It can be a lonely road when you are starting out as a SaaS founder.
You are treading a path few people choose to walk. At best, you might have your mother’s support (or sympathy). At worst, close friends & family might think you’ve gone totally mad and struggle to understand what you’re building..
You don’t have the warm lights and friendly chatter of the office to help you through the rough days. Your ‘office’ may still be your bedroom. And your working hours could be 18.00 to 23.00 – in-between putting the kids to bed and grabbing something to eat.
Plus, the pressure of starting a SaaS business is nothing to be taken lightly. 49% of surveyed SaaS Entrepreneurs reported significant struggles with their mental health.
Not to mention the difficulties you face in navigating the seemingly infinite sources of information available online. There’s thousands of courses, thousands of ‘thought-leaders’ (See also: ‘gurus’). Who do you trust? How do you meet people who get it?
But, you are not in this alone. There are others out there who walk the same path. And if there is any advantage to our increasingly online life, it’s the ability to connect with thousands of others from all corners of the world who share the same purpose, at the click of a button.
Such communities do exist, and joining the right SaaS community can provide an invaluable boost to the first steps of your journey.
SaaS communities offer:
- Connection to like-minded people from diverse backgrounds, united by similar aspirations
- An opportunity to learn from other members; both their success-stories and their ‘failures’
- Helpful resources, such as recommended products (and products to avoid!)
- The opportunity to meet your future team-mates or co-founders!
Beyond the quantifiable benefits, there are the softer benefits of a sense of inclusion, community connection, and being around people who just ‘get it’.
Joining the right community offers an opportunity to engage in authentic conversations with other people who understand what you’re going through. A place to support one another through testing times, celebrate each others’ victories, or even just crack a few jokes to help get through the day.
So, what are the best SaaS communities out there, and how do you join them?
Here’s the GoSquared breakdown:
At the time of writing, IH boasts a network of 29815 entrepreneurs and makers committed to creating a life of independence. IH offers a forum to connect with and learn from other Indie Hackers; people building online projects to generate revenue.
The forum posts are split into sections, allowing you to select for whatever stage of the journey you find yourself on. Whether that’s committing to starting your first project or finding a business partner for your third, you’ll find the information and audience you need.
And it’s not just business, the Self-care section gives invaluable insights into the most neglected part of being a SaaS Founder; how to manage your health, emotions and other life-commitments. The site also offers an Interview section, where experienced IndieHackers share their journeys so far, as well as a Podcast with six different shows.
The GoSquared team checks in to IndieHackers a handful of times each week to stay on top of the latest news from the community and to share and receive advice. The homepage offers a selection of Popular posts from the past month and weeks, which give you a good feel of life as a SaaS founder.
Some of our favourite recent posts include:
As well as our all-time favourites:
A close number two is r/SaaS. Thanks to a well-moderated forum, you won’t find any snake-oil salespeople here; they get booted off straight away. In fact, you’ll find just as many ‘in the trenches’ stories of failed projects and lessons learned, as you will find success stories.
r/SaaS boasts an expansive user base of 18.9K users, making it one of the largest SaaS forums out there. Just be careful you don’t get distracted and find yourself spending an hour scrolling through the Reddit homepage instead!
r/SaaS comes in second to IndieHackers due to a slightly lower engagement rate on posts. IH has a core value of ‘let no post go unanswered’ – something which r/SaaS has not yet been able to replicate.
It’s also worth noting that r/SaaS tends to ask a bit more of first-time posters than IndieHackers. So don’t jump onto the forum with a laundry-list of questions and expect an immediate flood of replies. A better strategy is to spend some time commenting and offering value on others’ posts first.
Maybe you can’t tell your CTR from your CPC, but you’re an expert in SQL or Django. Spend some time helping out other SaaS founders with their technical troubleshooting. Once you’ve built up some Reddit-cred, then post your marketing questions, and you’ll find that other SaaS Redditors are more than happy to help you out.
Here’s a couple of our favourite posts of the year so far:
3. SaaS Alliance
SaaS Alliance is a global Slack group which can be accessed via a short application of 4-8 questions.
As you might expect from a Slack channel, this group is great for real-time conversations; offering an opportunity to trade ideas and learn from your fellow SaaS entrepreneurs, as if you were sat right next to them.
Due to the nature of the chat platform, it can be harder to trawl through past posts to find particular threads of value. IndieHackers and r/SaaS provide filtering options for you to review popular posts as far back as the websites were set up; Slack groups are more like real-time conversation feeds.
We’d recommend SaaS Alliance as a place to hop in if you have a burning question you need an answer to ASAP, or if you want to be updated on the latest community events. If you want to take some quiet time to read through and digest articles of SaaS wisdom, then you’re better off in IH or r/SaaS.
PS. For a similar group, or if Slack’s just not your thing, check out SaaS Revolutionaries on Facebook. The group is run by Saasstock.com and has been active since 2017. The group has an average of 5 new posts per day so there’s plenty to learn from. After completing a short application you’ll join over 5,000 likeminded SaaS entrepreneurs to network and share ideas with.
4. SaaS Growth Hacks
We wouldn’t be much of a Growth platform if we didn’t recommend a SaaS Growth forum!
We know that so many SaaS Founders toil away to build great products, only to fall down at the second hurdle; marketing and growth (it’s why we built GoSquared!).
Coding and building products may be second nature to you, but in an overcrowded and noisy world, if you can’t bring people to your website you won’t see signups or revenue.
In fact, this is such a common headache to SaaS entrepreneurs that [Aaron Krall’s ‘SaaS Growth Hacks’ group] already totals an impressive 25k members. Not only that, but the user-base is highly active; boasting an average of 25 new posts per day.
Noticing the need for SaaS-focused Growth strategies, Aaron, a SaaS conversion Specialist, set up the group back in 2017. It brings together SaaS founders at many different stages of success, all willing to share ideas on growing & scaling products.
If you’re struggling with [bringing visitors to your website], getting signups, or converting trial users to paid – this is the place to bring your questions.
PS. If you happen to be in the other category, there’s a place for you too! If you’re an experienced Growth Marketer, but you need help building your product, then head over to stackoverflow.com.
Established in 2008, Stackoverflow is the Mecca for Web Developers with a user-base of over 10 million!
This is THE developer community and should be your first port of call for assistance with technical questions, or if you’re looking for a co-founder with Engineering savvy.
5. Local meet-ups
They’ve been off the cards for so long we’d almost forgotten about them, but in-person meet-ups are slowly becoming a thing again!
Online communities are awesome, but nothing quite beats getting out to meet people and build relationships in person. Depending on your location, you may soon be able to attend in person meetups for the SaaS community.
Sites such as Meetup.com or LinkedIn are great if you are European or US based. Alternatively, you can check out any of the Digital Nomad Facebook Groups to keep tabs on any upcoming SaaS events in your local city. Dust off your work shoes and get a few events booked in your diary! Or, if you’re feeling really brave, arrange one yourself!
PS. GoSquared previously hosted ‘LDNSaaS’ – a series of events with guest speakers from a range of exciting SaaS companies, like Grabyo.io, appsumer, RotaGeek, and Tray.io The talks are a goldmine of wisdom from seasoned SaaS leaders. You can still check out the recordings – make sure to take notes!