$145K MRR - simple employee scheduling tool

$145K MRR - simple employee scheduling tool
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Aplano is an employee time tracking app.
Helps businesses with -
  • Schedule shifts
  • Manage employee absences
  • Tracks "punched-in" time
Simple app doing $145K MRR
I know a dozen people who'll say - "I could build this in a weekend"
But will they?
And then will they market it?
notion image
We often wait for a golden ticket idea to smack us in our heads.
While, the most profitable ideas are hiding in plane sight.
Aplano’s founder Tadeus Gregorian, got the idea for the product when working in a pharmacy -
notion image

Top lessons -

  • The best SaaS businesses emerge out of excel sheets.
  • Even if you’re entering a crowded market, you can win on price + UI/UX
  • If most players in the market are old companies with 20 year old UX, then it makes total sense to disrupt them.
  • Scratching your own itch works. (if you can find enough people with the same itch!)
  • There’s big money in B2B 🤷‍♂️

Initial Growth

Aplano’s initial growth was counter intuitive.
They started with a free product. Got a bunch of users, let them use the product, got feedback and insights from them.
Then launched with 3 pricing plans.
All of this took them about 2 years - that’s a long time.
Starting with a free product is NOT recommended.
It may have worked for Aplano, because there was existing demand and many competitors. But in most cases, your goal should be to get to revenue as soon as you can.


Aplano has 3 major traffic channels -
  • Google Ads
  • Meta Ads
  • SEO
They serve the German market, so their website and content is all German. According to Ubersuggest, they rank for these keywords -
notion image
These keywords, roughly translate to -
  • Hostpital shift schedule example
  • Online shift schedule
  • Roster app
  • Overtime reduction
  • Create work plans
The ideal keywords in their niche.
You can also check out their ads from these links -
Someone can easily build a similar product in a different geography and see good results.

Final Lesson

Don’t be a perfectionist!
This is the lesson Tadeus shares with us -
notion image
Also - “there is no low-effort way leading to major success”.
So stop looking for shortcuts, instead, learn to enjoy the hard work.
It’s taken Aplano 3 years to get here.
The business may be simple, but it definitely isn’t easy.
Cheers 🙌
Read Tadeus’ full interview on the Failory website -

Product Hunt Fails

Few days ago, I accidentally launched my product on ProductHunt.
I asked friends on Twitter for help that day, even sent you an email for help 🙈
Somehow managed to get in the top 10.
If I had planned it better, I could have done much better. Made a quick video listing out all the mistakes I made with my launch.
This might help you -

I love doing research on interesting SaaS businesses. And then write about them here every week.
Wrote about GigRadar a couple of weeks back.
Got this LinkedInd DM from the founder.
Made my day ❤️
You can read the Gigradar post again -

Gun to your head

I love this Tim Ferris quote, and keep coming to it often.
(Especially with friends who say they want to start their own business “one day”)
notion image
Let’s make it more extreme. There are 99 days left in the year.
How can you build, launch and monetize your project in the next 99 days?
What’s holding you back?
Think about it, and take the smallest action you can towards your goal. TODAY!

That's it for today. Hope you found this useful.
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