When you were gaining initial traction ($0-2M ARR), what did the day to day progress feel like, and in what timeframe did you get there?

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JASON LEMKIN

To me, the second time as a founder, it felt brutally slow.

In my first start-up, which was different, I sold $6m in product myself in Year 1. I sort of expected to repeat that.

So with EchoSign, we modeled going from $0m to $2m ARR in 12 months. In 2006. That was insane, and made no sense. The model did tie, but the inputs, looking back, were crazy. I just didn’t know that then.

In my mind, it took way too long to get one new customer a week, and then one per day. It took months to get one new customer a day, it felt glacial. And the clock was ticking. The money was running out. We’d never hit that $2m ARR in Year 1, it soon became clear.

In the end, what I learned was that if the founding team is super committed, and your customers are happy, and you are growing … it’s not that important how long it takes you to go from $0m to $1.5m or so in ARR. What’s far more important is how quickly you grow after that. How quickly you scale. Not how quickly you get the thing off the ground. That almost always takes longer than you planned, or at least, goes far differently than planned.

If we’d stressed a little less about the timeframe to $1.5m-$2m in ARR, and obsessed more about making our first 100 customers happy, we would have had a much better journey, with far fewer casualties along the way.

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Published on July 18, 2016
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