Arvid is a software engineer turned entrepreneur. He co-founded, ran, and sold The EdTech SaaS FeedbackPanda after bootstrapping the company for just two years. In 2019, he launched The Bootstrapped Founder.
The Bootstrapped Founder
The first earnings he made from the blog was $1.67 after publishing The 5 Books That Helped Build and Sell a Bootstrapped SaaS in Under Two Years.
Series: The Emotional Journey of a Bootstrapped Founder
Founder mental health is an often-neglected facet of the bootstrapped journey. In this series, Arvid shares the methods that helped him manage his mental health while managing the difficult emotions associated with building a business.
Arvid has provided steady updates at Indie Hackers whenever he hit milestones when growing his newsletter. He got 20 subscribers within 2 days after it launched.
He reached 100 subscribers after posting an article on Hacker News; although previous articles didn’t get any traction. He continued to post regular updates about newsletter subscribers; celebrating 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800 and 900 subscribers. Within 4 months, he had reached 1000 subscribers.
By March, 2021, he had reached 4000 subscribers.
Zero To Sold
Promoting the book
He launched a physical version of the book in June, 2020. Within 24 hours, he had sold 347 copies and was #1 on both Amazon and Product Hunt. He sold over 1000 copies in the 7 Days after launch, earning over $8,500. Blog visits and newsletter signups also skyrocketed. He reported over 700 new subscribers to the list in one week, which was almost 50% growth.
He shared more about his journey at How I Self-Published Zero to Sold, a Bestselling Book on Bootstrapping. He then shared that post on Hacker News, getting a bump in traffic.
- Within 2 months, he had sold over 2000 copies. He broken down the stats more in this Twitter post.
- Week 6 Sales Report. He breaks the figures down more in a Twitter thread.
- Month Three Sales Report
- By early December, he had sold over 3200 copies.
- 90 days leading up to December 18. At that point, India was his third biggest audience.
- By January 29, he had sold over 3600 copies. 20% of those were paperback.
- In January, 2021, he sold 300 copies of the book on Amazon.
- Amazon sales for the first half of February
- Sales for February, 2021
- On March 29, he sold 156 copies on Amazon.
- Sales update for March 2021
- He sold over 880 books in April, 2021.
Writing The book In Public
Arvid announced that he was writing the book in a post at Indie Hackers. He also shared a planned list of topics he wanted to talk about in the book. He shared more about why he was writing the book at Bootstrapped Founder #48 Newsletter. At that point, he had planned to call it Audience First. He got 800 visits to the books homepage within 24 hours of announcing it.
He finished the first draft of the book in early February, 2021. He had decided to change the name to Embedded Entrepreneur. He shared the ‘why’ in this Twitter thread. Days later, he finished the first editing draft of the manuscript.
He had 110 alpha readers within 4 days of sharing the project.
He sent out advance review copies mid May. He shared the statistics in this tweet.
The Launch Tweet
Arvid officially launched the book with a tweet on May 19. He shared the full story in a Twitter thread.
The thread went viral. Within 12 hours, the tweet had almost 300.000 impressions. Within 24 hours, it had 421,651 impressions. The video had over 40.000 plays. Hours later, he had over half a million impressions. By May 25, it had crossed 600k impressions.
The tweet itself only led to one new follower, although he reported having 800 new followers after the launch.
Arvid provided regular sales updates during the launch.
After one hour, he had made 45 book sales. 2 hours later, he had made 61 sales on Gumroad and 25 on Amazon. He crossed 120 sales 4 hours after launch. After 6 hours, he had sold 150 copies. By hour 8, he was at 211-250 units sold.
After 12 hours, he sold 263 copies. 162 were sold on Gumroad and 101 on Amazon. After 24 hours, he had sold 188 books Gumroad and 130 on Amazon. At that point, the book had started to rank on bestseller lists.
After 48 hours, he had sold 383 copies. (175 from Amazon and 208 from Gumroad.)
Launching on Product Hunt
Arvid launched The Embedded Entrepreneur on Product Hunt on May 26. Within 5 minutes, it was #1 Product Of The Day.
After 6 hours, he had 371 upvotes, 164 comments and 25 reviews.
The book sales were much better the day after the launch. He attributed this to the Product Hunt newsletter
The Embedded Entrepreneur briefly ranked #24 in the entrepreneurship category on Amazon. The E-Myth was #25.
He emailed the people who had previously bought Zero to Sold on Gumroad announcing the launch of The Embedded Entrepreneur. 50% opened and less than 1% unsubscribed.
The FeedbackPanda Journey
While teaching English online to students in China, Arvid and his partner realized that there was a need for a tool for teachers to keep up with the increasing volume of students and cut down unpaid work time. They created Feedback Panda in response to their own need. Arvid shared more about the experience at From Founding to Exit in Two Years: The FeedbackPanda Story.
He shared about the emotions you go through after selling a business at The Grief and Loss of Selling a Business.
PermanentLink redirects your readers to working sites, so you can stay the authority in your niche.
Why did Arvid Create PermanentLink?
Arvid created this SaaS tool for authors to solve a problem he was experiencing.
On the official website, he said
For my book Zero to Sold, links started failing within two weeks of release. Amazon flagged the book, and I scrambled to update the links. It took days for Amazon to check and validate my changes. Then, right after that, more links failed, and I removed all links from the book.
He spoke about the behind-the-scenes process on his podcast episode about Limiting Beliefs.
It is built with the same tech stack as Feedback Panda.
How are people using it?
In December, 2020, PermanentLink identified a broken link in Zero to Sold, Arvids own book.
In May, 2021, Arvid posted that PermanentLink had redirected over 25.000 links from author’s books.
How does Arvid use Twitter?
- Why unused features clutter the user interface of your product – and can be bad for your business
- How running a bootstrapped company can take a toll on your mental health
- How you can help your tribe or community
- A book isn’t written in one go, it’s a whole process. Here is how Arvid approaches writing
- How fixing bugs can be a brand building exercise
- Learning to code with no CS degree and making $55k a month at No CS Degree
- From Zero to $55k MRR to Exit (in 2 Years) with Feedback Panda at Startups For the Rest of Us Podcast
- RS209: $0 to $55K MRR in 2 Years, Then an Exit with Arvid Kahl and Danielle Simpson at RogueStartups
- Balancing the Grind With Arvid Kahl, Founder of FeedbackPanda & Blogger at The Bootstrapped Founder at Balance The Grind
- Finding Validation with Arvid Kahl of FeedbackPanda at Product Journey
- Vital Learnings from Bootstrapping and Selling a $55k a Month Business with Arvid Kahl of FeedbackPanda at Indie Hackers
- Bootstrapping a SaaS from Zero to $55K MRR in 2 Years – with Arvid Kahl  at The SaaS Podcast
- Growing a SaaS from Zero To Sold with Arvid Kahl at Makerlog Stories. Arvid tells his journey & lessons selling startups & writing a hit book, Zero to Sold.
- From launch to successful exit in less than two years with bootstrapped startup expert Arvid Kahl at Stun and Awe
- Creator Spotlight: Arvid Kahl’s Success on Gumroad at Gumroad Creator Spotlight
- Over $8,400 in 1 Week from His First Book at Writer on the side