When Is It Time to Move On?

Colleen makes a big decision and considers another.

Michele Hansen  0:00 
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Michele Hansen 
Hey, Colleen.

Colleen Schnettler  0:15  
Hey, Michele. Good morning.

Michele Hansen  0:18  
It's been a while.

Colleen Schnettler  0:19  
Oh, I know. I've missed your face.

Michele Hansen  0:22  
I've missed your face and your voice too.

Colleen Schnettler  0:26  
Yeah, I think we haven't recorded in almost a month now.

Michele Hansen  0:29  

Colleen Schnettler  0:31  

Michele Hansen  0:32  
It's been it's an every year in California now.

Colleen Schnettler  0:35  

Michele Hansen  0:37  
And I guess we should catch people up. So the other day we were emailing about what time we should be recording since there is now a nine hour time difference between us. And it occurred to me as we were sort of trying to figure out scheduling and whatnot. I had this sort of thought for a moment of You know what, we've done this for almost a year. That's a really solid run. Like apparently, like, I think most 90% of podcasts only make it to like, what, three episodes or something like that. Maybe, maybe we've maybe we're done. Maybe we did what we did what we set out to do, and maybe we should walk out on a high note.

Colleen Schnettler  1:21  

Michele Hansen  1:23  
And then I said that to Mateus. And he was like, No, you can't stop the podcast, it's your thing.

Colleen Schnettler  1:29  
By the way, thank you. saving the day. It's funny, you should mention that, Michelle, because a lot has changed in my life in the past month. And I had a similar thought, but not because of the time zones more because I'm like, sick of hearing my voice. I feel like I've been, I feel like I get on this podcast every week. And I just complain about how hard it is to start a business. And I'm not actually doing anything. Like, I feel like I've lost my bias to action. Like you aren't doing things, I guess I don't know, I just like colleagues, just do the thing. Stop talking about doing the thing and just do the thing.

Michele Hansen  2:08  
It's so interesting that you listen back to it and you hear that you're not doing anything. When I feel like if you were to you know, I like I imagine you listen to some audio books on your long road trip from Virginia to I did California rather than listening through our entire catalogue.

Colleen Schnettler  2:30  
That would have been funny, though.

Michele Hansen  2:32  
Yeah, I imagine you celebrate our entire catalog. But I feel like I hear you did not have a side project going last summer. Like you spent the late summer in fall. And I guess it wasn't really until the fall you like decided to go all in on this. And then by December, right, you had something launchable. And you got it out there. You got into the training wheels phase of the Heroku marketplace. And then you were finally led out into the world in February. And last we spoke you were at like right, right around 1000. Mr. That sounds like a lot to me.

Colleen Schnettler  3:19  
When you say it like that sounds really great. Go me. I just feel like for the past couple months. And to be fair, I have been single parenting three kids separated from my spouse, right in a pandemic. So it's been a little crazy. But for the past three months, I feel like I've just gotten on, and we've been recording, and I'm just like, Oh, I want to do this thing. And you'll say something brilliant. And I'm like, Yeah, I should totally do that. And then it takes me like, a month to do something.

Michele Hansen  3:47  
But I think so make sense, given all of that. And maybe we should clarify that you were away from your spouse not separated. Like, Oh, right. That utilitarians? Yeah,

Colleen Schnettler  3:56  
totally separate. Yeah.

Michele Hansen  3:57  
But like you I feel like you have gotten so much done. But also I think what you're saying of kind of, you know, when you're working on a product, especially in the early days, I feel like it's very normal to kind of look at everything that has to be done and be like, Oh, my God, there is so much to be done. This product sucks. Why is anyone paying for it? I have so much to do. Is this ever going to be like a real business Never mind something that I'm proud of? How am I possibly going to get all of the time to do all of these things and like beating yourself up for not having all of that time because you are a human being that not only needs to sleep and eat but has other other real life commitments like child rearing. Like I think what you're saying is totally normal.

Colleen Schnettler  4:50  
Okay. Like I've been doing a lot of whining, like, Oh, it's hard to do these things or just shut up and do the

Michele Hansen  4:59  
way like, you know, People ever do acquire us and then and then people like you, and then you can go start a business, another business and I'm like, Yeah, dude, that's hard. Like I have one that works. Like, I don't want to do that again. It is hard.

