Ok what is your SaaS application going to do other than give you something to work on?
Should it have to do anything else? No, seriously, I feel as though running a SaaS would be a rewarding experience. But not because it'd be my own project. As a hobbyist, I've worked on too many small projects that went nowhere. Really what I want is to be placed in the position to run my own small (micro?) business, and see the business side of web development... And, honestly, I think I would look more attractive to a potential client if they knew I could handle the business side a bit.
You have to make an application that meets the needs of a person or a company. What kind of needs have you heard of people asking for? What is your e-commerce SaaS going to offer that the other thousands of eCommerce software packages or services don't offer?
So you're right.. I haven't entirely thought of the end-user's needs as much as I should. Currently the only potential user's I'd have are friends and family. But I think that's the whole point, if I'm not mistaken. Surely you've read Paul Graham's essays on start-ups? To paraphrase: even if you have a small niche market, if you stick with it long enough, you'll be able to build on that market.. I'll omit the last part, in which he said that you'd get rich that way.. Personally I'm just out to be as financially independent as possible.
One advantage of working for someone else is that you aren't taking on the risk of developing a product that no one wants or that you can't sell.
Even if I fail, and end up doing contract work again, at least I'll have something which I made a deliberate attempt to be attractive to customers. And that would do more for my currently thin portfolio than, say, another blog engine or something as equally as silly.
Outside of that, I guess I was looking for more business advice than anything. And yes, I know this is not a business forum, but I thought that the kind of advice a fellow Ruby dev would give would speak to me better than another business "tutorial" written for "business-minded" people.