The Three Day Startup
Everyone loves a great story, but I would not call this one of those. I think this falls more into another category altogether. Three days ago, I was scrolling through my news feed on LinkedIn when I came across this quote,
“Success rewards implementation, not knowledge” — Peter Voogd”
It hit me like a ton of bricks. I had spent countless hours trying to learn the latest and greatest technologies. Hours trying to come up with the perfect application architecture for the next billion dollar SaaS app. What I hadn’t done is build much of anything. I started to think, “what skills do I have right now that I can leverage to create a great product that people will actually use.”
I have been working with WordPress since I began web development back in 2008. It was the go to platform for many of my client’s needs. I considered myself well versed in the WordPress codex, but I was a developer, that was my job. What I noticed is that most of my freelance clients all contacted me because of issues with their WordPress site that were above their skill level. I would go through the long process of writing up work orders and begin fixing their issue.
“Any product that needs a manual to use is broken” — Elon Musk”
It hit me, what if I offered a dedicated support solution for WordPress users that would streamline this process? Not only that, but it would save the customer time and money by not having to search out an agency or freelancer to handle their problem. Or worse, trying to fix it themselves only to completely take down their site, (I have seen this happen a time or two).
That was it! Something that I could do right away with little capital and solve a very real problem out there for users. The rest of this article is going to break down how I was able to go from conception to launch in three days with very little working capital. The idea behind WPLABS was born.
So, I had my concept but was a little unsure on how I would implement it quickly. I have read plenty of books on entrepreneurship one of my favorites being “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries. In his book Eric points out that,
“All innovation begins with vision. It’s what happens next that is critical.”
I began to do some high level research, and learned that there are over 70,000,000 sites developed using WordPress. Surely, there was a market. I spent the first day mapping out the business logic for the startup. Some of the questions I asked myself were:
How would I acquire new customers?
How would I handle billing and customer management?
How would I manage my bandwidth?
branding, pricing, etc, etc…
The first day was chaos, organized beautiful chaos.
By the end of the day, (into the early morning of the next), I had answered all of my base questions and put together a ‘good enough’ plan.
I woke up, grabbed some coffee, and opened my favorite text editor. I began to refactor some code I had used on some other side projects and within a couple of hours I had a prototype of the site running on my local server. I also worked on branding. I purchased a domain name and from there I opened up Sketch and built a quick logo. To me none of this was as important as getting a minimum viable product to market and getting some real feedback. I also, took some time to set up all of the social media accounts for the company.
Furthermore, perhaps most importantly, I reached out to the network of developers I have met through the years and put together a team of individuals that would be willing to help with the projects as we scaled up.
Finally, I spent the rest of the evening setting up how the business would process payments. Luckily, with Stripe this is as simple as setting up an account and embedding their payment portal onto the site. I used SurveyGizmo to collect the customers data and easily alert me to new users as they signed up. For customer support, I set up an account with helloify. This really helped me automate major parts of my business process.
Whew… that was a long day
I woke up created an account for Google apps for business, and began to proof and test the site before launching it to my live server. I was able to automate this using git and dploy.io saving me time as I was able to make live changes quickly and push to production.
Everything, was working…
Now I am putting together a bootstrapped marketing campaign and trying to get this service in front of the right people. We still have a long road to travel, but I was able to create a revenue generating online service business within three days and for under $100.
Its now 11:23PM on day three. The site is live, and I thought I would share this experience with the world. No time to relax, for those of us that hustle. Remember, an idea is worthless until it is implemented. And one last thing …
“If your dreams don’t scare you then they are not big enough” — Anon