You most definitely should. It may seem like a crazy idea, but if you don’t want to be one of those startup that goes out of business within a year (as usually happens with over 95% of products and startups), there are just a few things you need to do.
That’s why you should focus more on these few crucial things that will drastically increase your company’s chances of surviving in the market a little longer – definitely longer than a year!
As a very important start – you don’t need to have expensive software and tools. try to use the ones that are free or you just don’t have to spend a fortune on them.
One crucial step for startup success is to seek guidance from a business mentor to navigate challenges and make informed decisions
List of things you need to launch a start-up
- Logo and branding
- Payment System
Let’s look at all these aspects in more detail.
Logo and branding
First, you should create a logo and brand design for your start-up. You can use several tools to do this.
- DALL·E 2 – if you have access to DALL-E 2, try to insert catchphrases into your idea and be inspired by them. But if you don’t have DALL-E 2, don’t despair. There are more ways to do it.
- Canva – Canva is a great tool for creating a splash image. It includes dozens of free templates and elements. You can easily design creatives even without previous experience. It’s great for any business that will build their business based on social media presence, but honestly, you can create almost anything there.
- Figma – Figma is the best app for designing logos, mockups and prototypes. You can easily share them with your team members and collaborate with them on their projects online. Create your logo here and also the mockups and prototypes you need.
- Smartmockups – Smartmockups allows you to create free product mockups with just a few clicks. Just choose your favorite mockup, upload your design and you’re done!
Every business needs a nice and eye-catching website. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to easily create a sleek website.
- Carrd – Carrd is the fastest way to create a website. Just choose a template and enjoy a nice-looking website at insanely low prices.
- Webflow – Webflow is great for creating more complex websites. The best part is that you don’t need ANY coding knowledge. Webflow is fantastic if you want to create a unique, interactive website.
Creating technology products has never been simpler. There are many possible methods to do this without previous knowledge of coding.
- Bubble – Bubble.io allows you to create a fully functional web application without any coding. What’s even better – the tool is completely free! You only pay for it the moment your audience starts to grow.
- FlowMapp – Flowmapp has amazingly intuitive tools for gathering, organising and collaborating on UX, strategy, design and development. Easily create sitemaps, build flowcharts, research users, plan customer journeys, manage content and many other things.
- Uxpin – Uxpin allows you to create prototypes to test your product. The great part is that it doesn’t cost much to do so.
- Miro – Another great tool for creating workflows and visualising processes.
It really goes without saying that if you want your product to be a hit, you need to monetise it well.
- Stripe – Stripe allows you to set up a very fast payment gateway for your customers that integrates naturally with many tools.
- Paddle – Although Paddle costs more than Stripe, it comes with a few things to help you. With Paddle, you can avoid dealing with complicated things like VAT.
If you want your project to run smoothly, you need an organised workspace.
- Notion – take notes, manage all your research, and create and assign tasks to your team. It can be as simple or as complex as you like.
- Zapier – connect your site to Google Sheets, Gmail, Notion, etc. You can also send an email or create a task in Notion when a user performs a certain action. Once you start using Zapier, you probably won’t need a developer anymore.
- Slack – communicate with your team in an organised way. Slack can also be integrated with almost any other tool you use. Many of Slack’s robots help you automate tasks.
- Asana – Asana allows you to collaborate with your teammates on all your projects in an organised and clear way.
- Clockify – In case you just need to track time spent on projects (mostly used by freelancers). It’s great if you’re starting out as a one-man project and need to bill a client for hours, for example, and you know exactly when you worked and how much time was spent on a particular task. If you have the tools mentioned above, they usually have some similar features for tracking time.
- Google Drive – you can use this to store or create documents and take notes. The good thing is that it can be easily integrated with the other tools mentioned above. The sooner you can get to grips with the Google stack, the better. Later on, you’ll probably move to a paid version of Google Workspace, which has many other advantages (but you’ll also have to pay a monthly fee for each user, which can cost you a lot if your business grows very quickly). In that case, I would recommend looking for another solution that doesn’t charge per user. But it will always depend on your business needs, for some, the best alternative is inexpensive like Zoho, for some businesses you just need the features that Google Workspace offers.
