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OneUp: How to bootstrap and be profitable in a VC-funded market

Davis Baer
January 20, 2023

Learn from our community entrepreneurs! In this interview, Davis Baer shares the story of building and growing OneUp, located in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, USA

  • Hi! Tell us about your business and what problem are you solving?

    My name is Davis Baer, and I am the co-founder of OneUp, a social media scheduling tool that supports Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google My Business.

    OneUp differs from tools like Buffer and Hootsuite because we allow for a post to be set to automatically repeat at set intervals, such as daily, weekly, monthly, every 3 months, 6 months, or annually.

    Our customers consist of startup founders, small business owners, bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, and social media managers - basically any kind of business, or even people who are just building their personal brand.

    Here are a few examples of how some of our customers use OneUp:

    We have an e-commerce store owner that has a whole bunch of posts, each highlighting a different product he sells. He has them scheduled out to post one per day. However, once it gets through all the posts, those posts will automatically repeat. Before, he was taking the time to do all of this manually. Now, he has an automated way of consistently driving traffic back to his site and those products.

    We have a radio station that used to manually copy and paste the same social media posts about certain programs starting at various times of the day, every Monday through Friday. Now with OneUp, they just set those post to repeat, freeing hours of tedious labor every week.

  • What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

    In 2012, I graduated from a small school in Pennsylvania called Grove City College, where I got my degree in finance. After graduating, I worked a few jobs in corporate finance and absolutely hated it. The sad part was that almost everyone I worked with also hated their jobs, and would trudge through their misery week after week, motivated only by the promise of a weekend off, or those glorious 2–3 weeks of vacation each year. The golden handcuffs are a very real thing.

    A few years ago, I had the opportunity to leave the corporate finance world and join a startup that a former classmate from college was starting. I came on board to help with marketing, but took a pretty substantial pay cut from what I was making before, as the founder of that company had only raised a small friends-and-family seed round to get things up and running.

    That ultimately didn’t end up working out, as we ran through the money faster than projected — the development of the site and mobile app was being outsourced to freelancers, and, fun fact, those development costs never really end. However, that role gave me great experience, and made me realize that it’s possible to actually enjoy work. Prior to that, I had never felt that my contributions actually made a difference in the large organizations I was working for.

    After spending a little time doing some freelance marketing and working on a few no-code side projects, I joined my co-founder Vishal Kumar at OneUp. We created OneUp to help increase the visibility of content on social media.

    Whenever you share something on social media, it is typically only seen by roughly 5% of your followers. Despite this, most people put crazy amounts of time and effort into creating social media posts and share it just once across their social media channels, guaranteeing that most of their followers will never see that post.

    OneUp helps these people by automatically driving traffic and engagement to the content that they have worked so hard on producing.

  • How do you motivate yourself to keep going every day?

    We now have hundreds of paying customers, so word of mouth marketing is really starting to take off now, and new customers are coming every day. We are 100% bootstrapped and profitable.

    We want to keep the current momentum going, while continuing to make improvements to the product based on customer feedback.

  • To anyone looking to start or grow a business today, what three tips would you give them?

    Vishal originally launched OneUp on Product Hunt, where it did pretty well and attracted some of the first paying customers. This was a major form of validation because you never really know if you have a good product unless someone is willing to pay you for it. We did, however, have some validation going in from some of our competitors, like Hootsuite and Buffer, who do millions of dollars in annual recurring revenue.

    The initial launch provided the opportunity to talk to customers, work out the bugs, make improvements, and see what kind of features users are looking for.

    Virtually everything we build is the direct result of customer feedback. For example, Hacker Noon, one of the largest tech publications in the world, was looking for a way to automatically post to their social media page every time they published a new blog post – and also have each post repeat again once a month for the next 3 months on social media.

    We could definitely build this, but we wanted to be sure that we were building something that customers actually value enough that they are willing to pay for it. So we worked out a custom pricing agreement and secured payment before ever working on this feature.

    A week later, OneUp made it easy to import any blog, podcast, or YouTube RSS feed, and have posts from those feeds automatically shared at your preferred intervals across your social media accounts.

    Most recently, we launched OneUp 2.0 on Product Hunt in September of 2018, and finished fourth for the day with over 550 upvotes. This led to over 1400 visitors on launch day and the following couple days.

    While the Product Hunt performance provides great social proof and will probably serve as a small source of traffic moving forward, it is not a long term plan for success as many people on Product Hunt aren’t in our target market.

  • Where can we go to learn more about your business?

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