17 Ways To Find Profitable SaaS Ideas (SaaS Guide Part 2)


If you analyze successful SaaS founders and their business ideas, there is one clear lesson:

Good SaaS ideas are no coincidence.

On the contrary, they revolve around the same core concepts as focusing on problems instead of solutions, a clear target market, experimentation, and iteration.

Besides that, most good SaaS ideas have had similar beginnings. They have been discovered – knowingly or unknowingly – by applying the same narrow set of methods.

So, what does this mean for you?

Put simply, you can reverse engineer your own profitable SaaS business ideas by applying the same concepts and methods of successful SaaS founders. To achieve this, I have curated the best SaaS web resources into one single blog post, including idea generation methods and real-life examples.

[Just in case you came to this blog post by accident – this is the third blog post of the web guide “How to Start a SaaS”. If you want to learn what this web guide is all about, check out this introductory blog post .]

Basics of Finding a Good Business Idea

If you want to come up with profitable SaaS ideas, you need to comply with classic business principles. The following web resources summarize the essentials of successful business ideas and thus explain why most entrepreneurs are doomed to fail before they even start:

Love The Problem, Not Your Solution

  • Blog post (Reading Time: 5 Minutes), Basic, Theory
  • Summary: Ash Maurya, startup expert, explains the lean canvas concept & why big ideas fail.

Why You Should Tell Everyone About Your Startup Idea

  • Video (Duration: 8 Minutes), Basic, Theory
  • Summary: Find out why nobody will steal your amazing business idea …

Don’t Look for Unique Ideas

  • Podcast (Duration: 45 Minutes), Basic, Practice
  • Summary: Why you don’t need a unique idea to have a successful business & why delayed gratification is your best friend.

Why Most Product Ideas Aren’t That Good

  • Blog post (Reading Time: 3 Minutes), Basic, Theory
  • Summary: Justin Jackson explains a simple framework to find business ideas.

Why People Buy Software

  • Blog post (Reading Time: 5 Minutes), Basic, Theory
  • Summary: Why you should listen to customers’ „inner thoughts”.

Idea Extraction, The Lifestyle You Need to Be Living

  • Blog post (Reading Time: 5 Minutes), Basic, Practice
  • Summary: Idea Extraction – A simple mindset to find profitable business ideas.

My Idea Already Exists

  • Forum post (Reading Time: 30 minutes), SaaS, Practice
  • Summary: Quora Thread explaining why it doesn’t matter that your business idea already exists.

A Quick Guide to Help You Picking Up The Best Side Project Idea

  • Blog post (Summary: 10 Minutes), Basics, Practice
  • Summary: If you have countless business ideas, this blog post is for you.

How to come up With Side Project Ideas

  • Blog post (Duration: 5 Minutes), Basics, Practice
  • Summary: 8 actionable tips to find your next business idea.

Your Ideas Don’t Suck, Your Feedback Loop Does

  • Blog post (Duration: 5 Minutes), Basics, Theory
  • Summary: Why you shouldn’t ask family, friends & colleagues for feedback on your business idea.

SaaS, Software WordPress Plugins – What makes people buy?

  • Video (Duration: 8 Minutes), SaaS, Theory
  • Summary: Simple steps that make people buy software.

Scratch Your Own Itch

Besides starting with the letter “B”, what do BaremetricsBasecamp, and Buffer have in common?

All three SaaS apps have been developed for the same reason – their founders experienced a problem in their daily lives, and they solved it by building software. This is what “Scratch your own itch” is all about.

Find out how to apply this method:

10 Examples Of Successful SaaS-Founders Who Scratched Their Own Itch

  • Blog post (Reading Time: 30 Minutes), SaaS, Practice
  • Summary: 10 SaaS founders tell their personal stories on how they solved their own problems.

Why You Should Scratch Your Own Itch

  • Blog post (Reading Time: 5 minutes), Basic, Theory
  • Summary: A data-driven blog post showing why scratching your itch has the biggest chance to succeed.

Scratch Your Own Itch

  • Blog post (Reading Time: 5 Minutes), SaaS, Theory
  • Summary: 5 simple ways to generate SaaS ideas (including scratching your own itch).

The Power Of Scratching Your Own Itch

  • Blog post (Reading time: 5 minutes), Practice
  • Summary: The reasons why the best ideas come from a personal need.

