How Dawn Verbrigghe, CEO of Jottful, gave up a Lucrative CMO Startup Position to start SMB CMS

Big Break Software Podcast

26-01-2022 • 54 mins

Dawn Verbrigghe, CEO of Jottful, talks about coming up with the idea, funding the MVP, gaining first customers, and navigating the zero to product fit journey. Listen and learn.

Jottful is a SaaS company that allows small and medium-sized businesses to create and manage affordable, professional, and easy to navigate websites to eliminate the need to hire an agency. The company encourages small businesses to market themselves better online. Dawn Verbrigghe, the CEO, and founder, tells Geordie about her entrepreneurship journey.

What You’ll Learn

  • How working in a family business inspired Dawn to build the MVP
  • How Dawn reached out to potential businesses
  • Why the Jottful niche is horizontal-based
  • Why people were afraid of referring Jottful to their friends
  • How a mentor can help you make the best decision
  • The perks of being an entrepreneur
  • How early-stage business funding has evolved over the last few years
  • Why Dawn and her team don’t use their product on their website
  • What is the difference between direct response and brand advertising?

In This Episode

Online marketing plays a core role in the success of businesses. With a robust online marketing strategy, small and medium-sized businesses can accelerate their growth, attract more customers, and increase revenue.

Jottful understands the importance of marketing which is why they collaborate with small businesses to help them increase their presence online through their websites. Hiring an agency to build your website can be costly, especially if you are a small business entrepreneur.

With technological advancements today and the availability of easy-to-use tools, small businesses can quickly build their websites. However, to leverage some of the available tools, you need technical skills that many small business entrepreneurs do not have. This is where Jottful comes in through their “do it together” initiative.

The company gets content from their customers, creates, launches their websites, and helps them maintain the site on an ongoing basis. Listen to the podcast for extensive details on how the company works. Dawn also explains how their pricing model works.

While Dawn is a qualified graphic designer, a business background played a significant role in carving her entrepreneurship journey. She gained tremendous experience and insight from working in a family business.

Listen to her story to understand how she came up with her MVP. Dawn signed up her first few customers in unlikely circumstances. She explains how a national bridal event paved the way for her to exhibit her website development skills. Get the details from the podcast.

Dawn says her core focus at the event was to determine whether or not her idea had a viable value proposition. After that, she would focus on building the MVP and ensuring that it worked before figuring out their initial target market.

At first, Dawn and her team focused on bridal shops. They would later enroll in an accelerator program linked to the University of Michigan, which was accepted. Dawn says the University is among their most prominent investors.

The accelerator program helped them realize that their niche is not industry-based but company size-based. She explains this concept in the podcast. How did Dawn fund her MVP? Even though she was in between jobs, she was looking forward to assuming a powerful CMO position in a full-time company that was planning to go public.

She was torn between joining full-time employment and becoming an entrepreneur at some point. She shared her dilemma with her mentor, who advised her that entrepreneurship was her calling. Dawn has no regrets for giving up employment for entrepreneurship. Having a qualified engineer during the MVP development stage is critical.

Dawn explains how she met, what she considered when hiring her engineer, and how they collaborated to build a powerful platform. She also talks about funding the MVP. According to Dawn, their product is easy to use, and customers can easily make necessary changes on their websites in record time.

Many entrepreneurs struggle with identifying and defining their niche. Dawn gives comprehensive details on how they went about the process. Listen to the podcast to understand how they struggled trying to get their product to their target audience. If you are a new entrepreneur or aspiring to become one, you cannot afford to miss this section of the podcast. Dawn concludes the podcast with some words of advice for aspiring SaaS entrepreneurs:

  • Start building an audience as early. Many entrepreneurs focus on product development before determining how to sell it, derailing their growth.

  • Social media channels can help you reach your target audience better than an email list. Dawn says LinkedIn is a great audience funnel.

Resources