Join us on our journey, building a boot­strapped online business

Hey, we're Noah and Ben and this is our Product Journey!

The Podcast

Every week we get together and talk about building our online businesses, what's been going on and what we're struggling with at the moment. Join us on our journey and listen as we build, work through failure, and hopefully succeed in creating a profitable business.

#54 — Moving Fast, Doing Stuff

Ben and Noah chat about how things are going with their businesses. Ben is continuing to make progress on TinyLog at lightning speeds. Noah is feeling pretty good about where Supportman is at. He is excited because he just got two customers paying on his higher price tier of $50/mo. Hope you enjoy this conversation.


#53 — Crazy Man Starts New Side Project

In this episode we have a crazy man on the podcast and it's Ben! He is starting a new side project called Tinylog. Most of the pod we talk about what Ben is up to with this new side project and why he is taking the time away from Playgroup to work on it. We also cover some of the updates Noah has on Supportman and how he is feeling about the progress. Enjoy!

#52 — How big of a project scope can a solo-bootstrapper pull off?

In this episode Noah and Ben chat about how big of a project can bootstrappers take on. At what scope is a project too much for a single founder to make successful. They ponder these questions as they think about their roadmaps for Supportman and Playgroup. Hope you enjoy it!

#51 — Scalability and Getting Burned Out

Ben and Noah share more of what they have been up to with Playgroup and Supportman. Noah has done 9 customer discovery interviews and Ben has worked a lot on the scalability of Playgroup. Noah is also feeling a little burned out so they talk about what to do in that situation. Hope you enjoy it!

#50 — Are We on the Right Path? ...Continued with Justin Jackson from transistor.fm

This is the 50th episode of Product Journey! Thats a lot of episodes! For this one, we had Justin Jackson back on the podcast to chat about his experience with Transistor and knowing if they were on the right path. Really fun and great conversation. We think you will really enjoy it!

#49 — Are We on the Right Path?

Today on the show, Noah and Ben chat about what things are going well, what thing they are struggling with, and how to get unstuck. Both Noah and Ben feel down at times at how things are going. They aren't always sure if they are on the right path to create a business that works. They want to be able to continue to have fun building their products. Hopefully this one isn't too negative feeling for you but Noah and Ben are trying to keep positive.

#48 — Chatting about Kevin Conti's Success with softwareideas.io

Kevin has built softwareideas.io and in 20 days, already achieved the $1,000 MRR milestone! Noah and Ben talk to Kevin about he did it and what things he did right to get there. Kevin also talks about his past with Codernotes and what we learned from building that product. This was a very enlightening chat and we think you will enjoy it!

#47 — New and Noteworthy

Noah and Ben have another great conversation updating each other on what has been going on with Supportman and Playgroup. Supportman is now in Intercom's New and noteworthy section on the app store. They chat about how this is affecting signups so far. Ben on the other hand is struggling with figuring out how he should handle the positioning of Playgroup. They have a great chat talking about possible ways to approach this.

#46 — The Journey of Paperform with Co-founder Dean McPherson

Noah and Ben have a great chat with Dean McPherson, the Co-founder and CTO of Paperform. Dean shares his journey of how he started and bootstrapped Paperform and the story of how the business got to where it is today. Paperform is now close to doing 1 million in ARR and has eight employees.

#45 — Chatting about Distribution and Pricing

In this episode Noah and Ben give updates on how things are going with Supportman and Playgroup. They are making progress which is exciting! Then they talk about the topics of distribution and pricing and how they are thinking about how to handle these for their products. Hope you enjoy it!

#44 — The Road to Paying Customers - Part 2

This is part 2 of Noah and Ben's discussion chatting about getting their first paying customers. What has happened over the last week or two with Playgroup and Supportman. They talk about this here. Enjoy!

#43 — The Road to Paying Customers - Part 1

It has been three weeks since Ben and Noah talked and it was just them. There is a lot to catch up on. Ben and Noah talk about their struggles and the road to getting paying customers. There are a lot of ups and downs when starting a business. They talk through how they felt through this time and how to get through it.

#42 — Chatting with an Experienced Bootstrapper - Ruben Gamez

Today Noah and Ben chat with Ruben Gamez. Ruben is the founder of Bidsketch and Docsketch. We have an amazing conversation about what he has learned on his bootstrapped journey over the last 10 years. Ruben is a very experience entrepreneur and we learned a lot from him. We think you will too!

#41 — Building a SaaS Website Builder with Volkan from Versoly

Volkan from Versoly is a guest on the pod today. He shares his journey of creating a website builder for SaaS companies. We talk through the ups and downs to get him to where he is today. And what some of his plan are for Versoly in the future.

