A misconception about startups is that they take a lot of years to finally get started. If you think so, you should get rid of this self-defeating attitude immediately since it is not true. The fact is that a new business can be launched right away within a few days only provided you know how to kickstart it. Designhill conducted a webinar with Sam Kamani, an expert on startups, who gave an insight on launching your startup in 30 days. Have a look!
How much time should a new business take to launch? The answer depends on the nature of the business and entrepreneurship spirit of an individual. But if it takes a longer period than required, then you are missing out some basics. However, experts say that launching a startup should not take much time.
So, Designhill, the leading creative marketplace decided to get a clear roadmap on building a startup and launching it as soon as one can. It organized a session on Build Your Startup in 30-Days and invited Sam Kamani to advise on its key aspects.
During the session, Sam delivered on how to validate your idea, and get product-market fit. He showed the way to get started right away while avoiding some common mistakes startups make.
Sam Kamani is the CEO and Co-Founder of Ensydr, which gamifies trading and investments. He is also the host of the Want Money Got Money Podcast. Also, he is the author of best-selling books, “The 30 Day Startup” and “Business in the time of Corona”. Currently, he is building Ensydr.com, a gamified platform for trading and investment. He frequently speaks at business events and podcasts as a guest speaker on a variety of topics related to startups and entrepreneurship.
In this video, we’ve shared the session’s video and transcript in the form of Q and A where you can learn everything about how to build your startup in 30 days.
Transcript (Q/A): Here Is How You Can Build Your Startup In 30 Days
Sam Kamani: One of the key things is when I say build and test, it means you get started fast. But that does not mean it will finish in 30 days, sometimes it takes years to keep it going. But you can test your idOrkutst.
Validate Your Idea
Sam Kamani: So you want to match person A with person B, and you think this is a fantastic idea. You think of building the platform. But I suggest that you should not just start throwing money down. Instead let’s first go and validate your idea as much as you can, for free. And how you do that is by talking to everyone.
Talk to people about the idea
Sam Kamani: The number one mistake that I see entrepreneurs and founders making is that they don’t talk about their product. They want people to sign a nondisclosure agreement and keep it close to their heart. They are too worried that someone will steal their idea. No, it’s not that simple. It’s not that easy to just steal your idea. If your idea is so easily stealable, then no one can replicate it so easily, then maybe you need to rethink your idea. Because you are building things for the internet. You are going to make it live, so everyone will see it. If they are going to steal it, they will steal it.
You don’t want to be the first one to learn from other people’s mistakes. So, back when Facebook started, there were multiple social media networks already present such as Bebo, Friendster, orkut, Mitsace, and many others. So you don’t want to be the first one. Anyway, let other people try.
Apple is not the first one to release new features on their phone. It’s like they didn’t even build a large screen phone. They let everyone else build a larger screen smartphone first. Then, see how people respond and then produce one that is a more polished version of all the other cheaper Android phones at that time.
Share Your Ideas
So, go and talk to as many people as you can, and see their feedback. Hear that feedback. What you don’t want to listen to is something formal like it’s a good idea. That is the feedback you don’t want. What the feedback you are looking for is, where do I sign up? I want to start using it right now, how do I pay you money for this? If people are not responding like that, then that means there isn’t enough need for it? Or maybe you need to rethink it.
The other mistake that people make is when they talk about it, they only talk to well-wishers. They only talk to their mums. It’s like anything I tell my mom, she’s always going to be saying that’s fantastic. This is because she wants you to do your best and she is your well-wisher.
Take your idea to strangers
They don’t want to say anything that is slightly negative or, or anything like that. So, go out and talk to strangers. Find out if they will ever use that idea. And then the third thing is to ask questions that will invalidate your idea. So, a lot of people when they are going out to find if there is even demand or a need for their product. What they do is they only steer the conversation in such a way that they would get a yes answer.
