Book & Materials A system to help you build and launch a web application with less pain and fewer mistakes.

You’d like to build a web app but aren’t sure where to start. For every question you have, there’s two more you don’t even know to ask. You could really use a trail guide for SaaS that could help you make informed decisions.

Don’t waste days making the same mistakes I did. Instead, spend an afternoon absorbing my decade of experience as a sole founder so you can avoid the mistakes I made the hard way.

Read the entire second edition for free right here. No strings attached. Or, if Twitter is more your speed, you can follow along on Twitter too.

Starting & Sustaining is a system to help you with the logistics and operations of building, launching, and sustaining your own web application so you can save time and avoid the countless mistakes that I made.

It is currently a work-in-progress, but I'm working on it in the open. Many of the chapters are rough drafts or only outlines rather than precisely finished and polished thoughts. These will regularly be updated, but it's important to me to share them in their rough form for both feedback and early access for those who could use the information now.

Please enjoy, and don't hesitate to reach out with feedback and suggestions if you have them.


Photo of Garrett Garrett

Just started a SaaS company or are considering it? This new book from @garrettdimon is loaded with practical advice. Dave Greiner Cofounder of Campaign Monitor

Book Progress

This progress meter tracks the writing and editing of the book. The writing, editing, and proofreading wrapped up in December 2017. The audiobook editing is underway, and things should be available June 2018. You can follow along on Twitter for detailed updates.

100% Complete

  1. Foreword
  2. Preface
  3. Introduction
  4. Balance fear and hope
  5. Plan for a paycut
  6. Don't quit your day job
  7. Be cautious with projections
  8. Get money
  9. Get paperwork out of the way
  10. Focus and execute
  11. Build something yesterday
  12. Use tools that speed you up
  13. Assemble a team with care
  14. Defend your productivity
  15. Embrace learning
  16. Build vs. buy
  17. Plan for icebergs
  18. Choose vendors wisely
  19. Embrace smallness
  20. Ignore the competition
  21. Remember it's a business
  22. Develop empathy for customers
  23. Be cautious with transparency
  24. Focus on purposeful quality
  25. Design for iteration
  26. Payment is the best validation
  27. Consider the big picture of development
  28. Right-size your architecture
  29. Spend time talking to customers
  30. Make it easy to test drive
  31. Invest in helping new customers
  32. Carefully consider payment options
  33. Pricing can change everything
  34. Plan for failed payments
  35. Make security a priority
  36. Establish working backups
  37. Integrate email seamlessly
  38. Ease into analytics
  39. Monitoring is the new cofounder
  40. Be strategic about integrations and APIs
  41. Don't neglect sales
  42. Build anticipation
  43. Nail your private beta
  44. Launch way too early
  45. Launch day is overrated
  46. Maintain momentum
  47. Handle feedback with care
  48. Roll with criticism
  49. Keep customers informed
  50. Bring it all back to customer success
  51. Fight through plateaus
  52. Be ready for fraud and spam
  53. Keep chargebacks in context
  54. Create a prioritization framework
  55. Prevent churn before it happens
  56. Listen carefully to cancellations
  57. Be honest and graceful when things go wrong
  58. Outsource your weaknesses
  59. Make changes with confidence and empathy
  60. Understand marketing and advertising
  61. Strategically maximize automation
  62. Make time for maintenance
  63. Refactor first, rebuild as a last resort
  64. Always be preparing to exit
  65. Be certain that selling is the right option
  66. Know what buyers want
  67. Understand your business valuation
  68. Understand the process of selling
  69. Consider talking to a broker
  70. Understand deal structures
  71. Acknowledgements
For those looking to get into SaaS applications: Starting and Sustaining by Garrett is a must read. Nathan Barry Founder of ConvertKit


Is it right for me?
It's hard to know, but the good news is that you can read any or all of the chapters right here on the site to see what you think. The short answer is that if you're intersted in starting a SaaS business, and even if you're already a few years in, it's probably right down your alley. It's not overly technical, and it is platform agnostic. Whether you're a designer, developer, or playing another role in starting or running a software business, Starting and Sustaining will help you understand the big picture and side-step countless mistakes that I made. Chances are pretty good that you'll already be familiar with some of the topics covered in the book, but with seventy chapters, there's a good chance much of it will cover new ground for you.
Is it a technical book?
No. While it does address several technical topics at a high-level, Starting & Sustaining puts together a holistic view of building and running a SaaS business. It's about building a team, supporting and marketing a product, considerations for payments and billing, customer support, and much more.
What topics does it cover?
The short version is that it covers all of the topics of building, launching, running, supporting, and even selling a SaaS business. For more detail you can browse the table of contents. Of course, the full book is available on the web for free as well. So you can always skim some chapters before buying the whole book.
When will it be ready?
I'm aiming to have it finished sometime around the middle of 2018. What originally started as an update to the first edition has evolved into a much more ambitious project that's more akin to an overhaul than an update.
How much will it cost?
Honestly, I'm not quite sure yet, but there will probably be a variety of packages available at different prices. The full content of the book will always be available online for free so that it's available to anyone regardless of ability to pay for it. If, however, you're interested in the full package but can't afford it, you can always pay via postcard. Just shoot me an email, I give you the address, and you can pay by simply sending me a postcard. Once I get it, I'll email you the package at no charge.

An illustration of the checklist, book, and spreadsheet.

Launching June 2018 Kindle, iBooks, PDF, Audiobook, Worksheet, Playbook/Launch Checklist, and more.

This is the first book I’ve ever eagerly awaited, and I was blown away by a draft Garrett sent me. Buy this right now. Brennan Dunn Founder of RightMessage