In our last article many of you responded on specific categories of tech tools you want me to highlight. If you missed it, click here to take the survey
While the responses were varied, I had to take a step back and think about the things I wish I had known prior to starting my Software As A Service (SAAS) buying frenzy. Before we start diving into the tools let me share some hindsight with you.
I've recorded the first podcast episode and you can listen to it here:
I thought I would briefly expand in this article.
Zakia Ringgold [00:00:00]:
Welcome to business tech unraveled. I'm your host, Zakia Ringgold, and I'm here to help you navigate the complex world of technology and make it work for your business. Each episode of business tech unraveled is packed with valuable insights, tips, and strategies to empower you with the knowledge you need to succeed with tech tools. So whether you're tech savvy looking to start your own business or someone who feels overwhelmed by the ever evolving tech landscape, this podcast is for you. So join me on this exciting journey where we unravel the mysteries of business technology together. I promise you'll walk away from each episode armed with actionable advice and a new found confidence in leveraging the power of technology for your business. So before or we hop into lifetime deals, I would be remiss if I do not share some of the common pitfalls and things to be aware of when you're deciding to invest in lifetime deals in the form of software as a service for your small business. Now the glitter and the gold of a lifetime deal is the fact that you are able to purchase one time a set number of licenses to use this software for a lifetime.
Zakia Ringgold [00:01:31]:
And with the impetus of Netflix and all the other software that act now Netflix isn't a software, but you get what I'm going. The subscription model where they get you locked in for a monthly, quarterly annual, some type of recurring fee. And as a small business owner, the allure of a lifetime deal is especially when you're getting started, you're not sure what that monthly income is going to be to be able to continue to pay monthly subscriptions on top of all of your other operational costs. So the allure of a lifetime deal is, hey, I can pay it one time, and I have use of this particular software. And if it's a true gem of something that you need to run your business, then that becomes even more appealing. for you as a small business owner. For the developers, you're thinking, like, what's in it for me? Like, why would they even offer this? Normally, the lifetime deals have a very short period. So there's the FOMO in there.
Zakia Ringgold [00:02:40]:
And if you don't know what FOMO stands for, it's fear of missing out. And the idea is, hey. I have this opportunity to buy a lifetime deal of I am now able to get it, use it, keep it for the lifetime. The tricky part is what lifetime? Now I have purchased over 250 lifetime deals since I've been an entrepreneur. And I even started before I was an entrepreneur because I actually liked the tools for what I was doing in my hobby that transition to a business. However, of those 250, I realized that I use a about 25 to 30 of them on a recurring basis and the other ones have either become shelfware, meaning they're just sitting on the shelf for me to find the need for them and a small percentage of them have gone bye bye, meaning the founders have completely disappeared they've sold and said goodbye to the people who were the early investors. And they have also just completely shuttered. or they were not able to maintain that monthly recurring revenue in order to stay operational.
Zakia Ringgold [00:04:03]:
And so The tricky part with any lifetime deal is you don't know what that lifetime will be. So there are a few strategies that you should employ before you decide to leverage lifetime deals. if something is business critical, meaning you can't serve your clients, you can't provide your products and services without it, do not depend on a lifetime deal for it or have several in the till for you to be able to pick and choose from in case one shutters. Additionally on the founders on the company's history. Did they just set this website up with no traffic to it the week before they offer the lifetime deal. If that's the case, there's a reason to bat an eye or to have pause with that particular lifetime deal. Additionally, what's their support like? Try their support prior to actually buying the software. send them a question, a basic question.
Zakia Ringgold [00:05:18]:
You could know the answer to the question. How long does it take them to respond to your question? Is it to your satisfaction? Does it solve your problem? Because what they do before the sale is very, very evident of what they do after the sale. Look for any kind of community that they've built up online. The one thing I will say for those lifetime deals that turned out to be gems in the, Ltd world were those that had very active communities, whether that be on Facebook, on slack, or Discord. All of them that have withstood the test of time have had very active communities. Aside from active communities, is the roadmap. Now here's a little note about roadmaps. Never buy a software for what they're promising to build later.
Zakia Ringgold [00:06:15]:
I learned this in my corporate experience. We would have consultants come in all the time, and we would ask very poignant questions on can the software do X, Y, and Z? And I would always pause if the conversation went into, oh, well, it's planned for Q4, Q1 or Q2. If you don't have it now, do -- because that one day may never come. However, If during the ltd deal period, like, it's only 6 to 8 weeks, if during that period, you're seeing constant updates and revisions. And then right after the lifetime deal closes, do they continue in their community? Do they continue in their rapid development? If so, you may have stumbled on a gem. and not a one hit wonder that's just there to infuse capital or to grow their user base so that they're more attractive to a venture captialist. And so I did post a question in one of my favorite lifetime deal groups for other people, and this group has over 15,000 buyers of lifetime deals. And I posed a question of what advice would you have for someone who's considering buying lifetime deals for their small business? And the answers were pretty interesting, and I'm going to share that in the blog post as well. One of the first answers that came in was from Dave, and he said don't give in to FOMO.
