The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team. Tom Jacquesson is up.
Who are you and what do you do?
I'm Tom Jacquesson. I'm 32 and live in the South of France. I'm also the co-founder of 2 social media tools: Taplio (for LinkedIn) and Tweet Hunter (for Twitter). I'm a product and marketing fanatic, and as an entrepreneur I strongly believe in bootstrapping profitable companies over raising Series A, B and C like most startups (I've tried both approaches). So far bootstrapping has been a lot more successful as we've grown our tools to over $2M in Annual Recurring Revenue.
What is your business advantage?
There's 2 main types of social media tools today: schedulers and automation/outreach tools. Even though we have some of these features as well, we focus mainly on content inspiration (with the help of AI) and building meaningful relationships by engaging with other accounts. We also really focus on personal brands rather than company accounts. Most of our users are individuals who are looking to leverage social media for themselves or their company.
What drives/motivates you to keep scaling your business?
For me it's always been about making stuff that people use. The more people, the better. There's many domains in which I could potentially build a company, but I like technical products because they can scale and help more people. And of course there's a financial aspect to it. I'd be lying if I didn't say I do want to make a good amount of money by maintaining our growth.
What advice would you give someone interested in getting to where you are?
Something I didn't have when I launched my first company (8 years ago) was this "boldness" we have now. Along with my co-founder, we stopped asking ourselves complicated questions and spending hours trying to answer them. If we don't have a definitive opinion, we just pick A or B and go for it. We're also quite bold in our marketing. We really try to do things that other companies don't do (or not very often). My second advice would be to prioritize actually building a business. A business isn't raising funds or applying for grants or going to pitch contests. It's selling a product or service to customers. In my first company we used to want to win every award and raise funding when we should have been doing is actually try to sell our stuff.
What has been the hardest part of running your business and scaling it to where it is?
There's no specific moment that comes to mind, but generally speaking the toughest is being "always on". The very first thing I do in the morning when I wake up is open Slack. I work most weekends. I rarely go offline even for 24 hours. I stress out if I'm in a place with no wifi or 4G coverage I'm definitely happy to invest myself like this because it pays off. But for sure it can be tiresome.
What are 3 things you would say have contributed to your success the most?
Speed: we have been very quick at releasing a bunch of products and focusing on the winners. Boldness: we don't ask ourselves many questions or deep dive into analytics. We just go forward. Timing: we started in an almost mature market (Twitter scheduling tools) targeting a fast growing audience (creators/founders).
Who or what has helped you the most in your journey so far?
My co-founder. Without him, I wouldn't have been able to do the Zero to 1 step, much less the 1 to 1M. Many people pick the "solopreneur" route. And I get why: you can make your own decisions, work however you want it, total freedom. But a well-picked co-founder is a gigantic asset for your company. They bring skills you don't have, motivation you may lack at times, new ideas. Of course having a bad co-founder is worse than not having one. So I suggest partnering with someone you already worked with in the past so you know what to expect.
Are there any "musts" you have on a daily basis?
I usually wake up around 6AM (no alarm clock though), open Slack, open Twitter, open LinkedIn and do my emails. Then I take a quick shower and immediately go to the coworking space where I have my desk. I think it's a huge advantage to be a morning person, because that's the time when your brain is most active AND no one's there to disturb your flow. I get a good 3-4 hours time slot for deep work, with a 15min bike ride in the middle.
What mindset shifts were required to achieve the success you've experienced?
I wouldn't recommend this to everyone, because we're all wired differently. But me, I just stopped looking at all numbers aside from MRR/ARR (SaaS revenue metrics basically) and followed my gut. I realized I was an instinctive and creative person trying to force myself to have a logical/number's first approach. But that's not who I am. So my advice in terms of mindset would be to play on your strengths instead of trying to improve your weaknesses.
What are a few resources that you'd recommend?
I actually don't consume any startup/growth podcasts or books. But I did read the 4-hour Work Week about 10 years ago, and I can't recommend it enough. It really changed the way I think about career and success.
List the founders
Tom Jacquesson, Tibo Louis-Lucas
How many hours a week do you work on this hustle?
# of Employees?
How much did it cost to launch?
How much have you raised?
Over $2M ARR
More than what we're doing haha
Any call to action?