In May 2012, Chad Boyd was sitting with his family on a church pew, observing the offering plate as it was being passed around the congregation. He couldn’t help but notice a slew of hand-written checks and paper money being pulled out of the attendees’ pockets, wondering to himself why donating had yet to go digital. Considering non-profits run on donations, why hadn’t they adapted to the technological age they were living in?
Another Sunday morning rolled around, and Boyd was still perplexed by the half-full offering plate despite the maxed-out church attendance. He continued to ponder the disconnect in his mind, seeing immense potential to partner his passion for giving and his love for programming.
“They were passing around the offering bucket like they always had and were filling it with paper money and paper checks. I thought to myself how old school this was,” Boyd said. “This is the digital age, and I am a programmer. I know how to create software for people to do this digitally.”
Boyd laid the idea out to one of his friends who managed technology at his church: if he were to create software that allowed people to give from their phones, would the church use it? His friend agreed under the condition that he integrate the church’s management software. Boyd was happy to abide by this request.
From there, Boyd spent the next month developing the coding for what would become Txt2Give.
Boyd had a background in SaaS, and with 20+ years of experience, he had little trouble implementing the idea of Txt2Give and creating the software. And within a few days of completing it, Boyd’s local church signed on as his first customer.
The response was overwhelming. The church saw a 46% increase in digital giving.
Creating the tool and helping his own church was easy. The maintenance? That proved more challenging.
From the onset, Boyd had the idea to begin selling Txt2Give to other churches, so he built a website to market it. Through that site, he found his first 10 customers organically. Eventually, he grew to market his software on Facebook.
Just as his marketing approach began small, so too did his staff. Boyd was Txt2Give’s only employee. Boyd did all the customer service, sales outreach and demos in the beginning. His wife took on customer service when it became too much for him to handle. He knew he liked helping people but at the end of the day he missed the days of being an introvert with his mind in the coding space.
Boyd realized he was shouldering too much of the load and that the customer service responsibilities were too great. He knew he had to outsource. He first transferred customer service responsibilities to a boutique firm and then hired an in-house customer service agent. His first employee ended up becoming Boyd’s sounding board for collaborative ideas, and together they developed the company’s pricing plans.
Txt2Give continued to slowly grow in staff and exceed expectations in revenue. It also helped thousands of non-profits raise over$1.5 billion in donations.
However, Boyd’s passion for the tool began to fade. He soon realized that Txt2Give would be more successful in someone else’s hands.
“It got to a point where it was not interesting anymore. I was burnt out. And I was ready to move on to something else,” Boyd said. “Txt2Give had run its course with me, and it had gotten to the point where I needed to grow the team or sell completely.”
After unsuccessful attempts at selling Txt2Give himself, Boyd reached out to M&A firm FE International, where he was able to find a buyer who will continue to grow Txt2Give. (Interested in learning more about his exit process? Check out that story on the FE International blog.)
After his exit, Boyd decided to take his career in a totally different direction. He opened a brick-and-mortar store for Overlanding using an off-roading vehicle to stay off the grid for extended period to camp in remote parts of the world. He said the closest he is now to the online world is managing his Shopify store.
“It’s a different niche, but I find that I use many of the same business skills that I used and learned in growing Txt2Give,” Boyd said. “And I certainly plan to see the same success in terms of growth.”
We virtually sat down with Chad Boyd and asked him what advice he would give to anyone in the various stages of founding and owning a SaaS business. Here are his recommendations for anyone looking to:
Start a SaaS business
Entrepreneurs tend to be overly optimistic. My advice would be this: take your expectations of what you think it will take you to start a SaaS business and double it. It has never been my experience that I was always spot on with the amount of money and time it would take for a venture. There will always be roadblocks and you will always run into setbacks. Don’t let them stop you, use them as fuel for the fire.
Grow a SaaS business
Hire a team early. I wish I would have hired a team earlier on in the process. My biggest mistake was trying to take on the weight of the entire company without delegating any tasks. This is something I see often in entrepreneurial ventures: the entrepreneur is so set on controlling every aspect of their business that they burn out quicker than they can grow their business. Make a list of every task required for your business and do a self-assessment to figure out what you are good at on a scale of 1-10. Whatever you rank 7 or higher on, stick with those tasks. If you scale a 6 or below, delegate the tasks to someone else on your team. Trust me, learn this early on.
Divest of a SaaS business
It is imperative that you figure out your why. Why are you exiting? Is it for retirement purposes? Is it for financial purposes? Make sure you figure that out. Then do your self-assessment of your company, and don’t sell if the results of that assessment don’t meet your goals. You want to make sure that this decision is in your best interest. In my case, I also asked myself if this was in the best interest of my family. FE International held my hand every step of the way. Their seasoned team helped me achieve my end goals. Choosing them for my exit was a no-brainer.
Work in the SaaS industry
It is so important that you follow your passion. Let that be what leads you. This does not just pertain to SaaS business owners. This applies to content business owners and e-commerce business owners as well. I knew it would be life-giving for me to create software that would help my church and other non-profits raise funds. I found a hole in the market and knew that I could use my expertise to create something that could make a difference. I wanted to make it easy and affordable for anyone to give to any cause that they believed in. This was made possible first because of my passion. The potential for burnout is greater if your work isn’t meaningful to you. If you end up losing the excitement you had for your product, it doesn’t mean you are a failure. It just means it is time to pivot. That was the first indicator for me that it was time to exit Txt2Give and move on to my next venture.