Build Your SaaS – bootstrapping in 2019

45 EpisodesProduced by

Can you bootstrap a profitable startup in 2019? 37signals did it in 2004, and since then thousands of entrepreneurs, developers, designers, and product people have tried to launch their own web apps. But with so many venture-backed startups now, is it still possible? Follow Jon and Justin as they bu… read more

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Is this the best time to start a podcasting startup?

February 13th, 2019

Dave Zohrob, the CEO of Chartable, chats with Justin about bootstrapping a startup in the podcast space. We cover:
  • Why Jon and Justin started …

Getting real: sharing our founder struggles

February 5th, 2019

In this episode:
  • Jon and Justin open up about the challenges of bootstrapping "on the side." 
  • How things have gotten harder (in some ways) now that …

How to grow your audience

January 29th, 2019

In this episode, Jon and Justin discuss the golden rule for growing your audience. This could mean:
  • How to get more paying customers for your …

Should startups worry about their competition?

January 22nd, 2019

In this episode Jon and Justin discuss talk about how you should think about your software product's competition.Why you shouldn’t focus on the …

Marketing tactics for your SaaS: how to get the word out

January 15th, 2019

We received some product marketing questions from Nirav Mehta: 
  • How to get the word out about your SaaS?
  • Should you pursue partnerships?
  • How can you …

Our predictions for 2019

January 8th, 2019

Jon Buda and Justin Jackson make predictions for the tech industry, the podcasting space, and the startup ecosystem.Predictions for 2019
  • There will …

How to find the right customers for your software business

December 18th, 2018

In this episode, we talk about the different types of customers for a SaaS:
  • B to C: selling to consumers. Here, we'd think of products and services …

Let's chat about the podcast industry

December 12th, 2018

Justin gets interviewed by Harry Duran on the Podcast Junkies show, and answers questions about:
  • Is podcasting really having it's moment now?
  • Is now …

Why does Jon need a co-founder?

December 4th, 2018


How did you split equity in Transistor?

November 27th, 2018


Interesting ways you can use a podcast

November 20th, 2018


Insulating our recording studio with dollar bills

November 13th, 2018

Jon and Justin respond to the new funding options available for bootstrappers, mainly Earnest Capital.

The GP, Tyler Tringas, told us what types of …

There's a new funding option for bootstrapped founders

November 6th, 2018

Tyler Tringas recently announced Earnest Capital; a new way for bootstrappers to raise money for their startups. 
Should Jon and Justin consider this …

Your startup's expenses are too high

October 30th, 2018

How much does it cost to run a SaaS in 2018? We take a look at our bootstrap expenses.

Every business accrues monthly expenses. The danger? Business owners can get in the habit of spending money, believing that "you …

How'd you get into computers? (Apple II, PC clones, BBSes, CYBERSPACE)

October 23rd, 2018

If you used computers in the 80s and 90s you're going to love this episode.
  • Apple IIe in the school computer lab
  • The original Macintosh
  • "I wanted an …

You forgot $20,000 in your snowboard pocket

October 10th, 2018

Here we are at episode 30! Just found this old 2012 interview with the founder of MailChimp, before they became a $4.2 billion company. This quotes …

You drew a prototype on that napkin from Portland

October 2nd, 2018

After one failed attempt, we're back with a new episode. Sorry it's late!

"We, as the customer, are paying people who make apps so that their good …

What's the most important metric for a web app?

September 25th, 2018

What do you think?

We have some explaining to do

September 18th, 2018

Jon and Justin are back from Portland and the XOXO festival.

In the last few weeks we've had a chance to interact with many of our customers in-person:

Your revenue forecast is wrong

August 28th, 2018

What does "bootstrapping" mean really?

For most folks, bootstrapping means self-funding your business from revenues. It means not taking Venture …

The problem with podcasts

August 21st, 2018

Nick Quah shared this in his recent newsletter, commenting about podcasts:

[I have] this feeling that everybody’s drilling for oil in the same spot because some other guy found oil there already.
Nick thinks podcasters …

What's a good conversion rate for a web app?