Colleen Schnettler  5:13  
Oh, it's good to hear you say that. I just feel like I'm moving slowly. I think that's a better way to put it. I feel like I'm moving at glacial speed here. And it's a little frustrating.

Michele Hansen  5:23  
Yeah, of course it is.

Colleen Schnettler  5:25  
So speaking of having calls with people who want to acquire you, someone reached out to me, a small company that acquire small sasses. And we had a call. Oh. So that was very flattering, I guess is the right word. Hmm. I mean, I know that happens to you all the time. But it does not happen to me all the time. And he did not find out. He did not find out about me from the podcast, or any of the heat, even though I had a podcast, which is always funny when someone is like, Oh, I didn't even know that. He's like, what made you want to start the business? I was like, Oh, well, if you have 52 hours, you can go listen to my podcast. I didn't say it like that I was much more professional.

Michele Hansen  6:09  
So you could put it on to x, and it would be half of that. But

Colleen Schnettler  6:15  
I was pretty cool. To have someone reached out about buying the business. And just to kind of start the dialogue. We had a very casual, we did not talk valuation. We didn't talk specifics, but we did have a very casual chat. So that was kind of cool, I guess.

Michele Hansen  6:32  
But you're you're, you didn't leave that like committing to sell it to them? Like, are you gonna go there call with them?

Colleen Schnettler  6:39  
Yeah, so the plan is, I mean, I'm not commit, I didn't commit to anything. Okay. I feel like I should say that. We kind of did the get to know the situation chat. And let's have another call if you're interested in a couple months deal.

Michele Hansen  6:56  
And a couple months. Okay. But it's not like right now.

Colleen Schnettler  7:00  
No, there it was. It was no pressure. Like we were just, we were just you know, he flattered me, of course, like you were saying he's like, Oh, you know, you started this thing. I'm sure you're gonna start a lot of things. And I thought of you when he said that.

Michele Hansen  7:16  
And you'd be like, No, actually, I am a one trick pony.

Colleen Schnettler  7:21  
Yeah, I think it was a good call. But yeah, I think well, it was kind of a Hey, let's talk again in a couple months if if you're interested. So

Michele Hansen  7:30  
I don't I mean, you know, investors are playing the long game, right? Like,

Colleen Schnettler  7:33  

Michele Hansen  7:34  
I know. There's some investors who've been trying to court me for a while, you know, God, oh, for years, like, and I mean, so yeah, they'll wait a couple months. And have you ever isn't, there's a book about was it like, built? Built to Sell? Right, like,

Colleen Schnettler  7:51  
yeah, I listened to that in the car. I didn't listen to all of it, because it's very long, but I listened. I got started on it in the car.

Michele Hansen  7:57  
Yeah. Did you also listen to never split the difference?

Colleen Schnettler  8:00  
No, I listened to April Dunford book. Oh, about positioning. Obviously. Awesome.

Michele Hansen  8:08  
Yes. Yeah. The one. Was it? Awesome.

Colleen Schnettler  8:11  
Yeah. I mean, I think you know, her book is aimed at a wider range. It's not specifically focused on single person sasses. But I really think the thing I drew out of her book and Harvard's book, what I forget what it's called, that's embarrassing. But um, it's like building to sell or something was zero to sold, thank you zero to sold was the importance of niching down. And so my focus, what I took from both of those books was I need to niche down, I need to position myself properly. And to do that. I'm going to focus on the Heroku marketplace.

Michele Hansen  8:45  
Mm hmm.

Colleen Schnettler  8:47  
So yeah, I enjoyed both of it. Yeah. I enjoyed them both.

Michele Hansen  8:50  
It was good. Maybe I feel like we've probably unfairly built up some suspense at this point. So first of all, we are continuing with the podcast times. Oh, yeah. Colleen feelings about not getting enough. Done. aside. We are continuing. So if you have been sitting there worried that this is the last one, you're not. We are continuing. And Colleen, Colleen says has not been acquired yet. Right?

Colleen Schnettler  9:15  
did sell it? Do you get asked? Do we have any other news

Michele Hansen  9:19  
updates that we should bring people here?

