• Go to podcasts
  • Podcasts
  • S3E18 – How Chili Piper is Becoming A Billion Dollar Company With Alina Vandenberghe

S3E18 – How Chili Piper is Becoming A Billion Dollar Company With Alina Vandenberghe

How is Chili Piper becoming a billion dollar company

How is Chili Piper becoming a billion dollar company? In this episode of the Grow Your B2B SaaS Podcast, Joran Hofman interviews Alina Vandenberghe, the co-founder and CEO of Chili Piper, a B2B SaaS company that helps sales teams automatically schedule appointments with leads They Instantly turn inbound leads into qualified meetings. They discuss Chili Piper’s journey to becoming a billion-dollar company, including their valuation and mistakes along the way. Alina shares her personal motivation and the challenges she faced as an entrepreneur. She emphasizes the importance of trusting your own path and not listening to others’ advice. Alina also provides advice for growing a B2B SaaS company, from zero to 10K MRR and beyond

Chili Piper’s Early Stage Bootstrapping

Alina shares the bootstrap journey of Chili Piper, starting from selling all assets to fund the company’s growth. They initially operated on a tight budget, not paying themselves salaries for the first two years, and hiring employees from remote locations to keep costs low.

Chili Piper’s Revenue and Growth

From humble beginnings, Chili Piper has grown to an Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) of $47 million, showcasing significant progress and success in the B2B SaaS industry. Alina highlights the company’s focus on converting demand through scheduling and routing in the buyer journey.

Alina’s Personal Entrepreneurial journey

Alina reflects on her entrepreneurial journey, emphasizing her inherent motivation and drive to solve complex puzzles since childhood. She discusses her transition from a shy introvert to a confident speaker, overcoming self-doubt and fears along the way.

Learn the unsexy truth about startup success with Cristobal Alonso

Challenges Faced by Chili Piper

Alina delves into the toughest challenges encountered by Chili Piper, including a period of layoffs that deeply impacted Alina emotionally and mentally. The episode provides an intimate look at the personal struggles faced by entrepreneurs in navigating tough decisions.

The Tough Lessons Learned

Alina shares insights on decision-making, emphasizing the importance of trusting one’s instincts and not succumbing to external pressures or advice. The discussion touches upon the significance of staying true to one’s vision and values, even in a competitive market landscape.

Chili Piper Growth Strategies

As Chili Piper scales towards $10 million ARR, Alina stresses the need for diversifying go-to-market strategies and optimizing operational efficiencies. The episode highlights the importance of aligning various business functions to drive sustainable growth.

Entrepreneurial Advice

Alina offers valuable advice to fellow SaaS founders, encouraging them to focus on personal growth and continuous improvement. She emphasizes the value of competing with oneself and staying true to one’s unique path in the entrepreneurial journey.

Personal Reflection 

Reflecting on her career, Alina shares key learnings from her corporate experience and transition to entrepreneurship. She underscores the importance of learning from diverse perspectives and gaining insights from unexpected sources to enhance business acumen.

The episode concludes with a positive outlook on the entrepreneurial landscape, highlighting the opportunities and challenges that come with building a successful B2B SaaS company. Alina’s story serves as a testament to perseverance, resilience, and the pursuit of excellence in the dynamic business world.

Key Timecodes

  • (00:52) Chili Piper’s Journey and Valuation
  • (03:13) Personal Questions and Motivation
  • (04:37) Lessons Learned and Regrets
  • (05:35) Chili Piper’s Future Plans and Expansion
  • (07:28) How Chili Piper Was Built on Their Own Terms
  • (08:26) Growing Talent and Unconventional Decision Making
  • (09:19) Biggest Challenges and Personal Growth
  • (10:44) Overcoming Layoffs and Building Trust
  • (12:01) Looking Back and Building Confidence
  • (13:57) Chili Piper’s Future Goals and Impact
  • (14:53) The Value of Trusting Your Own Path
  • (15:51) Dealing with Competition and Market Dynamics
  • (20:56) Advice for Growing from 10K MRR to 10 Million ARR
  • (23:51) Advice for SaaS Founders on Their Journey
  • (24:47) The Importance of Understanding Different Departments
  • (26:15) Reflections on Entrepreneurship and Learning


