I first came across Nathan years ago when I stumbled upon his book, Authority, and I’ve been following his story since.
He launched ConvertKit in early 2013 as a challenge to build a web app from 0 to $5k MRR in 6 months and diversify away from his less stable income from his self-published books. 6 months later and ConvertKit was at $2k MRR so Nathan shifted his focus back to his other products.
A year later, Nathan had a conversation with Hiten Shah who told him he should either shut down the app or double down on it, but not to continue in the middle like he had been.
While it wasn’t an easy decision, Nathan doubled down on ConvertKit, putting $50,000 of his own savings into it and giving it a full-time effort.
Since then, ConvertKit has grown significantly. At the time this was published, in early September 2019, ConvertKit had $1.5 million in monthly recurring revenue, giving it an ARR of over $18 million. And the company is bootstrapped and profitable. Very profitable.
While the business is insanely valuable, Nathan doesn’t have plans to sell and is truly enjoying the ride along the way. This is an easier decision to make when you remove a few couple zeros from the ARR, but when your business is worth over $100 million dollars, I don’t think many of us would have the same conviction.
For Nathan, that conviction comes from building a business where he truly loves what he’s doing, the people he is doing it with, and the people he is doing it for.
Building a business like that is no easy task, which is a massive understatement, but in our chat we peel back the layers and really get into how he made this work.
This is not a tale of overnight success. It’s a story of building the business of your dreams and overcoming the obstacles along the way that are constantly trying to pull you off course.
Whatever your goals are as an entrepreneur, Nathan is somebody we can all learn from, and I know you’ll get a lot out of this interview.
- Background leading up to today
- What is ConvertKit and what does the business look like today?
- How would you describe your current role?
- Founder’s lessons
- “It’s possible with a smaller team than most people think”
- “Share the profits”
- What has changed about you since launching your business?
- “Rapid Fire” question
- Where can listeners go to learn more?
- Tomasz Tunguz (Investor)
- Mike McDerment (CEO of FreshBooks)
- From losing money to a 51% profit margin in 5 months
- Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up by Jerry Colonna
- How we make decisions at Coinbase