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Building Swwwift – Part 1

Okay, where do I start? I guess a good place to begin would be to introduce myself!

I’m Ryan Grist, founder of Swwwift. I’ll just give you a little background on me and then I’ll get set on telling you Part 1 of my Swwwift journey.

My background

Back in 1996, at the age of 16, I started out as a graphic designer apprentice and soon progressed to working for a global advertising agency at age 19. From 23 I went freelance and at 30, after seven enjoyable years of freelancing, launched my own digital agency– Angle Studios.

I have twin boys, who help me stay grounded and busy – as does my wife Vicky!

Why I am writing about my journey?

In the hope I can pass on all my experiences of building Swwwift to future SaaS entrepreneurs who are trying to break-through.

I want to save you time, money and making the same mistakes I made – I’d also love to inspire some new entrepreneurs that have written off their idea and given up.

I am going to start with Part One, but there is plenty to come so stay tuned!

  • Part 1 – Where the idea came from
  • Part 2 – Deliver a solution for minimal work. Great idea, but we got it wrong!
  • Part 3 – The light-bulb moment and preparing for Beta launch…

Where it all started…

Let’s rewind to 2016, I was overhearing enquiries within the agency being told their budgets were too low and suggested they worked with local freelancers. No business owner likes to turn away business, I wanted to explore ways in which we could offer services to accommodate these budgets.

My first steps to working with low budget clients of Angle was giving them the option of a monthly charge with a set-up fee.

We immediately called a team meeting to discuss the new solution. We came up with the name Angle Affordable – in hindsight it wasn’t the best! We started to look at designs and our marketing guy looked into the competition – but really only for what we should charge.

We started planning…

As with everything we do, it was time to headover to to plan our tasks and milestones. After the planning we realised we had made a mistake, we hadn’t given ourselves the right about of time for the project. We didn’t follow our Angle processes.

Running before we walk

This led us up the garden path a little. We had carried out research to look at pricing, but we didn’t really discuss the brand or what it stood for and why we were different – a schoolboy error! We were excited by the thought of being able to help clients with lower budgets and receive income that we would never have had by not offering the service.

We thought we could offer this service to any business that calls us up with a lower budget. How we were wrong!

Why did we think it would be suitable for any business?

With Angle we have always worked with any type of business, so we thought we could offer monthly payments to any low-budget clients that would like a website – I wanted to help everyone and spread my net far and wide! Monthly payments and subscription models are now an everyday occurrence with the likes of Sky, Netflix, car leasing, PC leasing and mobile phones we thought websites could follow suit.

So, what was Angle Affordable?

So do you notice the ‘was’ in the subheading? Angle Affordable was the first edition of what now is Swwwift.

The plan was to allow the user to choose from a list of website designs, select the addons they wanted and we would build the site to spec. We simply saw it as a way to scoop up clients that would otherwise move on.

The customer would sign up to a GoCardless direct debit as well as paying a setup fee and happy days. We would look to build on these.

Get the balloons out! After months of work, we launched Angle Affordable. But it was hardly a SaaS product. It was simply a way to get clients to tell you what they were looking for.

Here’s how it looked.

Bingo! We had enquiries through our main agency and those we thought would suit Angle Affordable were directed that way.

Then it went wrong…

Look out for Part 2 to find out what we did next. So the idea was good, but we got it wrong! 

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