Why I haven't sold my $166 MRR SaaS product

Earlier today, I saw a post on Hacker News titled "I sold my side-project for $30k".

Besides the point that the sale price was $10k plus up to $20k dependent on the growth of the sold entity, some in the comments worried that the sale would result in users becoming unhappy with the way the service was managed by its new owners.

That's a valid concern, as most acquisitions change the direction of a product, sometimes making radical departures that bewilder the original set of users—users who are often the most invested in what used to be a smaller project.

I've been running Server Check.in for just under eight years. It has a little over 100 paid users, and 30 of those users signed up in the first year.

I don't spend much time on maintenance, and the service has a 30% margin due to very low hosting costs, but I mainly built it to be a radically different tool than all the Pingdoms and New Relics of the world.

Instead of cramming feature after feature, I just wanted to track if a server or website is up or down. And I wanted an SMS from a consistent phone number, so I integrated Twilio and lease a phone number.

Eight years in, I've rarely done any marketing, just a blog post here and there. And I've not once considered selling the platform, mostly because it does what I want. It's practically feature complete. And I know most of the existing clients like what it does and might be annoyed if I increased the price to cram in new features.

But why am I mentioning this? Well, I think to most business decisions, there are some good outcomes and bad outcomes to any major shift.

If I sold my service or brought in outside help, it would likely get some new features that could grow the user base. Heck, if I just did some marketing I'd probably grow it a bit faster than the 10 or so new users per year!

But if it grows too fast, it would not be the lightweight, easy-to-maintain, and almost never problematic system it is now. And some of those early users may feel betrayed, especially since, at least right now, when they email support, they know they'll get a personal response from me (sometimes a little delayed, but it's not like they're paying $100/month!).

In the end, what's best for your financials may or may not be best for your users, but I don't think either choice (selling a small SaaS product or keeping it going with minimal intervention) is a bad one.