How I (Accidentally) Turned a Few Lines of Code into Multiple 6 Figures In Under 12 Months

8 Lessons I've Learned

How I (Accidentally) Turned a Few Lines of Code into Multiple 6 Figures In Under 12 Months

a thread by @VisionAndSales
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Let's rewind for a second...

Time: 2014
Location: Secret military intelligence base.

While on active duty, I got a call.

"Chen, your Grandpa has passed away"

Dementia. Couldn't save the man who's raised me.

An obsession was ignited that day...

Just 20 years old at the time. But absolutely determined...

Hell bent on helping to create a cure for dementia using my tech chops.

Didn't know where to start.

  • Sent warm texts.
  • Booked meetings.
  • Googled top 100 researchers in biotech in my country.
  • Sent cold emails.
  • Booked more meetings.

I began to qualify heavily...

"Who's going to help me build this thing?"

Asked each of them...

  • "What do you work on?"
  • "How can I research at your lab?"

I remember thinking...

  • "Too slow..."
  • "Too incompetent..."
  • "Too academic..."

You see, in order to build something it's not enough to know stuff.

You must solve real problems... and FAST.

Found a PhD that ticked all the boxes

  • Harvard & MIT Grad
  • Excellent Vibe
  • High Energy
  • High Integrity
  • High Intelligence

Pitched to work for her and got the deal.

Researched for 2 years for $15K/yr.

Worked my ass off.

Ate ramen.

Didn't party. Didn't date. Didn't give a fuck. I was on a mission.

Studying Data Science, RNA Sequencing, Running experiments.

Training with some of the sharpest minds in neuroscience.

Until one day... We've accidentally created a technology...

An idea was born...

1. VALIDATE YOUR IDEA (the right way)

Our idea was simple: We'll generate predictions for drug-discovery companies, and cut down research time by %50. (Generating BILLIONS in savings).

Our move? Set up 25 meetings to pitch the idea. Closed 3 clients.

DEMAND VALIDATED.

Number one mistake 1st time (SaaS) entrepreneurs make, is they create something nobody wants.

To validate demand for your product, you need one thing and one thing only. CASH IN THE BANK.

  • No surveys.
  • No questions.
  • No promises.

You need to pitch and get MONEY IN.

NOW.

2. MINIMIZE YOUR RISK (by leveraging consumer behavior)

Closing the first sales is merely about starting the relationship.

But if you suck at bed... sooner or later your customers will find another supplier.

Sorry people, I don't make the rules.

To make sure customers keep paying you month in-month out... you must leverage recurring behaviors (consumer habits), and improve them.

In our case, we've identified processes biotech researchers were using monthly, and replaced manual work with software. Everyone's happy.

A former 8-figure mentor once told me:

"It's easier to redirect an expense to another source, than to try and create a new expense."
  • Analyze companies balance sheets.
  • Find out what people spend money on.
  • Make the process more efficient.
  • Profit millions.

3. BUILD YOUR A-TEAM

In order to carry out the mission, we've compiled a world class team of experts.

You can only do so much yourself.

Keep your team motivated, reinforce the vision daily.

If you want to go big, learn to let go of control and delegate effectively.

Nuff said

4. FUNDING and ADVISORS

"When you go look for money, you get advice. When you seek advice, you get money."

As CEO, your job is to constantly:

  • Build profitable, long term relationships with partners and clients
  • Make profitable decisions

Dig the well before you're thirsty.

We were able to leverage existing relationships so fundraising was a breeze.

You don't have to raise funds in order to build a profitable SaaS biz. It was our preference in order to move faster.

Fundraising is an art in and of itself...

5. NAIL YOUR TECH STACK

People always ask me...

  • "Should I use Javascript?"
  • "Should I use Ruby on Rails?"
  • "I hear Laravel is the next hot thing"

In reality? Nearly any tech stack will get the job done.

Choose the one that'll help you bring on quality people faster.

If majority of the market uses React, Node and Python - use that.

Makes hiring faster. Makes your team feel empowered and motivated to work with the latest tech.

6. BECOME AN EXECUTION MACHINE

You'll often hear people say "Ideas are worthless. Execution is everything."

But what the hell does 'Execution' mean, really? Here's my personal definition:

"Your ability to consistently produce at high levels in alignment with one's vision."

>> You must hold a vision.
>> You must be producing.
>> You must be consistent.
>> Nail down your habits/systems.
>> Track your production metrics in a spreadsheet.

... and you will become an execution machine.

7. EXITING

Exiting a venture, can happen in a variety of different ways.

  • Shares sale
  • Asset sale
  • Franchising
  • And more.

In our case our largest client has offered us a FAT CHECK for multiple six figures in order to acquire the tech. This was an asset sale. And yours truly has accepted.

In reality, our tech was worth over 9 figures at the time and I wasn't as business savvy back then to capitalize on the opportunity.

Lesson: When somebody offers you a deal... ALWAYS value the opportunity from THEIR PERSPECTIVE.

You will get a better deal.

8. VALUATION

Lots of people ask me about valuations.

"How much is my business worth?"

The answer is simple:

"Whatever someone is willing to pay for it."

Thinking in terms of multiples of revenues is for simps.

You're better than this.

To increase your valuation, think in terms of potential assets your biz has and how a potential buyer may benefit.

  • Community
  • Strong R&D team
  • Brand
  • Tech advantage
  • Upselling opportunities that increase LTV

Your job here is to SELL THE CASE of your desired valuation.

END

My friends. If you've made it till here you're obviously curious about building an exiting your own digital asset.

I hope this thread has been insightful for you.

Looking forward to interacting more on the timeline.

Chen, out.

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