Colleen Schnettler  9:22  
While I'm up ending everything in my life. I do have some other things to say. Oh, so the reason, obviously, during this podcast I love and I love talking to you every week, as we've discussed before, even if no one listened. But the other thing is when we started this podcast, when I was trying to get this ass off the ground and I just was hitting every roadblock imaginable. This podcast kept me accountable. So since I'm kind of feeling that, like, I'm not progressing, I'm going to start kind of using this podcast to keep me accountable again, like this week, I'm going to do this thing. So that's something I want to kind of be more actionable on what I'm trying to do to keep Moving this business forward. Oh, yeah. So, so I did other thing. So I took a full time job. Oh, that's right. That's a big, it's a big update, which is so counterintuitive for like, indie hackers, because usually hear people like their goal is to get out of their full time job and get into consulting. So they'll have more time to work on their side projects, I found for myself, that was different, because I was getting really high value clients, and they're wonderful, but they're intense. So what I was finding was the intensity of the mental energy and space I needed to fulfill my client's needs was not leaving me with a lot of extra brain space for simple file upload. So the job I took is actually a company I've worked for before as a contractor a couple years ago, and I negotiated Fridays off, so I have a full time job, but I only work four days a week. So I'm hoping I can use those Fridays, to work on simple file, upload and be able to kind of give that my full brain space on Fridays.

Michele Hansen  11:18  
That makes sense. That's nice that you got Friday's off.

Colleen Schnettler  11:21  
Yeah, it's weird being in a W two. I know everyone's not in the US. I shouldn't say w two. It's weird to be back in a full time job, though. Like It Is it? It's just weird. It feels so because I haven't done it in cash, like 10 years, no, eight years. So it feels weird. But I know that I know the team. I know the guys, I know the product. So it's not it's not like that starting a new job stress. It's more just like slotting myself in and, you know, adjusting to the way they work and things like that. But yeah, it's still kind of weird, because I haven't done it in a long time.

Michele Hansen  11:57  
Do you feel like you're gonna, like now have more of that, like mental space for those Fridays?

Colleen Schnettler  12:05  
I think so Michelle, and I think so because the work isn't the work at my full time job is interesting. But it's not super high intensity, if that makes sense. So I think it's going to be just the right level of work to kind of, you know, give me some spare cycles, like spare brain cycles to work on my own stuff. And I found that just I know, the dream of some people, like I told a few people, and they were like, Oh, my gosh, why would you do that? Because I know the dream for most people is to quit their full time job and go into a more of a consulting contract role. But for me, I found like I said that it was just the clients I were getting, I was getting, we're just real high intensity. So it wasn't like, Oh, I'm just gonna work 30 hours a week, like that wasn't, they weren't real on board with that. And so although you know, you make more money, as an independent developer, I think the pace of this job is going to align better with my life goals.

Michele Hansen  13:07  
And, you know, I found that when I was working full time, like, or, I mean, I work full time now. But like, when I was working for other people, I don't know how to, like, say that, like, you know, when you're working in another company, inevitably, you have a lane. And maybe if you're in a really small company, you have multiple lanes, but like, you don't have the whole pool in the same way that you would as a as an entrepreneur. And I found for that, like those first couple of years, the fact that I was constrained to only, you know, a couple of different areas in my full time job was like, frustrating, but I could channel it into geocode do because all of the other stuff that I basically wasn't allowed to do at work and like, I would have ideas about things and would be like, well, that's this entire other department. And it would be like, like, you can't do anything about that. Like, I could channel that into geocode do and, and it like almost becoming this way of professionally expressing myself. Yeah, well, to get to do things that I couldn't do at work. And like that was exciting and motivating in its own right of like being able to feel like I was bringing everything I possibly could to the table. Like I had an outlet for that.

Colleen Schnettler  14:28  
Yep, that's exactly how I hope this falls out.

Michele Hansen  14:32  
We'll see it took the pressure off of the business to to be that like full time income.

