Interview with Cam Bannister of FreeByrd

Interview with Cam Bannister of FreeByrd

Cam is the founder of FreeByrd–a SaaS for creative professionals who want to market their services online (and build an income via coaching courses and more). 

To read the full interview with Cam check out page 269 of Kicking SaaS: 101 Founders on What it Takes to Launch a Software as a Service.


What is FreeByrd?

FreeByrd is the ultimate all-in-one platform to build your business online. It’s for people who are tech averse or who have never brought their business to life through digital marketing. It allows people to build websites, create online education sales funnels, and do email marketing all in one place.

How did you identify this is a problem to be solved?

I used to be a traveling hair stylist in Dallas and New York. Through that journey of learning the beauty industry, I realized that there was this gap in knowledge and resources of how to build a successful independent business. I saw so many professionals working multiple jobs, trying to work for Uber or be waitresses while I was working 48 days a year clearing six figures. I’m thinking, Where is this great divide? It certainly wasn’t my background, because I’m from a small town. It was my passion for what I did that just drove me to keep growing.

One night, I was scrolling through Instagram, very frustrated that my industry was more concerned with the numbers on their Insta- gram account than they were about reaching clients and strategically marketing the work they were producing. I wanted to tell them, “You’re going to miss it!” So I went into my living room and rolled out some paper and started building the first concept of FreeByrd. My husband Derek walked in, and I’m like, “I think I have an idea.” As soon as I finished sketching it out, he started wireframing.

That’s how FreeByrd got started. We’ve seen great success so far. To give context, one of our professionals who didn’t even have a web- site four years ago has cleared $120k by bringing her services online through FreeByrd. She just did her first online class through FreeByrd and made $9,500.

What has this journey looked like as a non-technical founder?

I didn’t have a computer until about two years ago. I started Free- Byrd with an iPad and my iPhone. But being a non-technical person has allowed me to better understand my market. I know how to hold the space to educate a demographic of people who don’t have this knowledge. I’m still learning too, as I’m running a company that looks so different than what I’ve done in the past. It’s like learning a new language.

What has the development process looked like for you?

My technical co-founder and I have worked with multiple soft- wares to create our own. That’s allowed us to stay agile and move quickly. We went the way of custom-built for the first year and a half. What we found is that in today’s market, it’s unnecessary to get hung up on creating something from scratch.

How have you tested FreeByrd?

We’ve been working with 10-15 groups of users, and every time we roll out a new iteration, we see how they like it and work with it. Then we move forward quickly. We don’t ask too many questions; we just move. Over the last year, we’ve pivoted four times.

How have you funded your business?

Starting out, FreeByrd was completely funded. After concepting it in our living room, our first investment came two days later, when one of my clients came to my house and saw the sketches. I asked her to sign an NDA and she sent us a check three days later. In our first year and a half, we raised $140k in Friends and Family – all accredited investors, all my clients.

Until now, all of FreeByrd has been funded 100% by my clients. To date, we’ve raised $170k and we’re doing another raise, but we’re also bootstrapping. With bootstrapping, I would tell founders just to be mindful that money ebbs and flows drastically and you need to be prepared. You’re in it for the long haul. I’m taking my family and moving into my mom’s house because I want to make sure that I can still run and grow a sustainable company. In five years, I don’t want to have this overhead of capital that I raised just to get to a certain point when it would have been more diligent to focus on what my customers need and expedite sales that way. I’m all about making sure my investors get their return, but I’m not about to go into debt.

Today, the company’s doing better than ever. We own 100% of our company, and three years, in we’re running a successful SaaS.


To read the full interview with Cam check out page 269 of Kicking SaaS: 101 Founders on What it Takes to Launch a Software as a Service.


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