[00:00:00.000] – Show Intro

Welcome to the Grow Your B2B SaaS podcast. In this podcast, we cover all topics on how to grow your B2B SaaS, no matter in which stage you’re in. I’m Jorn Hofmann, the host of this show and the founder of Reditus, which is a B2B SaaS that helps other B2B SaaS companies to set up, manage, and grow an affiliate program. Being a founder myself means I’m going to the exact same journey as you are, experiencing the exact same issues, and probably have the exact same questions. And this is why I started the podcast in the first place. Get advice from industry experts on to grow my B2B SaaS. So if you like this content, make sure to subscribe, follow, give it a thumbs up. Let’s just dive in.

[00:00:37.220] – Guest Intro

In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about how Chilly Piper is becoming a billion dollar company. This episode is recorded live in Austin here at SaaSopen. We just did it the day before the event got started. My guest is Alina Vandenberghe. She’s the co founder and CEO of Chilly Piper. Alina started the company in 2016, has raised over $54 million in funding in a total of six rounds. In 2022, they were valued close to a billion dollar. Immediately after, their valuations dropped to almost a third. They now cash break even in growing and getting ready to get to an IPO, so maybe they get back to that desired billion dollar valuation. In this episode, we’ll dive into the success behind Chilly Piper, but also the mistakes along the way, and we’re maybe going to find out when they’re going to hit that billion dollar valuation. Let’s dive in.

[00:01:26.070] – Joran

Welcome to the show.

[00:01:27.910] – Alina

How lucky are we to meet in person?

[00:01:29.640] – Joran

Exactly. Exactly. It was quite the set up we had to do, but we managed. Company started in 2016, as I saw on CrunchBase. How long did it take to get the first revenue?

[00:01:39.890] – Alina

We are a bootstrap company. Actually, when we started, micro founder and then we sold all our assets. You think we were at minus in assets. We sold our car, our house, our socks in the dryer, all of it. Start the company, we didn’t pay ourselves a salary in the first two years. We started hiring in remote areas in Romania, in Ukraine for our first employees because that’s where we were able to afford. We bootstrapped all the way to 3 million in AR. It was a very different stage of the company. Very stressful. We would check out back to town every day. But It was a lot of fun. For instance, I remember very fondly, my first company trip, it was five of us, and we went to India, and we were driving our minibus on the highway, and we landed on Ashram, the steep jobs went to in Zuckerberg, and figured it was the perfect spot for a SaaS company to go, and we prayed to the gods of SaaS to get the billion dollar valuation. I have very fun from various of those first few years.

[00:02:40.950] – Joran

Nice. I love it. What is your current ARR?

[00:02:44.720] – Alina

This year, we’re on track to be 47 by the end of the year, 47 million.

[00:02:49.490] – Joran

Yeah, nice. Is the revenue only product revenue or does it include any services as well? Product on.

[00:02:56.500] – Alina

But at our stage, it’s not product because we have several products platform.

[00:03:01.480] – Joran

Good terminology. In one sentence, what does Chilly Piper do?

[00:03:05.710] – Alina

We are there to convert demand with scheduling and routing every touch point of the buyer journey. Nice.

[00:03:12.980] – Joran

Let’s dive into the five personal questions.

[00:03:16.420] – Alina

What is your age? I just turned 40. My birthday was actually a few weeks ago. I went to my friend in Hong Kong, and one of our board members, one of our investors, with an amazing party on a rooftop in Hong Kong. It was It’s a fun age.

[00:03:31.070] – Joran

Nice. You organized it for your first time? Four years for the year. Nice. I think you mentioned it already, but is this your first startup? How do you keep yourself motivated?

[00:03:40.070] – Alina

I think I was born motivated. The reason why I’m saying that is because ever since I can remember. At the memories from my childhood, I always had very big dreams. To me, was a lot about solving a big puzzle that was complicated. Until I would solve the big puzzle, I would not fall asleep. When I was eight, my first puzzle was to make sure that our family has money to pay for our rent because we were in a poor Communist building in Romania and my parents didn’t earn that much. I started to earn a living since I can’t remember. And around age 12 or so, I had this big dream that I wanted to be a CEO of a big company. And now I’m a lot more motivated by social impact, all the positive things that we can leave behind as entrepreneurs. It’s a lot harder these days because the world is changing, but I’ve been motivated ever since I can’t remember. I don’t have a secret answer to that, but I wish I did because I want to leave behind to my boys also. I have a four-year-old and a two-year-old, the same motivation.

