Episode 123: Rand Fishkin – Unconventional Growth Hacks: Beyond the VC Bubble

Are you tired of the same old fish in the sea of the SaaS world? Well, get ready to dive into a fresh catch of insights in this latest episode of SaaS Fuel as Jeff Mains chats with the legendary Rand Fishkin, the co-founder and CEO of SparkToro and the author of Lost and Founder Book. 

Rand shares his insights on building a successful SaaS business and the importance of designing a company around what you choose not to do. From debunking the growth-at-all-costs mentality to democratizing data and market research, Rand serves up a feast of wisdom that will leave you hungry for more.

So, grab your surfboard of innovation, take our insights, and ride the SaaS wave to success. 🌊

Key Takeaways

[00:01:34] – Seattle's Pike Place Fish Market

[00:08:33] – Starting Moz and SparkToro

[00:12:08] – Chasing the billion-dollar unicorn

[00:15:14] – Funding SparkToro differently

[00:19:10] – Fundraising without venture capital

[00:26:44] – Profitability and sustainability in business

[00:30:06] – Cheating in late-stage capitalism

[00:33:21] – Chill work and building a business

[00:36:46] – Choosing what not to do

[00:41:10] – Marketing made easy

[00:45:21] – Attribution is a marketing myth

[00:48:09] – Outdated marketing measurement

[00:52:03] – Giving money directly to people

[00:56:03] – Lost and Founder book recommendation

Tweetable Quotes

“Make your story as compelling as grandma's secret recipe.” – 00:04:54 Jeff Mains

“All those great companies die because they are trying to chase the billion-dollar unicorn.” – 00:12:26 Rand Fishkin

“Like life must be about more than how do I make sure that my investors get the most money back from a sale?” – 00:20:26 Rand Fishkin

“My suspicion is if we talk again in a year, I'm gonna be able to tell you that that was one of the best things we ever did.” – 00:25:10 Rand Fishkin

00:39:38 – “And where disaster happens is when you spread yourself thin and try to be good at everything.” – 00:39:38 Rand Fishkin

“The platforms want the attribution for themselves and their paid channels, and then they don't want to give it for anything else.” – 00:50:20 Jeff Mains

“It sounds counterintuitive to like American culture, but think smaller, niche down, do less.” – 00:39:59 Rand Fishkin

SaaS Leadership Lessons

  1. Define your values. Clearly articulate the values and mission of your company. Understand why you exist and what impact you want to make in the world. This clarity will guide your decision-making process.
  2. Prioritize profitability. Build a business model that focuses on profitability and sustainability. Avoid the pressure to chase rapid growth at all costs. Instead, aim to create a profitable and scalable business that serves your customers and employees well.
  3. Democratize access. Identify ways to make your product or service accessible to a broader audience. Consider how you can bring high-quality solutions to smaller businesses or individuals who may not have the resources to access them otherwise.
  4. Choose what not to do. Avoid spreading yourself too thin by trying to be good at everything. Instead, specialize in what you do best and focus on delivering exceptional value in that area. This will allow you to excel and differentiate yourself from competitors.
  5. Embrace a chill work culture. Foster a work environment that prioritizes work-life balance, employee well-being, and personal growth. Design your company to support a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle for both yourself and your team.

Guest Resources

Rand Fishkin (Linkedin): https://www.linkedin.com/in/randfishkin

Rand Fishkin (Twitter/X): https://twitter.com/randfish

Rand Fishkin (Mastodon): https://mastodon.social/@randfish

SparkToro (Website): https://sparktoro.com/

SparkToro (Twitter/X):https://twitter.com/SparkToro

Moz (Website): https://moz.com/

Resources Mentioned

SparkToro (Website): https://sparktoro.com/

Moz (Website): https://moz.com/

Amanda Natividad: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amandanat/

Casey Henry: https://www.linkedin.com/in/caseyhen

Geraldine DeRuiter: https://www.linkedin.com/in/geraldinederuiter/

GiveDirectly: https://www.givedirectly.org/

Tableau: https://www.tableau.com/

Pike Place Market: https://www.pikeplacemarket.org/

Fish!: https://www.amazon.com/Fish-Remarkable-Morale-Improve-Results/dp/0340819804

Lost and Founder book: https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Founder-Painfully-Honest-Startup/dp/0735213321

Rob Walling: https://robwalling.com/

MicroConf: https://microconf.com/

TinySeed: https://tinyseed.com/

TechCrunch: https://techcrunch.com/

Chrome: https://www.google.com/chrome/

Safari: https://www.apple.com/safari/

Firefox: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/

Apple: https://www.apple.com/

Episode Sponsor

If you could use a little . . . on your SaaS journey from fellow B2B SaaS founders check out today’s sponsor Champion Leadership Group.  The ultimate resource for SaaS founders and C-suite executives to continue to develop themselves, scale their companies, and never walk alone on the journey. Supercharge revenue by leveraging our time-tested SaaS growth principles, toolkits, playbooks, and frameworks designed to help you scale ARR from 7 to 8 and 9 figures. Collaborate with an elite network of SaaS visionaries as we uplevel ourselves and our teams, and have some fun along the way. Confidently take that right next step, that turns into a quantum leap of profitable growth, premium valuation, and freedom.

Small Fish, Big Pond – https://smallfishbigpond.com/ Use the promo code ‘SaaSFuel’

Champion Leadership Group – https://championleadership.com/

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