Put up or shut up

Entrepreneurship

Not everyone is into business. Some wants to work as an employee. Others start their own business and after a while, goes back as an employee. There is nothing wrong with that. After all, it is anything goes (Paul Feyerabend).

Nevertheless, if you are into starting your own business, welcome to the club!

Here’s how (courtesy of “Start Small, Stay Small” blog post by Derek Sivers). By the way, this blog refers to starting your own IT-related business only.

WHAT TO MAKE:

Make sure people want what you’re building before you build it.

Project/Product confusion:

A project is a software application that you build as a fun side project. The end result is a neat little application that likely isn’t of use to many people.
A product is a project that people will pay money for.

The single most important factor to a product’s success is not the founders, not the marketing effort, and certainly not the product. It’s whether there’s a group of people willing to pay for it.

The genius of niches is they are too small for large competitors, allowing a nimble entrepreneur the breathing room to focus on an under-served audience.

Choose a niche market and focus so tightly that your product becomes the best in class, members of that niche will have no choice but to use your product.

Building something no one wants is the most common source of failure for entrepreneurs.

The best niches are under the radar, and you have to get out and do something before you will find them.

As a self-funded startup you want a market that is already looking for your product, even if it doesn’t exist. This is because creating demand is very, very expensive while filling existing demand is, by comparison, cheap.

A vertical market as a single industry or hobby. Examples of vertical markets include pool cleaners, dry cleaners, web designers, wine collectors and punk rock enthusiasts.

IMPORTANCE:
#1 = Market
#2 = Marketing
#3 = Aesthetic
#4 = Functionality

The product with a sizeable market and low competition wins even with bad marketing, a bad aesthetic, and poor functionality.
In the same market, the product with better marketing wins.
In the same market with equal marketing, the product with the better design aesthetic wins.
Functionality, code quality, and documentation are all a distant fourth.

No book, blog or conference could ever teach you more about your customers than you learn from watching them use your software.

TIME MANAGEMENT:

Anytime you’re on your computer ask yourself “Is this activity getting me closer to my launch date?”

At this very moment am I making progress towards crossing off a to-do, -or- am I relaxing and re-energizing? If I’m doing neither, evaluate the situation and change it.

Information consumption is only good when it produces something.

When reading blogs or books or listening to podcasts or audio books, take action notes.

Define a long-term goal (launch your product), look at the next set of tasks that will get you one step closer to that goal, work, and re-evaluate in a week.

The faster you fail and learn from your mistakes, the faster you will improve.

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