📂 The First $1k MRR (& Beyond): Transistor

Today's newsletter is proudly supported by 42/Agency 🙌

When you're in scale-up mode and you have KPIs to hit... the pressure is on to deliver demos and signups. And it's a lot to handle: multi-channel strategy, remarketing, landing pages, email sequences, revenue ops, conversion rate optimization.

42/Agency, founded by my friend Kamil Rextin, has worked with companies like Sprout Social, Klue, Qwilr, Uptick, Onfleet, and many more to help them with all things demand generation. They're always my top agency recommendation for specializing in SaaS demand gen. Go read some spicy takes on freemium, "inbound marketing", and category creation and then schedule a free consultation.


This is The First $1k MRR (& Beyond), a series about how founders got traction for their startups, told by the founders themselves.

Product: Transistor.fm

Website: https://transistor.fm/?via=justin

Founder(s): Jon Buda and Justin Jackson

Launched: February of 2018

Current MRR range: $100k – $1M

What does Transistor.fm do?

Transistor is a podcast hosting and analytics platform. Customers record their audio and then upload it to Transistor. Wel help them distribute their podcasts to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.


We’re passionate about helping people start their first podcast, as well as helping existing podcasters save money (they can start unlimited podcasts on our plan).

How did you get the first $1k MRR for Transistor.fm?

Our first customer was Cards Against Humanity, where Jon worked.

After that, I started reaching to people (individually) whom I knew. Many of them already had a podcast, or I knew had talked about starting one.

We also had a waiting list that people were signing up for:

We gradually opened up “early access” spots to folks on that list which allowed them to get a special price (as we built up our features).

How have you scaled Transistor.fm beyond $1k MRR?

Once we reached $1k MRR, the next big jump occurred when we stopped being in “early access” and launched officially August 1, 2018:

I often describe our traction milestones this way:

https://justinjackson.ca/saas-trials

We really started to get traction (increasing trials every month), when our actions in these domains reached a tipping point:

  • SEO: targeting keywords like “podcast hosting” “private podcast” “free podcast intro music”.
  • Affiliates: partnering with sites who were ranking for certain keywords, and offering them ongoing keywords.
  • Brand/reputation: folks hearing about our story, word of mouth, earning a reputation for being good at customer service.

How does your SEO strategy work?

For SEO, I'll often identify things I might have looked for when I was starting my podcasts (back in 2012). For example, I remember searching for thingslike "free podcast intro music," and "how to upload podcast to apple podcast." So I'll write pieces of content that answer those questions.

Another source of content has been networking and connecting with other creators. For example, I noticed an influencer on Instagram talking about her podcast script template. I asked her if she'd be interested in sharing it on our blog and she said yes. That became another piece of content we ranked for.

How did you attract affiliates?

I'd seen affiliates really do well for Nathan Barry at ConvertKit.

So, I started reaching out to folks I knew were in that group.

At the time, Matt Giovanisci was building a tool for affiliates. I went on his podcast (Money Lab) and mentioned our affiliate program. We got 2 of our first high-value affiliates through that.

High-volume affiliates definitely seek out generous affiliate programs (especially for web hosting, email marketing, CRM). For example, Adam Enfroy was one of our early affiliates. You can see the kinds of tools he recommends here: https://www.adamenfroy.com/

How much of your personal network and audience do you think affected the first $1k and beyond?

For the first $1k, it was definitely mostly our personal networks. This included bigger audiences like my Twitter followers and my newsletter, but also smaller groups (like people we’d worked with in the past).

But, I'm not sure how significant that first $1k MRR was (in the big picture).

It was definitely a nice boost and encouragement to have friends and acquaintances sign up. But it wasn't helpful in the sense that what got us to $1k wasn't repeatable or scalable for getting us to $10k, $100k, etc.

p.s. do you want 2023 to be your best year of growth yet? Let's make that ARR chart go up and to the right. Check out the Swipe Files membership →

Thanks again to our featured sponsors:

  1. Agorapulse: “The Zappos of social media management platforms” helps you plan, schedule, and report on your social presence.
  2. Ahrefs: Ahrefs Webmaster Tools is a free SEO toolset to help you build backlinks, improve your site, and rank for keywords.
  3. The Juice: “Spotify for marketing & sales content” to discover blogs, podcasts, and videos to help you grow your business.
  4. 42/Agency: My #1 recommended demand generation agency for SaaS to help you drive demos and signups.
  5. Supermetrics: Get all your marketing data into your reporting tool of choice. Push data from 70+ integrations into Google Data Studio, Sheets, and more.

