The to-do list that never goes stale
How did you come up with the microstartup idea?
I'd been using a kind of hacky version of this goal-tracking system myself for a year or so—a mashup of a paper goals workbook called Pick Four and a digital daily action journal called iDoneThis... and I thought I'd see if I could make an app that combined the two. Over the months and years I folded a bunch of other elements in, which I wrote about in this Everything Is A Remix thread here:
How did you find your first customers?
My first 10-20 customers were friends of mine. After that, I started getting a bit of word of mouth and new customers via communities. Since I'm a designer & developer more than a marketer or sales guy, I leveraged this strength and built some integrations with Beeminder and the Less Wrong Study Hall, and these partnerships brought in a lot of the early customers (the first 100-200).
How are you finding your customers today?
Still some through Beeminder and various coworking rooms. Lots of referrals through Twitter, where I'm quite active. And still plenty of word of mouth, since people who love the system really love it and it's very unique. I've started making some YouTube videos but that hasn't taken off yet.
What's your advice for other microfounders who want to get started?
1. Do something nobody else is doing. don't try to do something that has an obvious direct competitor. it can be a remix of other things though—ultimately all creative works are remixes or mashups.
2. Charge all your users, always and from the beginning. have a free trial perhaps but don't waste your time dealing with people who don't value your product/service enough to pay for it. if nobody will pay, make something else until someone will. this is your compass.
3. Stick to it: keep doing stuff every day. Complice itself can be really helpful for that! It's all about taking daily actions towards big complex meaningful projects. You need to not just do stuff, but keep orienting towards whether what you're doing is moving you towards what matters. I would have failed at building my business several times over if I hadn't been using it myself the whole time!
Malcolm Ocean is home in NS (48/100 vids)
Startups to $5k MRR