#40 — Making it Official

Noah has gotten Supportman to the point where it is ready to launch. He just has to click the button to release it on the Intercom App Store. Noah also incorporated Supportman and figured out how to take payments. Meanwhile, Ben is making some steady progress with Playgroup. He is continuing to get feedback from trialing customers and making optimizations to make the product better. Both look forward to the struggle of selling to customers. Hope you enjoy it!

#39 — Bootstrappers Need Patience

Today, Ben and Noah chat about how bootstrappers need to have patience. It's hard to get a SaaS off the ground and it takes a lot of time. What will Ben and Noah do during this difficult stage and how will they get through it? That is some of the hard questions that they talk through in this episode.

#38 — No Ones Forcing Us

Noah and Ben share updates on how things are going with Supportman and Playgroup. Ben is making some good progress with his first customers and Noah has submitted Supportman to the Intercom app marketplace! They also talk about how to handle the stress and emotional side of starting a business. Hopefully this is helpful to you! Thanks for listening.

#37 — Onboarding the First Community

Another week on the struggle bus. But there isn't too much struggling this time. Ben is enjoying on-boarding his first community to Playgroup! While Noah is finishing up the last parts of the Supportman product and working on his value propositions for the website. Hope you enjoy this update! Leave a rating on your podcast player of choice. Thanks!

#36 — How Starting a Business has Changed with Jon Hainstock

We have a guest on the podcast! Jon Hainstock, who started and sold ZoomShift. We had a great discussion around how starting a bootstrapped business has changed in the last 9 years (when Jon started ZoomShift). How has the bootstrapped community changed? How has competition changed? Is it easier or harder to start a business? Jon has some great insight and I think you will enjoy this episode!

#35 — Build It and They Will Come?

Ben is happy with how things are going for Playgroup. He shares how he has been having some great conversations with potential customers and is enjoying it more than client work. On the flip side Noah has been doing a lot of stuff for CoffeePass rather than Supportman recently. Including a database horror story that Noah shares in this episode.

#34 — Fighting the Pandemic with Spencer Rowland

This week we chat with Spencer who owns an Escape room business as well as a SAAS for Escape room businesses. We talk about the difficulties that Spencer has faced with the Covid pandemic and what we can do as business owners to adapt and keep things going! Hope you enjoy it!

#33 — Where to Go Next with Jesper Bylund

Noah and Ben have a guest (Jesper Bylund) on the podcast. Jesper is a UX designer and developer working on his own business as well as a listener of Product Journey. They have a great discussion on how to know what to do next with your business. When do you pivot and what should you build next. Noah, Ben, and Jesper all share their experiences and how they are dealing with these difficult problems currently. If you'd like to be on the podcast, reach out to us!

#32 — Discussing Onboarding

Noah and Ben have enjoyed another week of things going well with their businesses. Ben has gotten dumping data over from Discourse into Playgroup working and integrated with Paddle. Noah has finished up graphs in Supportman as well as closing up on Intercom and Slack Oauth. They discuss how to onboard customers in the most frictionless way as possible. Hope you enjoy it!

#31 — Noah's Old Business Blew Up

Ben had a great week this last week as he was able to focus entirely on Playgroup. He had some frustrations but was able to keep the momentum alive. He worked on a Discourse importer and got more feedback from potential users. Meanwhile Noah talks about how is old startup CoffeePass blew up over the last couple of week. If you enjoyed it, leave a rating!

#30 — Lots of Progress ...and EP 30!

Its been an overall great week for both Ben and Noah! Ben has gotten lots of work done on Playgroup, transitioning it over to communities and Noah has started working on an MVP in the new direction of helping support teams. Its also episode 30! They talk a little bit about the experience of recording a podcast and how that has been good for both of them. Hope you enjoy the episode! Reach out if you would like to be on the show!

#29 — Being Pulled to Something Else

Noah and Ben spend a moment on how Covid-19 has affected them, the good and the bad. Then they dive into how potential customers seem to be pulling their businesses towards a different direction than they first imagined it. This is probably a good thing. But it is hard to know where to take the business. Is it going against something you really want to do? Or is this just part of the process of following the market? Hope you enjoy the discussion! Feel free to leave a rating in your favorite podcast player!

#28 — 5 Factors of Growth with Corey Haines

This episode we have the privilege of talking to Corey Haines from Baremetrics. What are some good practices for customer interviews? How to implement a free plan correctly? What channels should you focus on? These are some of the marketing questions that we dive deep into. Corey also shares the things he is building on the side and how he plans to do the stair step approach. Hope you enjoy the episode!

