How much do I want to read more? 7/10
What's interesting is the autor failed many times and succeeded on his last try in 7 days, without planing or thinking so much. He had time to think more after the launch, talking with real customers.
I’ve worked with thousands of entrepreneurs over the years through my podcast5, blog6, startup conference7, and my most recent startup8. Without question, the biggest mistake people make is obsessing over their idea and not focusing enough on finding people willing to pay for their product.
You Don’t Learn Until You Launch
[quote, Bill Gates]
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important
to heed the lessons of failure.”
I finished the book Think and Grow Rich. It advised thinking of a financial goal for the next 12 months, and saying it every day. I thought of $100k as an annual wage.
I said it to myself every day throughout 2007.
But I didn’t hit the goal. I didn’t even hit half of the goal. Not in 2007, or 2008, or 2009, or 2010, or 2011. In 2012, my wage dropped so far it fell below zero.
My First Business Idea
What if I put the HR manual… online?
I learned a very valuable lesson from my failure to launch.
That lesson is: “You don’t learn until you launch.”
My First Business
I had one major problem:
The business was not profitable.
It wasn’t profitable in year one, year seven, or anywhere in between. I didn’t become a millionaire before 30. I went backwards as all of my friends went forward. I was 30, living week to week, renting and earning a lower wage than anyone I knew.
In the end, I accepted that it was a problem I couldn’t solve. I sold the business to build something new.
This time, I was going all in. I wanted to build something real. A startup that would succeed spectacularly. I wanted to stop scraping by and finally become a success. I wasn’t leaving any room for the alternative.
My First Startup
If I couldn’t get traction by then, I would have to move cities and get a job.
I knew what to do this time. I was going to create something big, something that could scale. I had four possible ideas I could run with.
I started looking at jobs and wondered how we’d go about moving back to the city closest to where the jobs were.
I’d failed again.
This time it looked like there was no coming back.
My 7 Day Success
With two weeks left I had one last crack. This would be my final startup attempt.
Running mainly on adrenaline, I ignored a lot of the activities I would typically spend time on when planning a business. Instead, I focused only on things that would lead to paying customers.
- Sexy ideas. I wanted to solve a problem and sell a service. Fast.
- My failure. I had failed a lot in fourteen years, but I didn’t have time to worry about my shortcomings.
- Permission. I used to ask for opinions on my ideas, but not this time.
- Assumptions. There was no time to make them or to test them. I had to launch.
- The small stuff. I didn’t have months to agonize over a logo, business name or design—I put the site up in one day.
- Pricing strategy. I set a price and would let my customers tell me whether it was worth it.
- The perfect payment gateway. Informly’s payment gateway took six months to set up. This time, I used a PayPal button that I set up in 30 minutes.
On Saturday, I decided to launch WP Live Ninja (now WP Curve), a WordPress support service that offered unlimited small WordPress jobs 24/7 for $69 per month. By Saturday afternoon the domain was registered; on Tuesday the site was live; and by Wednesday I sent out an email launching the service. I landed my first paying customer that day.
In the first week, I signed up 10 customers. This resulted in $476 of recurring monthly revenue, which was the exact amount I’d worked up to during the previous twelve months with Informly.
Each month we grew by around 15% because people started proactively spreading the word. After 13 months we had 475 customers and were making over $33,000 in monthly recurring revenue (MRR). Just as important for me, I had blown past my $100,000 annual wage.
After one year, WP Curve was far ahead of where my agency was after seven. We had twice as many customers, twice the revenue, more staff, a stronger team, lower costs, a simpler business model, happier customers, and four times more profit.
It only took 7 Days.
Chapter 2 - What is a Startup?
[quote, Eric Ries]
“A startup is a human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.”
Chapter 3 - Idea, Execution, Hustle
Work on your business, not in your business—impossible and impractical when you are bootstrapping a new idea.
Optimize your funnel — pointless when you have no leads.
Hack your growth — difficult before you have customers.
Another popular maxim in entrepreneurial circles is, “Ideas don’t matter, only execution matters.”
That advice is well-intentioned, but wrong.
Execution is your ability to present your idea just as well as the best ideas in the world.
Hustle is relentlessly pursuing what needs to be done at the time.
Anti-hustle is what wantrepreneurs do. They do everything other than what needs to be done. They keep coding. They design new features. They optimize their site.
They do everything other than what they need to do—which, more often than not, is getting more customers.
Some people are not good at hustle.
They don’t know how to filter the noise, work out what they really need to do, and then tirelessly get that shit done.
Be honest with yourself. If idea, execution, or hustle are not you, then find a co-founder who excels in those areas.
Why 7 Days?
[quote, Mark Zuckerberg]
“Move fast and break things.”
- When I purchased another company, I assumed I could bolt on $40,000 profit. Wrong.
- When I launched Informly, I assumed that if I created something great then people would buy it. Wrong.
- When I released a new version of Informly, I assumed that people would act according to the survey results. Wrong again.
The only time I didn’t act out of assumptions was with WP Curve. I had no time to assume anything. I launched, and every important decision came afterwards. I based those decisions on real customer behavior, not assumptions.
The ability to learn from real data is why the 7 Day Startup works. You wipe assumptions off the table. Your focus is on launching in 7 Days.