Zakia Ringgold [00:07:51]:
Buy what you need right now and what you will need in the next few weeks. do not buy for next year. And I think this is where my 250 purchases came in because I was thinking of growth in in my 1 year plan and my 3 year plan and my 5 year plan, this would be a service I would offer and I never actually got to it. Someone else in the same vein said, have a legit use case for now. or the immediate future. And someone else that your addiction is just beginning. Lifetime deals are an addiction. So make sure that you keep accurate documentation of what it is that you purchase.
Zakia Ringgold [00:08:34]:
So for everyone that you buy, what's the login? What's the password? Where did you purchase it from? What were the terms and get screenshots of that? It is a really, really pivotal thing because another sneaky thing that lifetime deal owners will do is they'll change the plans. and then they'll map you to a new plan that doesn't necessarily meet those, terms that you agreed to when you purchased it. So they'll lower some of the things, or you can no longer map what you have to what they're currently offering. Another person said, don't do it. It's a bad idea. One person also said something I shared here never buy road maps and expect, but only what you will immediately use. Another person, and this is really important. Create a budget and stick to it.
Zakia Ringgold [00:09:27]:
And even though LTDs are not Stocks, make sure you do your due diligence, research the company. How long has it been in business? Who's the founder? What have they done previously? Were they part of another company? How did that one do? How many followers or subscribers do they have? And then another one said plus one for the budget don't be an impulsive buyer. Buy only what you need right now. Limit the amount of LTDs that you add actually use for your business because many will go bust. You can always full stack every deal. Don't do that. We'll talk about full stacks in a moment. And then the last piece of advice is your business should not be based on an LTD for most cases.
Zakia Ringgold [00:10:14]:
unless you are confident that it won't die or cheat on you. And I do have 2 that have withstood the test of time, and I will share that in another episode. So hopefully, before I start taking you down the realm of these amazing tools that I was able to get, as a lifetime deal. I felt it was my own due diligence to share some things with you that I wish someone would have told me when I was first getting started. I don't regret any of my lifetime deal purchases because they taught me some valuable lessons. Number 1, all that glitters is not gold in the LTD world. Number 2, have a true business case. What is it that you're actually selling? How are you servicing your clients? What are the products that you're offering? And how do Ltds help you to actually do that in a much better way? So I'm hoping that This is at least our primer before we start diving into the tools of lifetime deals.
Zakia Ringgold [00:11:21]:
And I'm looking forward to hearing your feedback on this particular podcast. Thank you for tuning into business tech unraveled. So here's your challenge. Commit to implementing one actionable step that you've learned today. It could be researching a specific tech tool, optimizing your website for a better experience, or exploring new ways to leverage progress by clicking the microphone on our podcast page. I need your input, and I wanna make sure I celebrate your wins and address the topics that matter most to you. And don't forget to hit that subscribe button to stay up to date with the latest episodes of business tech unraveled. We have plenty of tools, valuable insights, and guest interviews coming your way.
Zakia Ringgold [00:12:22]:
Thank you once a for joining me and remember in the ever evolving world of business And Technology. Applied knowledge is power. So let's unravel the complexities together and empower ourselves to thrive in the digital age.
What's in it for you?
The appeal of a lifetime deal lies in the option to buy licenses with a single payment instead of ongoing fees. Furthermore, these SAAS solutions often provide impressive capabilities that were previously limited to costly enterprise solutions. Typically, a 60-day money back guarantee is offered, which helps to minimize the potential risk involved. LTDs can be attractive to small businesses that are unsure about their monthly income, seeking to enhance efficiency, or looking to expand their service offerings.
What's in it for them?
Developers and SAAS founders offer these deals usually for a limited time, capitalizing on potential buyers' fear of missing out (FOMO). They will typically offer LTDs as a way to get a large infusion of customers, capital and/or feedback from ideal customers. Additionally if their LTD launch go as planned, the early adopters of the software become their biggest champions and extended marketing arm.
Are LTD's in your best interest?
There is always uncertainty involved; what does "lifetime" really mean? From my experience as an entrepreneur who has purchased over 250 lifetime deals, I've found that only around 20% have proven consistently useful while others are either unused collecting dust on my digital shelf or worse the founders of the company have shut down as the business wasn’t sustainable or founders sold the product and canceled all LTDs.
Before making a decision about the lifetime deal, it is important to carefully research and consider all factors before investing. Evaluate the responsiveness of their customer support and examine if they have established active online communities, as these are indications of longevity.
When buying software, look for current capabilities and consistent updates, rather than relying on future promises or roadmaps from developers. A good sign is ongoing developer engagement even after closing the deal.
Advice from the LTD community
I recently surveyed fellow entrepreneurs in an LTD group with over 15,000 members regarding lifetime deals and they shared many of my sentiments.
Tips for Getting Started with Lifetime Deals
- Avoid FOMO-driven purchases
- Buy what you need now rather than planning too far ahead
- Maintain careful records including login details and terms agreed upon at purchase since plans may change down the line
- Do thorough research about companies offering such deals including founder backgrounds and subscriber counts;
- Set budgets for LTDs avoiding impulse buys given many will likely fail eventually.
My final piece of advice: don’t let your business rely heavily on LTDs unless you're confident about their reliability. While they are enticing due to cost savings upfront, remember not everything that glitters in the LTD world is gold - ensure each purchase truly benefits your business operations in the here and now.