Start Small, Stay Small: A Developer's Guide to Launching a Startup

Author: Rob Walling
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by jkingsbery   2021-05-23
Others mentioned MicroConf. The organizer of MicroConf, Rob Walling, wrote a book where he gives very similar advice:, both around starting with a market and focusing less on technology and more on sales. He is writing for a particular niche of smaller, non-VC-backed startups, but the general approach still seems similar.
by throwaway888abc   2020-08-02
Congrats on making it 'there'!

Aside from obvious advises (which i'm sure will come) on grow, VC, investment, outsourcing, scaling et cetera.

Please consider this approach:

Start Small, Stay Small - by Rob Walling and Mike Taber

Wish you all the best

by garren   2019-04-26
That's awesome. A couple responses to yesterday's thread regarding bookmarked hn quotes really opened up my eyes regarding building and maintaining side projects. I picked up a book, "Start Small, Stay Small: A Developer's Guide to Launching a Startup" which has been informative (if a little dated). This article is a great supplement to that book, and is inspirational to a 9-5'er like me.

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by graeme   2017-08-19
In my case, I was very focussed on long term revenue that would pay me whether or not I was working. Within my niche, that took the form of print book sales, e-book sales on my own site and through partners, and affiliate relationships. I'm up to about $4,000 a month from passive sources.

You're in a good spot to have a full time job you enjoy and (presumably) pays well. For me, the hardest part was building capital. I'd recommend saving every penny you can.

As for how to start, try lots of small things. Most of my ideas that worked took, at most, two weeks to test. Many started from writing an email or making a phone call.

There are countless niches now, full of people prepared to pay money. I chose LSAT prep. I'm sure already there's thing you know how to do that people will pay for. Some ways you can monetize that:

  * An e-book guide to something, with free html articles as marketing for organic SEO and links
  * Some useful tool people will link to. Serves as marketing for either ads, a product, or a paid version
  * Videos on a topic. Can be marketing for any of the above, or lead to a paid video product.
"Authority" by Nathan Barry is an excellent book for establishing yourself in a niche. Reading that convinced me to make, which has free html versions of my books and draws many visitors which I've been able to monetize.

"Start small, stay small" by Rob Walling is an excellent guide to bootstrapping a business. Possibly the best. It's aimed at software developers, but I was able to use it as a non-developer for guiding principles and marketing.

The Moz guide to SEO is a very useful intro to how SEO works. Essential reading if you're planning on going the free marketing route.

Lastly, the Four Hour Workweek is what got me started, and it's a great overview of the hacker mindset applied to business. For me, the idea was not "hehehe, how can I be lazy and work only 4 hours". It was "how can I make a business that can keep running even if I choose not to work on it". I do work quite a bit, but I don't HAVE to now.

(Note: This last book rubs many people the wrong way. If a specific situation irks you, ask what principle he was applying, and if it could be applied to a situation that doesn't annoy you)


Start Small:



by edw519   2017-08-19
That was a pretty good post, csomar, but I'm going to critique it anyway. (If it was a crummy post, I wouldn't even bother.)

What I like about it: You're focused on building something that supplies an actual demand. Good!

What concerns me about it: You're still too focused on yourself. Every one of your bullets was about what you want your business to look like.

I think you're focusing too much inward when you need to be focusing on your prospective customer and how they will benefit from the value you provide them.

Examples are everywhere, just a few off the top of my head:

  - salons that wants to optimize their scheduling
  - retailers that want to improve one on one communication
  - actors/artists that need better portfolios
  - shopkeepers who want to capture more POS info
  - teachers who want to play bingo in class (never mind)
Get out of your office and find people like this first. Ask them, not us, what they want. Then figure out how to provide them with what they crave. (Once you find one niche and get going, you'll be surprised how much fun it is and how well it works out.)

The rest (your bullets) will take care of itself. The shape of your business will be the byproduct of doing whatever you must to satisfy your customers' needs.

One great resource that will probably help you: