Getting rich shouldn’t be your goal when launching your first startup.
Tens of thousands of aspiring founders are building products right now with the hopes that they will be the next Slack or the Zoom.
There is, of course, a chance that your startup will provide riches beyond your wildest dreams. The odds are slim you will accomplish this your first time out of the gate.
And while it’s true that you might get lucky your first time, “luck” is not a great plan.
Over and over I’ve watched new founders think they should swing for the fences with their first effort, only to spend countless hours building a big idea that becomes too unwieldy for them to launch and grow in their spare time.
Instead of that, I would encourage you to strongly consider stairstepping your way up, starting with a small product that makes a couple thousand dollars a month.
Learn the ropes. Gain experience. Confidence. Skillsets like copywriting and customer support. Learn a marketing channel in a niche that’s not super competitive.
This approach gives you time to learn the ropes. There are dozens of things to learn your first time at the plate. That learning curve coupled with a big market and big competition is likely to crush your chance of success.
Don’t Stack the Odds Against You
I don’t believe I would have been successful building, growing and selling Drip had I attempted it as my first effort 15 years ago. Only after building my skillset, gaining confidence, having some money in the bank, owning all of my time, and building a strong network do I think I stood a chance in as competitive a space as ESPs.
Your first time at the plate you already have many things stacked against you. Don’t stack the complexity of a big market/big competition on top of that.
Maximize your odds of a modest outcome by either choosing a niche market, a small utility, or a tool that fits within an “app store,” typically as a plugin or add-on to an existing large SaaS platform.
It’s not as sexy as conquering a massive market, but your chance of a modest outcome is 10x…perhaps 100x greater.
Start your startup. Learn the ropes. Once you have success under your belt, you can try to crush it with your second or third one.
(This one of the reasons my book is titled Start Small, Stay Small)