Selling my startup - one year on

It’s been a little over a year since I sold Saber, my SaaS website feedback tool. I was Saber’s founder, creator, and only employee. It was hard to let my baby go. But was it the right decision?

Yes, yes it was.

Before selling I definitely had some fears and concerns:

What will they do to my baby?

This was my biggest concern about selling in general. Luckily this fear was mostly put to rest before I’d even signed anything. From speaking to Steve (Saber’s new owner) before agreeing to sell I was happy with his plans and confident he would stick to them.

I’m happy to report my confidence was well deserved. Here we are 14 months later and externally Saber has barely changed at all. Steve and his team have given the home page a much needed refresh and fixed some issues behind the scenes, however most of his effort has been rightfully focused in marketing.

I’ve heard many stories of small SaaS tools like Saber being bought, bled dry, and then shut down. I wouldn’t have sold to anyone who I thought might do that and I’m happy to report my initial impression of Steve was spot on. I don’t think I could have found anyone better to buy Saber.

Will I miss the freedom?

This one is little more tricky - I do miss the freedom over my time. However I’d already been working full time for FreeAgent for a few months before I sold Saber, so that ship had already sailed. From the ages of 22 to 34 I was almost entirely working for myself, setting my own hours with total freedom. Having lived that way for so long it’s a challenge to stick to someone else’s arbitrary schedule.

I’ve recently moved on from FreeAgent, I now work full time for Krystal. FreeAgent was a great place to work and I’d recommend it to anyone, however Krystal is more suited to me. I’ll be working four days a week at Krystal, which will give me some more free time.

There’s another aspect to freedom - financial freedom - and that’s been awesome. The combination of selling Saber and working for a company with a good salary has given my family a level of financial freedom we’d never previously known. We’ve been able to very quickly save a deposit to buy our first house and live comfortably on my salary alone.

There’s a balance to be struck and I’ve been feeling that side project itch lately, but for now being a full time engineer is what’s right for me. I’ve no doubt that at some point in the future I’ll be taking all the lessons I learned from Saber and applying them to a new project.

Will I miss working on Saber?

This wasn’t so much of a fear for me. Having spent 8 years working on Saber I was pretty bored of that one code base. I built it all from scratch and knew it inside out. Working for FreeAgent and then Krystal meant throwing myself into their unfamiliar codebases. I’ve learned so much more than I would have working on Saber.

After the sale I continued working on Saber as a freelancer for a few hours a month. That’s come to an end now and I can honestly say I don’t miss it.

I do miss some of the non-coding aspects. At FreeAgent I was a back-end engineer only. At first I thought that was great, but over time I found I missed being a full-stack guy and learning many disciplines. It’s one of the reasons I decided to change jobs. With Krystal I’m still primarily a Rails engineer, but it’s much more of a full-stack role.

In summary

Overall selling Saber has been a positive experience and something I’m very glad I did. It was never my plan to build a business up to sell, but I have no regrets.

This will be my last post on the subject of Saber. I know the majority of my readers originally found this blog through the side project to profitable startup series, but it’s time to move on. I don’t want to be that guy who constantly writes about the business he used to run. There’s new stuff on the horizon and I hope you’ll enjoy following along with my future projects as much as my time running Saber.

– Matt