Ask for negative opinions as well
But, that’s not what you want. You want a no answer? And then ask them questions to understand why it’s a no. So you can build a better product and solve someone’s problem. The number one problem startups have is that no one is using their product. They cannot get anyone to use it, despite running ads and doing lots of marketing. There are multiple ways.
Get your product market-fit
Make sure that you have a product-market-fit. Product market fit is nothing more than building a product that the market wants and people are willing to pay for it. That’s why I believe that the first product should not be super polished. Because then the need for your product is so strong that even when you don’t have a polished product still people want to use it.
Build For People
So, it all comes down to building something that people genuinely want. And that is something you would see in all winning products. It may be connecting things with people or whatever it is, but it is about making people’s life easier. That is what you want to aim for.
Designhill: How do you get started in 30 days?
Build a no-code solution
Sam Kamani: So, the important point here is how to get it started in 30 days or less. First of all, one of the easiest ways is to build a no-code solution. What I mean by that is build using existing tools. I am sure some of you might have heard of the Bubble. You can use tools like Bubbles. If you are building a marketplace, use tools such as Sharetribe. Or, you can even use WordPress, WooCommerce, and some plugins out there that would allow you to make it into a two-sided shop. That is just an example of a marketplace.
But, whatever you want to build, first see what existing things are out there. Then, do a Google search around how to build that in a no-code way. Read forums and see what people have found out. Because you might be able to put something together in just say, five, six, eight, or 10 hours. I built a website because I know lots of investors in New Zealand and I know lots of tech startup founders who are raising money.
So, build a marketplace for tech startup founders raising money. And I will end on the other side, there is a list of all the investors and based on your criteria, it will select those people. I built it in a static way using CAARD. It took me about seven hours in total to build that site. And it was super simple and easy to build.
I just got all the relevant names of people who give out funding and put that in a web app, which was mobile optimized. They got it and it took less time than anything.
Use a low code solution
You can use something like a low code solution. It has some code but it is using some no-code tools and a whole bunch of them together. So you can use tools like Zapier to connect with the notion and a few other products. So I’d like to give you an example. It is called Ilan stocks. I’d like to tell you the story and that person is doing so well. So what happens now and then is Elon Musk tweets about something. He might tweet about Bitcoin or Dogecoin or a stock or something.
So, as soon as he tweets about that, the price of that asset skyrockets. Dogecoin doubled in value, as soon as Elon Musk tweeted about Dogecoin. So if you are a trader or an investor, you could immediately benefit from that information. But if you are a day late or half a day late, you will not benefit from it.
Now, if someone built a website for that saying that, go to this website, enter your phone number. As soon as Elon Musk tweets about a stock or cryptocurrency or anything like that, it will send you a text message saying Elon tweeted about this, go and stocks to buy or whatever it is. You can then be the first one to immediately take advantage of that information. He built that website and it took him only 15 hours to build Ilan stocks.com. And now to subscribe to his service, he charges $10 a month, or something like that.
He used Tasker and Zapier and Twilio to send out the text message. But he uses all existing services. So, he uses very little code or as little code as possible. He built something out and put it out there. And he’s making the bank he is running to the bank to cash. And so he did extremely well with that.
Have a landing page
Sam Kamani: That is another thing you can do for no-code solutions is to have a landing page and what we call a visit to AWS. So it looks like a real product, but you don’t even have all the services that he was doing. You manually do that.
For example, and this is what DoorDash did. DoorDash is a US-based food delivery startup. These guys were just students at Stanford when they started DoorDash. They realized that if you want McDonald’s, if you want burgers, or only pizza delivery, or the food didn’t have delivery, and you are at home, you’re drinking with your friends and you want to deliver you cannot drive. So it would be great to have a delivery for this.
They used Google Form or just some free service like that. And you go there, you enter your details in that and say that. I am looking for kebabs that I’m looking for burgers or whatever. Then, they would manually go themselves, go and pick it up from the shop and deliver it.
