Book Review – The 60-Minute Tech Startup by Ramesh Dontha

60 minute tech startup

The 60-Minute Tech Startup subtitled, How to start a tech company in one month is aimed at helping us refute the belief that we need external investment to start a tech business. It reminds us that companies such as Twitter, Udemy, Groupon and GitHub started as side hustles.

The book is split up into 30 days, with each day having actions that we should take towards launching a side hustle. This is not a big book with just 215 pages and if you give it just 15 minutes a day, you will read it in a month or less. While this book focuses on tech side hustles, the lessons will apply to any side hustle.

The main premise of this book is that if you spend 60-minutes (and sometimes less) on your business daily you will launch it in 30 days. So you are encouraged on spend up to 60-minutes working on the actions outlined for each day. Two great things about this book is that most of the 30 day chapters start with a real life case study of the principle being discussed and at the end of each chapter is an action plan urging you to take action on your business in 60-minutes.

Following is a top level review of each day.

DAY 1 – WHAT NOT TO DO TO START A COMPANY
Day 1 focuses on what not to do when building a side hustle and most of it is related to your day job as follows:

  • Don’t use your employer’s resources to build your side hustle.
  • Don’t let your side hustle conflict with your job.
  • Don’t spend your work time working on your side hustle.
  • Don’t use confidential information from your job for your side hustle.

DAY 2 – CHOOSE YOUR TECH BUSINESS

It’s time to choose what business area to build your side hustle in. As much as possible you should have the right skills for the business you choose. Here are ten suggested business areas from Ramesh:

  1. Web design and development
  2. Tech blogging
  3. SEO consulting
  4. Tutoring and online courses
  5. Tech service freelancing
  6. Social media management
  7. Smartphone app development
  8. Tech writing
  9. Programming and quality assurance testing
  10. Graphic design

Now you need to choose your tech business area.

DAY 3 – OTHER PROFITABLE SKILLS YOUR TECH STARTUP NEEDS

On day three the key question you are answering is, what other skills do you need to build your business, especially if you intend to scale it up later on. There are some skills you will already have but you need to identify skills to develop. There is a matrix on http://www.the60minutestartup.com to do a skills self-assessment.

DAY 4 – FIND AN UNFULFILLED NEED AND YOU’VE FOUND A CUSTOMER

Today is about answering the question, who do I sell to or where are my customers. The activity for today is therefore to make a list of potential friends , family and colleagues you can speak to about your product. You can also do some research from freelance sites such as Fiverr and Upwork to identify customers through what people are asking for. You can do additional research for potential customers by doing keyword research.

DAY 5 – SHOW N TELL TO IMPRESS PROSPECTS

On day 4 you identified your potential customers pain points, today is about showing them you have a product or service that can meet their need. Therefore you need to develop something that can show your solution. Decide what you are going to show n tell depending on your type of business which can be a video demonstration, your portfolio, a slideshow or something else. You can use online services such as Canva and Mockflow to create your show n tell. Head to http://www.the60minutestartup.com for more ideas.

DAY 6 – INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Make sure you know about intellectual property, particularly copyright, trademarks, patents and trade secrets. Do your research, then go through your assets to identify if you need to protect any of your intellectual property.

DAY 7 – MAKE IT OFFICIAL
Today is about starting to create a public face for your side hustle by choosing a business name, getting a website domain name and creating a legal structure for it. One advise about naming your business, don’t choose a name that restricts your business to a single product or service. You may need to expand. Also just because you are building a side hustle doesn’t mean you should not register it as a legal entity. Think of whether you want to register as a sole proprietor, partnership or limited company.

DAY 8 – PRICED TO SELL
How will you price your product? That is what you will figure out on day 8. Various ideas for pricing your product are discussed here and you will learn about:

  • Hourly pricing
  • Fixed pricing
  • Cost plus pricing
  • Competitive pricing
  • Value based pricing
  • Price skimming
  • Penetration pricing

DAY 9 – TO PLAN OR NOT TO PLAN
Today is about business planning. Key advice here is to have a business plan but don’t dwell on it. Here, the various parts of a business plan are discussed which are:

  • Executive summary
  • Company overview
  • Business description
  • Market analysis
  • Operating plan
  • Marketing and sales plan
  • Financial plan

DAY 10 – MANAGE PROJECTS TO MANAGE TASKS
Building a side hustle takes time so managing your tasks properly is important. There are various cloud-based software that you can use to manage your projects such as Asana, Basecamp and Wrike.

