Challenges of Micro SaaS

Although there are many benefits of Micro SaaS, this business model is not without its unique drawbacks which you need to be mindful of when starting out 🤔

Here are some of the main challenges or drawbacks of Micro SaaS you’ll want to be aware of:

  • Reliance On Systems & Platforms
  • Personal Motivation Dependent
  • Endless Customer Support
  • Copycat Micro SaaS apps

Let’s jump into the details on each of these challenges and find out how best to mitigate them.

#1 - Reliance On Systems & Platforms

If your Micro SaaS app has a heavy reliance on other systems/platforms (and their popularity/success), then you need to take this into consideration when evaluating your app idea.

For example, if you’re building a plugin for JIRA, then the success of your plugin will be intrinsically linked to that of the host ecosystem. If JIRA loses popularity, you’re going to be swimming against the tide trying to increase your plugin’s customer base whilst the total addressable market size is shrinking.

Similarly, if you do develop a great plugin, there’s always a chance that the host ecosystem might just make that functionality part of its core offering to attract more users, thus eliminating the need for your plugin overnight!

This is exactly what happened to an Abandoned Cart plugin on Shopify when Shopify decided that they wanted to make Abandoned Cart notifications a core feature of the platform 😲

This must be one of the most frustrating challenges of Micro SaaS via plugins, you can literally watch the value of your plugin disappear due to the host platform adding your core feature natively.

#2 - The Buck Stops With You

When you are a full time employee, you simply have to turn up to get paid. If you spend the afternoon checking out some new javascript frameworks it’s probably not going to be a big deal.

However, when it’s just you, if you spend an afternoon distracted by new technologies or news/social media then you’re not going to have moved the needle in the right direction at all.

That said, you’ll find that your mindset will have shifted from “getting through the day”, to maximising what you can achieve in every minute of every day. This is because your app is your baby and you will want to nurture it and grow it into a successful and sustainable app.

Finally, there’s no manager to escalate issues to. You have to formulate the strategy, make the tough calls and carry out the implementation.

You'll want to bring in your A-game every day if you want to make this a success sooner rather than later.

#3 - The Hamster Wheel Of Support

To minimise customer churn, you’re going to need to stay on top of customer support. If you don’t respond to them in a timely manner, they’ll be less inclined to share their positive experiences of the app in reviews and to other potential users in that niche.

Even worse, if they can’t get your app up and running you can bet they’re going to be cancelling their subscription and asking for a refund too.

My advice would be to do all the support yourself in the early days and try to get the users on a call/screenshare rather than going back and forth over several days via support ticket.

Luckily, this challenge of Micro SaaS is one that you can prevent by taking action.

I recommend having a helpdesk ticketing solution to keep track of requests. Also, where appropriate, jumping on a call with your users will save you both a tonne of time rather than going back and forth over email/tickets over the course of several days.

Plus, it’s a great opportunity to ask the users for their honest feedback on the app and to hit them up for any feature requests/ideas they might have. D
irect feedback from your users is invaluable.

Eventually, you’ll invest your time into building a knowledgebase and you can also train up a support team to handle most queries. That said, be sure to make the most of the opportunity to directly connect with your users in the early days.

#4 - Potential for Copycats

If people within your niche see your app gaining popularity, they may look into launching a competing product. In certain cases, they blatantly rip off the features of your app and sprinkle some UI changes on to make it appear different.

To minimize copycats and their effects you’ll want to ensure any client side code is obfuscated and try to perform as much of the app’s magic server side where possible. In some cases, this just isn’t possible and you have to go into it with your eyes wide open.

The best way to combat copycats is to offer the best in class customer experience, listen to user feedback, implement feature requests and continue to innovate and introduce new features to keep your app’s offering more appealing than any potential competitors.

In case you landed on this page directly from a search engine, then you’re reading chapter 1 of my 12 part guide to Micro SaaS.

Download the entire 12 chapter guide as a PDF eBook for free so you can read it where you want, when you want.

Final Thoughts

While there are a great deal of personal and professional benefits to the Micro SaaS business model, you shouldn’t ignore the challenges either.

In the trying moments, try and remember why you’re following this path. Take a second to remember all the benefits of developing Micro SaaS apps. After all, it’s not all doom and gloom!

Alright, enough negativity already … Let’s look at how to get started with Micro SaaS, the first step being how to find a great target niche for your Micro SaaS app

About the Author

Hi, my name is Rick and I help unfulfilled software developers quit their 9-5 jobs, with minimal risk by creating their own cash-flowing Micro SaaS businesses.

I have been on the journey myself, starting as a nobody; finding a niche; establishing credibility; building up multiple Micro SaaS apps to the point that I could quit my (well paid) Technical Director job and work on my apps full time.

I then scaled the apps up and eventually sold and exited them for a life changing amount of money. You can read my full story on my about page.

I am passionate about sharing the knowledge I’ve gained from this journey … welcome to my site 👋

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