101 Startup PowerUps
Tools to Help Choose Your Own Entrepreneurial Adventure
You start imagining exciting new possibilities for yourself. This is exciting and frustrating in equal measure. It is frustrating because you can feel very far from your goals. The overriding characteristic of this stage is inaction. The combination of dreaming and doing nothing can be uncomfortable and you may spend a lot of time feeling stuck. Whether or not you make any Big Decisions in the immediate term, determination will naturally move you from thinking towards doing — and even small actions will move you into the next stage: that of the Seeker.
Dreamer Power Ups
- Read our guide to flexing your idea muscle.
- Build your network and talk to startup founders at tech meetup events or join a community of makers on Launch This Year.
- Browse Startup Requests and get a sense for what Angel and VC investors are looking to fund.
- Find the perfect company name with Naminum and commit to buying the domain on Hover.com (find really short ones here)
- Browse infinite startup ideas on It’s This For That
- Commit to one small step each day and track using Coach.me
- Use Paper or Skitch to sketch out the beginnings of your idea.
- Brainstorm into an actionable project with Germ.io:
You begin taking the first new steps towards your new goals. You begin actively looking for new paths. You are using your values, your strengths, your interests, and your existing resources as the compass points to point you in the direction of new things that you think might be good for you. You follow your curiosity to new places, unsure of where this path may lead you’re looking to learn new skills, join communities of fellow founders and get feedback from potential customers.
Seeker Power Ups
- Signup for Typeform and create a survey to test your product and customer assumptions. Before you share it be sure to read through this ultimate list of customer development questions.
- Build a simple landing page using Squarespace or Strikingly and start collecting signups.
- If you’re curious to see how inspiringly crappy some household name startups were when they first launched, have a play with the Way Back Machine.
- Use Google Trends to research trending searches for ideas.
- Sign up to Product Hunt, StartupLi.st and Beta List to see what other people are building.
- Try to learn something new every day or sign for Google’s Primer –no-nonsense, jargon-free marketing lessons.
- Join a conversation in a Slack Community.
- Listen to Audible’s Lean Startup during your commute
You are conducting brave experiments at the edge of your comfort zone; overcoming perfectionism and procrastination. Once you accept that you cannot just think or plan your way to a new career, it then becomes a case of acting. You have to act to gain more information about yourself and about what options you have in the world.
Experimenter Power Ups
- Use Optimizely to tweak your landing page design and copy.
- Get videos of real people speaking their thoughts as they use your website or mobile app.
- Hone your skills and signup for a free class on Skillshare, General Assembly or Udemy.
- For MVP inspiration — read how Buffer went from Idea to Paying Customer in 7 Weeks and how Product Hunt began as an email list.
- Join Inbound.org — the web’s largest community of online marketers (pro tip: try filtering the threads by topic).
- Start compiling your very own lean startup stack
- Oursource anything on Fiverr to real humans or get a beautiful (free) logo from Squarespace’s Logo generator.
- Create gorgeous social media images on Canva or Pablo
You use your self-reflection and experimentation to help you focus your efforts on a few core ideas / paths. You may find this hard if you worry about closing down other potential avenues or if you are concerned you haven’t chosen the right thing. Remind yourself that this isn’t an irreversible choice, you are simply choosing a priority for now.
Focuser Power Ups
- Install StayFocusd to keep you productive and away from social media distractions.
- Use the Pocket Extension to bookmark useful longreads for later.
- Install Momentum as a reminder to focus on your key task every time you open up a new Chrome Tab
- Pomodrone is a beautiful app to keep you focused in 25 minute bursts.
- Work on your One Big Thing every day.
- Prefer background noise? Listen to sounds of nature from Noiz.io.
- Get some Headspace. You can’t be productive all of the time.
- Save time on a mac with the legendary Alfred Mac app.
You focus on creating value without waiting for permission. You know that after a lifetime of fitting in, you now need to stand out. In order to do something different in your career you need to start doing things differently. The only way to achieve unconventional outcomes is to adopt unconventional behaviours.
Hustler Power Ups
- Smash through your comfort zone and signup to one of our 10 Hustle Olympics challenges.
- Looking to create viral content? Use Buzzsumo’s free trial to see what content and titles perform best for any topic or competitor.
- Take Pre-orders for your product or service with Tilt or crowdfund on Kickstarter (tips here)
- Start making sales today by signing up for a Shopify store or start a subscription service using Crate Joy
- Build relationships with journalists using Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
- Schedule your social posts with Buffer.
- Learn to code in One Month or less.
- Too busy to type? Use the magical Text Expander to double productivity.
You are no longer the old you, you are not yet the new you. Your working identity is in transition. Being between identities is pretty scary. Society conditions us to identify with our external achievements and our professional labels. In some ways, however, the space between your old trajectory and your new commitment can be quite exhilarating.
In-Betweener Power Ups
- Check you’re set up for SEO success with Hubspot’s free marketing grader.
- Use Upwork or Growth Geeks to find quality freelancers to help you focus on doing what you do best or look for a cofounder on CoFoundersLab or Founder2be.
- If you’re looking for assistance with book keeping then look no further than Xero or Kashflow which will help to do the books on your behalf.
- Read through some of the top books for founders or dive into Y-Combinators reading list.
- Start a side project and try building your own bot or take this free course on charging what you’re worth.
- Brush up on your marketing skills with this Full Stack Collection or receive a design lesson in your inbox each week.
- Put the internet to work for you and save time with IFTTT
- Subscribe to some of these superb podcasts for founders
You find the thing that you think you want to dedicate the next chapter of your life to. Committing doesn’t mean you will no longer wonder whether you have made the right decision (you will still experience fear, anxiety and imposter syndrome). It simply means that you have shifted your energy to something new that feels worthwhile to you.
Committer Power Ups
- Follow this Startup Launch checklist
- Create a viral waiting list in 60 seconds then set yourself a LAUNCH DATE (and stick to it!)
- Pledge £50 towards making your first steps and get a friend to hold you accountable.
- Mailchimp: Send 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers for free. If you’re looking to grow this list check out Hello Bar or Sumome List Builder and to send better emails peruse Good Email Copy for inspiration from the pros.
- Test if your emails are actually being read using Litmus and join Email 1K — a free 30 day course to help double your email list.
- Check out Unsplash for access to an archive of free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos.
- Find Free legal docs for startup founders at Kiss or Docracy and use this co-founder equity calculator Foundrs to figure out how much equity to grant new hires in seconds.
- Use Mention to help find out who is talking about your company on social media.
You reach the point at which you are fulfilling your potential and becoming an expert in your field. Ultimately however, the only real career insurance is to become uniquely good at something that matters to you and that is also valued by the world. You need a niche and you need to pursue excellence. This should be your long-term goal.
Reflector Power Ups
- Few would argue that there’s no bigger writing platform than Medium (the platform that this post is written on) for getting your writing out there. The editor is a joy to use and the community is growing every day.
- Add a awesome proofreading concierge to your Slack channel.
- Use Grammarly’s Chrome Extension to finds & corrects mistakes or Hemingway to improve your writing.
- Connect with well known founders and authors on Product Hunt Live AMA
- Explore the Closed Club to browse shut-down start-ups & learn why they failed.
- Learn more about your network (and find emails) with FullContact
- Share your wisdom by creating an online course on Teachable.
- Pay it forward to someone just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey #givefirst