#27 — Landing on the Right Market

Noah and Ben talk about landing on the right market. Ben has built Playgroup, which could be positioned towards two or more different markets. Similarly, Noah is talking to more customers to figure out the niche he should continue to put efforts into. Hope you enjoy the episode!

#26 — Credibility and How to Get it!

Noah and Ben talk how about how things are going. They are both feeling the struggles of finding their first customers. How can they get credibility to make users trust them and buy? They are some hard things to figure out and Noah and Ben talk about what they can do to get credibility.

#25 — Finding Validation with Arvid Kahl of FeedbackPanda

Noah and Ben talk with Arvid Kahl who sold his company FeedbackPanda, that he bootstrapped and started only two years ago! Arvid talks though a little bit of his journey and what he has learned along the way. The group mainly focus on how to find validation for your product and how Arvid did this with FeedbackPanda. Hope you enjoy it!

#24 — No Validation Valley

Noah and Ben have a great talk about the lows and highs of a business as Ben is struggling with getting his first user for Playgroup. It's tough being in those valleys of the unknown. However, Noah is on a high with UserEngine making a lot of progress towards his MVP. Let us know if you enjoyed the episode!

#23 — Finally Finding a Problem

Noah and Ben have a great chat catching up on their businesses. Ben has launched the new landing pages for PlayGroup after writing some good copy. He also talks about the new live demo that he has on the landing pages. Meanwhile Noah has finally landed on a problem that he wants to start pursuing and talks about what the first steps will be.

#22 — Forecasting the Future with Matt Wensing

This week Noah and Ben are joined by Matt Wensing from Summit. They talk about forecasting in SaaS businesses — What it is, when you should do it and how it can help founders as well as investors with realistic metrics.

#21 — Fighting Giants with Val Sopi

Noah and Ben are joined by Val Sopi, founder of Claritask. They talk about Val’s journey building Claritask, thoughts on funding, competing with big players in a certain market and repositioning. They also tackle topics like what part luck plays in building a successful SaaS and how much of it is preparation.

#20 — Problems Worth Solving

Noah and Ben catch up on the past weeks and their progress. Ben is still building out the MVP for Playgroup, while Noah's recent interviews have led him to question the overall idea he was pursuing. Taking a step back, they discuss whether or not Noah should keep at it or maybe look for new problems worth solving and how to actually find such problems.

#19 — The Early Days and Execution with Noah Labhart

Noah and Ben chat with Noah Labhart, the CTO of Veryable. Veryable is a marketplace of on-demand labor for manufacturing and warehouse work. They talk through the early days of Veryable and what it looked like to reach product/market fit. They also talk through execution and Noah's advice on how to execute well.

#18 — Being Sneaky

Ben talks about some of his improvements and things that he has learned the last week with PlayGroup. Meanwhile, Noah has multiple meetings setup with very nice bootstrappers in the space. Both Ben and Noah talk about how they are being sneaky checking out the competition and learning from what they are doing. Thanks for listening! Reach out to us if you have any questions or thoughts about the episode!

#17 — Private Playgroup Launch

Ben and Noah hope to be charging into 2020! Ben just did a private launch of Playgroup. He is getting feedback from some users and making decisions on what to do next. Meanwhile, Noah has come to some conclusions from the 8ish customer interviews he has done so far. He is also figuring out the tech stack he wants to use and learning some new ones! Thanks for listening!

#16 — Merry Christmas! and Our Goals

Noah and Ben thank their listeners for following them on this product journey! They also share their goals for 2020. There won't be an episode next week as Noah and Ben are taking some time off for Christmas. Have a Great Christmas everyone! Thanks for listening!

#15 — Testing Code and People!

Ben is doing some testing on Play Group to make sure everything is up to par. Noah and Ben talk about when testing is worth it and when its not. There is a big debate about this among developers. Noah is testing people by starting to have conversations with potential users using the mom test. They talk through how those conversations have been going. Hope you enjoy it!

#14 — Market is the First Filter with Justin Jackson

Noah and Ben are happily joined by Justin Jackson, the founder of Transistor and avid podcast creator and listener. They talk through building an audience and how finding the right market is the first filter that you should be using on your business. Justin talks through some of his opinions that may not be as popular with others. Justin always has a lot of insight and articulates ideas very clearly! I think you will really enjoy this episode! Ben is 6ft. Noah is 6ft, 3 inches Justin is 5ft, 8 inches

#13 — Is the Grass Greener?

Noah is coming up with first interview questions and has the first potential customers in mind that he wants to start talking to in the coming weeks, utilizing the Mom Test. Ben is still in developer-mode with Playgroup and probably already spending a bit too much time on it instead of getting some user feedback. Noah and Ben also talk about having fun along the way and not just focussing on the end goal.

