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

April 03, 2018

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

Resources:

“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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