How to  Scratch Your Own Itch and Build a 6-Figure SaaS Business

  • Podcast (Duration: 50 Minutes), SaaS, Practice
  • Summary: How Josh Ledgard built a successful SaaS-business by solving his own email marketing problems.

A Practical Guide to Finding Problems to Solve In Less Than 60 Minutes

  • Blog post (Reading Time: 30 Minutes), SaaS, Practice
  • Summary: Simple & practical process to find software business ideas.

The Market-Driven Approach

Apart from “Scratching your own itch”, the market-driven approach is the most popular method for finding profitable (SaaS) ideas.

It’s easily explained:

  1. Find a lucrative market
  2. Identify a big pain/problem within that market
  3. Solve that pain/problem

By following this approach, you don’t rely on luck, but on a very scientific and efficient procedure. The following web resources illustrate the market-driven approach in much more detail:

How to choose a target market for your SaaS

  • Video+Blog post (Duration: 10 Minutes), SaaS, Theory
  • Summary: Justin Jackson defines simple criteria for lucrative target markets.

Find a Market You Want To Serve, And Then Build What They Want

  • Video (Duration: 4 Minutes), SaaS, Theory
  • Summary: Two examples of SaaS founders who chose their market first & built software later.

95 Ways to Find Your First Customers for Customer Development For Your First Sale

  • Blog post (Reading Time: 30 Minutes), Basic, Practice
  • Summary: 95 ways to get in contact with your target market.

Designing SaaS Products For the Small Business Owner

  • Video (Reading Time: 50 Minutes), Basic, Theory
  • Summary: Great video explaining why small business owners are a great market for SaaS products.

How to Find a Starving Crowd Hungry for Your SaaS Product

  • Video (Duration: 55 Minutes), SaaS, Theory
  • Summary: Actionable tips to find your target market.

The 3 P’s of Market Research – Starting From Minute 11:47

  • Podcast (Duration: 27 Minutes), Basic, Theory
  • Summary:  The 3 P’s-Method (People, Platform, Products) – the quickest way to analyze your target market.

Introduction to Idea Extraction

  • PDF,  Basic, Theory
  • Summary: An amazing 3 step-method you can use to attack any market.

Listen to Dane Maxwell Extracting a Profitable Business Idea

  • Audio (Duration: 44 Minutes), SaaS, Practice
  • Summary: How to apply idea extraction in real life.

400+ Niche Market Examples

  • Blog post (Reading Time: 30 Minutes), Basic, Practice
  • Summary: Epic list of business ideas targeting a niche market.

Alternative Ways to Find (SaaS) Ideas

In case you didn’t find your SaaS idea yet, don’t get discouraged. There are many more ways to find SaaS ideas.

Check out the following web resources and pick the approach that suits you the most:

Pivot From Consulting to SaaS

  • Video (Duration: 14 Minutes), SaaS, Practice
  • Summary: How Tyler Tringas switched from consulting to building a 6-figure SaaS business (Storemapper ).

Automate Freelancing

  • Forum post (Reading Time: 20 Minutes), SaaS, Practice
  • Summary: Alex Moskovski built a profitable SaaS business (QuoteArtist ) by automating Fiverr-tasks.

Find A SaaS Idea by Having Standards

  • Podcast, SaaS, Practice
  • Summary: Perry Oostdam built a multi-million-dollar business (Recruitee ) by reverse engineering his SaaS idea.

From Infoproduct To SaaS

  • Podcast (Duration: 20 Minutes), SaaS, Practice
  • Summary: Find out how Laura Roeder pivoted from selling information products to building  a Social Media SaaS (Meet Edgar).

Automate Daunting Tasks

  • Blog Post (Reading Time: 10 Minutes), SaaS, Practice
  • Summary: Richard Felix recovered 1,7 Billion Dollars for his customers with his SaaS app Stunning.

Build on Existing Platforms

  • Blog post (Reading Time: 5 Minutes), SaaS, Practice
  • Summary: Find out why platforms are a great starting point to build SaaS apps (Baremetrics).

Two Fast & Easy Methods To Generate Ideas For A Profitable Software

  • Video (Duration: 6 Minutes), SaaS, Practice
  • Summary: Two very practical methods to find SaaS ideas.

How to Start A SaaS the Unsexy Way

  • Video (Duration: 3 Minutes), SaaS, Practice
  • Summary: You don’t need to start with software to build a SaaS business…

4013 Fresh Startup Ideas For You

  • Website, Basic, Practice
  • Summary: A huge archive of useful startup ideas.