It’s not really important how good your product is if the audience doesn’t know about it. Let’s fix that.
- Product Hunt – Publish your product in the Product Hunt. These user-submitted products are listed in a linear format by day. They will also receive a daily email listing all the best technology products from the previous day.
- Submit – submit.co gives you a list of tech-related media sites that can be ranked by Twitter followers and Alexa rankings. This tool doesn’t do all the work for you, but it makes it easy to create an initial list for outreach.
- Cision – if you’ve got a bit of cash, definitely check out Cision! Cision manages a database of around 1.4 million journalists, editors and influencers. It’s the best way to get people talking about your product.
- Write regular articles or blog posts – yes, this part takes some effort, but you’ll soon see that you don’t have to spend all the money you earn or save just on effective marketing (and to be honest, you probably don’t have a big budget, to begin with). Also – most of the founders who just got the investment spend the investors’ money on marketing and they don’t spend it wisely (because of lack of knowledge, but also because they didn’t have to earn it and that’s the difference – if you look at companies that are not based on funding, they are much more efficient because they had to be that way from day one). That’s what can save quite a lot of money if you learn to do content marketing. And yes, it takes time and yes, you won’t see results anytime soon and yes, it takes a lot of months (especially if you have a new domain, no backlinks portfolio and no one knows you yet). But after a while, it will become your competitive advantage because – you now know how to create content, you have the team and the process to create it in volume, and you know exactly what the return on that marketing investment will be in the long run. So start learning this part from the beginning, it will help you a lot in the later stages when you just can’t buy every user or targeted traffic or it becomes less effective over time and you have to look for another marketing channel.
- Build your own network – On LinkedIn and on LinkedIn Competitors, just build your own company profile or personal brand which will then be used to advertise things related to your company. Find people who have something in common with you. Try to assist them, if someone is looking for the right person or company, give them advice. Be a useful part of the community of Spanish-speaking community. Just be ready to help people in any way you can, because that’s how you build your name, your image, and your willingness for others to help you back one day.
You and your product need to be seen. Let’s talk about how to do it.
- Perfect your SEO – SEO is probably one of the most important marketing strategies today. It’s quite a lot to do with the blog section, so basically to say that you can and should compose content for each section of your website. If you have an online store, you will have content in each category (done manually or via some text/content template. There are many ways to make content, but the basic idea is – if the content helps others, people will share it because it contains valuable information. So always try to ask – does the content I create really solve the problem? Are people really looking for it? And is it worth sharing? You can exchange articles, you can publish your articles on other websites, if you can produce valuable content. There are many different ways you can get attention, links and exposure in the area you need it.
- Really Good Emails – This is one of the best examples of email design and resources. They have over 10 000 great email templates for you to study! You can also ask their expert users to make video clips for your site.
Feedback and testing
Your objective should always be to perfect your product. User feedback is your key ally.
- Tally – Tally is a simple tool for creating shapes. It allows you to create visually appealing and engaging questionnaires that ensure a high competition rate.
- Hotjar – Hotjar allows you to see how visitors actually use your site. You can view heatmaps, funnels, forms and more. Best of all, there’s a free version!
- Google Optimize – A great tool for A/B and multivariate testing.
- Justfreetools – Justfreetools is super useful tool that let’s you do pretty anything you need. Just have a look to see what it can do to help you.
Questions you should ask yourself before starting a new start-up business
If you want to be successful with your startup as well, it’s great to do a few small exercises in the beginning (better sooner than later). It’s basically asking questions to avoid further surprises (which can potentially lead to bankruptcy).
