low rate, I think we're, it's just me, I think I'm at low risk for this happening. But I do want to like, kind of be out in front of it. Because it could it's pretty bad when it happens. 
 
Michele Hansen  13:02
Yeah. And that sounds like the kind of thing that's easier to change now, especially for the way you have set up the company where there is a free trial rather than a free tier. I think you're less exposed to this problem than he might be. And if you can change it now so that the test is simply, like, is totally separate, then that could you know, help prevent this problem from coming up for you? You know, knock on wood. 
 
Colleen Schnettler  13:33
Yeah, knock on - right. So I think that'll be great. If I could get that up this week, that would be super awesome. I also so taking three weeks off from like, looking at my numbers made me realize I'm not tracking churn at all. Like I literally have no idea. Because I hard delete you when you de-provision the add on unless you go through stripe, you know, a stripe tracks all that for you. It's really nice. They're like, Oh, here's your lifetime value. And here's your churn, but Heroku doesn't use Stripe. So I don't have any of those metrics available to me. And so although this is not a huge problem yet. I have no idea in those couple weeks, I wasn't checking every day, how many people signed up and then cancelled. So that feels like I should know that eventually. 

Michele Hansen 14:22
Yeah, that seems worth keeping track of. 

Colleen Schnettler 14:24
Seems worth keeping track of right? Like, like before, I just did it manually. And I’d just write it down. But I was like, Oh, this it was nice to be able to not check the numbers every day. But because I wasn't, I wasn't on top of that. So I think that would be, that's something else I got to figure out. I mean, again, not it's not hard, I just have to do it. So I want to add that so I can get a better idea of really how many people are signing up like right now I don't have a good organization system for who's coming from Heroku, who's, who's putting in their email address and not converting like, who's doing a free trial and converting or not converting. So just a little I like I need a little more organization on my side. As I get more people signing up, which is awesome. This is a great problem to have. So I can kind of manage what's happening with my users. 

Michele Hansen 15:14
Yeah, these are, these are all good problems to have. 

Colleen Schnettler 15:16
I know. It's so funny. Like, it's still it's just so cool. Still, like, this is so cool. 

Michele Hansen 15:22
One more good problem for you to have is that, did you ever get that privacy policy written?
 
Colleen Schnettler 15:28
I did.

Michele Hansen 15:29
Okay. You'll just want to make it clear in your privacy policy that if people deprovision the app, like you will save information about right the fact that they had an account, and you know, just, just make that clear, like you might still have people who want you to delete that entirely, which is totally fair. But just you know, whenever you're dealing with people's data, like, tell them how you're using it, and give them the option to not have you use it.
 
Colleen Schnettler 15:54
Yep. And that's why I was hard deleting. Because I didn't really want to worry about that. But you're absolutely right. It's not a big deal. Like there, I even have a whatever, a specific alias email for GDPR stuff. And so if someone wants their data permanently deleted, they can just send me an email. But you're right, I do need to update my privacy policy, if I'm going to keep their email, after they deprovision the add on. That's a really good point.
 
Michele Hansen 16:21
A lot of exciting stuff going on a lot, a lot of good problems. 
 
Colleen Schnettler 16:28
Yes. Still, like good energy, and like, it feels ripe with possibilities, you know, that feeling where it's like, the world is my oyster, it just feels like this has so much potential. I just have to put in the work. And I'm really committed to doing that. And I'm pumped for, to see where this where this takes me. 

Michele Hansen 16:46
I'm excited for you.
 
Colleen Schnettler 16:47
Thanks. So how have been How have things been going with you chugging along, you know, continuing to work on the, the newsletter, and, it was funny. So we took a little mini trip, we did like a little road trip this week, to, you know, we drove ourselves. It was to a campsite. It was very COVID friendly. Didn't really go anywhere. And on the way, I had my husband listen to the interview episode we did. And then I interviewed him about it afterwards. Like, 

Colleen Schnettler 17:28
Oh, that's so fun. I love that. 
 
Michele Hansen 17:29
Shameless about that. But, but live listening to that. And, and the recap episode again, reminded me of - I feel like there's something I should say about that. So in the, in the recap episode, you made mention how I said something to the effect of if someone who is as ADD and bubbly as me can contain themselves to do these interviews, and anybody can do it.
 
Colleen Schnettler 17:59
Yes, I remember.