August 14th, 2018

SaaS conversation rate cheatsheet:Credit card upfront:
  • Visitor to trial: 0.75% - 1%
  • Trial to paid: 40% - 60%
No credit card upfront:
  • Visitor to …

Launch week hangover

August 7th, 2018

What do you think?

The opposite of bored money

July 24th, 2018

In 2013, I interviewed Jason Calacanis, the angel investor.

One of the things I asked him: "Why do venture capital investors take these big risks with their money?" 

"There's a lot of money in the world. There are …

Startup advice from Justin Kan, Stephanie Hulburt, and Naval

July 17th, 2018

Three tweets TuesdayJustin Kan
"B2C is a gamble while B2B is (more) within your control."
Stephanie Hulburt
"We have a philosophy of “no hard sells” …

Meet me in Chicago

July 10th, 2018

How to build anticipation for your product launch
  • Have a mailing list! Email them consistently during development.
  • The week of launch you should send …

I see Spots

July 3rd, 2018

Show notes:

Our Voltron needs fuel

June 26th, 2018


Teaser: I don't want to get crushed by the VC monster

June 19th, 2018

Show notes

Bonus: building a SaaS on the side is hard!

June 12th, 2018


SaaS pricing advice from Rob Walling and Patrick Campbell

June 5th, 2018

Jon and Justin are probably 1-2 months away from the launch of That means we need to figure out pricing.

“In your early stage two things are essential: your customer focus, and your value metric. If you …

What does Nathan Barry think of podcast hosting pricing?

May 29th, 2018

Today's show is not a full episode!

Jon and I have been busy with our day jobs, plus Memorial Day, and didn't have time to record a show.

But, to be …

How should we price our SaaS?

May 22nd, 2018

We're hoping to launch Transistor officially in July 2018.

And that means we need to figure out a pricing strategy. What types of tiers and plans …

Should we make our revenue numbers public?

May 15th, 2018

How transparent of a startup do we want to be?

There's an app called Buffer that really kickstarted the "radical transparency" movement with startups. Over time, they've revealed almost everything: how much their …

How to validate your product idea

May 8th, 2018

Play this episode | Download MP3

Jon is busy launching our new podcast analytics feature, so this episode features Justin's talk from MicroConf 2018 in Las Vegas.

You need more than product/market fit. You need alignment …

Live from Las Vegas

May 2nd, 2018


How to organize your time when your startup is your side-hustle

April 24th, 2018

What’s been happening?
  • New iTunes review from Shane Smith in Australia: "Keep up the great work. Love hearing the behind-the-scenes part of setting …

Startup money

April 17th, 2018


We need to talk

April 10th, 2018

What’s been happening?
  • Is the Macbook Pro 2013 the best computer ever made?
    • Jon's review of the new Macbook Pro: the screen, the keyboard, the …

My teenager wants to play Dungeons & Dragons

April 3rd, 2018

Jon and Justin discuss "Why did we choose podcasting? And why now?" Picking the right idea, the right market, and having the right timing is crucial.

Six screens and a power glove

March 27th, 2018

This episode is sponsored by Bullet Train. If you’re building a SaaS in Ruby on Rails stop what you’re doing right now, and visit

You …

What are you scared of?

March 20th, 2018

  • We’ve opened up early access! We’ve been inviting people by email.
  • We currently have 15 shows on our platform. In four months, we’ve served …

I want Castle Grayskull

March 13th, 2018

A story

In 1999, Basecamp started a blog called Signal vs Noise, which they billed as “Strong opinions and shared thoughts on design, business, and tech.”

It had a huge impact on their business. By 2009, over 100,000 …

How to find a cofounder (our story)

March 6th, 2018

Who are we?Jon is a Web Designer and Developer in Chicago. He’s done great work for companies like Cards Against Humanity and Blackbox. Justin is a Product Manager and Podcaster from Canada. He’s done great work for …

What does it take to build a SaaS in 2018?

February 16th, 2018

Jon Buda and Justin Jackson are building and launching a new product this year called Transistor.

You can follow along as we explore this question:

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