$19K MRR - SEO SaaS + service

How Centori makes $18K MRR as a SEO tool, 1:1 coaching and managed SEO service

$19K MRR - SEO SaaS + service
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Centori is a simple SEO tool doing $19K MRR.
But not just as a pure SaaS.
Instead -
"Software With a Service"
  • SEO platform
  • SEO Group Coaching
  • 1:1 SEO Coaching
Not everyone has to follow the SaaS model.
Do what works best for your audience.
This is their revenue chart -
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Spiky Revenue

Notice the spikes in revenue in the last few months?
This is a common pattern in most service businesses - think agencies and freelancers.
All service businesses go through cycles of feast and famine in terms of client flow.
But if you have a SaaS product that complements your service, then you can ensure a certain baseline revenue every month.
That’s what Centori does.
They bundle their SaaS and service offerings.
This is from their pricing page -
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SaaS + Services Model

On Twitter, I asked Centori’s founder Tyler - “what came first? the SEO coaching and managed SEO service or the SEO software tool?”
He said, he started with the tool first, but faced significant churn in the early days.
When he asked his users, he realised that users didn’t know what to do next after they had started to use the tool.
They need more helps/guidance around SEO.
This is what Tyler says -
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Listening to Customers

Churn is the brutul truth of the SaaS business model. Every product faces it.
If there was any other founder instead of Tyler, who had no idea about the SEO industry, then the first instinct when delaing with churn is to offer a lower priced plans, or build more features in the hope of retaining customers.
Because as a developer, you only think in terms of features.
Instead, Tyler offered a higher priced 1:1 coaching. And was able to retain more customers, because he understood the real problem of the customer.
Your goal is NOT to sell the product you’ve built at any cost. Even if users don’t need it.
Your goal is to solve the problem of your customers.
In whichever format that works for them.

Growth Channels

Finally, I asked Tyler about the growth channels that have worked well for Centori.
His answer -
  • PPC
  • SEO
  • Email Marketing
  • Slack and Indie Hackers communities (in the early days)
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Top Lessons

  • Don’t be shackled by your own product (or business model).
  • Focus on the customer, and find novel ways to solve problems for them.
  • If you’re an expert/consultant/coach in one industry, you have a HUGE edge if you build a SaaS around your expertise.
  • SaaS churn is real, but listening to customers is the only way out.
  • Communities are the best place to get your early customers.
  • SEO and PPC (and other paid channels) are a great way to get customers at a later stage.
Do read Tyler’s entire thread where he answered my questions.

Deep Work Lessons

This is what success looks like in the corporate world - "doing lots of stuff in a visible manner"
The exact opposite of deep and meaningful work.
When I realised this, I HAD to find a way to quit that world.
Dont want to be forced to "look busy" and waste my time.
I'd rather make less money and do work that gives me meaning.
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Learning from Sanat

Last week I had the privilege of hosting the amazing Sanat Hegde for the Indie Masterminds community podcast.
We discussed - • How he got burnt out and quit his agency • How he came to start Hirevire • Selling Lifetime Deals on Appsumo • Reaching $11K /m revenue Hard earned wisdom from the trenches!
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This interview is exclusively available to the members of the Indie Masterminds community.
Consider joining us to enjoy tons of more such premium content.

Useful links you don't want to miss -
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Ayush

Written by

Ayush

Eternally Curious. Writing, Learning, Building in Public. Writing about Ideas + Inspiration + Insights for creators, solopreneurs and indie hackers | Simple tips and frameworks to help you build a sustainable solo business

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