Michele Hansen 18:01
So, I just wanted to kind of make it clear that I like wasn't being glib in that when I said that. Because I know that like, throwing around diagnose, like, people kind of do this casually. And then that can be hurtful to people who have them. And I just wanted to make it clear that I actually, like, was diagnosed with ADD. It was when I was 11. And it's always been something I've just, you know, like more recently, I've tried to, to work with it. I think for a long time I worked against it. And I just wanted to like, talk about that a little bit. You know, there's been some conversation lately on Twitter about having ADD as a founder, like, Matt Stauffer has had a thread about being diagnosed as an adult a couple of weeks ago. And I feel like that kind of thing is worth talking about. Because like, I think especially as kids getting diagnosed with ADD, like, some people can be made to feel like, you know, it's it's, it's basically a fancy way of saying you're dumb or annoying, and having your potential questioned. And, and I think it's important for us founders with diagnoses, whatever those are, to be open about them, and show people that those things don't have to hold you back and in fact that they can be an asset.
 
Colleen Schnettler 19:23
So you said that you - first of all, I think that's really great that you're clarifying, you know what you said, and really awesome that you're willing to open up and talk a little bit about this, because I'll be honest, I don't know much about it. When you say you're learning or you have learned to work with your ADD, what does that mean? 
 
Michele Hansen 19:45
So so so when I was a kid, for example, I had to you know, learn how to organize like, learn how to remember to do things and using planners and all of that kind of stuff. And so it was but it was very much like fighting against the differently organized ADD brain. It was very, you know, forcing myself to focus, forcing myself to sit down and do things like, and I think as an adult, I have learned to allow that to be an asset. Instead, I still, I still need to channel it in some way. So like interviewing for example is is a huge example of that, because Dani Donovan, she has some really great comics about the ADD conversation style. And there's some of the hallmarks of odors are interrupting people and jumping from topic to topic and very excitable. And so I have to sort of tamp that down a bit. But like one of those things is, is like, my brain is really good at making associations between things that seem really distant and unrelated to other people. And I find that super helpful for making connections during product development, like when I'm interviewing people, like making connections between things that they have said and things that other people have said. And that that seems, you know, lots of people are good at that. But that is sort of a trait of the different way that the, the ADD brain organizes things, it's, it's much less linear, than, than, than might be found in someone who is  neurotypical, if that makes sense.
 
Colleen Schnettler 21:31
Okay, okay. Well, I mean, I think that's, it seems like a great progress that you've figured out kind of how to work with it and make it, make the way your brain works, help you be successful as a founder. Have you found that it's harder as a founder, because of your ADD? 
 
Michele Hansen 21:55
No, I think it's actually easier to be a founder than it is to be an employee. So as you know, I get to decide what I work on. And largely, I get to decide when I work on it. So like how I tend to work as you know, I will research something intensely for a period of time. And then I will completely stop working on it. And I basically let it background process for a period of time. And then I will sit down and like intensely do it, once my brain has done whatever background processing it needs to be done. Like, this is how I feel about the newsletter. It's like the gears of background processing. And now I'm sitting down to intensely write it. Or I can work on something for five minutes and then switch to something else, and then switch something else, and then switch to something else. I'm not going from meeting to meeting to meeting to meeting. I'm not meeting other people's deadlines. Like I'm not having to work around other people as much. I can more work in a way that, you know, suits the fact that I like to jump from thing to thing and topic to topic. And I don't have to be sort of molding myself to what other people need me to be as much now i i do you still have meetings, I you know, do customer support, like, you know, we talked to you know, Mathias and I rather as the we that what we're doing but like, largely, I get to be more self directed. And I find that to be so much more helpful rather than trying to force my, fit myself into that square corporate employee box.

Colleen Schnettler 23:23
So, I don't know a whole lot about, as I mentioned, about ADD. But is it I think of it, and this is probably just from like that my childhood growing up in the 80s - I think of it as it's really challenging to focus, like, people with ADD have trouble focusing, is that true? 


