How did Potion grow to $5000 in MRR by building in public?

Noah managed to bootstrap Potion to over $5k MRR by building in public. Read his journey now.

How did Potion grow to $5000 in MRR by building in public?

In this post of MF 1000s, we will cover the story of Potion and how it reached $5k in MRR.

The content of this case study is taken from the podcast episode I recorded with Noah Bragg, the founder of Potion.

Potion is a website builder built on top of Notion. Using Potion, people can turn their Notion pages into websites.

Let's discuss Noah's journey.

How did Noah validate his idea?

Noah did some research and was amazed by seeing the influence of Notion on its network.

He saw an opportunity to build a tool that would allow users to turn Notion pages into websites.

As he noticed many people in the Notion community were struggling with this issue.

So he started his website to help users solve this problem. That website soon evolved into Potion.

First 100 customers

The first 50 customers came through Twitter. Building in public and keeping things transparent with the customers helped Noah gain initial users for Potion.

The team didn't worry about trying to grow rapidly.

Instead, they focussed on making an excellent product and getting feedback from their early access users. Word of mouth through their existing users and supporters also helped them a lot.

Learning #1 - Find the craving community of people and build the product for them.

Finding your PMF, beta users, and paying customers will be way easier.

There are many platforms out there with raging communities, such as Notion, Zoom, Slack, Salesforce, etc.

Noah's takeaways on how to build in public

Here are the actionable takeaways from Noah on how to build in public and get a lot of eyeballs on your product throughout your journey:

According to Noah, you should keep the following things in mind when building in public:

  • 🔥 Does your potential customer enjoy you sharing your journey online?
  • 🔅 Find out what kind of content your customers are interested in following along
  • ✨ Share your decision points, story, and how you're building your business.
Learning #2 - When writing content for people, before you click the publish button, ask yourself the following:

- Does it help them learn something new?
- Does it teach the reader anything of value?
- Does it challenge their preconceived notions?

How did Potion manage to get to the top 5 list on Product Hunt?

  • 🔹 Building in public has helped Potion find loyal customers to support them on Product Hunt.
  • 🔹 Being active on Twitter and making meaningful relationships with people on Twitter have kept users interested in Potion.
  • 🔹 Targeting people who liked Notion has also proved a good target audience for Potion.
Learning #3 - This is another example of using relationships to drive business growth. When you take a look at it, every meaningful outcome in your life came from your relationships.

Rand Fishkin shared with us great insights on how to build your influence and relationships with dream customers.

How does Noah engage with Twitter?

Noah tries to be a part of the builder community on Twitter. He follows and interacts with those who are building their startups in public.

He also tries to keep things transparent with his customers by sharing his challenges and letting people know what's happening at Potion.

This approach has helped him to create a community of his own.

Note #1 - Let me give you the secret recipe for having a huge influence on social.

(Hint: it's what you're expecting to hear 😅)

There are essentially three groups of people you should follow on social (either Twitter or LinkedIn):

- Your dream customers
- Like-minded people
- Other thought leaders who're followed by your target audience

Once you follow them, it's time to engage with them.

Like their posts and comment with meaningful thoughts.

Forget about hacks and automation. This is the only (and best) way to grow your social media following in the B2B world. 

What is Noah's plan for Potion's growth in the future?

Noah is not just focusing on making his product better. He is also creating guides and templates to educate and help his customers have more success with Potion.

He plans to double down on content and create guides and helpful articles to get found through search.

He is also trying to build a community of Notion users on Twitter.

What are some of the challenges that Noah is facing at the moment?

Potion is aimed as a product for pro consumers like creators and makers, so the churn rate of Potion is high. In many cases, people try Potion for a couple of months and then move on to something else.

As his customers mature, they often migrate to a different platform.

So the success of Potion as a platform depends on the success of its users, which in turn motivates Noah to develop Potion in the best way possible.

How does Potion compete with other similar platforms?

Noah constantly tries to build relationships with different notion creators.

He plans to leverage these relationships to create a marketing push and reach a bigger audience for his platform.  

He has also started an affiliate program for Potion, which he plans to grow in the coming years.

An affiliate program will incentivize all creators to make content around Potion and support its growth.

What's next on the plate for Potion?

Noah plans to quit his day job and focus full-time on Potion to grow into a million-dollar company.

He plans to constantly improve his product by acting on the valuable feedback of his community as he believes word of mouth can be a game-changer for Potion.

Potion will also be trying to partner with more prominent Notion creators soon, and Noah also plans to redesign Potion's dashboard and interface.

Where will Potion be in the next 15 years?

Noah plans to reach 20k MRR with Potion in 2-3 months, and as Notion continues to grow and acquire more users, he believes Potion can go up to 1 million in ARR in the next ten years.

Noah doesn't want to create the next big startup; he is instead trying to make an indie hacker business that he can run by himself or with a small team.

His goal is to build something optimized for enjoyment and enjoy the building process while serving a small niche of influential Notion users.

Note #2 - Building business is fuc*ing hard. You shouldn't start a company if:

- You don't enjoy speaking and working with your customers
- The business doesn't have a potential to make over $1m/year

What is one advice Noah has for all builders?

Noah personally believes in the shotgun approach in which people start 12 startups in 12 months.

This approach lets builders try different ideas, figure out and learn from various problems, and network with people.

Noah has always built things on the side while doing a full-time job, which kept him from worrying about his finances.

According to Noah, being persistent and trying new things is the only way to succeed as an entrepreneur.

Learning #4 - Launch fast. Fail fast. Iterate fast. And then repeat again.

The Bottom Line

Focus on improving your product, creating value for the community, and your startup will flourish.

Be persistent and willing to try new things. Keep an open mind.

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