Bootstrapping Tiiny Host to $6K MRR in 33 Months by Philip Baretto

Philip Baretto is the founder of Tiiny Host - The simplest way to share your work online
 

Tell us about your product and what inspired you to start it?

Tiiny.Host is the simplest way to host and share your work online. It’s perfect for marketing, prototyping, demos, testing, learning to code, small web apps, and many more use cases. 
 
One day, I had a shower thought: “why is it so difficult to host content online today?”. With the modern-day cloud, it’s very easy to do so - if you know how. I previously had a lot of experience with web hosting and so decided to make "hosting" accessible to more people.
 

How long did it take you to acquire your first 50 customers, and what was your growth strategy?

It took approximately 18 months to acquire my first 50 customers. There were two main delays to this milestone.
 
Firstly, I launched Tiiny Host without paid features or even a way for users to pay. I just wanted to see what people would use it for and gave myself a strict deadline of 1 month to build and launch the initial version. Paid features were only added 3 months later after user feedback where I learned what people would actually pay for.
 
Secondly, our first payment processor kicked us off their platform and refunded our first 10 customers (probably the hardest to gain). There were one too many attempts to subscribe with fraudulent cards.
 
Ultimately after coming these hurdles I realized that SEO was the best growth strategy for the tool. I created content that targeted specific keywords and published it. It took Google at least 6 months for them to start ranking the content which is when we started experiencing organic sign ups.
 
 

Which technology stack are you using and what challenges and limitations does it pose?

I built the tech stack with two main goals in mind. Firstly, to be cheap and inexpensive to run to maximize profit margins. Secondly, to use my existing skillset in order to build quickly.
 
We're hosted completely on Amazon Web Services with JavaScript (ReactJS & NodeJS). JavaScript is normally criticized for not being the most performant language, particularly for your backend however we've hosted over 100,000 sites using this simple stack without any issues. It has more potential than people give it credit.
 
Because we are completely hosted on AWS we are susceptible to "vendor lock-in". Meaning if AWS chose to no longer support us, or increase their prices beyond what we can afford, it could dramatically affect the business. However, we could build our platform to be "cloud agnostic" in the future, but that' s not a problem to worry about during our early growth stage.
 
 

What are some of the most essential tools that you use for your business?

Ahrefs - My goto tool for SEO research. It's expensive, but if I had to get rid of all my tools, this would be last to go. It's been the key to successfully marketing Tiiny Host.
 
Crisp.Chat - Founders have mixed feelings about live chat tools, it's not for every product. However, I've managed to convince many customers on the fence to sign up via it. It also allows me to offer a personable customer experience - not possible from large competitors.
 
 

What have been some of the biggest insights you've gained since starting your entrepreneurial journey?

Marketing is the most important part of an entrepreneurial journey. In simpler words, how can you tell the right people about your product in the most cost effective way? It can make or break your business and important to figure this out as soon as possible.
 
You don't need to reinvent the wheel to build a successful business. You can take an existing, outdated business, modernize it and turn it into a shiny new profitable business. It's much easier this way. Your market is already validated.
 
 
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