[00:04:47.040] – Alina

It’s a lot of fun.

[00:04:47.860] – Joran

It is going to be difficult because they don’t have the same childhood as you. They have a completely different way of beginning their lives. I wanted to ask you if you always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I guess you answer it from the age 12, you already wanted to become CEO I’m not an entrepreneur.

[00:05:01.620] – Alina

I just wanted to run a big company because I felt like my parents were in pain because their bosses didn’t quite do the right thing because they always come at home and I’m saying, My salary is low, or this didn’t happen. In my mind, it was the boss who had all the power to make things happen, positive change. That’s why I came up with this idea. It’s a good goal.

[00:05:22.280] – Joran

Do you have an end goal defined for a Chiny Piper?

[00:05:25.050] – Alina

In four years, I think we will get to a hundred in AR. After that, because I like big puzzles, I want to see what it’s like to expand the SaaS business in Asia. I want to move there, whether it’s China, whether it’s at the Ascent areas, whether it’s Singapore or Hong Kong or India. I’m not sure yet. I’m still exploring.

[00:05:46.440] – Joran

Interesting. Because it’s such a big market or because it’s a puzzle. It’s a puzzle.

[00:05:51.190] – Alina

But it’s a big market, too. There’s a lot of things happening in that part of the world.

[00:05:55.710] – Joran

We’re going to go a bit to the beginning of Chilly Piper. Did you already knew it At the beginning, it was going to be such a success.

[00:06:02.540] – Alina

I remember we were driving Microfondra and I. Microfondra is also my husband, and he’s a serial entrepreneur. I had not had that experience before him. I was working on these big corporate American companies. He said, You have to join me. We have to start a company together. I’m very strong at operations and revenue, and you’re very strong at products and technology. I think with your talent, we can do great together. I said, Look, I want to build a company that’s at least as big as Oracle, and I want to build a legacy behind, but I don’t think I can do that unless I’m the CEO. That was a few months before we started. Somehow he agreed to it, but I didn’t think I can join unless That dream happened. I had the dream. I felt I was a little bit crazy, but he went with it and here we are.

[00:06:51.750] – Joran

Were you then the person pushing forward the dream and he said, Let’s go for it and then follow you? Or has he also I’ve been next to you in a driver’s seat, pushing the company forward.

[00:07:03.540] – Alina

We started. He agreed for me to be the CEO. He was a president at that time. Then for a while, it worked like that for about three years. Then I gave birth. We had two babies together. While I was giving birth, I took a CPO role, and he took the CEO role, and now we’re cofounders. We oscillated the woman who was in charge, and now we’re sharing that at home.

[00:07:26.590] – Joran

If you go back a little bit, what has been the best thing What are you doing to grow Chili Piper where it is today?

[00:07:32.990] – Alina

To not listen to anyone.

[00:07:34.450] – Joran

Nice and stubborn? I like it. I guess, give me an example as in what advice have you gotten where you think, Okay, I’m not going to listen to this person.

[00:07:42.450] – Alina

All of it. Don’t build a remote-only company, this remote company. Culture can only be built in the office. Don’t make everything transparent. Don’t share the numbers with the team. Don’t make your pricing transparent. You have to tweak the numbers. Bring a strong management team. We’re a remote-based team. Democratic. I just went with my instinct. As a founder, if you don’t go with who you are, it’s really hard to mold into what others think is a good idea because you don’t know. You’ve not explored the darkest corners of yourself to know what you’re comfortable with and whatnot. That’s what worked for us, but it’s not for everybody.

[00:08:18.820] – Joran

You’re building the company in your own terms, almost, as in exactly how you probably envision to be the company. Are you using any processes or frameworks? Maybe you created them yourself or things you did follow.

