Bootstrapping to $40M in ARR

Updated On: December 04, 2019

On today’s episode, we learn from Ahrefs—the SEO masters—on how to reach $40 million in ARR (all of it, bootstrapped). Plus Zapier takes case studies to new heights. And a surprisingly potent technique that’ll boost your memory.



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Memory, all alone in the moonlight

We’re starting today off with something a bit different. 

A way to help improve memory.

We know memory isn’t subscription-specific (unless you’re talking apps like Headspace or the Mindfulness App) but it affects every person out there listening, and the technique we’re eyeing appears to help everyone from students to Alzheimer’s patients. And it’s simple. 

We’re resurfacing a BBC article that @usefyi tweeted out, reminding us that taking downtime may be exactly what we need to boost memory mastery.

Dim the lights, sit back, and revel in a dozen minutes of quiet contemplation—and you’ll find that your memory of facts you’ve just learned is a lot better than if you had attempted to use that moment for outward productivity.

We’re talking super low key.

Research suggests we should aim for “minimal interference” during these breaks, which means deliberately avoiding any activity that could tamper with the delicate task of memory formation. So no running errands or walking your pup allowed.

We often hear that we learn things best, just before bed. But a 2010 study found that increase in memory was not limited to sleep. A similar neural activity occurs during periods of wakeful rest, too. In the study, participants were asked to memorize pairs of pictures—matching a face to an object or scenes—then allowed to lie back and let their minds wander for a short period.

Sure enough, there was increased communication between the hippocampus (the learning and memory neighborhood of your brain) and areas of the visual cortex during their rest. Crucially, people who showed a greater increase in connectivity between these areas were the ones who remembered more of the task.

BBC has all the facts in the article we dug up, with some pretty drastic findings to prove this technique’s effectiveness. And a stronger memory could be as simple as rest.

As an added bonus, here's a podcast episode on why entrepreneurs need a strong memory


Zapier makes us happier

We found a Zapier case study that covers nine tips to increase your revenue with a better UX. Hint: It involves crafting a better experience for upgrading your customers.

Zapier is a workflow automation platform with which you can connect apps you use every day. (We’re talking 1,500 apps with easy integrations.) 

But this isn’t your average case study. It’s proficiently designed with (what else?) an awesome UI. It’s a step by step (actually, keyboard arrow click by arrow click) storyline of how a cartoon man receives an email from Zapier with “Action Needed” in the subject, and how he approaches it.

Within the story, the narrator takes us on a walkthrough of the actionables needed for the user (i.e., the man)—like selecting a pricing plan—which is supplemented by the psychology behind the decisions the user makes. 

It’s a hyper visual piece, so you’ll have to check it out for yourself here. Not only is this a solid study with informative intel, it’s also a lesson to us all on how to amp up our own case study game.


19 strategies to bootstrapped success

Ahrefs, the company that’s mastered SEO tools and resources, likes to do things its own way. So it’s no surprise that when the team built the business, they bootstrapped their way to the top. 

And by the top, I mean $40 million in ARR. 

So the SaaSHacker blog dropped a feature on them, highlighting 19 SaaS marketing strategies that bootstrapped the Ahrefs crew to this impressive position.

And this one is a doozy. Each strategy (did I mention there are 19?) essentially has its own blog post dedicated to it. Here are some of the strategies featured:

  • Rejecting Conventional SaaS Marketing Wisdom
    “Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome.”

  • "In Product" Education Reducing Churn
    "List all the actions that customers can take within your SaaS that seem 'simple' to you and test including 'how it works' buttons to increase usage."
  • Blog Posts As Advertising?!?!
    "Is there a way that you can create content that your prospects and customers LOVE… that still sells your product?"

Oh, and 16 more. 

This one is worth checking out, whether you read two or read them all. Content like this is what fuels what we do. Not to mention Ahrefs' YouTube page, which has endless educational videos for its SEO-minded viewers.

It’s what we’re on the hunt for every day: sophisticated, hefty, and completely actionable content.


Subscription Sapien: Patty McCord

Patty McCord is a people professional who went from bopping around border towns to streaming giant, Netflix, where she created a sort of bible for culture for some of the biggest names in the Bay Area. She thinks traditional culture is broken, and you need a different outlook, too.

Can't get enough Patty? Peep this episode of Protect the Hustle.

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