A Bootstrapped SaaS
Journey to $10K MRR

Bannerbear has hit $10K MRR — these are the decisions / pivots that got me here

I'm Jon Yongfook the founder of Bannerbear.
$10K MRR is considered something of a SaaS Bootstrapping milestone so I thought I should document how I got here.

This is not a secret formula / growth hack, it is just a personal account of growing a startup. I hope this is useful if you're bootstrapping a SaaS!

January 2019 ~ August 2019

Figuring Things Out

$0 MRR


After leaving my job I spent almost a year burning through my savings as I attempted the 12 startups in 12 months challenge


I launched 7 startups but earned no direct revenue — none of them had a revenue model... which probably didn't help


One thing it was good for though, it helped me discover areas of tech that I was interested in exploring further i

Links from this period

Tweets from this period

Closing Thoughts

  • 🚢 Learning to ship consistently is a good muscle to exercise
  • 💎 I was able to ship fast because I used tech that I knew well rather than fancy new tech
  • 🔥 I had 2 years of savings but only got serious after burning 1 year of it

September 2019 ~ December 2019


$400 MRR


Juggling multiple startups wasn't working so I focused on one area that interested me — image generation


The new product was called Previewmojo and generated open graph-size images based on a narrow selection of templates


The response was still a bit lukewarm, but I had some sense of a North Star I wanted to reach, so I kept going i

Closing Thoughts

  • 👨🏻 Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.
  • 💰 Pricing is indeed HARD
  • 🆙 Charge More ™

January 2020 ~ February 2020


$472 MRR


I rebranded to Bannerbear and redesigned the marketing site — although the app itself stayed largely the same


The rebrand helped to drive some traffic and renewed interest but this ultimately did not translate to many sales


I decided the product was aimed at too small a market — sometimes niching down is good, but not if you are too niche to be useful i

Closing Thoughts

  • 🤏 The advice "Niche Down" means niche down your target market
  • 😓 It doesn't mean niche down the pain point you solve

March 2020 ~ April 2020

API Launch

$488 MRR


I decided to go all-in on Bannerbear as an API product and launched a new template editor and a REST API

This opened up many new use cases, but meant that Bannerbear was aimed at a different target user than before i


At the same time, I decided to pull out of the Shopify app store as I was not getting traction there i

Closing Thoughts

  • 💖 I started to really enjoy work from this point
  • 🧭 It was clear now that I could achieve something similar to my North Star vision i
  • 😎 I didn't have a grand marketing strategy, but "here are cool things you can do with my API" would suffice for now

May 2020 ~ October 2020

Getting into a Rhythm

$6109 MRR


Over the next 6 months I divided my time into 50% coding and 50% marketing, shipping many new features and integrations


I would do one week of code, then spend the following week tweeting / blog posting about what I shipped — then repeat i


I use a kanban system to manage my user stories and assign story points — this helps keep my output consistent

Closing Thoughts

  • 💪 Find out what works for you then do more of it
  • 📝 In my case, I found that the more documentation I wrote the more conversions I got

November 2020 ~ January 2021

Positioning Change

$10,455 MRR


Inspired by Jobs to be Done I repositioned Bannerbear around 2 jobs that it performs: automating / scaling your marketing i


These represent two different users: one uses Zapier to set up automations, the other uses the API for high volume integrations


The keywords Automate and Scale are everywhere on the marketing site, the pricing plans, the categorisation of tutorials etc

Closing Thoughts

  • 🎯 Knowing your target market is good, knowing your target's Job to Be Done is better i
  • 💬 Jobs to Be Done is only something you understand after talking to users
  • 🔥 Upgrade your user, not your product i

I hope that was useful!

I tweet about bootstrapping my startup @yongfook