January 14, 2021

From launch to successful exit in less than two years with bootstrapped startup expert Arvid Kahl

Michel Gagnon
CEO of Stun&Awe

We talked to bootstrapped startup expert Arvid Kahl who launched, grew, and sold its startup in less than two years.

If you’re interested in building a bootstrapped startup that works like clockwork (or any productive startup for that matter), you need to listen to our guest today. He’s done it, and he’s done pretty much everything right.

In 2019, he co-founded, bootstrapped, and sold, in just under two years, FeedbackPanda.com, an online teacher productivity SaaS company. Arvid Kahl is an entrepreneur, investor, author, software engineer, and bootstrapped startup expert.

He currently runs The Bootstrapped Founder and authored a book called Zero to Sold: How to Start, Run, and Sell a Bootstrapped Business. He is busy writing a second one entitled Audience First with the direct contribution of his audience! Make sure you subscribe to his newsletter the get a fresh perspective bootstrapping and on the indie founder community.

What you’ll learn

It’s an episode packed with actionable strategies and tactics, and we cover quite a lot of ground. We talk about:

  • What to do to build a sellable company
  • His approach to automation
  • How to stay in touch with end users
  • How he made build or buy decisions
  • His secret to onboarding employees quickly
  • His take on founders’ mental health and bootstrapping.

If by the end of the episode you haven’t figured out that Arvid, just like us, is a big proponent of automation and systems to simplify your startup, you didn’t listen well.

Listen carefully to his advice. Take notes. Check out the list of books and podcasts that he recommends (see below). You’ll learn from his experience, strategies, and his approach to running a bootstrapped startup.

It was such a fun and insightful interview. Thanks Arvid!

Enjoy the show!


We knew that this teacher community was so tribal. It was such a tight knit group of people that by facilitating building community, we knew we would never run out of customers. And we didn't. We had a constant influx of people without having to do any kind of advertising.”
Arvid Kahl Tweet

You can subscribe to Growth Leap Podcast on Spotify or Apple.

Show Notes

Arvid’s background and what he’s been up to since selling his startup – [01:22]

What problem Arvid and his partner faced that led to the launch of FeedbackPanda – [03:36]

The simple marketing strategy that generated a constant influx of customers [07:16]

How Arvid avoided previous product validation mistakes – [10:13]

The resources and frameworks that helped Arvid built an automated and sellable bootstrapped startup – [12:13]

Arvid’s advice to allow engineers to do coding deep work without losing touch with the end users – [15:05]

The automations Arvid put in place to increase effectiveness and productivity – [21:02]

How Arvid made made or buy decisions while developing his product – [28:11]

The biggest hiring mistake Arvid made – [33:06]

Arvid’s secret to hire and get people up and running in a matter of hours – [44:05]

Arvid documented his processes – [44:05]

The habit you need to acquire to – [48:51]

Why Arvid prefers startups who ride a sustainable linear curve instead of a hockey stick – [50:07]

Selected Links

Arvid on LinkedIn

Arvid on Twitter

The Bootstrapped Founder and the newsletter.


Arvid’s first book: Zero to Sold: How to Start, Run, and Sell a Bootstrapped Business

Arvid’s upcoming book: Audience First

Indie Hackers Podcasts

Startups for the rest of us

Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You

The 4-Hour Workweek

The E Myth

Earnest Capital

Rob Fitzpatrick’s book, The Mom Test

That's all folks

If you’re feeling generous why not spread the words on Twitter.