[00:08:31.130] – Alina

We’re very manipulable about growing talent within the company, and we start with mostly junior talent. A lot of our success in our employees come from entry-level jobs and we grow them in the company. A lot of SDRs are in different areas of the business. We have a very strong values in the company that we grow and a lot of an evolved framework around skill sets that we want to grow that can be curated to other roles in the company as well. Decision making is very unusual as well. All our decisions are transparent, we’re very concrete, so they all are together alongside with us. Those are some examples.

[00:09:12.170] – Joran

You make it sound easy in a way, right? But I guess if you do this, you’re going to have challenges as well. What has been the biggest company challenge?

[00:09:20.440] – Alina

Oh, it’s not been easy. I think that working for others for me, it was a lot easier. I could clock in, clock out, and not have to take it with me in the or at night. When you’re a business owner, you take a lot more with you at home and you consume a lot more break cycles on it. It’s very different for every entrepreneur. If you ask my co founder, what his most challenging moment would be, it would be very different than mine. In my case, it’s a very strong memory. It’s November 2021 when we realized we had to do layoffs and we had to layoff 70 people. It was the most challenging month of my life. I cried for, I don’t know, how many days. And yet, despite it being challenging for me, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t eat. I lost 100, I don’t know. I lost so much weight. I was a ghost. My menstrual cycle stopped coming. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at all anymore. And yet, despite it being so hard for me, it was a lot harder for my employees who had to be let go. And because of it, I keep striving to not have to do it again.

[00:10:26.660] – Joran

You could clearly see there’s still-I still have trauma I was in my mind from it. No, I can’t imagine how it is. I guess this is probably then also your biggest personal challenge you had. I wouldn’t say, I guess you overcome it because you can still see there is something there. But how did you move on from that point forward?

[00:10:45.940] – Alina

Frankly, I thought that I’m not made for this job. I thought that I’m not made for this business world because I felt I was weak because I couldn’t take it. I kept wondering, Am I made for this? Am I made for this? Because I could see how the founders were not as destroyed as I was. And yet, I was wondering in my weakest moment if this emotion that I felt from it was actually a good signal that things can be done differently, that businesses can be built differently. I don’t know yet because I know that there’s a pressure for us to build businesses that grow at a certain rate, that have certain efficiencies. When you have those constraints on you as a business, especially around growth, you have to make decisions that impact people negatively. Yet at the same time, you have to get loads of people and it’s painful. At the same time, you’re also growing, you’re creating economical opportunities for people to grow. You see this beautiful opportunities career-wise for people to triple their salaries or make four times. We had an SDR who started with us with 30K, and I was making, I don’t know, five times up.

[00:11:47.030] – Alina

When you see these beautiful journeys and they give back to their community, they give back to their ecosystem, you get motivated to harvest that pain that you feel in that moment to have a positive impact on the ecosystem. That’s what drives me. If I ever find that I’m not made for this, I will stop. But right now, it’s a driver.

[00:12:05.010] – Joran

Yeah, but I think at the beginning, you mentioned you’re building the company on your own terms, you value culture, you have all these values within the company. Because I guess the more you’re doing that, the harder it gets to lay off people because you’re building a company you want. This is the one thing you, of course, always want to avoid. I think it’s a good thing to have that it actually hurts you because then you probably will-Learn from it. Exactly. Make sure it never happens again or at least try to avoid it. What is one thing you regret you didn’t do earlier?

[00:12:33.740] – Alina

I’m a technical co founder. If you had met me five years ago, it’d probably be the typical introvert gig that you imagine. I would not look at you in the eyes. I would be in the corner, afraid to approach anyone. I actually remember very vividly telling our marketing team at the time to never have me on a podcast or never have me in front of a journalist because I was completely afraid of this. I would not frame it as afraid at that time. I would just say it’s not important or whatever excuse I had. It was just an area that I was not ready to explore, and I wish I could just face my demands that started earlier to have a voice.

[00:13:14.070] – Joran

At the moment, and I made a joke before we started recording, but I think at every SaaS event, I see you as a speaker. So you’re completely turned around like 180 degrees. I’m sorry, I’m saying it in English, but it’s a complete opposite right now.

[00:13:26.970] – Alina

It’s a complete opposite, yeah. I managed to find my voice, but It was not at that point, three years ago.