0 of 5
You're just 5 referrals away from unlocking 50% Off
Next Reward
50% Off
Share with 5 friends and become a Swipe Files member for just $150 (normally $299) or get 50% off your next year if you're already a member.
Unlocked Rewards
50% Off
Free Year
Free for Life

Older messages

📂 The First $1k MRR (& Beyond): NutritioApp

Saturday, November 12, 2022

​ ​ ​ Today's newsletter is proudly supported by The Juice 🙌 ​ You're gonna love this... The Juice is essentially Spotify for marketing & sales content. If you're anything like me and

📂 The First $1k MRR (& Beyond): Outseta

Thursday, November 10, 2022

​ ​ ​ Today's newsletter is proudly supported by Agorapulse 🙌 ​ You can tell a lot about a company based on its customer support practices. Zappos is famous for going to extremes for its customers,

📂 The First $1k MRR (& Beyond): Cartfuel

Sunday, November 6, 2022

​ ​ ​ Today's newsletter is proudly supported by Ahrefs 🙌 ​ Ever since going through Blogging For Business, I've been a massive fan. In fact, they're one of the companies I feature in

📂 The hidden power of Zero Search Volume keywords for SaaS startups

Thursday, November 3, 2022

​ ​ ​ Today's newsletter is proudly supported by The Juice 🙌 ​ You're gonna love this... The Juice is essentially Spotify for marketing & sales content. If you're anything like me and

📂 Marketing has a data problem. Here's how you can fix it.

Monday, October 31, 2022

​ ​ ​ Today's newsletter is proudly supported by Supermetrics 🙌 ​ What if I told you there was a way to get back days of work every month? Robust reporting requires an insane amount of integrations

Why some tech CEOs are rooting for Musk

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

They're skeptical of their workers, too. PLUS: New details on Musk's 'general amnesty' for banned Twitter users ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Don’t “build an audience”

Monday, November 28, 2022

Do *this*instead [time sensitive ⏰] ‌ ‌ ‌ Hey there, tl;dr We've partnered with Katelyn Bourgoin to launch Un-ignorable 👀— a new group challenge that'll help you drive sales by creating thumb-

The Uniswap Token Launch : Tokens as CAC Part II

Monday, November 28, 2022

Tomasz Tunguz Venture Capitalist If you were forwarded this newsletter, and you'd like to receive it in the future, subscribe here.​ ​The Uniswap Token Launch : Tokens as CAC Part II ​ Airdrops may

how we selected the digi health 150

Monday, November 28, 2022

our analysts walk you through the process CB Insights Join us on December 8, 2022 @ 4 PM ET! The Future of Digital Health Join us for the unveiling of the DH 150 SAVE MY SPOT Hi there, The Digital

Real-Time Streaming Insights to Know Your Software, Product & User

Monday, November 28, 2022

Sponsored Are you trying to better understand your User Behavior, Software Performance and your Product's Feature Usage? With Qualetics, you will get to know everything about your Software, Users,

🦄 Scoop: Solutions for hybrid teams

Monday, November 28, 2022

Scoop offers a set of products meant to improve the hybrid work experience. Some of these include Team Sync, which allows team members to easily see and share their location plans with each other;

Today's Digest: Share your product

Monday, November 28, 2022

Your Indie Hackers community digest for November 28th ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

- Cyber Monday is here!

Monday, November 28, 2022

New courses included for free. Hi , The response to our Black Friday Sale was absolutely insane. But we also had many of you write in and say you were on holiday, missed the deal, or didn't know

Silicon Valley Funding News - Week of November 28, 2022. Happy Thanksgiving 2022

Monday, November 28, 2022

View this email in your browser In celebration of Thanksgiving, Silicon Valley took a break this past week from all venture activities. I wish you a festive holiday season, filled with love, joy,

Why Product Adoption is Key to a Recession-Proof SaaS

Monday, November 28, 2022

Weekly Curated content from GrowthHackers Community GrowthHackers Newsletter JUST TODAY! CYBER MONDAY at Growth University 30% OFF on selected courses This is your chance to take a new growth,