Three entrepreneurial bootstrapping tips to get you ‘unstuck’!

Exactly three years ago to this day, I was at a friend’s house in Munich, writing the closing credits, tidbits, and references section of my book Lean Change Management.

I had just finished running the first two Lean Change Agent workshops, which I’d just broken even on. At that time, the money wasn’t the point. What I wanted was to validate people would pay for a two-day workshop based on my book.

My friend in Munich, Torsten Scheller, bought the Godfather package in my Happy Melly Express crowdfunding of the book, and that gave him the honor of helping organize the first workshop on another continent in Munich.

Here we are, three years later, and thousands of people have attended the workshop, with 30 facilitators in 15 different countries running these workshops with an average rating of 8.89 out of 10.0.

There are currently four regular Lean Change Meetups with more than 800 members worldwide. People are also publishing their stories on my blog about how they’re implementing ideas from my book, and, more importantly, tweaking them to work in their environments.

Three years ago, I was happy to visit Munich, and its lovely beer gardens, and I was blissfully clueless about what the future would bring.

I knew there was something to what I was doing, but I didn’t know exactly what. I was stuck.

This month’s Happy Melly challenge is Entrepreneurial Bootstrapping so I am going to share three tips I live by, and then assign you some homework so you can unstick yourself!

Entrepreneurial Bootstrapping Tip #1: Publicly commit yourself to your idea

I procrastinate. I spend plenty of time thinking about an experiment, and when I feel I’m ready to act or stuck not knowing what to do, I commit publicly through a blog post, tweet, or conversation with someone. Everyone’s brain is different, and this works for me instead of following a rigidly defined experiment by creating measurements and running the experiment, only to then pivot or pursue. (You know, basic PDCA stuff.)

Entrepreneurial Bootstrapping Tip #2: Fake it til you make it.

Remember the Munich workshops I mentioned earlier in this post? There was a general plan, but it was a seat-of-your-pants experience. If you believe in your idea, you will figure out what to do in the heat of the moment.

Entrepreneurial Bootstrapping Tip #3: Shape your own market.

I did very little to zero advertising for my workshops over the years. After Munich, a friend asked me to come to Hamburg. I congratulated him on being the organizer, gave him my constraints and, wammo, off we went! Instead of planning a tour, I created a call-for-interest page and whenever someone asked me to go somewhere, I told them they just volunteered to be the organizer. There are first-movers everywhere, be aware enough to spot them.

When I first started learning about Lean Startup and customer development back in 2011, I was very focused on the processes and canvases. It’s like learning a new lick on guitar — at first, it sounds mechanical and you’re worried about getting the notes right, then after the muscle memory builds up, you get your groove on.

Three steps to get your entrepreneurial groove on

  1. Download the official Happy Melly Unsticker Thingy and fill it out. It will help you focus on getting unstuck and just doing it!
  2. If you’re a Happy Melly Member (first of all THANKS!), post this file into the #Members-Exclusive channel in Slack, and tag me in your post, and I will have a 30-min chat with you to go over it.
  3. If you’re not a Happy Melly Member (first of all, you SHOULD be!), you’re on your own! That said, this post should make it clear why being part of Happy Melly is awesome, which should motivate you to join! Don’t worry, it’s not too late to join Happy Melly now!

This homework assignment is due June 9, 2017 because I’m doing my part of the monthly challenge this week. Hopefully, your dog won’t eat your homework. In grade school, I had a 30-minute bus ride to school so my favorite excuse was always “AH! I must have left it on the bus!”

Best of luck to a new, unstuck you!

Open source images from GratisographyBlog Footer


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This article is written by Jason Little on June 5th 2017.