[00:13:33.010] – Commercial Break

This podcast episode is sponsored by Reditus. Reditus helps B2B SaaS companies to set up, manage, and grow an affiliate program. In short, it means you’re asking other people, affiliates, to promote your SaaS. You would only pay the affiliates a kickback fee when they deliver you paid clients, making it a very cost-effective and scalable way to grow your MRR. See more at getreditus.com

[00:13:57.030] – Joran

You have a goal, right? You wanted to grow Chilly Piper to a billion-dollar company. What are your next steps, plans to get there?

[00:14:05.050] – Alina

Actually, I’m not on there with goal in terms of valuation per se, because valuation is very volatile and get very different investors thinking about your value very differently, and You have the very different economical factors that can take the valuation. I think that a company value comes from its customers, from its ability to retain and make them happy and bring value to them. I want to make as many customers happy, and I want to get to the point of 200 million in there and then get to that, move to Asia and see what that looks like in Asia. Alongside, I also have a foundation that’s very dear to me, where we have invested a lot of time and money as well on the topic of nonviolence. That topic is also a very important one, and I hope to have a positive impact there.

[00:14:52.450] – Joran

It’s a good point. Not just the valuation as a core anymore, but everything you can control. I guess the value, the client success, and of course, the work you do with the foundation, which you can probably see right away when you do things with the foundation. If you could go back in time with what you currently know, what is something you would do differently?

[00:15:12.320] – Alina

I’m finding these days that product is very easy to copy, especially now you give some prompts to ChatGPT and they build a product that copies another competitor. It’s very easy to copy content. It’s very easy to copy a lot of things. What’s not easy to do for others is to trust your own path and trust your own instincts. I’m coming from Eastern Europe where confidence is not instilled in early years, especially confidence on instinct, confidence on the things that you’re observing market-wise and the tactics that you want to take. I wish I could give more confidence to that girl that started the company to trust herself.

[00:15:53.150] – Joran

I think in your case, it’s hard to echo to Romania quite a bit because we’re a bit more than there as well. But I guess coming from a communism country is going to be completely different from Western Europe or US.

[00:16:04.940] – Alina

Yeah, it leaves a lot of traumas, even to these days, after all this work, after all these things that we’ve built. I’m finding myself that I come to this event, like SAS Open and many others. I speak to many of them and I meet a lot of people. Every single time I exit the hotel room and it’s weird, but they observe that I still find this thing that, Oh, am I worthy to talk to these people? Did I really do the right things? Do I bring value in this ecosystem? Is it right that I’m on the stage? I still find these glimpses of not feeling confident enough that I’ve done the right things to earn the trust of people to really speak or to really talk to them, which is my in the American culture. Everybody’s great, everybody’s wonderful. My background, no. I still like to earn, to fight every day, to earn trust of people.

[00:16:59.660] – Joran

Yeah. The trust of people or trust of yourself?

[00:17:02.680] – Alina

Trust of my own self. From an early stage, we learned that our own worth is given by other people, not by our own selves. It’s our friends, it’s our teachers, it’s our relatives. We learned to see ourselves in the eyes of others. It’s mostly the eyes of others.

[00:17:22.830] – Joran

But if you look at it really practical, you came so much further than, what is it, 90%, 95% of the SaaS founders. In that sense, you have achieved so much more than anybody else. You can be on stage, you can be proud of yourself. You spoke to so many events. I guess in that sense, it might be even convincing yourself that you’re worthy of speaking to others.

[00:17:44.780] – Alina

It’s funny because I keep looking at other founders who are ahead of me who might have started before me. For instance, Gripoling is a company that started around the same time as us. I don’t know, I think right now they’re valued at 5 billion or something like that. I Why can’t I be like them? I’m five times X more stupid.

[00:18:03.810] – Joran

Final question regarding this. How do you look at your market? Because you mentioned it’s easy to copy products, it’s easy to copy content. Your market is pretty highly competitive. I think we call it by that. How do you look at it? Is it a positive thing, negative thing?

