Having built Proxies API and made it to 100 paid users for the first time in my startup life, I tried to compile a list of tips for other developers like me who might be thinking of starting something on their own.
Developers are a different beast, and the advice here may not apply to anyone who is not a developer and is a normal human being. 😀
- Pick an idea you have used. When you start a startup one of the persistent problems you face is that you don't relate to the problem. If you are not a parent, its almost impossible to relate to any conversations that parents have about their troubles. You just don’t. This lack of empathy in a startup setting adds up to a huge disadvantage and will never allow you to be fully confident in what you are doing.
2. Pick an idea you have already paid for: If you have ever paid for a service, think very carefully about that. Can you code it yourself if you give yourself a few months? It is because developers don’t pay for shit. If an app forced you to do that, then there must a real need for that app.
3. Don’t pick something that needs a pretty UI: My product Proxies API is an API. I can get away with almost no UI. It is such a relief that I don’t have to work with a designer. I find that I am 4 to 5 times faster when I don’t have to deal with UI stuff.
4. Don’t pick anything that you need in-person sales for. Marketing is a developer’s friend. I realized this only later in my life. In-person sales are very weird for the developer personality. My advice. Don't do it. Learn how to market instead.
5. Pick something that is a self-serve model: People signup for a trial and decide to pay or not pay based on their trial experience. This is a beast that you can conquer. You don’t want to be going around talking to actual humans. It is not for us.
6. Try writing: If you can code and write, you will win the world. The whole success of Proxies API is based on constant improvements to code and a little bit of consistent writing over time.
7. Keep it real: Be clear on your motivations. I know that developers are not motivated by the prospect of making millions. But they are excited by the promise of financial freedom. So I was clear on my motivations when starting Proxies API — I didn’t want it to make me millions. I wanted it to give me financial freedom by earning what I earned in my day job. I didn’t need a penny more. By being clear about it, you are not living someone else’s life but your own, and it will give you the necessary fuel to keep going.
The author is the founder of Proxies API the rotating proxies service.