Colleen Schnettler  14:37  
Yeah, and that's kind of nice, too. I think. Like I said, you know, you do make more as when you're independent, but the constant context switching, you know, a new client every six months to a year. It's kind of exhausting. Yeah. So yeah, so lots going on here. So hopefully, I have now arranged my life in a way that I will have some energy back to work on simple file upload, your, I

Michele Hansen  15:09  
think we've talked in the past about how people, like, I think I saw somebody made some graphic ones of like, this sort of hierarchy of, of work or products or whatever, you know, that starts at, like, the very bottom is, you know, working for another company as if, like, you know, having a tech job is like this terrible bottom of the barrel. And then and then you go become a consultant, and then you have an info product, and then you have a SaaS product, and then you have, I don't know, like, something with cryptokey, like, whatever they feel like is the is the, you know, this sort of golden shining, like, point at the top of this of this hierarchy. And I reject that, you know, you know, like, I have gone from SAS like to infoproducts now, but I think there is like a value judgment that happens for people who go from having their own indie products back to full time, or who skipped steps to like, right, like, we never did the info product, quote, unquote, phase like, it's fake, like, that's not actually a process that people have to follow. And if your life necessitates that, like right now, having a like a part time, SAS, and a full time job is like where you want to be, and that consulting isn't fitting in that, and you're going to just zigzag on down and go your own path. That's totally fine. Like, you don't have to follow the same path that you know, someone on Twitter follows, like, make your own path. It's okay, if you need to, you know, hop around a bit and make it work.

Colleen Schnettler  16:56  
Yeah, I totally agree. And it's interesting you say that, because I definitely struggled with some of those decisions. Like Wait, I'm not supposed to go back to full time work After establishing myself as an independent developer. And then I was like, Oh, wait, I can do whatever I want.

Michele Hansen  17:12  
Sweet. Yeah, you're an adult, you can do what you want, you can make the decisions that are the right for you. And it's, there's, yeah, there's like this, it's almost like people should be ashamed of having to go get a full time job as if it's sort of like admitting defeat. When, and I just, I just reject that. Like, I don't think that's true. Like you're making the best decision for you, you have, you know, it's It's for your own mental health, for your professional health, for that of your family, who you're providing for, like, all of those things are important considerations. And it doesn't matter what people on Twitter think, like, yeah,

Colleen Schnettler  17:56  
that I feel like I'm in a really good spot now. So I'm, I'm now geographically co located with my spouse, which sounds ridiculous, but that just means we're together again. Yeah, you know, so I got my husband back. I got my co parent back. I live in sunny San Diego, and I took this job. So it's a lot of change. Feeling like, so good. Michelle, and I'm so feeling like, like, I'm ready to kick some ass. Can I just say, I think you are. Yeah, so I'm super pumped about that. It's almost you know, and the other thing about this whole experience, success begets success, right? Like, it's like, as I've been building and public, and as I've been getting traction, things start to compound, like, I get this guy reaching out, and he wants to buy my SAS, like, I get random people on the internet sending me like really nice. Twitter DMS, just like that are like encouraging and telling me what a great man. I love that. Like, thanks, man. That's so nice. So I feel like this whole process compounds, but I think being visible, you know, I was talking to some people before I went on this call, because I didn't with the investor because I didn't know what to expect. And one person was like, Well, you know, you know, maybe you shouldn't tell him this. Or maybe you shouldn't tell him that. And I was like, I have a podcast, like everything about this company is like, public knowledge. And I know there's risks inherent in that, right. But I really think the benefit I have seen, especially as a social person has greatly greatly outshined the risks associated with that.

Michele Hansen  19:40  
I mean, I would say the same for writing the book too, like it never would have gotten to be a book had I not done the newsletter and been getting feedback and encouragement and comments and stories from people in that very early stage and even just now like literally just before we were recording, I was on a call with someone Whose company is in earnest capital, and they're starting to do their first customer interviews and they wanted some feedback on the scripts that they had made based on the ones and deploy empathy my book. And it was so like, it was so exciting talking to them about it. And and yeah. And then we ended up having this really great conversation about using customer interviews as a way to basically like fuel content generation, and SEO, which is basically is our marketing tactic. But yeah, I think being open about about it can be really, really inspiring in a way that like we, like, you know, we got feedback from people when we launched your codea. But they were like developer friends of ours. Like it wasn't, like, during that whole developing phase, like we actually really didn't we didn't kind of have this like community element, but I think I mean, I feel like we both definitely have now but for very different different reasons.

