Start Small, Stay Small: A Developer's Guide to Launching a Startup
Start Small, Stay Small is a step-by-step guide to launching a self-funded startup. If you're a desktop, mobile or web developer, this book is your blueprint to getting your startup off the ground with no outside investment. This book intentionally avoids topics restricted to venture-backed startups such as: honing your investment pitch, securing funding, and figuring out how to use the piles of cash investors keep placing in your lap. This book assumes: * You don't have $6M of investor funds sitting in your bank account * You're not going to relocate to the handful of startup hubs in the world * You're not going to work 70 hour weeks for low pay with the hope of someday making millions from stock options There's nothing wrong with pursuing venture funding and attempting to grow fast like Amazon, Google, Twitter, and Facebook. It just so happened that most people are not in a place to do this. Start Small, Stay Small also focuses on the single most important element of a startup that most developers avoid: marketing. There are many great resources for learning how to write code, organize source control, or connect to a database. This book does not cover the technical aspects developers already know or can learn elsewhere. It focuses on finding your idea, testing it before you build, and getting it into the hands of your customers.
brother, your sister, a parent, etc. How hard would it be to design a product that you’re sure this person would use…not very hard, right? That’s because you know so much about the intimate details of their life. Based on your knowledge of their interest in playing death metal on the banjo, for example, you might build a website that aggregates every death metal banjo tablature on the web (tablature is like sheet music). Or you might build software that displays common death metal banjo chords.
is with your contact for the niche (the person in the right-hand column). Give this person a call and grill her on what pains her in the job or hobby that could be solved with software. You’ll probably find at least a few ideas; everyone loves to talk about their daily woes, and especially about how awful their software is. Next, we’ll hit a few keyword tools to see if there are other product ideas that people are searching for that your contact didn’t mention. Before we begin, you’ll also want
someone signs up, guard against being blacklisted by people clicking “spam” in their mail client…and on and on… Needless to say, you won’t be building a list management system yourself, nor will you be hosting it yourself. This is the #1 mistake I’ve seen software entrepreneurs make with regards to list management; trying to host the software themselves. 138 Aside from the hassles of maintenance, email deliverability should be your #1 priority, and you will never achieve the level of
line to walk. For example, Google provides a Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide68 that discusses page titles, Meta tags, URL structure, and other basic SEO information that helps Google understand what your website is about as this improves their search results. SEO can be about gaming the system, but it can also be about making sure your website is presented in an optimized form that search engines can clearly and readily understand. To take an example: if you’re a blogger you may have
Much Can You Really Gain? These are trivial examples of what I call drip outsourcing; outsourcing small tasks as I perform my daily work. Drip outsourcing has become invaluable to my productivity. If you total up the three instances above it only amounts to 6-7 hours. But you can do this constantly, every day. Before I start any task I ask myself: “Could one of my contractors possibly do this?” Over the course of a month you can easily save 20-40 hours without much effort. These days I save