DAY 11 – SCHEDULE YOUR TIME
The previous day dealt with project management and this day is a follow on. It’s about managing time properly. Find tools to manage your time and protect the time you need to work on your side hustle carefully.

DAY 12 – ORGANIZE YOUR PASSION
This is a follow on from day 11 and it is about organising oneself to be able to work effectively. Things to organise include our physical workspace, digital workspace, finances and business management and managing customers.

DAY 13 – GETTING YOURSELF TOGETHER ONLINE
Today is about organising the presence of your side hustle online. The three assets suggested for doing this are a website, email marketing and social media. Some advice is given on how to do this and of course a 60-minute action plan to implement the advice.

DAY 14 – LETTING THE WORLD KNOW YOU MEAN BUSINESS
This is launch day and while there is no single right way to launch your side hustle, you will be making use of strategies such as contacting people on your email marketing list, publicizing your side hustle on social media and advertising such as Google ads. Of course you don’t need to do all these at once. The action plan for today suggests you:

  • Create a launch graphic using a free programme like canva.com.
  • Publish the launch graphic on social media.
  • Create a prospect tracking list to track interested people.

DAY 15 – BUY A BUSINESS (YES IT’S AN OPTION)

Today is a bit different as it presents you with the option of buying a business rather than creating one. Suggested actions for buying a business are, researching businesses you may want to buy and then making your decision.

DAY 16 – CUSTOMER DEVELOPMENT

You can build your side hustle but you will need to take action to attract potential customers. This is where customer development comes in. Customer development starts with customer discovery which involves finding ideal customers. You can start to find customers by choosing three online platforms and researching potential customers.

DAY 17 – CUSTOMER DISCOVERY
Today goes into more detail about customer discovery. Here you will learn about how to ask the right customer discovery questions and what tools you will use to ask those questions.

DAY 18 – THE MOST LIKELY FIRST CUSTOMER
Who will your first customer be? It will most likely be people you already know. There are some ideas here for pitching to people you know. Actions you can take include listing those you can pitch to and arranging a meeting to tell them about your side hustle.

DAY 19 – ALPHA AND BETA TESTING TO FIND CUSTOMERS
Today is about creating a test product that people can trial. It is a way to get feedback about your product and also attract potential customers.

DAY 20 – FASTEST WAY TO YOUR CUSTOMERS
The suggestions for today are that Facebook, Google and LinkedIn advertising are the fastest way to your customers so choose which one of them you want to use.

DAY 21 – FIND YOUR TRIBE
Use platforms such as Quota and Reddit to find potential customers. Take action by looking for groups related to your business, asking good questions and showing up consistently.

DAY 22 – SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION FOR THE WIN
SEO can improve the possibility of your website being seen.

DAY 23 – THE RIGHT SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Today’s message is simple, choose the right social media platform for your business.

DAY 24 – GETTING YOUR BUSINESS IN FRONT OF 600 MILLION PEOPLE
The focus for day 24 is about leveraging LinkedIn for your business, particularly as a B2B platform. Three suggestions for using it are to revisit your customers on the platform to identify their pain points, join relevant LinkedIn groups and set up a content calendar to post content consistently.

DAY 25 – BORROWING OTHER PEOPLE’S CUSTOMERS
You can use other people’s audiences or OPA to generate business. It simply involves speaking to other businesses about needs their customers have that you can help with and showing them how to solve customer problems. This positions you as a go-to person for solving a particular problem so having an OPA strategy may prove useful.

DAY 26 – A FREE OFFER TO GET PAYING CUSTOMERS
Today focuses on using a freemium strategy whereby you offer a free service or product to attract potential customers to buy from you. Suggestions for implementing a freemium strategy include offering products with limited features or limited time access.

DAY 27 – FOCUS ON TECH-ONLY ONLINE COMMUNITIES
Today is about getting yourself involved in a tech-only online community and how to do so. A good online tech-online community is ProductHunt.

DAY 28 – THE TRADE SHOW GOLD MINE
Today is about how to identify, select and attend appropriate trade shows.

DAY 29 – NEGOTIATION AND OBJECTION HANDLING
Today is about learning how to negotiate with potential customers where your product or service is concerned. It is important to have a negotiation strategy you can turn to when there are differences in your opinion and the customer’s when it comes to pricing.

DAY 30 – GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH REFERRALS
This is the last day and the advice today is on how to grow your business through referrals. As in previous day’s, there is a strategy for how to use referrals.

In conclusion, this is not a large book but it has loads of useful information. If you are building a side hustle, there is surely something for you here. It covers almost every aspect of what is required to start and grow a side hustle.

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