They just did it in their college campus area. So, they made flyers, put them on the notice board, and handed them out to other students. Then any time any student was home, and they wanted to just order food, they’d run out and do that. Sometimes, they would be in the university in the classroom. There, they will see the notification come in that someone wants to buy a burger so they just run out of the class.
Then, they just go and do that. Then they will deliver it. They did that for a few months. Just between four or five of them or three, four of them. They just run around, do deliveries in and around San Francisco or San Jose or wherever they were based.
Start as quickly as you can
So you could get started fast. And build some sort of bizarre Wizard of Oz type solution. So in the back end, you could use something like Mechanical Turk and Amazon. You could use things like GPD three, which is like an AI-based language processing solution. And you could be like, you know, it could be that, hey, I’ll write articles for you for this site.
You can go there, enter a keyword and it will give you an article to match with those keywords. You can use it on your blog, and it’s just a service for $10 a month. Also, you could use on the back end something like a Jeep GPT three type thing to quickly generate that article and you could build this sort of startup fast you could build it in 30 days.
Another company that started just like this was Dropbox. So, sometimes the solution you want to build is super vague and supermassive. It will take lots of time to build. So, far in the case of Dropbox. They are building something like Google Drive, which is not a small feature to build as you need server space. And this is back in the day this was over 10 years ago when it wasn’t that easy to build things for the web.
They wanted to build a drag and drop solution where you could just drag from one folder to another and you could save your things and share with other people, large files, and things like that. So, what they did was they just made a video of how it would work.
These days, you can use something like Figma and create a design or a mock-up easily and you can make it click-to-be. You could do that in a few days and it doesn’t have to take that long. That is something you can always do.
That brings me to my next point. That is to test and keep testing at every stage. You need to keep testing your product, idea, startup, MVP, whatever you have built, and just go out to people. Show them your product, see what they think, you know, some people even do this. And if you do not have a product, you can still do Google Ads. Using that you can still send people to a product that looks like a real product.
In the back end, you just say that, hey, it’s great. It’s great to have you here but our product is not yet ready to sign up for a waiting list. And this is just to see the demand, and you might only run it for a week, and you might just spend a minimal amount, but it is just to test that you know if people even really want this.
Then the other thing you should do is join something. If it was five years ago, I would have said that start a Facebook group around your product or around that need. But I would say now discord group or a Telegram group or a Whatsapp group or a Slack group. You may do that sort of thing to see where your community lives. Or, you may be building a solution for the tech community to do like a slack group. You may be building a solution for people who are mostly gamers.
Start building a community
In that case, start a Discord group and start building a community. Because once you build, that is just the start. You would need to then engage people. Then starting, later on, you already have a community of people to sell to. So you may already have a few 1000 people in your Facebook group, Discord group, or wherever that group lives. You have a big mailing list and you already have an active community, not a passive one.
It is no good having a passive community. So, start building a community around it. I believe that building a community around your product is far more important than building an MVP-building product. Because once you have a community, you can sell them anything. You can do an e-commerce startup and sell them something around what they need. So, build a community first and build the product.
Second, and that is one of the most common mistakes that I have seen that tech startup founders make is that they don’t build a community. They focus too much on the product, and not on the people who are going to be using the product.
The second mistake many of them make is not testing the idea along the way. It is fine if you don’t have all the features you want. We are building Insider, we only got maybe 5 to 10 percent of the features and functionality of what we want to build. But we made it live and let people use it. And we already got quite a few users for it.
But, you let people start using it because they will show you what they need. And they will share with you and you can monitor how they’re using your product. So, start promoting, talking to people, pushing it out there, and start building a community around your product.
Involve yourself in other communities
Additionally, you should also participate in other communities and with other like-minded people. For instance, if you are bootstrapping while developing a product, then start participating in things like indie hackers, Product Hunt, Y Combinator, Hacker News, Reddit groups, and other such platforms. You will find out how other people are bootstrapping. Know how other people are building startups fast, how they’re building their MVP, and their communities. After you start a conversation with them and release your MVP, you can ask them for solutions, when you are stuck.
