Today it is more practical than ever to pave the way to success. Here are seven self-starter tips that can help you build your business and the community that supports it.
4 min read
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Five years ago, I worked as a product manager and partnership leader at Eventbrite. I quickly became aware of a large gap in the market. Customers constantly demanded integration into the member management. Outdated and expensive monolithic all-in-one solutions were unable to provide essential things like email marketing and event management integrations. Despite my lack of formal training in coding, I saw the opportunity to develop a better, more cost-effective, and more modern solution that could be integrated into existing service platforms.
For a year, I spent my free time at night teaching myself how to code – coming up with the idea that would become Join It and dreaming of being my own boss. I left Eventbrite in September 2016 to move to Spain and boot Join It. In the four years since our launch, we have successfully built an international customer community without ever accepting third-party funding. But like building a business, building a community requires patience, commitment – and most importantly, a sustainable approach. Here are seven lessons from my bootstrapping journey that can be used to build your community.
Related: 4 Compelling Reasons To Boot Your Business Instead Of …
1. "Ship it!"
I use this phrase all the time with my team. In bootstrapping, getting things done is more important than focusing on perfection. We constantly want to add new features, projects and integrations to seduce our customers and drive growth.
2. "The best way to learn is to do."
Similarly, there isn't time to learn everything before doing it. The best way to learn a new skill is to practice the skill. Dive in – you'll quickly learn what works and what doesn't.
3. "Sign your first customer or member."
If you don't already have a first customer or member, make it a point to speak to prospects every day. Don't sell. Listen. Understanding your prospects and their needs can help you build a relationship of trust that will ultimately lead to the signing of the contract.
4. "Find your competitive advantage."
This one sounds intuitive, but too many people don't take the time to really develop messages about their unique selling points. Find your competitive advantage and express it clearly to your community. It's important to keep abreast of what your competitors are doing in this space in order to constantly find new ways to differentiate your business.
Related: 8 Bulletproof Ways to Boot Your Business
5. "Take the time to determine which tasks will have a big impact."
Often, when you have a long to-do list, you're just working on getting things done. However, when there is literally an infinite number of things to do, take the time to prioritize which ones will have the greatest impact on your business and community.
6. "If you have 10 customers, you have something."
Don't focus on the number of customers or members you have in the beginning. Since B2B SaaS is a recurring building, it is put together – existing customers stick around and pay again while new customers build on it. This means that it is incredibly difficult to start, but once you start it is very durable and stable.
6. "Focus on being useful instead of being pretty."
Take the time to develop the features that will be most useful to your customers – instead of investing time and money upfront to make everything look good. Especially in B2B SaaS, creating a useful product that customers can rely on is of absolute importance. People usually spend too much time on web design, branding, etc and distracting from the product itself. Instead, focus on building a business or product that your community needs.
Nowadays it is more practical than ever to boot your business. Join It prides itself on being overwhelmed to this day. Ultimately, our customers are our community and it is our mission to offer a product that they can grow with and maintain their community.
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