Michele Hansen 21:55
So, so I will say that I'm not an expert in ADD, I'm to someone who has it. And I also have ADD and not ADHD. So ADHD would be Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Okay, I honestly don't, I don't like the word ADD all that much because it literally has the word deficit in it. And I don't think of it as like an attention deficit. I think of it as I have very focused attention. Some people actually consider it to be somewhere on the autism spectrum, because you know, people with autism are known for hyper focusing on specific topics. Um, I don't, I don't know all that much about that side of it, but I can, I can see the association there. Um, I will say like, like, you know, Mathias is neurotypical. We, we work in very different ways like I am, I am much more bursty than he is like, he can sit down from, you know, eight to five and just work straight and not have any distractions. My brain on the other hand, it almost needs the distractions in order to finish thinking about things, like I need to be thinking about multiple things at a time in order to make process on those things and it from the outside. It looks very distracted, it looks very disorganized, and, you know, a deficit of focus. But it's just how my brain works. And I just I'm, I'm, I'm always reading multiple books at a time, I'm always doing multiple tasks at a time, like, and I'll hyper focus on one, but have multiple in the background at the same time. I don't know if this makes any sense, like, I am gathering that you are neurotypical. And so this is probably, you're probably like, what on Earth is she talking about?
 
Colleen Schnettler 25:35
Well, I'm, you know, more and more people that I know, have, have been sharing similar diagnosis. And so I just like I said, like, I just want to learn, you know, so I can support people in their, in their work in the way that works, the way they work that works best for them. So I think, yeah, that's interesting. Like, it's interesting, it almost sounds like you just said, like, being a founder is actually better than having to do a typical nine to five butt in chair job. 
 
Michele Hansen 26:08
Absolutely. I mean, and I'm always kind of surprised by how many people I meet in the bootstrapped world, who, you know, who are neurodivergent, or they have disabilities, or they, you know, there are other features of them that make having that, that button chair kind of job really just either difficult or frustrating or unfulfilling or unsupportive for them, and bootstrapping is less of a calling for them, and more so just something they do. Because, because the traditional work world, the traditional educational world are not set up for neurodivergent, you know, physically divergent people, like whatever our differences may be. Yeah, I feel like we're getting very deep on things that are, I'm only scratching the surface on. But yeah, I mean, I, you know, I made the decision to sort of be radically open about all of these things about, I don't know, six months ago, because I think we're all human beings. And I think there is this ethos that emanates from a certain part of the world, that founders have to be focused, and they have to hustle. And they have to, you know, somebody tweeted out that, like, if you're, if you aren't in perfect physical condition, then you're not able to be a founder, right? 

Colleen Schnettler  27:35
What? That’s so random. 

Michele Hansen 26:37
Like, of course, that's, like an awful and like, incorrect thing to say, right. And I feel the need to be a little bit louder about the struggles that I have had to counteract all of those people who are saying super hurtful and unhelpful things. And also for, you know, I've had people tell me that they listen to this podcast with their teenage children, like, if you have something that makes you different, that doesn't mean you're not going to succeed. Because I very much felt as a kid, like, you know, when I had to have a math tutor sitting next to me, because I was really bored. And then I later turned out that I only pay attention to math when it involves money. You know, I studied economics, like I can pay attention to math. I hated it in fifth grade. Like, but I felt like it meant that I wasn't going to be as successful as the other kids. And I was made to feel like add was this thing that I had overcome, that I had to push away from me to be successful. And I have learned that you can still be successful and have something that makes you different, whether that is ADD, or anxiety, or autism, or something or a disability, like something else, like it doesn't mean that you can't be successful. It just means that I'm basically that the corporate world is not set up to help you be successful. That's my rant. I'll get off my soapbox. 
 
Colleen Schnettler  29:10
I think that's, that's wonderful that you're willing to talk about it and, and be so open and honest. And like you said, try to be kind of loud about it. Like, I think that's wonderful. Because I think, if people don't see that they don't know.
 
Michele Hansen 29:24
Yeah, and you know, and also, like, if, if you don't have any of those things, you can also still be successful, too. Like, you know, let's not - 

Colleen Schnettler 29:32
Everyone wins. 

Michele Hansen 29:33
the other direction. Right? Like, you know, I wouldn't say I'm, you know, been able to have this business, right, because I have ADD or because of all of those other things. No, it's because, like, I put the work into it, put the time into it. Like, I was lucky. You know, but but whatever. We all bring different things to the table, right? 

Colleen Schnettler 29:55
Yeah.
 
Michele Hansen 29:57
And I think what you do is, you know, that's really what counts. 
 
Colleen Schnettler 30:00
Yep. All right, well, I think that's going to wrap up this week's episode of the Software Social podcast. You can reach us on Twitter at @SoftwareSocPod. Thanks for listening. 

What is Software Social?

Two SaaS founders -- one just getting off the ground, and one with an established profitable business -- invite you to join their weekly chats.