The Startup Curve and the Trough of Sorrow

It’s been an interesting four and a half months. I don’t know if I should have had any specific expectations, but I didn’t have any concrete goals as far as how many signups we expected, or…anything, really. We simply assembled this app and put it out there. We hadn't ever put together a SaaS product, so we had no past experience to refer to!

This month, we crossed the 4-figure mark in monthly revenue, which is awesome, but we’re still putting more development time and monthly costs into it at this point. As of this writing we’re monitoring 363 sites and 6,503 add-ons and plugins. There have been 6,031 timeline events logged. That’s all well and good, and we’re on our way, but I'd say we're pretty well entrenched in the "Trough of Sorrow."

I had to laugh looking at this picture, because that exactly describes my experience with Lamplighter, at least up to the “Experimenting & Pivoting” part. We’re somewhere in between there and the “Starts Working” part. Lamplighter certainly works, but I feel like we might not be fully scratching our users’ itches yet. I feel like we’re working our way towards a sustainable Product/Market Fit.

This is where focus plays a major role. With the app costing more per month than we’re making at this point (developer salaries, server costs, and paying for other SaaS products to help us maintain our own SaaS product) we have to make sure we’re working on the right things and completing them efficiently.

We’re working on a survey for our current users to better understand what itches they have that we might just be missing, or what itches we’re missing altogether. We also just installed Intercom which I think will give us some great insights into how people are using the application, and will allow me to touch base with the right users about the right things at the right time.

One thing we know, without having to survey anyone, is that our onboarding process is weak. We took a long look at it and decided to not only create a much more helpful onboarding flow, but to redesign the application.

We think our survey information, coupled with efficient development to meet those needs, and better onboarding, will be the quickest way for us to get to Product/Market Fit. At that point, we can start our climb out of the Trough!

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