Start Small, Get Big – No Investment Required
When I posted I had no idea the amount of interest it would generate. Viewed over 50,000 times, I received a flood of emails from people supporting the main thesis and calling for action.
The massive interest in the post served to solidify in my mind that there is need for one (or more) systems that can facilitate many thousands of entrepreneurs to “start small, get big” without the requirement to chase limited VC funding or incubator placements.
My idea is to create a system called The Startup Guild that is somewhat like a distributed and virtual version of YCombinator. The Startup Guild would use game mechanics to help track and match up participants into self supporting mastermind groups. As an analogy, if YCombinator were client-server, the Startup Guild would be a torrent tracker.
The main premise of the guild would be to help entrepreneurs build their first profitable business via the unfunded route of bootstrapping, however there would be nothing about the guild to exclude participants from seeking funding or placement at an incubator.
Problems The Guild Would Try To Solve
- How can I build a start-up with no investment?
- How can I meet like minded entrepreneurs to bounce ideas off?
- How can I keep motivated and be held accountable?
- How can I find a business partner?
- How can I build a startup if I’m not based in Silicon Valley?
The Startup Guild – Potential Components
news.startupguild.net – A reddit style link rating & comment system dedicated to articles related to “no-investment, start small, get big”
blog.startupguild.net – A “guest post” blog with articles from people who have had success with “start small, get big” approach
toolkit.startupguild.net – A toolkit with information & resources about “start small, get big”
tracker.startupguild.net – A system to publicly track entrepreneurs progress and match up mastermind groups
In my mind the key to making a distributed human network like this become successful would be to facilitate the creation of self supporting micro-groups. Mastermind groups.
The entrepreneur tracker would use game mechanics to match up mastermind groups and ensure that each group had a spread of experience. For example, it wouldn’t make sense for a group to consist of 1 person making $100k/month and 6 others just starting out. I had in mind the idea of each person within the system having a current status badge. Using game mechanics the system could also encourage competition between mastermind groups and individual entrepreneurs.
Here is a very rough example of what I’m talking about:
- Apprentice – Just starting out (A1)
- Novice – Have 100 registered users (N1)
- Mentor Level 1 – Already earning $1000/month (ML1)
- Mentor Level 2 – Already earning $5000/month (Ml2)
The tracker would match up a group like: A1, A1, A1, N1, N1, ML1 – The group might then be called “The Big Lebowski” and be tracked against performance. Think baseball league.
If you would like to follow the progress of the Startup Guild as it pops into existence sign-up to this mailing list. If you would like to help build the tracker or curate the toolkit please send me your ideas, passion level, commitment level & experience.