This is a guest post by Swathi Sambhani at TechNotch Solutions
All entrepreneurs are anxious. You are not alone.
You wake up one day and say, “I have this awesome startup. Maybe it will become the next Uber.
There are a million questions in your head.
Should I incorporate or not? Should I patent my IP? How much equity should I give my co-founder? Will anyone fund my startup?
You are a first time entrepreneur and there are many things you can do. Try some of the following first.
- Cold call someone. Just like that. Out of the blue
- Network with strangers at an event.
- Stop people at a mall and ask feedback about your startup.
- Ask someone from your college Alumni network if they will be your co-founder.
- It’s ok if any of them say No. Don’t worry today.
- Try to visualize what it would like if your startup makes a million dollars? How about a billion?
- Use cuttings from old newspapers or magazines to create a story of how that future will look like.
- Make a plan on an excel sheet.
- This plan will change. For sure. That is how it works.
- Naturally network with a lot of people. Networking is the single most thing that will help you succeed. How do you think Tim Ferris got Arnold Schwarzenegger on his podcast?
- If you have a day job, set aside one hour per day. Maybe wake up one hour early? Or have a short lunch? Or skip one hour of your favorite show. You take your pick.
- You might also debate about the various domain names you can buy. I say write down at-least 30 of them. Flow your creative juices. Ask your friends on Facebook, family members, neighbors, your LinkedIn network to vote on them. Don’t pay anything more than $11.99 for your domain name. Bonus tip: Get a coupon code if you can.
- You can debate all you want about using java or python. You can also debate about mobile app versus website. Think about how beautiful your UX would be. All these don’t matter initially. These will come later.
- What matters first is whether customers are willing to buy what you offer.
- Are you solving a problem for them or fulfilling a need? – The ipod solves the problem of carrying a thousand songs in your pocket. Facebook is fulfilling your need to stay connected and share with people you love.
- Talk to people/potential customers.
- Get out of the building.
- Sketch out your dream team. Display it on your wall.
- Interview hypothetical candidates.
- Hire someone on fiverr for your logo design. If you can spend $25 more dollars conduct a contest on Upwork for Logo design.
- Or turn everything on it’s head and do not have a website or a logo until you have your first paid customer. Noah teaches you how. Watch at the 19th minute of this video and you will exclaim “Awesome!”
- Know that you are going to fail at some things. All you can do is be prepared so that your anxiety is reduced. (Yes, I am quoting someone)
- Don’t worry about office space, legal paper work, marketing, PR, surveys, HR, payroll etc. until you get your first 10,000 customers.
- Listen/watch/read 5 minutes of inspirational stuff everyday.
- Try not to check Facebook too often. Maybe it will add up to one hour everyday. I often fail to do it but I try.
- Get some quality sleep. You will need it.
And if do not want to try any of the above. Here is a list of free resources that will help you get off the ground. I especially found the equity calculator, term agreement templates and the list of investors very helpful.
Hope you will too.
Evernote – Store/share documents, images, notes all in one place
Pomodoro app – Pomodoro technique involves working continuously for 25 minutes and taking a short break of 5 minutes.
Gethingsdone – A philosophy to organize your to-dos and increase your productivity.
Calendly – Used to share calendar time and scheduling.
Momentum – Simple app to help you develop and maintain your habits. Based on Jerry Seinfeld’s secret of productivity.
Software Development tools
AWS – Free tier Free for 12 months. Although some restrictions apply, it is the best deal for startups.
Github – Repository for hosting code/source and version control.
Chisel – Unlimited and free fossil repository.
UX Design tools
Invision – Simple and easy tool for web and mobile wireframes.
Web3canvas – PSD Freebies and HTML Snippets.
Skala Color – Free Color picker for designers and developers.
Google Fonts – Free open source fonts.
Kraken – Free online image optimizer.
StartupLawyer – A treasure trove of free legal resources for startups includes incorporation, seed rounds, a glossary of legal terms etc.
USPTO – This .gov site gives you all the information you need about patents and trademarks, the process to file including the fees.
Legal Document Templates – Amazing collection of legal document templates for corporate formation, employment documents, equity compensation document.
Template for selling SaaS software – Also has SAFE documents.
Docracy : Open collection of legal contracts including photography, designers etc.
Collaboration /Task Management
Trello – Task management software that helps with agile software development. Easy drag and drop functionality.
Basecamp – Manage client projects. Free for 1 project.
Slack – Useful for team collaboration and communication.
Zoom – Free video and web conferencing for 50 participants until 40 minutes.
FreeBusy – Easy to use scheduling assistant that co-ordinates available time between various team members.
The funded – Community of startups and ratings of angels, VCs and information regarding fundraising.
Gust – Connects startups with the largest collection of investors around the world.
AngelList – Raise money by applying online.
Wealthforge – An online broker/dealer that connects entrepreneurs with accredited investors
Mailchimp – Very good email marketing tool. Free for upto 2000 subscribers and 12,000 emails/month.
Hellobar – Used to convert more customers on your website.
Click to Tweet – Easiest way to get more shares for your content
Sumome List Builder: Converts one-time visitors into members.
Google Analytics – Insights into your data and how to turn it to action.
Sub-Redditt for Startups – Discussion forum for startups.
Hacker news – Read top voted discussions on Y Combinator.
Startup Nation – Top content on starting, growing and managing your business
http://startupery.com/ – Curates startup best practices.
http://www.startupblink.com/ – Amazing resource for startups throughout the world.
LinkedIn – Nothing like your network of alumini, high-school friends and ex-colleagues.
co-founders lab – The fastest way to meet 250,000 entrepreneurs.
founderdating – Find your team here along with LinkedIn profiles, experts and advisors.
founder2be – Search and find your tech co-founder.
Co-founder equity calculator – Very useful if you are wondering how much to offer your co-founder.
Harvest – Time tracking that can link to timesheets and invoices, expense tracking per client/project.
Wave – Track expenses, generate invoices, accounting for free . Only pay if you want credit cards /payroll processing.
Free Procurement – Generate POs, Requisitions for vendors.
Zenefits – A very popular free HR software to manage benefits, employee self-service, PTO etc.
Hubspot – Although known for their marketing, it also offers a totally free CRM software to manage your prospects, contacts and manage your sales process.
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