- Do we have a business model? Do we know how we’re going to monetize this project? Because if we don’t know how we’re going to monetize, and you have a “bent business or business model”, you can easily run out of money because you don’t have a clear idea of how to become a profitable company, or you don’t make any money at all. Forget about the few companies that were bought for billions just because they grew a lot, because the other side that doesn’t get much mention in the media is how many start-ups go out of business because they don’t have a regular source of income. You can’t just rely on investors’ money and one day those investors would love to see a profit. They want their money back. You just can’t forget that it’s still a business. They don’t invest their money just for fun, they expect to get a return on their investment. The other thing is that when you know you have some consistency in revenue, you can plan (growth, expenses, additional investment rounds, changing/updating/structuring the product portfolio, hiring, etc.).
- Do we have different revenue sources? If you only have one main source of income, you’re probably going to run into trouble one day. It’s riskier and it’s the first signal to investors that their invested money is at risk. The more possible sources of income you have, the better. It’s also possible to have control over that source of income (like when you have Facebook ad revenue, where Facebook can terminate or stop your ads from minute to minute without giving a reason = which is a risk factor). Try to diversify your income and reduce potential risks. It’s not healthy for any company to rely on just one source of revenue, as the market situation can easily change and bankrupt your business. You’ll have to lay people off, growth will be drastically reduced, and companies will be preserved for years or decades, and investors’ money along with them.
- Does our project solve any real problems? How many people have the same problem? Projects that have such a fundamental factor tend to stay on the market longer. Because the fundamental fact that you are offering people a solution is a very good assumption that there will be (some) market. Okay, maybe one day you’ll find that people don’t want to pay for that solution or don’t want to pay a price that will cover the company’s costs or give your company a chance to grow, but if that factor doesn’t exist, you’re probably doing business wrong and you’ll probably find that out very soon (like when you visit your first few investors).
- How big is the market? At the beginning or if you are starting a small or medium sized startup or entrepreneurial project, you probably won’t have enough money to do comprehensive market research. However, you can do basic research on your own – there are many aspects you can check – since the same problem is part of all discussions on the internet, do a basic or more comprehensive keyword analysis that will show you a lot, financial results and financial statements of competitors. However, you should also take into account that not everything is so great in these “official financial documents”), as many companies work great “on paper” and in reality have cashflow and leakage problems, frankly – sometimes they have a problem with everything and everywhere – they just shouldn’t disclose it (as they could close the company right here and right now). Some financial results “on paper for investors” can take it all, and many companies have to adjust and adapt many of their financial results to even have a chance of succeeding in front of investors or in the next investment round. At the very least, however, you should do this “fact checking” and research right from the start, because that’s what your investors would like to know. That your business has the potential to grow and how big it can be. And they also want to see not false data or “I think so” type data. The data will also give you a bit more information about whether the business is scalable or whether your startup can one day become a global company.
- How hard is it to run the same business as your competitors? Well, if there are no barriers, you probably have a lot of competition. So either you have to have a huge competitive advantage (technical, financial/financial, whatever) to outperform everyone else in the market, or you have to be so far ahead of everyone else when they start doing the same thing that they can’t catch up to you (ideally, you have both – a huge advantage and you started many years earlier, you have experience, market or product knowledge that other competitors have yet to acquire – and that certainly takes time and money (because they will have to make most of the mistakes you have made in the past if they don’t have the money to hire the best developers, marketers, sales experts, etc. who have relevant experience).
- Do you like the idea of your business? The first thing I tell everyone – if you like the idea and are just talking about it and haven’t started yet, you probably don’t like it that much or it’s probably not a good idea at all. Because otherwise you would have started working on it right away. Another important decision factor should be – why do you want to run this kind of business. Because you want to become a millionaire? Well, that’s probably not a good idea because one day, even if you become rich, you won’t have any motivation. Money will not bring you joy in what you are doing in business. It’s one of the few things that will make you happy, but it shouldn’t be the only and main reason why you founded your startup. For example, in the previous section of this list, if you’ve verified that your product/project/startup solves a real problem for people and you’re doing it well, you’ll see hundreds of happy customers who will spread positive testimonials about how awesome your company is. And that will likely be the reason that drives you forward and that will remind you every day why you’re doing it. Why do you work so hard every day? Because you’re serving people, you’re helping them, you’re delivering a great product or service, and they appreciate it.
