Startup 1: Week 3–Overnight** Success

Note: 4 Weeks to Launch is an ongoing series about building passive income across multiple startups — a new startup every 4 weeks. Read the first post on 4 Weeks to Launch to get started.

Overnight success is awesome, right? Wake up in the morning to see thousands of dollars in your bank account? Ok, that’s enough daydreaming. Back to reality.

We all have a vision of successful people. They are superhumans. Titans. Unlimited willpower, perfect problem-solving abilities, and the ability to work tirelessly. In truth successful people aren’t as super as imagined. They’re a combination of systems, testing for quick results, and having the right team.

#1 Build systems, not willpower

I’ve been struggling with blog posts because I’ve been trying to brute force my way into writing. Every Monday I begin by bashing my head against my keyboard for hours until I have a blog post. It hasn’t become easier.

That’s because willpower is really tough to “tap into”. It’s a finite resource, and is only useful in spurts. If it was limitless, then sure, we could solve all problems by force but willpower is not on willcall. That’s where systems come in.

Systems (and habits) are far more effective than willpower. Once a habit is in motion the amount of effort needed to sustain is reduced. It’s like going to the gym–going every week is more important than going for 5 hours once a month.

To help with my blogging I’ve built a writing schedule to work on blog posts throughout the week instead of just one day. I also made a blog post template document to help with getting started.

Simple systems like this may seem small but have power when put together. Don’t wait a “moment of inspiration” to get started. This isn’t sustainable and you will fizzle out. Instead, focus on your average speed. Pick a pace that is comfortable, and do it every single day. James Clear has a post about someone writing 3 books in 9 months using this technique.

Get scrappy–big results, small effort

I’ve also had trouble with gaining traction with in Week 2. Now that the product is finished (fun part), I need users (unfun part). And since I don’t enjoy marketing, I’ve stalled.

A nice side effect of 4 Weeks to Launch is exposing my weaknesses to the world. Marketing is one of those weaknesses. I was supposed to focus on marketing this week and didn’t.

How do I fix this?

Focus on the right mindset. Don’t sulk and complain, but come up with solutions. Ask yourself, “If I knew nothing about X but I had to have results in 24 hours, what would I do?”

This is a powerful question. As an open ended question, there are no wrong answers so you start focusing on solutions not blockers.

My list of scrappy hacks to get users:

  • Post on forums
  • Post in comment sections on blogs
  • Reach out to bloggers
  • Get on
  • Post on Reddit
  • DM friends
  • Ask for people to share/refer
  • Tell more people about it
  • Redefine how to make it shareable and pitchable. It’s hard to describe
  • Pitch to press
  • Email people daily asking, “what’s 1 thing you’ve been putting off?”
  • Adwords/fb
  • Producthunt
  • Add social proof to website
  • Hand out fliers that say, “Get free time @”

Voila! Readymade marketing strategy. I pared the list down to actionable tasks:

  • Find forums/blogs about productivity and post, offering my service
  • Reach out to bloggers about productivity and see if they will endorse my site
  • DM friends on social media and ask them to use or ask if they can refer busy friends
  • Add customer testimonials on the website
  • Post on Reddit

This week I’ll try as many different tactics as I can and see what sticks.

Seek professional free help

Most of us try to do everything on our own. Who wants to ask for help? I’ve many had friends and strangers offer to help with 4 Weeks to Launch, but have been stubborn.

But why not ask for help? Seriously, why not? You can’t build greatness on your own, so find others who are excited about what you’re doing.

I’m starting to get people involved with 4 Weeks to Launch. The more I get others involved the more 4 Weeks to Launch will succeed.

Metrics & goals

  1. See Metrics for
  2. See Metrics for 4 Weeks to Launch
  3. Week 2 Revenue: $8

This week’s plan/goals

  1. Focus: Get Users (weekly goals link)
  2. Revenue Goal: $50 or 25 orders by next post

This week has been a big learning experience. Hitting the marketing wall forced me to work on solving the problem, even if the solution will take time. Marketing is a huge part of building a company and without users there is no business!

What are you pissed at yourself for?

  • What long term goal do you have but you can’t quite seem stick to? Let me know in a comment and hold yourself accountable!
  • Sign up for mailing list if you want to these weekly updates in your inbox. Promise, no spam, only posts.

2 responses to “Startup 1: Week 3–Overnight** Success”

  1. Faisal Zahid says:

    Elijah, I myself come from a similar background. Spent half a decade on my VC funded startup based in the valley. Now pursuing my own smaller startups. Being a tech person, marketing has always been a challenge to me. Your hack list is very useful. Good luck with the monthly initiative.