November 22, 2021

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9 Bootstrapping lessons from my interview with Arvid Kahl

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Who is Arvid Kahl?

Arvid Kahl is a multi-talented business professional working as an expert software engineer, a successful entrepreneur, and an energetic writer.

Having experimented with several projects and entrepreneurial ventures, together with his partner Danielle Simpson, bootstrapped a a company called Feedback Panda that was sold in 2019 to SureSwift.

He has also written several books like Zero to SoldThe Embedded Entrepreneur and is currently working on a project called the Build in Public book.

I had a lovelly chat with Arvid in my podcast and here are 9 bootstrapping take aways that every entrepreneur must learn from:

1- Go for an Audience First Approach

The audience-first approach is a much more effective way of gaining success in your venture.

It involves finding a niche or a problem prevalent in an existing target market and creating a product for it.

It is imperative that you understand whom you are creating products for, what their critical problems are, and how your product can solve those problems.

2- Listen To People Rather than Assuming

Every bootstrap founder needs to research the market before starting the project.

You should carefully listen to what the people say rather than making assumptions about their needs and preferences on your own.

3- Look Around your Circle for Ideas

In our chat, Arvid shared a great exercise to find potential products you want to build:

Start by looking at your own expertise and skills:

What is your background? Do you have any hobbies? What is unique about you?

Then look around in your family and social circle:

Is there any problem in their lives that you could fix with a product/service?

Write down everything you discover and rate them based on your interest for the topic and the potential of the idea.

This practice can also help you to identify an audience and a potential market opportunity.

Start Working On Your Next Indie Project

Get a step-by-step guide to help you structure your ideas and find paying users

4- Serve People You can Relate To

Choose a target market or a community of potential clients that you understand and can relate to. A new, unexplored set of people are hard to cater to as a company.

5- Become an Adaptive Generalist

Becoming a generalist means having knowledge of multiple disciplines rather than sticking to one specific expertise.

Use the diversity of skills to intersect and face the challenges that come your way.

6- Understand the Downsides and Upsides

In a bootstrap venture, you must understand that there are no guarantees of success. You may lose everything you have. There are several risks and stresses that you will be exposed to.

On the upside, you will have all the control of the company. You can hire whomever you want, do whatever you want, and sell the company as per your own decisions.

There will be no massive debts and no one to share your profits with.

7- Be Patient

An entrepreneurial venture does not become successful in a day. It can take months and even years. You can only hope to get sustenance and keep working hard till the profits start soring.

8- Personalize Your Brand

People relate better with people rather than brands.

Give your brand a human identity, like your own self, to make it more attractive for potential clients.

9- Consider Your Failures as Assets

Failures are part and parcel of entrepreneurship. Instead of burying them in deep sand, make them a learning source for your future endeavors.

This was just a short overview over what Arvid said in the interview. If you found this tips interesting I really advise you to listen to the full interview.

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