Gaining Early Customers and Hiring Help with Natalie Luneva

How do you get your first customers, and when should you hire help? Natalie Luneva, who runs her own coaching and consulting business, joins us to discuss these issues.
How do you get your first customers, and when should you hire help? Natalie Luneva joins us, who runs her own coaching and consulting business for software as a service (SaaS) startups. She talks about how she got started helping small businesses and offers insights into finding initial customers, the importance of joining communities, and the pros and cons of developing technologies that rely on other, larger businesses.

In the second half of the show, Natalie talks about hiring help, whether by contracting or full-time employment. She discusses how time can easily be wasted on menial tasks that can be outsourced and the associated opportunity costs. She ends the show talking about the need to find a good product-market fit.

We want to thank Cyber City Circuits for sponsoring this episode! Cyber City Circuits is an electronics shop and contract manufacturer based in Augusta, GA. Use the coupon code HELLOBLINKSHOW to receive 10% off your order of electronics or mention that you heard about them on the Hello Blink Show for a 25% discount on the assembly costs of manufacturing.

One Powerful Quotation
41:23 - Natalie: "You only grow when you are stretched. If you are not stretched, you never grow.”

Key Topics
  • 1:15 - Harris asks Natalie about her experiences and how she helps SaaS teams grow, specifically with a focus on marketing over sales. Natalie talks about how she helps clients achieve growth by tackling “low-hanging fruit” issues in marketing and content.
  • 3:45 - Shawn asks Natalie to give some tips on how new founders can increase traffic. Natalie responds by stating that a focus on getting initial sales is likely more important than inbound marketing content. Specifically, she says to join and engage with relevant communities (forums, chat rooms, social media, etc. that focus on your market area).
  • 7:00 - Natalie talks about how to find and join communities with relevant audiences.
  • 8:00 - Harris asks Natalie about how to create content (specifically, podcasts) that gets shared. Natalie shares her strategy of building relationships on her podcast with peers rather than focusing on potential customers.
  • 10:00 - Shawn relates by talking about how partnering to create content can be used to provide business referrals rather than making new customers.
  • 11:30 - Natalie talks about how a single viewpoint from a successful SaaS founder might be narrow-sighted, as what worked for them might not work for others.
  • 12:30 - Harris asks Natalie about using integrations as partners. 
  • 17:15 - Shawn asks Natalie about creating a company or service tied to a larger company or product (e.g. creating a plugin for Salesforce or an add-on board for Arduino). Natalie recommends creating a plugin or suite of plugins that work across multiple platforms so all your eggs are not in one basket.
  • 21:00 - Natalie talks about focusing on one integration initially to learn what works before moving on to support other platforms.
  • 23:00 - Shawn asks Natalie to tell her story about getting involved in coaching and consulting with SaaS founders.
  • 26:45 - Harris asks Natalie what consulting looks like for her. Natalie talks about how she must combine different efforts to help coach her clients as well as apply good business practices. Specifically, she starts by examining metrics and finding the “low-hanging fruit” issues that will give the greatest return on investment (ROI).
  • 31:30 - Shawn recommends the book “E-Myth Revisited” when it comes to hiring help. Natalie agrees and talks about the learning curve of managing people. 
  • 34:45 - Natalie offers advice on hiring someone full time and figuring out which tasks can be outsourced to an employee.
  • 37:15 - Harris talks about why he hasn’t outsourced any tasks yet, and Natalie mentions that the opportunity cost can hinder potential growth. Even if hiring and managing people is scary and uncomfortable, you must stretch yourself in order to grow.
  • 42:45 - Shawn mentions the hidden costs of context switching between tasks and why it’s important to maximize time in the “genius zone.”
  • 44:15 - Natalie adds that the “genius zone” also needs to correspond to the highest paying task in order to maximize profits and potential to scale.
  • 46:45 - Shawn and Natalie discuss blocking time, especially as it relates to engineering and software development.
  • 48:30 - Natalie talks about the importance of identifying and understanding the problem potential customers have before building a product rather than the mindset trap of “if you build it, they will come.”
  • 52:00 - Natalie shares her contact information.
  • 52:45 - Shout out segment: Matt Bradshaw talks about his first product, the DrumKid drum machine, and thanks Shawn for his KiCad tutorials.
List of Resources
Guest Information
Natalie Luneva is a growth and team performance coach to SaaS founders. She is on a mission to help SaaS companies scale, clarify business priorities, and grow high performance teams. Drawing from her 10+ years of leading marketing teams, she helped over 100 companies implement high ROI opportunities, scale their operations, clarify business priorities and grow high performance teams.
Guest Contact Information
Host Contact Information
License Information
“Hello Blink Show” by Kenny Consulting Group, LLC and Skal Risa, LLC is licensed under CC BY 4.0
Intro and outro song is “Routine” by Amine Maxwell is licensed under CC BY 3.0

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© Skal Risa, LLC and Kenny Consulting Group, LLC | Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY)