How One Founder Used His Audience to Bootstrap His Startup

Talked with a founder who has taken an unusual approach to building his start-up. He read about a space and was intrigued. Deciding he wanted in, he did an unpaid apprenticeship before eventually setting up his own operation. He started having problems managing the operation and built manual solutions. He realized other people had one of the same problems and, to help, began sharing what he’d learned. He created and openly shared videos and written materials. He realized the manual solution wasn’t a long-term fix and that tons of other people—based on the consumption of his content—were having this problem. He decided to create software to solve the problem.

Once the product was created, he needed people to use it. Instead of spending lots of money on marketing to acquire customers, he went back to the people who’d consumed his content. He told them about his new software and asked them to give it a try. A few hundred took him up on the offer and became paying customers. He’s now getting feedback from those customers so he can improve the product and attract more customers.

I like this founder’s approach. He discovered a problem in his space by getting his hands dirty, and he built great founder–market fit too. He then shared what he learned with others and built credibility with a passionate user base. By understanding the space very well, he positioned himself to create a superior product, and he quickly got people to try it with minimal spend on marketing because he already had an audience. All in less than a year without raising any outside capital from investors.  

I think this founder has put himself in a great position to build a massive company in his space.