Everyone Hates Marketers

Rob Walling: The Stairstep, No-Bull Approach to Bootstrapping

For start-up marketing, how do you get something off the ground without outside funding? What’s required to launch a product? Marketers and developers will learn a lot today! In this episode, I’m talking to Rob Walling, a Web developer, podcaster, entrepreneur, and conference co-host about stairstepping your way up when it comes to bootstrapping.

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • How to launch a new software business without a lot of time or money
  • Stairstep Approach: Build something small, a one-time sale product; find source of traffic or niche
  • How to come up with useful product ideas for angles; use tools that show places that generate traffic
  • Make money online by knowing SEO practices
  • Optimize for an engine to provide a valuable resource for people searching for a specific term
  • By using marketing to get to the top or to get in front of people, only to let them down - then you will not have longevity
  • Utilize communities and marketplaces, online or elsewhere, that already exist and people are using
  • Gain confidence, experience, and knowledge to improve and make money
  • Process of building a simple plug-in: Research; come up with an idea; know where to go; teach yourself or outsource work; submit; and determine level of interest
  • Acquire something rather than building it from scratch; leverage other people’s work
  • Start something guaranteed to get traction by using an idea done before, several times
  • Determine if a certain number of people are looking for the same thing
  • Can you charge for it? Can you add something to charge for? Can you build something people are willing to pay for? Are you interested in building something?
  • Rob’s Goal: Provide value to people in exchange for money; take that money to quit day job
  • Identify that there are volumes of searches to sustain your objective
  • Focus on a landscape with a lot of products that are not good enough; competition validates the market
  • Go for the goal to rank #1; that’s the challenge
  • Niche-down results in smaller opportunities but that does not matter initially
  • Earning your first dollar is a life-changing moment, but it is still good to sell stuff; as the dollars get bigger, the more interesting it is
  • Rob’s passionate about being ethical and adding value to people’s lives and making money out of it
  • If you make money from an add-on, then launch more add-ons for diversification; if not, start over
  • You have an audience, grow it slowly, offer solutions to their problems, and make a living
  • Practice patience and maintain a long-term mindset; marketers get overwhelmed with the amount of day-to-day information available
  • Set long-term goals because choices you make today, stick with you
  • Marketers should learn to think analytically like developers; measure conversions, link dollars to spending on ads to how many people are buying, etc.
  • Developers can learn from marketers that a product is not everything; customers and marketing are directly related to the success of a product; and talk about the benefits rather than the features  
  • Some marketers go for growth hacks - grow at any cost and just for the sake of it
  • Marketers have a bad reputation because of overstepping bounds of ethics
  • Good marketing goes unnoticed; bad marketing is in the news a lot
  • Have an opinion, stand for something, and be real  
  • Define your enemy because when things get tough, fighting against it is the only thing that will keep you going


“You want to build the best product, and you want to rank high for it.” - Rob Walling

“If you just use marketing to get to the top or to get in front of people, but you let them down - then you’re not going to have longevity.” - Rob Walling

“My goal was to provide value to people in exchange for money, and then take that money so I could quit consulting and quit my salary job.” - Rob Walling

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