Some good ideas here–particularly #3
Wow this is a really interesting perspective - a lot of us (at least me) love to drink the bootstrapping kool-aid and not really consider that there might be a reason the VC-funded startups are obsessed with growth beyond greed. It’s very Game of Thrones - you play or you die. I like that he called out 37Signals specifically too, given that they’re the most militant about not growing.
I love the guides on Sumo. Every time I read one I come up with a half dozen “to do” items.
I’m not a big fan of the idea that companies should grow as fast as possible, but I thought that this was a well-reasoned experience report of passing on that opportunity. (Though this scale of opportunity is very rare!) He certainly passed on a lot of potential revenue, and it could’ve been the end of his company. There’s very real risks on both sides of the choice.
Excellent post, thank you. It’s difficult to find content with actionable items, so this was a refreshing read.
the plural of anecdote is not data
This. So much this. Extrapolating from a personal experience to inaccurate generalizations is such an easy trap to fall into. Gotta stay sharp and watch myself.
This quote really makes the article:
… when I finally had something to show off, my business partner opened the local newspaper, picked a bunch of local plumbers, and called them in an attempt to sell the idea.
He called 10 plumbers. 5 of them suggested he place the idea in an anatomically implausible location. 4 of them had their secretary provide the same advice.
Looks like this is his third product, and having an audience of 40k potential users is a great head start. But yeah, not a lot of audience research or anything to see if people wanted it, just “I think I’d want it”, which sometimes works wonderfully and sometimes is a dud. Kudos to him.
I’m amused at how he did everything wrong according to conventional bootstrap wisdom - rushed straight into developing, didn’t do any interviews or create a landing page first, never did direct sales, but succeeded just fine. There’s something to be said for the power of an audience - if you’ve got 40k twitter followers who cares about marketing :p.
Man I’m torn - half the people in the world will tell you to do this, the other half will tell you the focus on getting your first MVP out before you start worrying about content marketing :(.
Thanks @clifford :D
I’m reminded of Betteridge’s Law of Headlines: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”
Great article, @ninjamonk! There were a number of really interesting companies in this list I hadn’t heard of before in markets/spaces I wouldn’t have thought of. Keep up the awesome work you’ve been doing! Really love the weekly roundups you’ve been putting together.
Most first-time bootstrappers don’t really realize it, but this is how you actually get your business off the ground from the start - going hand-to-hand sales. Marketing comes after this step. After you’ve had enough one-on-one conversations to know what your target market actually cares about (through sales!). Think of marketing as “automating sales”. Don’t make the mistake so many people make and don’t try to do direct sales. This is the lifeblood of so many businesses you’ve never heard of that are making a killing in their space.
Thanks, I’ve replaced it.
It took 14 months to reach $3700
Don’t forget, this stuff doesn’t happen overnight.
Here’s the working link: https://hackernoon.com/i-used-lamp-to-make-a-saas-with-3700-mo-profit-heres-how-1c47033900e9
Thanks for the response. In this case I already have the leads, I’m more concerned with the best way to get their money into my pocket :)