[00:18:19.810] – Alina

I was in a very unique environment that I didn’t have competitors for the first six years. You think, wow, that’s really cool that you don’t have competitors. But there are a lot of drawbacks with that. The drawback says that the market doesn’t understand that there’s a solution for their problem, so they have to be educated a lot. About two years ago, now even more aggressively in the past year, we started to get some ankle biters, so people who are copying our product. You think that, Okay, it’s the end of Chili Piper because there’s companies that are selling the product cheaper. But what happened is that these companies are a lot more aggressive on the lower end of the market, so they’re very effective in educating the market. We have all these pipeline that’s coming and then say, Oh, this competitor came and they have something to talk about this pain point. But when we type their name, all they talk about is how competitive they are with you. We want to check you on this. The pipeline is growing from our competitors. I’m very thankful to them. I’m very friendly, so I don’t mind talking to them.

[00:19:19.660] – Alina

But it’s created some positive impact on our pipeline.

[00:19:23.060] – Joran

Yeah, because it can be hard, I guess. No competitor is something you probably don’t want either, as in educating the entire market. That’s going to hard. We’re going to go to the final four questions. When we talk about growing a B2B SaaS, what advice would you give somebody who’s just starting out and trying to grow to 10K a month due to current revenue?

[00:19:41.060] – Alina

I think this is the most beautiful time in the history. I’m 40 years old because that’s what we discussed. I think that in my entire life so far, I cannot name a better time to start a business. The reason for it is because all of a sudden, you have access to so much more support as an entrepreneur. You have access to a lot more tools that you can leverage to help your business succeed. You have access to autonomous AI bots, you have access to ChatGPT to educate you. There’s so much more support to start a business that’s successful. It matters a lot on what you’re passionate about and what you can really have a voice around. It goes back to this notion of trust. What should you trust yourself that you can do really well? That’s uniquely positioned to you. It’s a time niche businesses can be so much more successful. There’s obviously a lot of support on marketing around platforms like TikTok and Instagram and LinkedIn where you can have a voice and truly be out there in great pipeline. I think that if I were to start from scratch, this would be the best time.

[00:20:46.620] – Joran

I guess if you then dive into growing from 0 to 10K MRR, what advice would you have? What should people be doing? Because time-wise, it’s a good time to start, right? Then any advice on how to get from 0 to 10K money we’re currently rambling?

[00:21:02.180] – Alina

I think that every industry is different. Every product is different. I can only speak to what has worked, what has worked for us. You have a pen and paper there. That’s how we went to the ideal customer profile. We went to my notebook and I would draw all sorts of ideas of how our product would solve their pay point and all that. What if we do it this way or if we do it this other way, would you pay money to buy this? When I found that they would pay 20K a year in advance for whatever I was doodling on a piece of paper, I knew what had something. You really have to validate your price points and you really have to understand what people are willing to part off and how fast you can get there. You really have to validate where money goes.

[00:21:44.790] – Joran

Yeah, I see. As you mentioned, you validate your ID before you even build something, you scribble it on a piece of paper, people are willing to buy you on that. How much they wanted to buy it for, and then you actually went out and developed it.

[00:21:57.520] – Alina

Yeah, it has to be realistic. You can’t go off and invest. At least in our case, it didn’t work. You can’t go with this abstract. We’re the platform that does this for everybody, and here we go, it’s a trillion dollar investment opportunity. It’s abstract. It doesn’t work for me, but at the front best, I managed to work with abstract. It’s just what has worked for me.

[00:22:17.120] – Joran

Let’s go beyond 10K monthly recurring revenue. We’re now growing towards 10 million ARR. What advice would you give a founder who’s on that, do you mean?

[00:22:26.330] – Alina

I think when we had to make the bridge between 3 million to 10 million, that inflection point. We had to get a lot more mature on our go-to-market motions. Our events motion was pretty mature. Our social media was pretty mature. Our partnership function was also pretty mature. We still had to learn to put our eggs in other baskets as well because you can’t really build a business just one channel because that channel can always start breaking. Yes, you can have a podcast, and yes, you can have events, and your founder You might be very strong at LinkedIn, or you might have really good at cold emailing or cold calls. But betting on one channel is really risky. To have that inflection, we started understanding how we can diversify and go to market motions and how to do that wisely because you can’t get really good at many things, but you can get good at a few things that you can count on one hand. You have to be really good at understanding which motions work in your a big niche with your buyers and see where they are and see how we can diversify your portfolio there.

