Myself and my cofounder/husband Chris

This article was initially published on the Ropig blog on February 15, 2018.
Ropig was ultimately shuttered in 2018, you can hear that story here.

By November 1, 2017, I know one thing for sure: we’re going to run out of money.

We were supposed to have launched by now, but things got a little off track. And while no product is ever done exactly on time, this one had actually gotten pretty close!

My husband and co-founder Chris and I had decided to invest $500k of our own money into our latest project, a developer alert tool we call…

I did a double-take when I read that a pair of self-made brothers were purchasing Asda.

If you don’t know Asda, it’s a massive British grocery/everything store, kind of the “Wal-Mart of the UK” (in fact, Wal-Mart is exactly who they’re buying it from).

For entrepreneurs who started their own business from scratch, with zero family wealth, and have only been in business about 20 years, this is an INSANE accomplishment.

So of course I had to read more about the Issa brothers and their story.

The short version is, they started by saving up enough money to buy a…

Have you read those “here’s how we got the .com” sagas?

Like the one Jason Fried recently published about buying Or the classic tale of how Noah Kagan spent over ONE MILLION FREAKIN DOLLARS on

While these tales are impressive, I did NOT want to be one of those stories!

When I was doing the name research for my new startup, I wanted to make sure I could nab the .com right from launch day, without having to spend a million bucks in the process.

I did that by using a counterintuitive process that I’ve never seen anyone…

Me, not working for a month in Thailand in 2019

After I retired from my business, the questions poured in about how I did it. It was a long process over 5 years but one key to making this happen is to start taking time off TODAY.

But is it really doable to take extended time off from a service business? (Without tanking your income?)

I’ve also gotten many comments and questions from people who see how this can be done in a software business, but not a service business. So today, I will address how you can start this process off taking significantly more time off in a service business — specifically, coaches and consultants.

Many service businesses think that extended time off is impossible for them…

— — — Now closed as of July 2020 — — —

I’m focusing all of my time on my startup that runs YOUR coaching business, Paperbell!

This is my brain, my advice, on your business. I‘m not the kind of coach that solely guides you to figure things out on your own (though I will do that too when appropriate). This is me giving you my opinion on your situation.

A few topics that I can help you with:

  • True work-life balance, how to run a business in 20 (or less!) hours per week
  • Company culture and retention
  • How to build a business that runs without you
  • How to hire and retain an excellent team
  • Marketing and positioning
  • Brand story

Anyone who has taken an extended leave from work faces the same problem — how to handle the email beast while you’re away.

I was facing a three-month maternity leave from my startup, MeetEdgar. (This is my second kid, second leave.) This time I needed a better email gameplan — I did not want to spend my first week back trudging through a massive inbox!

While researching the ways that people handle this, I came across one strategy that blew my mind: total annihilation. Here’s how it works — you write an autoresponder that goes a little something like this:

Learn more about Ropig

The good news: we now have real-time, detailed data about every part of our web applications.

The bad news: this data comes to us in the form of a firehose of notifications and alerts — most of which is useless noise.

Dev teams create complex systems and schedules to sift through all this data, looking for the few important key indicators buried among the endless messages.

It’s time to reinvent the way monitoring data is handled for web applications.

Introducing a new way to simplify and take action on all the monitoring data you receive

Today we’re launching Ropig, the next generation of alert management tools. We’ve reinvented what alert management looks…

We’ve decided to share some of our internal documentation for other companies to model and learn from.

Here it is.

If you decide to adopt any of these ideas for your company, please let me know! Here are a few highlights:

Culture Guide / Company Values

Remember, we’re bootstrappers. A bootstrapped company generates its own funding. That means everything we need to do must contribute to being profitable, either directly or indirectly. If we aren’t profitable, we don’t exist.

We pay fairly with regard to market values for roles and responsibilities. (AKA your paycheck!) We research pay scale information from multiple sources, based on your…

Does something you’re doing for your business feel really hard? Like a constant uphill battle? Like you have to hustle your face off before you make any progress?

Then quit!

…no, I’m serious. Quit.

Quitting can be really, really good

Got an employee whose job feels like a constant struggle no matter what you do? Stop trying to make it work. They’re not a fit.

Got a marketing channel that STILL isn’t paying off, and you just can’t seem to find the right angle? Stop trying to make it work. That angle probably doesn’t exist.

Got an entire startup that can’t find that elusive “traction,” or…

There’s a big trend lately of giving people total freedom at work. Makes sense on paper — the people on your team are grownups who can make their own choices, and you shouldn’t have to babysit them.

More and more, though, people are taking this idea to the extreme. It turns what COULD be a decent holacracy into a total hot-mess-acracy, eliminating departments, managers, and a lot of the structure that makes workplaces actually work!

I get where the idea comes from. Everyone hates pointless rules and red tape, and bureaucracy slows down the speed of execution.

You know what…

Laura Roeder

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