Earlier today on Twitter I shared the criteria we have set (not in stone) for building small, profitable and remote startups at KintuLabs:
- Does it solve a problem we have?
- Can we build and ship within 1-2 weeks? (we’ll expand this later)
- Can it be managed by 1-2 people?
- Can it generate revenue in the first 1-2 months?
- Can it generate $100k+/yr?
- Do we know how we can onboard new customers?
I want to expand on these a little in the hopes it’ll help other people considering starting a small, profitable and remote tech company.
Let’s jump in…
Does it solve a problem we have?
My most successful products have always come from working on a product, experiencing a problem, and going on to create a new product to solve that problem.
Here’s how this has worked for me:
I created FoundersGrid (acquired) as there was a lot of content around tech and startups, but no one was curating the very best reads every week.
I created GrowthList as I started building lists of fast-growing startups I could email to see if they wanted to sponsor the FoundersGrid newsletter. It turned out my friends wanted copies of the lists for their own outreach efforts, hence a new business was born.
I created CryptoWeekly when we started adding a lot more crypto/blockchain pieces to the FoundersGrid newsletter – so it made sense to create a new newsletter just for crypto
(which consequently went on to make $350k in its first year).
I created CryptoList as we needed a list of crypto companies we could reach out to about sponsoring the CryptoWeekly newsletter.
I created NewKeys as I wanted an overview of what properties are available to purchase all around the world in the $75-$100k price range, along with the key details of what’s required for a foreign national to purchase a property in each location.
I created Cosana as finding reliable remote contractors to manage the above businesses was becoming a real pain. Now anyone can access a database of fully-vetted remote contractors whenever they need some help.
I created DailyNames as finding great affordable domain names has always been time-consuming as most domains on marketplaces are overpriced and there’s so much crap to filter through.
So yeah, I’m a firm believer in creating products that solve your own pain points first.
And as we are happy to generate $100k-$500k/yr with each new product we create, we do not need the whole world to like or want our products.
Fun fact; at $299 per quarter for CryptoList, we needed to find 83 customers who also value the product as much as we do to pass $100k/yr.
Can we build and ship within 1-2 weeks? (we’ll expand this later)
Right now I’m kind of blessed I have enough product ideas that don’t involve code – which is what makes a lot of product development cycles time intensive.
If I look at what we really do across our current product line, it’s we save people and businesses time. All our products take an insane amount of hours to put together, but that’s our business; we are good at saving businesses/people time.
But I’ve noticed with my list of “ideas” that some products will take much longer to launch than others – so it’s important as a young bootstrapped startup that we focus on building the products we can get launched quickly first.
Can it be managed by 1-2 people?
As we are not shooting for ‘world domination’ with our companies. The end-goal is to have each company serve 100-300 paying customers with just 2 employees – ala Instagram when they sold to Facebook for $1 billion with 13 people.
By the end of the year, I’d like each company to have one person focused on product and operations, and the other focused on sales and marketing. As we don’t rely on code for our products (yet), I think this small combo will work really well.
Please note: due to resources – we do not currently have this setup – but it’s our goal to have this setup by the end of the year.
Can it generate revenue in the first 1-2 months?
As bootstrappers, this means everything to me. If we can’t cover overhead costs within 1-2 months, it makes sense to allocate our resources into products where we can.
Can it generate $100k+/yr?
I believe most good products can. It’s more of a question of knowing how to get the product in front of the right customers – even if this does take a while.
Do we know how we can onboard new customers?
The list of user acquisition channels is immense right now – and each new product will respond differently to different channels. More on this on another post!