Take a simple example of building a logo or something. And then they could if they have used design well before. They can say it just uses designers. automated tool and you can get one for free or whatever the price might be. But you would not be finding hacks or cheaper alternators by doing this. So, get super active in the community.
It will also show you the best practices in the industry. We will come across all these sorts of different ways where people are bootstrapping and starting. Indie Hackers is pretty good for that if you just want to build a quick startup, a quick MVP, or just get started. But if it gets started in 30 days does not mean it will just stop after that.
For example, when we wanted to write this book, The 30-day startup, we wrote it in 30 days. That is because we wanted to practice what we preach. So I and my co-founder in the agency set a target of writing 2000 words every day. We wrote it in about three weeks, then one week for proofreading, laying out the type formatting, etc.
It starts after 30 days
But it didn’t end after 30 days. After that, you start promoting it, which we did. So, we started promoting it. We started taking part in the landing page website for it. And, we started going to different events, talking about it, and taking part in different forums online. That is how people found out about us. Otherwise, you would end up building a startup, and then there are only cobwebs there. Because there is no one knowing about you.
My experience of starting a podcast in 30 days
Sam Kamani: I would say think about starting a podcast. You will be surprised that things like a podcast can be very big and extremely profitable. If you stick to it and keep doing it for two to three years. A podcast should not take even 30 days of planning. You should first search for how people are promoting it. What mistakes they made before starting a podcast or before writing a book. You read all those things that should take a maximum of a day.
I didn’t even do that as I just called my friend who’s a very popular podcaster. And I asked him all the ins and outs and what I should do, what platform I should use, and then he gave me a rundown. Then, I just searched. So you can use something like anchor FM for free. I’m using Buzzsprout, which does not cost much either. It costs only $20 to $30 a month. But I just got started immediately on the same day.
So, whatever your setup is, you would be surprised so many tools are out there available. With Building Insider, we just built a landing page. And we saw there was a demand for a product like Insider. As soon as we shared it out on LinkedIn and Facebook, people started signing up to be on the waiting list just organically, no ads, nothing. And so it immediately showed us that from the small number of people we reached, all these people signed up.
The other thing that I would say is to keep testing at every stage. The podcast I have started. It’s been running for about six months, I recorded about 60 episodes, about 51 of them are live at the moment. It’s called wanting money. You can find it on any platform or just search for my name. I started fast. But that does not mean it ended soon. It is going to go on for the next few years. But if you just start, then don’t expect success to come in 30 days. I am talking about building a startup in 30 days, not the other way around.
A startup is a series of ideas
A startup is not one idea. What I have realized is that a startup is not one idea, a startup is a series of 10,000 ideas. What I mean by that is you will come across lots of problems once you start building that. You find out that this particular thing doesn’t work with this tool.
And then, you will figure out a way, find another idea to solve that problem. There’ll be new ideas you’ll have to come up with as you come across problems that either no one else has solved on the internet before. So, you have a podcast, and you are going live, and at the last second, the guests canceled. So you had to come up with an idea on how we’re going to solve that problem. That’s just a very simple example.
If Amazon rejects your book for some reason, you need to look for another self-publishing platform. And so you have to continuously keep coming up with ideas, one after another.
You need lots of ideas
Sam Kamani: I don’t mean building and starting do not equal running and growing it. This is because it will require lots of ideas, and perspiration, and not just inspiration. Recently, I was listening to Elon Musk on Clubhouse. And someone asked what advice do you have? Or, what encouraging words can you say, for someone who wants to build a startup? Is that okay? If you need external encouragement, then maybe building a startup is not for you.
