Eelco Bootstrapped SaaS UI to $8K in 6 Months

Eelco Wiersma is the founder of Saas UI - a React component library and starterkit that helps you build intuitive SaaS products with speed.

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

I've built a lot of B2B apps in my career with many different frameworks and always wanted to use this experience to help other developers and founders build better products. After exiting my last successful SaaS, I decided it was time to make this reality and started with Saas UI.
 

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

It got the first paying customers just a week after going public, which validated the idea for me and it took me another 6 months to get to 50 paying customers.
 
My strategy is to build on open source and leverage other popular frameworks that I love working with to promote my tools. I launched a beta version of my open source component library and a basic website with an early access form and pricing tables that link to my Gumroad page before my product was ready to test the waters and started sharing the progress on Twitter (#buildinpublic). Which got me to where I am right now. 
 
Other channels that I've used, but not extensively yet are Reddit, Indiehackers and Betalist.
 
Marketing / growth doesn't come very natural for me, but I'm really happy with the result. I've reached my ramen profitability goal of €2500,- in August with more than €3000,- revenue so far.
 

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

Saas UI is built on top of Chakra UI, I haven't had any real challenges with it. Chakra is really a great library to work with and it's an excellent design system to build custom components and apps with.
 
Saas UI also uses other tools like React Hook Form to manage form state which is a pleasure to work with.
 
Other tech that I'm using the in Saas UI Pro are Next.js, React Query, Zustand, Mock Service Workers. The starter kit is frontend only and not opinionated about backend, which means less complexity for me to deal with as well.
 

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

Getting paid is the most important thing and Gumroad really handles this very well, including license keys and I don't have to worry about collecting taxes, etc.
 
Discord is a big part of my setup as well, I have a private community for support and feedback, but I also use it to receive notifications about new sales, license redeems, etc.
 
I'm using Linear for project management, which really sets a new started for modern software and is a big inspiration for Saas UI as well.
 

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

I started building my own SaaS products about 10 years ago and it has been a real rollercoaster and massive life challenge. Some of the most important learnings are;
 
- Patience. It's super important to have patience and not give up too early. We see a lot of 'overnight' success stories or products that have enormous growth in a short time, but the fact is most businesses need at least 5 years to become profitable. I believe this applies to startups and indie founders as well. Don't expect to be a unicorn and know that slow and steady growth builds a solid foundation and comes with a lot of other perks as well, like less stress about scaling.
 
- Ignore competitors. I always worried (and others shared this opinion as well) that well funded competitors would compete us out of the market. While in practise this never happened and in fact was more confirmation we were onto something. This doesn't mean you should just copy something in an already saturated market. Besides that small/medium sized companies really value being able to be in direct contact with founders, which is an unfair advantage.
 
The lean startup
Company of one
 

What other products are you working on?

It's not live yet, but my twitter handle suggests this already, I'm working on saas-js.dev which will be a fullstack toolkit for building modern SaaS products.