#12 — How many Customers to Talk to for Reliable Data?

While Ben is making some good progress with development on Playgroup, Noah is still thinking about what market to target and how he wants to approach building his next project. One important part of Noah's progress will very likely be The Mom Test, so they talk a bit more about that and how to use it early on when interviewing customers, as well as later in product development.

#11 — A Day in The Life of Ben Orenstein

In this episode Noah and Ben are joined by Ben Orenstein, co-founder and CEO of Tuple. They talk about how a typical day looks like for Ben — how does his morning routine look like, what does he enjoy most each day and what are some harder things he has to deal with. They finish with some unrelated Q&A like questions about competition for Tuple, marketing & taking the leap into self-employment.

#10 — The Mom Test

This week Noah and Ben discuss "The Mom Test" by Rob Fitzpatrick and go into the details of talking to customers. They talk about some key takeaways as well as things that you shouldn't do when trying to validate an idea early on. Both agree that a lot of the tips can be applied to their current situation and want to use the method going forward with their products.

#9 — Remote Work and Getting Hit by a Bus

Noah and Ben talk about remote work and its tradeoffs. Do social interactions suffer and is loneliness an issue? What does it take to work effectively when a team is spread around the globe? And how can Ben's new product Playgroup help to solve some of the problems of remote work? They also tackle topics like documentation by default, knowledge silos, getting hit by a bus and how that should not slow down the entire team.

#8 — Getting a Clear Signal

Noah and Ben talk about Ben's new project and how he is trying to get customer feedback. They then fall into a rabbit hole of how to get clear feedback from customers. Its a hard problem! They want to make sure they build the right thing and validate it in the right way. Get a clear signal! Meanwhile Noah has been busy moving to Seattle this last week. He talks a little bit about the 35 hour drive!

#7 — How to Pick the Right Idea

Noah and Ben did something a little different in this episode; They talked through how to choose an idea. What niche should you choose? What market? How does being an solo-entrepreneur change what ideas you can do? How do personal goals come to play? Hopefully there are some helpful insights for you in here!

#6 — New Beginnings

Noah and Ben catch up on what's been going while Ben was on vacation. Noah is busy preparing to move cities as well as starting a new day job. Narrowr is still alive but Ben is having second thoughts if it's really the project he wants to pursue. Maybe start a second project?

#5 — How to Know When to Keep Going? - with Joshua from Getting to Ramen

While Ben is out enjoying vacation, Noah talks to Joshua from the Getting to Ramen podcast. They have a great conversation about the hard decisions Joshua is facing with his business Upscribe. Should he keep going with it? Try to sell it? Move his attention to another project? Noah has also gotten some good news with some potential to sell CofeePass! Thanks for listening to Product Journey!

#4 — Not Getting Much Done

While Noah was on vacation, Ben was sick and there was not too much progress on either of their projects. However things are still up and running and users are actually finding their way and signing up nonetheless. Noah is wondering if Ben should really focus on building out the iOS and Android apps next or if there are better steps to take at this point. Noah talks about the current state of SnoozeYouLose and lack of motivation to really keep it running for long, before both jump into how they manage time when there is a lot to do.

#3 — 26 Hour Madness

The big livestream where Noah and his friend Drew built SnoozeYouLose happened and there is a lot to talk about. Not everything went down as planned but the overall outcome is very positive and there was a lot of fun in doing it. While Noah was super productive, Ben spent way too long on building small things and gets some good ideas for what to do next, talking about it with Noah.

#2 — Sending Narrowr Invites

Noah reveals what SnoozeYouLose is all about and that it will be built live on Twitch in just 24h. Noah and Ben talk about what technology will be used and what might or might not happen with the product after the initial launch. Ben got a new microphone and sounds a lot less like a caveman now! He also sent out the first 100 invite codes for Narrowr, got the first members using the product and bugreports start rolling in. Noah is looking for a new job on the side and of course the whole process asks for some discussion.

#1 — Starting the Journey

Noah and Ben kick things off by talking a bit about what they're currently working on and what's going on in their lives besides building online products. Ben goes into some of the details of building Narrowr, while Noah talks about his past product Coffeepass and what's in store for the future.

#0 — The Journey Ahead

Hey, we're Noah and Ben and this is the Product Journey podcast. Every week we get together and talk about building our online businesses, what's been going on and what we're struggling with at the moment. Join us on our journey and listen as we build, work through failure, and hopefully succeed in creating a profitable business.

Noah Bragg

Noah Bragg

Building: Supportman
Twitter: @noahwbragg
Website: noahbragg.com
Ben Mann

Ben Mann

Building: Playgroup
Twitter: @digitaltrouble
Website: benmann.de
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