It is super challenging
Because it is super hard, it is super challenging. And often, you think you have a winning idea. But it will have to go through multiple iterations, small and big pivots to make it successful, and because what is in your mind might not exactly resonate with your audience.
That is why most companies look very different than when they initially started. Our environment changes and our needs change with it. And just like all car companies are slowly becoming tech companies, they’re slowly becoming media companies. They must have a media sort of a station in the middle of their car. So you can see every product will continuously keep changing and evolving. And so running and growing is a completely different set of skills. But, the key thing is just get started.
Designhill: What are your tips on finding a partner and investor?
Look for an investor
Sam Kamani: There are so many. First, let’s look at investors. If you’re looking for an investor, there are lots of places where you can find them. Finding them does not equate to having a meeting with them, which is a completely different story.
First of all, what stage your startup is in, if your startup is in a pre-seed, just an ideation stage, then it is very different from something that is very far down the line. You already have products and users and revenue and all that. So one of my eSports startups raised around 1 million before we got acquired. So, I have some experience in this and I talk with investors all the time.
Get active on AngelList
So, the first thing is to get active on Angellist. Get started looking at Crunchbase and start interacting with them. Go to Twitter and Crunchbase and find out the companies that you like. Know about companies that funded those VC firms. See their team, start following and interacting with them on Twitter and LinkedIn. If you have an iPhone, get Clubhouse, and start interacting with them. You can easily go online and search for a list of investors and their email addresses.
Cold email them
You can send cold emails to them. However, most VCs and investors get about 100 to 200 cold emails every single week. So most of them are going to go unread because they just don’t have time. They’re busy people as well. It’s not your fault. It’s not that your startup sucks or anything like that, they just haven’t even read it. That’s the biggest problem.
Interact with them
Sam Kamani: So, you had to start interacting with them in some way. I started interviewing them for my podcast. You might choose to do it for your YouTube channel or you might just do it for your blog. Therefore, start interacting with them and think of what is in it for them that you want to do.
I have a list of people, I don’t have it handy with me. So follow me on either Twitter or Tick Tock and I will share that out. That is a list of all the investors and VCs who don’t require a warm introduction, and they are open to cold messages.
Find partners in communities
When it comes to finding a partner, it’s about being part of different communities online. So once you start interacting in that community, and you start talking about your startup to everyone. You would find interested people. If they are interested, then join them. Ask them if they’d like to join you, as a co-founder in building your startup. Tell them about your mission and purpose. 47:33
Designhill: How important is it for a founder to be a business expert?
Know it inside out
Sam Kamani: When you go into an industry, there are still many unknown aspects of it. While thinking of a product for someone else, you don’t know much about it. It is when you build and start launching your startup, you realize there are many intricacies of the industry that you haven’t thought about.
For instance, I am a man, and then I think, oh, there’s a supplement for maybe women who are looking for this sort of a beauty product or something like that. And, I have no experience but I think I’ve identified a need and I’ve got this excellent idea for this sort of beauty product. I get a sample, then put my brand on it, and start selling it online.
Then, I realized that oh, I had to go through regulation or they wouldn’t allow my product to be sold. I would come across other things. I find out that someone else already owns that trademark in that space. I am not an expert in that business. I might be missing crucial pieces of information that you will only find out by doing it.
So, you increase your chances of success if you are already an expert in that industry. That is because you know all the ins and outs. You know who the key influences and people are who move things.
Designhill: How will the podcast help my product startup share your specific story if possible?
Podcasts have a specific audience
Sam Kamani: That depends on what you want to achieve. Most podcasts get a tiny audience, but they become a captive audience, and they start following you.
It’s long-form content, so they feel like they already know you. You could have a small bunch of users when you first start. You must want to develop relationships with other people in your industry.
Podcasts give a lot of content
The other thing I would say about podcasts is that you get so much content. As you interview people for your podcast, you get one hour of content. You can break down that content into one-minute clips for Instagram. It can be broken into 10 minutes to five-minute clips for YouTube. Then, 32 seconds clips for TikTok and just scopes and images and things for Twitter. So, you would get so much content out there.