Colleen Schnettler  21:06  
Yeah. Speaking of the book, yeah, it's July How's it going? Um,

Michele Hansen  21:16  
um, so, so I finalized the copy like, two weeks ago, which was was just really good moment. Like I actually like I genuinely have not touched the copy in about two weeks. And but had some like really good progress on it, like I ended up sort of at the last minute getting to interview a product manager at stripe, about their customer research process. And so I like to include a ton of examples in the book from stripe, which was pretty awesome because their their process or how you might see it in a team because different teams might run it differently. was so validating because like they, they also very much take this sort of customer first perspective and have from the very beginning like the calls and brothers were doing support in the very beginning. And that's just continued throughout the company, and I think really explains why they're such a fantastic company to work with. But so I was able to include a ton of different examples from stripe in the book, but then I had to get it approved by stripe coms before it was published. Interesting. Yes, like that took some time. I mean, it's totally worth it. Like that took some time. And then I basically took a week off. And then now I've just kind of been working on the cover getting some reviews. Um, and then but I think the cover is basically done at this point. And now I just need to like upload the whole thing to Amazon and get a proof copy. And then after we do the proof copy, then we'll open it up. Wow, that's an aside, I think I don't think we talked about this, I did decide to do a private podcast as a presale for the audio book.

Colleen Schnettler  23:14  
No, we didn't talk about this. Um,

Michele Hansen  23:16  
yeah, I'm kind of I'm kind of excited about that. Um, I love podcasting, As you have noticed. Um, and again like the the idea of sitting down to record an entire audio book feels like slightly overwhelming but doing it as a podcast where I release a couple of chapters per week and there's a small group of people who are following along and you know, can give feedback or encouragement or whatnot is kind of exciting to me it is summer so that sort of makes it hard to get that like truly quiet time to record. And I don't have like I want to have a booth eventually. But and when we were eventually able to build a headquarters but we don't have shed said headquarters at the moment so apparently I can surround my desk and pillows. I was gonna try that out for a future episode and is everybody

Colleen Schnettler  24:13  
knows acoustic wall things too.

Michele Hansen  24:15  
Yeah, there are there's also like some like cage thing you can get for a microphone to help with it. But because mine is on a boom and not like mounted on the desk. It doesn't work as well, apparently. So I might do the pillow for it approach really like NPR reporters will do if they're in a hotel room. And yeah, but yeah, so I'm going to do a private podcast and I decided to give everyone who has done the presale By the way, like so far access to that private podcast as well. Okay, so yeah, so So everyone who has done the presale of the the PDF, ebook copy of the book, they get that and then all of the notion and Google Drive templates and then also the private podcast which you know, well costing more if you buy it after the pre sale closes, so I guess we help people when that ends.

Colleen Schnettler  25:06  
Yeah. Can you explain that I didn't follow. I didn't follow the pricing structure for that. So if you buy the book now on pre sale, yeah, you will get access to the private podcast.

Michele Hansen  25:16  
Well, so you I mean, you get the PDF of the book, or or, you know, there's other ebook versions. There's also actually an online version, too. It's not really written for that. But there Yeah, there's an online version as well. And then there's, there's Google Drive and notion templates, basically, to make it easy to like, copy the script and then, and then make your own version of it based on that. And then also give them access to the private podcast. That will be basically the presale of the audio book. So eventually, that will all all of those podcasts will get wrapped up into an audio book.

Colleen Schnettler  25:57  
Got it. Cool.

Michele Hansen  25:59  
Yeah, I think I guess I might do like a separate presale for that once this main presale ends. Like I feel like such an imposter using all these words, because like we don't do any of this was a little bit like, yeah, this

Colleen Schnettler  26:15  
isn't really my wheelhouse.

Michele Hansen  26:16  
But I yeah, I Oh, yeah, I

Colleen Schnettler  26:18  
buy. I often buy physical books and audio books. So I you know, I would buy things like April dumpers book, I have a physical copy. And I have the audio book. I do that a lot with a lot of books. And

Michele Hansen  26:32  
so what is the physical book do for you? Well, like how would you use them differently?

