Rob Walling – How to Validate Your Idea and Launch to $7k in Recurring Revenue (Microconf 2014)

Speaker: Rob Walling (@robwalling)

Rob Walling shares his experience in validating the market and launching Drip to 7k/mo in recurring revenues in the first month.

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How to approach idea validation

  • You can scratch your own itch (this is what Rob did) but you need to make sure that other people have the same problem (and are willing to pay for it)
  • Market first approach
  • Start with the problem that you have but it may not work if people are not willing to pay for it.
  • Send an email to people (Rob mailed 17 people) asking if they would pay 99$/month for it. Be very upfront about price
  • 11 people were committed to buy
  • You are gathering qualitative data at this stage


  • Start with problems
  • Niche down and solve for a specific niche
  • Describe the value you will provide
  • Name a price (very important)
  • Hold your idea loosely

Building your list

  • Built a list of 3200 emails
  • You need to be able to find people now but also have a reliable way to find people in the future
  • Start from your inner circle, the expand to the network of friends and colleagues. Then use press, facebook ads and the power by link in Drip
  • Having influencers using your product early can be quite a good deal
  • Once you have a decent list, you can send them a survey with a list of fixed questions to get quantitative data as well

Slow launch (part 1)

  • Pick the right early customers, people that is easy to work with and that is not to be disappointed if I don’t build the feature they want
  • You are becoming a developer to hire
  • Move as fast as you can but don’t rush to take the people on.
  • Start working with Ruben Gamez who provided excellent feedback.
  • Move people in one at the time and fix what’s not working


  • Pick the right early customers
  • Pick early customers with similar needs
  • Go high-touch
  • Name your price up front
  • But don’t charge until they get real value


  • You need to find the minimum path for someone to the awesome experience (MPA).
  • For Drip, they need to 1) embed the code, 2) create a course
  • Creating the email course is the hardest part so he offered a concierge service
  • In trial emails, first mention the value before asking them to start the trial
  • Make sure onboarding is working properly


  • Determine your app’s MPA
  • Guide new users through it
  • Do it again via email
  • Offer to do it for them (“concierge”)

Slow launch (part 2)

  • The hard work was already done before emailing the entire list
  • Wait until onboarding is working
  • Divide your list into cohorts
  • Launch emails sequence with a time-limited discount
  • Wait length of trial
  • Repeat it for the next list segment

Read notes of all the other talks in the Microconf 2014 Hub page.

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