Screenjar started out as a tiny, simple tool I built because I liked the idea and thought it would be fun to make. I was procrastinating while attempting to build something completely different.
It got more interest than most of my products after I Tweeted about it, so I continued to spend time on it. The fact it was quite unique while being super simple is likely what caught people's attention.
Two customers signed up soon after launching on Product Hunt, but that momentum quickly slowed. Screenjar is a super niche tool that no one was searching for, so I didn't have any solid plans about how to reach more customers.
I tried cold emailing, getting involved in some customer service communities, blogging, ads, and a few other things. Some marketing attempts "worked" in the sense that they drove traffic to the site, but hardly anyone was singing up for a trial, let alone becoming a paying customer.
I also felt like the way Screenjar was positioned wasn't resonating with most customer service people I spoke with about it. I was asking "mom test" type questions and the responses led me to believe that Screenjar wouldn't be solving a high priority problem for most people in customer support.
I decided to shift my focus to other products while letting Screenjar chug along. The handful of customers using it were happy and new people would discover it occasionally.
A few months later I returned to Screenjar with some fresh energy. I was ready to try grow it again. My plan was to get it in front of more potential customers through integration marketplaces. I started with a Help Scout integration.
While doing this, I started thinking about selling Screenjar. I still had my doubts about the product, but almost every founder I spoke with seemed to be convinced that there was something there. I figured it might be worth trying to sell to someone who sees more potential.
Tiny SaaS products are selling for high multiples, so there's no better time to try. A relatively new marketplace called MicroAcquire seemed like an ideal place to test the waters. Listing Screenjar didn't take long and was completely free.
As soon as the listing went live, requests for more information started coming in. There were ~20 interested buyers after only a day and more kept coming in. When I listed Screenjar, I wasn't sure I wanted to sell, but at this point I was convinced.
I wasn't looking to maximise the sale value. I wanted a fair price from a serious buyer who would treat the existing customers well and would be happy with a quick sale.
I accepted an offer a couple of days after listing. The buyers made a fair offer and were experienced with this type of thing.
The payments were split into chunks based on various milestones. E.g. 20% when the domain is transferred, 20% after a code walkthrough, etc.
The full transfer process took a couple of weeks and went fairly smoothly. My one learning is that new projects on Digital Ocean should be set up on new team accounts. It's much easier to transfer to a new owner that way. The same applies to any service linked to a product (Payment processing, Hosting, etc). Where possible, set it up under a separate account/team/project.
It's been a few weeks since the sale and I'm still happy with the result. Screenjar was fun to work on and launching it led to some great conversations with people that would otherwise have been hard to reach. I'm pretty sure the new owners will do much better with it than I would have.
The sale has also given me more confidence to launch more tiny SaaS products. If they don't work out as planned, it's nice to know that selling could be a fairly painless option.
June 17, 2021