[00:23:35.500] – Joran

Don’t choose many, but a handful, and then go for those who are working for you to get to the ICP. If we zoom further out, would you have any general advice towards other SaaS founders who are on their journey no matter where they are right now, revenue-wise?

[00:23:51.380] – Alina

Do not listen to people like me.

[00:23:53.340] – Joran

You didn’t listen to other people’s advice. I guess give them advice they don’t want to listen to.

[00:24:00.210] – Alina

This idea that you have to validate your own path with others is what you’re only competing with yourself. Every day, you look at yourself a day before and you just have to get a little bit better, a little bit better. If you make yourself your competition, then it’s fun because you know yourself so much. It’s a lot more fun to play against yourselves than others because if you start copying others or if you start understanding others, you start thinking like that, and then you can’t start thinking outside the box, and then you have your opportunities for growth.

[00:24:32.410] – Joran

I like it. I never heard this, competitor of yourself. I think that’s the last one. Final question. What is one thing you wish you knew 10 years ago?

[00:24:40.810] – Alina

Ten years ago, what was that? 2014. I was working for the men, for others. I was trying to get really good at climbing the corporate ladder and understanding how businesses are getting the construction. I knew that eventually I would be CEO of my own company, I didn’t quite know how I would get there. I was starting to understand all the ins and outs of businesses. Even though I was only responsible for products and engineering, I would still pick in other departments all the time. I was starting to understand how customer success works, how sales works, and how marketing works. I think that even these days, you get the perspectives of how different metrics work together, how different incentives work together, how overall, how money flows, and how growth flows No matter the circumstances, you get a lot better at your craft because you get a lot better at prioritization, you get a lot better at understanding what skill sets you need to learn. I would just double down on that, double down on understanding the different departments’ goals to make the machine work smooth.

[00:25:49.090] – Joran

It might not be a better need to work for the man, as you call it, to find out about those different departments before you actually start your own business.

[00:25:56.640] – Alina

Yeah, because we always imagine the grass is greener if you’re an entrepreneur, or if you work for the man or the opposite is true. The reality is that the entrepreneurship job is a lot more stressful than one imagines. Working for it is a lot easier. It’s because you just don’t have so many stakeholders that are on top of your work, watching every move that you make. It’s still a lot of fun. For people like me who enjoy a complicated puzzle, it’s fun. But in the end, what matters is that we become better human beings. In order to become a better human beings, we have to learn as much as we can, and learning comes from unexpected places.

[00:26:36.370] – Joran

You definitely have unexpected places and moments in entrepreneurship. I think that’s a fact. That’s true. Guys, I really enjoyed the chat. Thank you for coming on, and see you tomorrow on stage.

[00:26:48.550] – Alina

I am terrified and excited. Everything in between.

[00:26:53.820] – Joran

When you close the hotel door, I’m cheering for you because you’re doing great.

[00:26:58.600] – Alina

Thank you. Thank you, Joran. Thank you for inviting me. And how lucky are we that we’re in person in Austin. The weather is tricky outside, it’s raining. But we make up for the bad weather with sunny smiles.

[00:27:11.410] – Joran

Exactly. Nice.

[00:27:13.990] – Show Outro

Thank you for watching this show of the Grow Your B2B SaaS podcast. You made it till the end, so I think we can assume you like this content. If you did, give us a thumbs up, subscribe to the channel. If you like this content, feel free to reach out if you want to sponsor the show. If you have a specific guest in mind, if you have a specific have a specific topic you want us to cover, reach out to me on LinkedIn. More than happy to take a look at it. If you want to know more about Reddit, feel free to reach out as well. But for now, have a great day and good luck growing your B2B SaaS.

Joran Hofman
Meet the author
Joran Hofman
Back in 2020 I was an affiliate for 80+ SaaS tools and I was generating an average of 30k in organic visits each month with my site. Due to the issues I experienced with the current affiliate management software tools, it never resulted in the passive income I was hoping for. Many clunky affiliate management tools lost me probably more than $20,000+ in affiliate revenue. So I decided to build my own software with a high focus on the affiliates, as in the end, they generate more money for SaaS companies.
Share the article:
Scroll to Top