You get unique content
You know how important content is for search engine optimization. It takes so much effort to build that content to build that unique content. You would be just drowning in content. But it is a lot of work to build a high-quality podcast, which is worth it. That is why I have started to take so much time out of my week.
But, I will continue doing it for the next few years as I enjoy the process, meeting people since it helps my business. I know that I’m looking for an investor because we’re doing a seed round for Insider. We would be able to build a huge network out of it. 52:00
Designhill: How to make a brand a graphic design business?
Sam Kamani: It depends on what you want to do in the graphic design business. If it is just like an agency, it should take a couple of hours. Just go and build a website and see the brand names available. No other graphic design business exists with the same name, so people don’t get confused later on. And just start talking to your friends’ family.
See if you can start mustering up some business. Reach out to some influential people on LinkedIn. Make a connection with them and do just one or two small things for free. By offering your services for free, you have a big name to work with. Then, use their networks to propel your graphic design business. Of course, you can. I think Designhill also has a marketplace where you can start listing your services.
Designhill: Which one from product plus user or sales and business growth needs more attention?
That depends on what your product
Sam Kamani: If you have a service-based business, then you are the product providing that service. So, if you are doing graphic design or advertising and marketing for the people, then I would say it is sales and business growth.
But suppose you are a product business like what we build in Insider. This means you are building a whole simulation of the stock market and gamifying the whole stock rocket. In that case, it is a product plus a user. This is because we are not yet running any ads and we probably won’t run for the next six months. We will keep improving the product until we are happy that we have got a product that is market fit.
Community building is crucial
Whether it’s a product, user sales, or business growth, or any of that, I would highly recommend talking to as many people as you want. Start building a community as fast as you can even before product plus user sales and business growth. Then you have a product to sell them today you have users to test that product. You would find it hard that no one even wants to test products for free, because time is valuable, and people are busy.
Designhill: What are the steps required for validation and how much time it takes?
Sam Kamani: Validation once again depends on your product. If it is service-based, like an ad agency or web design agency, start marketing from day one. Build a landing page and start getting customers. That is the validation. If you get customers you are validating. And if not, then you know, figure out why you are not getting customers.
Talk to relevant people
But if it is a product-based business, like you are a marketplace or some sort of business-to-business SAS product, then first talk to relevant people in the industry. So, say you’re building an accounting SaaS product. Then, find out who your target users would be. Would it be accountants? Would it be individual small business owners? Would it be medium-sized business owners? Would it be just individuals managing their finance personal money?
First, find out what niche you are selling to go and start talking to that niche? Find out if they would use the product? And how much would they be willing to pay for it? That is a key question. If you’re building like, say a b2b SaaS product or something. I don’t exactly know what your product or what your idea is.
You are always validating
As far as the time required for validation is a concern, know that validation never ends. You are always validating because you’re always building and growing your product. So, you always have new features you want to add. You will always keep a continuous connection. That is why you should build a community. You can ask what is the next thing you want? How can we improve our product? So, you will always want to keep improving your product all the time.
So, these are the major points you must pay attention to while thinking of launching your startup. There is no need for you to go on delaying your project. Instead, follow the advice and learn from your mistakes as you go into the market.
However, your startup must also have a visual identity so that your target audience can recognize your business. So, your logo, business card, etc. visuals matter a lot.
To create a logo design or other designs for your startup as it grows, Designhill can help you get the right design ideas. Just launch your design contest for thousands of talented designers at this marketplace. You will have an impressive design like a logo in this way at a reasonable price for your startup. So, get started with this marketplace.
Do not delay your startup project unnecessarily due to some fear or wrong assumptions. The entrepreneurship expert Sam Kamani advises to first validate your idea and then build your startup in 30 days only. But know your niche and build a community as a preparation for launching your startup.