I’m sure you’ll modify this list to suit your needs (expand it and add other factors), but my goal was to show you how you should possibly think before you actually invest money or ask other people for money for your project. Because you’ll probably be asked similar questions in the first meeting.
Recommendations I could give to any freelancer or CEO
- Stop reading 100 books on how to do something or books about famous people – just start working on your dream and the rest will be sorted out along the way.
- If you’re making $0, there’s no point in studying Elon and Bezos. Just try to find your own path that is relevant. Ask questions of people at your level who are a little ahead of you so you can learn the right lessons that are relevant to your current situation. Yes, dream big, but first you have to learn how to make a decent living and pay the rent before you can become a millionaire.
- Don’t be arrogant, but think you can do anything.
- If the people around you are just demotivating you or forcing you to stop working, cut them out of your life.
- The best entrepreneurs know how to learn new things and teach themselves.
- You will discover 100x more by trying on your own than by checking what other people have done (what they did right or wrong). Your own personal experience is priceless.
- If you don’t know how to sell (yourself, your products or services), you’re going to struggle. You simply have to be a salesperson – maybe not the best in the world, but you have to understand that it’s part of the job.
- Thick skin is necessary if you want to be in the spotlight. It doesn’t mean being a dick (most successful people are dicks because they think that because they have succeeded in business they are superhuman, this is actually very tricky). You simply can’t get upset because they think you’re a dick, or that something is being written or said about you somewhere that isn’t true. Sometimes you have to stick to your opinion or values (and sometimes that hurts you or your business), but again, that’s part of the job. But stay grounded. Always stay grounded, because the way up can be fast, the way down even faster, and those falls will show you what the people around you are really like.
- If you support people, not tear them down, you will go up ten times faster. Motivate people. Be tough on them when you need to be, but be fair.
- No matter how good your product is, someone is not going to like it. And that’s okay and that’s the way it should be. The same thing happens with your personality, there will always be haters, people who know exactly what you should do, how you should live your life and… Listen, but always decide for yourself. Always do what you think is right for you right now.
- Never regret anything. Every mistake is a lesson. Good or bad, it’s the one that moves you forward. But again, I’ll remind you that it doesn’t matter if you’re a millionaire or not, stay humble. Because one thing you will regret – when you lose valuable friends and see that you’ve turned into someone you don’t want to be.
- Value everything you offer at a rate that would suit you. Also think about whether you would buy the product, ask your customers questions and just listen. Always try to listen because most owners forget this over time. Because they think they are perfect and don’t make mistakes (they all do).
- Your network can either speed you up or slow you down.
- Pessimists are usually perfect and optimists are often rich.
- Stop questioning everyone and start figuring shit out for yourself.
- If you don’t value people’s time, they won’t value yours.
- Always over-communicate because it’s better than no or poor communication.
- Assume you can learn something from everyone.
- Assume that everyone you talk to is also loaded with shit.
- Your heroes on duty are routiners who acted immediately.
- Don’t hold on to the heroes :-). You can be better and sometimes you will find that these “heroes” are people you don’t want to become. Just try to be yourself, because that’s the only way you’ll be happy.
- If you can make $1, you can make $1000. If you can make $1,000, you can most likely make $100,000.
- Don’t just try to get more and more money. Yes, if you can make $100,000, you can make $1,000,000 or even more. But not everyone needs to have a huge company. Not every company has to grow 1,000% every year, try to grow naturally because it will help you to have a functional company with processes and have some personal life as well. Not everyone wants to have a huge global company and be on the cover of every business magazine or website. And not everyone who hasn’t built one knows how much responsibility comes with it. Maybe you want to have some work-life balance. Maybe you have friends, family or children. So set your own pace and don’t worry about not being where you “should” be. Everything happens for a reason. And sometimes the journey is more important to your life than the final destination.
