This Successful Bootstrapped SaaS Founder Decided to Build Her App Herself

Building a great product is important to grow a SaaS startup into a valuable company. But it is figuroutable once you have deep knowledge of a big problem someone will pay you to solve.

A customer you care about with a big problem AND
a proven desire to pay to solve it AND
your deep knowledge to really solve this problem…

gives you the best chance of creating a valuable company,
regardless of how many lines of code or time you spend building a product.

Sometimes you’re the customer with the pain and the knowledge with no available solutions to solve it. Or the existing solutions are awful.

This was the frustrating starting point for accidental SaaS founder Stephanie Betters, the founder and CEO of Left Main REI.

Stephanie was a Nurse Practitioner in the heart surgery operating rooms on call all weekend. This was her first calling.

During the week, she and her husband ran their successful residential real estate investing (REI) company in Charlotte, North Carolina, with a team, big marketing budgets, and proven systems to buy, fix, and sell hundreds of houses a year.

They had taken years of deliberate effort to work out their business processes. Then the CRM software they used went down for a week. Everything stopped.

So Stephanie acted quickly to work with Salesforce to find someone to create a new solution just for their business.

As Stephanie described this painful moment on the Practical Founders Podcast this week:

“On the 8th call, I was NOT expecting to get a quote of $100,000 for the initial build and six-month build time—just to create a login. And then they’ll go into phase two after that. It basically blew my mind.

“So I was just like, how hard can this be? I’ll just do it myself.”

“I spent the next three months teaching myself Salesforce coding and flows and process builders and all this stuff, to learn how to build on the platform.”

“And I built and launched it in three months. And it made an immediate impact on our real estate investment company.”

When her real estate investor friends saw her results, they wanted to buy it, so she sold it to a few friends. Then she talked about it on the big REI podcast and sold over 100 customers in their first year–while she was still coding the whole app!

Now it’s a fast-growing and profitable $3M ARR SaaS business with hundreds of customers–and the support of Salesforce. And she is no longer an active nurse.

This is the podcast episode I’ll send to new SaaS entrepreneurs who tell me they need to raise outside funding so they can quit their jobs to start a software company. Or they don’t have the right background or technical skills.

Building a great product and a great business is possible–without outside funding–when you are fanatic enough to figure it out.

Listen to Stephanie’s amazing story on the podcast here on the Practical Founders Podcast.


Get the weekly Practical Founders email and podcast update.

Share Practical Founders


Win the Startup Game Without VC Funding

Learn how all 75 founders on the Practical Founders Podcast created an average founder equity value of $50 million.