While building a bootstrapped startup, I realized early on that the whole heuristic of measuring a startup comes down to the habits that I have constructed that can repeat on a day to day basis consistently for months and years.
I have already written that in the case of Proxies API, my SAAS startup, the two main habits that have made it successful were.
a) Make small, consistent improvements to the product every single day.
b) Write (blog, make videos) every single day.
Now, this is a big ask. I have been able to maintain a streak for months now. So in this marathon, you don’t always feel it. Here are some hacks I have used to get my brain back into perspective that lead to the success of habit-building, which in turn leads to the success of the startup.
1. Have an impersonal, clear goal. I/we need to get x to y in x days/months under these constraints/conditions. The only rule here is that the goal should not be personal. Personal goals are ones that have a feeling of vendetta like a Gollum would create. They are created in mind, and you don’t get a sense that they are natural. Read more here
2. Have a work backward excel sheet: Life is long. We eat three times, need to go to the toilet ten times, clean up, meet friends and family, power off for 6 hours, and then there are social media, there is Trump, and North Korea is attacking us. In all this, it is difficult to remember what it takes to get to that long term goal. What do we have to do this again? What should be the minimum calls I need to do to get my target number of clients? How many words should I write to keep on track for my goal of having a decent content base to attract SEO and other inbound traffic again? We can’t recalculate it every day. Best to have it in a ‘working backward’ sheet that can be tweaked based on what we learn from reality.
3. The brain needs reminding: Again, in a marathon with a hundred distractions, it is easy to forget the daily targets, the exact strategies we had researched and decided on early in the planning phase. I find that reading my goals and my strategies every day reminds my brain before it becomes vague.
4. Remind yourself first thing in the morning. Ideally, before checking the phone, definitely before any social media or emails. Your goals don’t get overshadowed by concern for how the world is about to end. Someone tweeted something because your neighbor posted a picture from their vacation.
5. Use the 2-minute rule to get a ton of small tasks done very quickly and promptly.
6. Do a brain dump. My brain will get overwhelmed because of all the choices of actions, tactics, growth hacks, and strategies out there. I use the brain dump every two weeks at least to overcome this and get moving again.
7. Make it inevitable. I approach everything with a sense of wanting to make the result inevitable, so instead of doing the bare minimum, I tend to do the overwhelming maximum, and also I make it almost a part of destiny by setting up my environment. More about this technique that I learned from Eben Pagan.
Making success inevitable