- Don’t ask random individuals. Ask your clients. Build a relationship with them.
- You need meditation and sunlight. Sometimes you need a break. Sometimes you need to listen to your own body and… and just do nothing.
- Don’t try to find a coach, just be an interesting person, you’ll meet a lot of interesting people randomly, and if you or your mentor aren’t a dick, you’ll both have something in common. So you’ll have long discussions about business, life just about anything you both want to share. And just listening to other people’s stories will teach you a lot, and that’s how you’ll naturally build your network as well. And some of these people will become your friends or help you open doors just because they like your character. Don’t just try to build business relationships, because those won’t last. You don’t want fake people around you, you need real people.
- Promote yourself online every day and everywhere you can. Don’t give a shit what people think about it. Learn from mistakes, try to improve your presentation and again – try to be yourself, try to find your own way. Don’t try to copy other approaches because they probably won’t work for you.
- Write for at least 30 minutes a day. Because if you write any post or text daily, you will be doing promotion (we mentioned above), but at the same time it will force you to read. When you read a lot, you know that in order to learn new things, your brain has to work. It’s like going to the gym every day.
- Ignore the haters. They are the least interesting people. And if you have haters, it means you’re probably not the average grey mouse of the population. Because regular people usually don’t have haters (or stalkers :-D).
- Help others and let them help you back. If they never do, move on.
- Talk a lot with your friends and people in your neighborhood. Try to find new people and try to listen to their stories. Just step out of your comfort zone every now and then and meet new people.
- Consume less alcohol or drugs, but also remember to go out and enjoy your time. Don’t isolate yourself completely. You’re in business, but you also have friends. Real friends
- Start with one source of profit and diversify shortly after. We’ve talked about this before.
- Anyone who sells instant results is a liar. There are no shortcuts. Yes, sometimes a few people can make money effortlessly. But usually they don’t succeed. So don’t expect quick results, be patient. Also, when someone tries to tell you that they will give you instant results, be suspicious because 99.9% of these people are pure bullshit. And people who believe these bullshitters are stupid. So if you see this behavior in your clients, leave them. Because sooner or later they will want immediate results from you too. Business is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Clients who don’t get it are not worthy of being in your portfolio. Because they will only drain your energy and never be satisfied.
- Systems will always beat motivation and discipline.
- Don’t try to focus on tools and technique. Just use what you know and what you like.
- Try new things and do experiments in your business, but never with 2 or more new variables. Because otherwise you can’t draw conclusions about what has worked for you.
- Use data and market information to create better content.
- Stop trying to be cool. Cool comes when you just become cool without knowing it
- You’re a lot less intelligent than you think. Be clear.
- When it comes to the essentials, go to business meetings on time. You’re not a teenager. But on the other hand, don’t succumb to the idea that everyone can claim your time – not clients, not employees, sometimes you have to take time for yourself and relax when you feel you need it. Your body is a great machine, but sometimes it needs a little oil.
- No one is coming to save you, you have to be the one who fights, finds new solutions, motivates others and is never at the bottom.
- Arguing on the internet will only cost you energy. don’t do it because you will always lose – time, energy, respect of others, reputation, etc.
- No one cares about you. They care about what you can do for them.
- Don’t argue with your clients. You will never win that fight.
- Everyone has exactly the same 24 hours. It’s how you use them that matters.
Take every bit of this guide in this thread, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be 100% true for you, it’s certainly not. But maybe it will help you understand that entrepreneurship is not about
I’m just a random person on the internet sharing what I’ve discovered. There are hundreds of people like me and much better than me. But you will soon understand that many things are very similar for many people, sometimes the mistakes we humans make happen not just to you but to a huge number of us. So why not avoid them right at the beginning, if you can?
I’m pretty sure you’ll learn lots and lots more tips, or maybe you can think of some, share them in the comments. I’ll try to keep adding more tips as soon as I think of something again.