There is a great discussion on the SideHustleNation podcast about the benefits and drawbacks of solo freelancing versus a larger agency model managing a large team.
Chris Schwab from ThinkMaids.com built his cleaning business to $60k a month and now works less than 10 minutes a day. Ken Carfango from SoloCleaningSchool.com is a solo entrepreneur, but only works 2 or 3 days a week.
Sometimes bigger is not always better. Running a larger company may seem more glamourous but it also entails more risk and smaller profit margins.
Business Opportunity: There are big opportunities in local businesses. With an online business, you are competing against the world. It can be much easier to stand out with local services in a smaller geographic area. Cleaning companies are particularly good because of repeat business.
If you’ve used sites like Duolingo, you’ll know the power of simple gamification features like badges, leader boards, levels, and daily streaks. I’m at 37 continuous days for learning French and I don’t want to break that streak! Follow me if you want to compete. 🙂 You can add those same gamification features to your WordPress website with these plugins. My son loves the simple games and prizes you can earn from some sushi restaurants in Japan. Every five dishes allow you to get another chance at winning a prize. We usually eat more to get more chances to win. Gamification works!
Jordan Harbinger interviewed Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes. TOMS Shoes made the buy-one-give-one charity model famous and have now donated more than 95 million pairs of shoes to those in need. TOMS is a great example of creating something remarkable where customers share the story behind the brand. In our hyper-competitive world, having a good story that resonates with customers is becoming increasingly important. Blake Mycoskie’s new business Madefor is also breaking new ground. It is a 10-month program to help you become a better person and it is completely offline. Every month members receive a kit in the mail that helps them build better habits in areas like sleep, hydration, movement, gratitude, etc. I think there are big opportunities for real-world training and products like this. More and more people are looking for ways to improve themselves away from our screens. Other examples are print journals from John Lee Dumas and Best Self Co that also seem to be selling well. Can you bring an aspect of your business offline?
Here is a good overview of what it takes to find a new business idea and get it to market by Stefan Vetter of Friendly. Many key ideas here are beneficial to review, regardless of where you are in your startup journey. 1. Start with an audience and the problem they have, not your idea and the product you want to create. 2. Launching on sites like ProductHunt. 3. Becoming an open startup and publicly sharing all your key metrics. 4. “Document, don’t create.” The idea of sharing the process of building your business.
Dan and Ian of the TropicalMBA have some interesting discussions on their latest podcast. They talk about the SaaS products they are adding to their Dynamite Jobs board because of all the competition in that space. The best discussion is about getting through the grind of building a new company. They coined the 1000 Day Principle that says it takes about 3 years to recreate your professional salary from an asset you own. The hardest part is the second year when you are putting all your time and money back into the business but not really getting anywhere. They call that the grind, or what Seth Godin calls The Dip. This is where many entrepreneurs give up. “It’s a special brand of pain and suffering because, look, three years is a long time to be broke.”
Here is a good overview of different analytics tools that might help in monitoring your business performance. It covers Baremetrics, Google Analytics, MixPanel, MetaBase and Databox.
I’ve never set up dashboards before to track key metrics, so this post was helpful in showing what is possible. I need to get better at tracking where new subscribers are coming from.
There are some interesting ideas talked about here.
Sahil chose a “horizontal” approach to Gumroad versus focusing on a particular “vertical” market. That means he created a platform where anyone could sell almost anything. This is in contrast to a vertical like Substack focused on newsletters. Sahil says this was probably the wrong choice.
Another interesting distinction is between “platform” and “aggregator”. “Sahil’s original vision for Gumroad was a white-label platform: it offered creators access to business without actually locating it for them, and remained invisible to consumers.
Since Gumroad’s founding, platforms like YouTube have shifted to become aggregators — “destination” sites that control interactions between creators and audiences and take a far bigger cut of the proceeds.
Today, Gumroad sits somewhere between those two poles. It has swapped that initial hands-off approach for an active push toward connecting its creators with new consumers.“We’re slowly moving into an aggregator model,” Sahil explains. In five years, he thinks Gumroad is going to look “somewhere closer to where TikTok and YouTube are now,” a destination site dedicated to discovering new creators.”
I think the best opportunities for bootstrapped startups are to be “vertical” “aggregators”. For example, businesses that help us discover and purchase products in a particular niche. You want to be vertical to better speak to customers. You want to be an aggregator because the real value for sellers is getting their products in front of potential customers.
Failory analyzed why +80 startups have failed and identified some of their common mistakes.
Product-market fit was a big reason, but other issues like failure to monetize and lack of experience were also common.
Lack of financing was not a major problem.
When asked what they would do differently many mentioned the importance of the lean startup concept.
‘Lean: validation – talk to customers, test your assumptions, and find a market before you invest a considerable amount of time, effort, and money into an idea. Mentioned directly 20 times.’
Lean: MVP – build your prototype (the thing you’d use to test the market) as quickly and cheaply as possible. Iterate often. “
“Blockchain technology is going to change everything: the shipping industry, the financial system, government … in fact, what won’t it change? But enthusiasm for it mainly stems from a lack of knowledge and understanding. The blockchain is a solution in search of a problem.”