Colleen Schnettler  26:37  
I'm on Team physical book. Like, I always I hate I mean, I don't want to use hate. That's a strong word. I don't like books, I have to read on a tablet or on the computer. I want physical books. But I switched between them, which is a little weird. But like with with obviously awesome. I bought I bought the book, I started the book. And then I had the road trip. So I was like, Oh, well, I'll just listen to the rest of the book. And then I have both and it makes me happy. So you can like reference the physical book, write that for me, especially for business books for me. I've done the reverse to especially for your book, like I would probably be someone who would listen to your book, and then buy it. Because I like physical books for reference. But I like podcasts and audiobooks for what I'm trying to do other things.

Michele Hansen  27:27  
Sort of building the like general base of the knowledge and then once you know that, there's like something specific that was interesting, then you can go find it in the book.

Colleen Schnettler  27:37  
Exactly, exactly. So yeah, I do that frequently. I don't

Michele Hansen  27:41  
listen to audiobooks myself, because I find that I don't retain information as well. And I only read books on Kindle, if it's a book that I would never want to reference. So it's been like, it's been really interesting for me. Actually, when I when I interviewed the 30 odd early readers, this was one of the questions I asked them was like, so how does it like what did those two different things do for you, like walk me through the context when we when you would use them?

Colleen Schnettler  28:12  
Yeah. And of course you did. Good for you. So meta.

Michele Hansen  28:19  

Colleen Schnettler  28:20  
I did. I did try to use your customer interview techniques on the guy who was inquiring about my company? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I was just trying to kind of understand where he was coming from. So I think I did relatively well,

Michele Hansen  28:33  
Chris Voss and never split the difference talks about using empathy as a negotiation tactic. Like I referenced his book a ton in my book, because, you know, fundamentally, you want to understand where someone is coming from and why. So you understand, like, what, like, what they're trying to do. Yeah. And especially with an investor calls, like, you know, sometimes it could be someone who genuinely wants to invest in you, but like, you never know, if they're doing, you know, their own research for a company that they've already invested in, or they're doing right due diligence on a company they might invest in, and they're trying to talk to all the competitors, and get some sort of inside information. And so I mean, as you said, you, you didn't say anything that you hadn't already said in the podcast, which I think is really smart. And to get it, it's Oh, it's just smart to get them talking as much as possible and say, as little yourself as you can, even if this, you know, could end up being a hugely beneficial thing. And they could, you know, you could be totally aligned on interests like, but my I mean, my first step in any sort of negotiation, which this would be or is at this point, is to get them to talk as much as possible.

Colleen Schnettler  29:48  
Yeah, okay. Can we play one game before we get off this podcast? Sure. Let's say I want to sell my company someday for $3 million because Okay, I want to house in California. Okay, ridiculous. What? And I know, there's like a million things that go into valuation. But spitball? What kind of revenue? Do you need to even be in that ballpark?

Michele Hansen  30:15  
So it really depends, right? Like, I think the general multiples I've seen, which, you know, I like I'm not an expert in this at all. So I think I run into times revenue. There's probably somebody listening out there who actually like knows these numbers better than I do. But I think one and a half, two times revenue is pretty annual, maybe maybe up to an annual revenue of two times maybe for a small SAS like this. I did not plan to talk about that today. So I probably would have looked at those numbers first. But, um, but I think that's about the range. And no more than 5x, probably, annual revenue, and it really matters whether this is a like, is this a person who is acquiring the company to run it themselves? Is it a company that has a portfolio of small classes that they're running together? Or is it a strategic acquire, ie someone who is consolidating their market share, a strategic acquire will pay much more than the other two types of buyers? God?

Colleen Schnettler  31:27  
Okay, we'll talk in a couple years. My revenues ever $1.5 million, then you can advise me on that.

Michele Hansen  31:38  
Actually, you should just really hire somebody who advises people, right? If I can help you with negotiation strategies, but like, you know, SAS, you know, m&a is not my whole area of expertise. hire somebody who knows what they're doing.

Colleen Schnettler  31:55  
All right. I'll check back in five years. We'll see. See him there.

Michele Hansen  32:00  
Oh, it's been good chatting with you again.

Colleen Schnettler  32:02  
Oh, so good to be back.

Michele Hansen  32:04  
I missed this. I did, too. Alrighty. Well, I'll talk to you next week. All right.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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