Hello ! Who are you and what are you working on?
Hi! My name is Dennis, I am 29 years old, live in The Netherlands where I am a voluntary firefighter and freelance application developer.
Currently I am full time working on Ploi, a server management tool.
What motivated you to get started with? How did you come up with the idea?
I am someone who loves to try out new tools, I think I’ve seen so much panels (Plesk, DirectAdmin, cPanel, VestaCP and much more) that I might have tried them all.
Sadly, fact was that I was never satisfied with any of these.
Developing in PHP is what I love to do, I use Laravel all the time and I’m a big fan.
So trying to find a way to easily deploy my Laravel apps for my customers was not that easy, I was getting tired of all the manual terminal work I had to do.
I started thinking; “What if I combine everything that I need, in just 1 tool?”
Can you tell us the story of your business from idea to where you are now?
There was not really a business idea, I just started developing the tool I needed myself. These days they call it "scratching your own itch, and sell that". Which worked good in my case.
What has been your biggest failure or struggle?
Getting the server installations nailed properly, it has to be done in a specific and strict order to make the experience as fluent as possible.
And what has been your biggest achievement or success?
We've recently partnered with DigitalOcean which I call a huge success, we are very proud of this achievement. Besides that we actually have a few other established partnerships like UpCloud & Hetzner.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
I am someone that tries to follow his own path and not gets distracted by how others do it. I have decided to be as transparent as I can and want to be with Ploi. For example we offer an open roadmap to everyone so they know whats coming. Also we have a great discord community where our users are and talk about servers, tech & programming.
Describe the process of launching the business.
I miserably failed at this one. The moment I released ploi I was completely unexperienced with 'launching properly'. I just openend registrations and started going around asking people to try out my tool. It was a bust.
Did you use Betalist or PH or other Startup Launching Platform for Launching ? How was that experience ?
Yes, we used BetaList, PH & several other lists. I am not too sure what the results from Betalist are, but we've failed the first PH launch. Only got 8 upvotes and thats it.
Then we rebranded half 2019 and I decided to try again, this time with success, nearly 200 upvotes :)
What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?
I am currently not really busy with trying to get my revenue grow more and more, sounds like im a money wolf. Currently I focus more on the experience of managing your server properly.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome? What are your goals for the future?
Our goals is to process as much from the roadmap as we can, we've got Jetbrains Spaces support coming up, whitelabel and we are also working on the wildcard support for LetsEncrypt.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Doing good, future looks good too. We're working on several other SaaS's as well that should be a group of products from 1 company.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Learning to deal with unsatisfied customers, learned how MRR/ARR works, learned about proper keyword research & analytics.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We use the following tools:
- PhpStorm for development
- GIT Tower client
- TablePlus client
- UpVoty Roadmap
- Crisp chat software
- Mollie payment service provider
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I've recently read the ebook SaaS growth tactics by Mike Slaats from UpVoty, very awesome read!
What’s your advice for fellow aspiring entrepreneur who are just starting out?
Don't force your growth, it will seriously drive you nuts. Give it time and work on making your product the best, think more about that rather than your revenue the first 2/3 years. Then you can safely say you have built a solid product to sell and generate revenue.