👉 https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/56913172


1 – The Minimalist Entrepreneur

Don’t stop finding the right product (iteration is key!):

Creator First, Entrepreneur Second On paper, it seems simple enough: Narrow down who your ideal customer is. Narrow until you can narrow no more. Define exactly what pain point you are solving for them, and how much they will pay you to solve it. Set a hard deadline and focus fully on building a solution, then charge for it. Repeat the process until you’ve found a product that works, then scale a business around it.

KEY TAKEAWAYS You don’t learn, then start. You start, then learn. Minimalist entrepreneurs focus on getting “profitable at all costs” instead of growing at all costs. A business is a way to solve problems for people you care about—and get paid for it. Become a creator first, an entrepreneur second.

2 – Start with Community


How to engage within the community

But what will you say and how will you engage the people you’ve come to know and respect in your community? It’s all about creating value and can all be summed up by three signs Nathan Barry, the founder of ConvertKit, which provides email marketing for creators, has hanging in his office. They read: “Work in Public” “Teach Everything You Know” “Create Every Day”


Teach about everything you know:

They were both doing the work, but Chris was sharing it, while Nathan was not. “I realized I would take on a project, do the work, deliver the project and move on,” he said. “Chris did the same thing, BUT before he moved on, he would teach about everything he learned doing that project. When he could, he shared samples, he wrote tutorials about the code he wrote and any specific methods he went through. He did this with every project. The difference was that all along the way, Chris was teaching everything he knew and I wasn’t.” Since that epiphany, ConvertKit has grown to over $20 million in annual recurring revenue.

Key takeaways

  1. Community-First Approach: The starting point for any product or business should be identifying and immersing oneself within the relevant community. It’s this community that brings awareness to the problems in need of solutions.

  2. Contributing Value: Upon finding a community where you fit in, contribute actively and aim to become a key member or a “pillar” of that community. This will help you to understand the needs and the dynamics of the community better.

  3. Problem Identification: Choose a problem to solve, ideally one that you personally encounter, and validate that it is a common issue among others in the community.

  4. Business Alignment: Make sure there’s a “business-you fit.” In other words, confirm that solving this problem aligns not only with the needs of the community but also with your own business goals and capabilities.

  5. Leverage Community Feedback: When in doubt or facing challenges, engage with the community. Their insights and support can guide your venture and increase the chances of success.

Learn More

3 – Build as Little as Possible

53 - Productizing

Productizing simply means developing a process into something you can sell. In the processizing stage, you created a manual valuable process for yourself and built a system for working efficiently and effectively as you helped each individual customer. Now you are ready to productize, which means that you automate each individual task so that people can sign up, use, and pay for your product without you being involved.

54 Key points on Productizing your ideas
Set Limits
Four Critical Questions

4 – Sell to Your First Hundred Customers

5 – Market by Being You

6 – Grow Yourself and Your Business Mindfully

7 – Build the House You Want to Live In

8 – Where Do We Go from Here?


Read Getting Real, a free “book” about building a web app, by Basecamp, available online at https://basecamp.com/books/getting-


TAKEAWAYS Launches are alluring, but they are one-off events I wouldn’t bet your business on. Instead, wait until you have a product with repeat, paying customers. Then launch by thanking them! Selling your product (or process) directly to customers may seem slow, but it is worthwhile. It will lead to a much better product because the sales process will be less about convincing and more about discovery. Start by selling to your family and friends before moving on to your communities and, finally, if at all, to total strangers. (The further away from you, the harder they will be to convince.) Learn


Ariely. Read How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie, the best book I’ve ever read on “sales.”


you Marketing is really just about sharing your passion. —MICHAEL HYATT



It’s much better to start by spending time instead of money. Blog posts are free. Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Clubhouse are free too. Instead of spending money, let’s start there, by building an audience. The Power of an Audience You


growth. When it comes to the people in your company, the answer to Keller’s question is to focus on culture before hiring. Before you’re ready to hire anyone, you first need to make a company people want to work for. That begins with setting your values, preferably as early as possible, because values are the foundation of the culture you will build together with your employees.

core values


We didn’t shift our priorities—we were and still are creators first—but our new focus required me to have conversations around the career trajectory some of our employees expected. And let me tell you, it’s a lot more difficult, emotional, and expensive to fix your culture than your code.


company! JUDGED BY THE WORK This value is about being real about what matters: the experience creators—and their customers—have when they use Gumroad. How I communicate this internally: Our creators don’t care about us. They care about the product, content, and community we happen to provide. That means a few things: While we often work in silos, we do not ship alone. Everything we send to creators is of the highest quality, meaning that everything is reviewed by multiple people on the Gumroad team, our creators (they’re first!), and other folks in our broader community. For example, I published my Work article (sahillavingia.com/work) after addressing 600 comments from 150 people. That is extreme, but it meant hundreds of thousands of people read something better. We are okay with employee churn (in fact, I encourage it if it helps us ship a superior product). Lastly, it should be considered a failure to receive feedback on something that could have made a creator’s life better after you shipped.


customers. The Peter Principle, coined by educator Laurence J. Peter, states that “the tendency in most organization hierarchies, such as that of a corporation, is for every employee to rise in the hierarchy through promotion until they reach a level of respective incompetence.


The best people continue to do the jobs they’re best at as they get promoted—they just get paid more to do it.


call. This culture requires everyone to tell everyone else when they plan to do “deep work,” a term coined by writer Cal Newport indicating focused, cognitively demanding tasks. Much of the work we do, including writing, coding, and designing, doesn’t lend itself well to interruptions. Beyond setting expectations, people can decide how they wish to implement this. They can let others know when they plan to surface and respond to questions, or they can turn off their notifications for weeks on end. For me, this is as simple as blocking out times in my calendar. Clear expectations around availability allow people to build their work around their life, not the other way around. This is especially great for new parents, but everyone benefits from being able to structure their days to maximize their happiness and productivity, and most people can learn to manage themselves and be productive and impactful. I recognize


ME!” Great people will only apply if they see a job that matches (or exceeds) their expectations for what their ideal work life could be like. If you can, reflect on any painful or stressful job searches you’ve had, and how often you’ve gotten to the end of a long interview process with a company only to realize they weren’t a fit for you at all. Communicating your values saves everyone time and energy. You only want to interview the candidates who think they’re a really good fit for you, not people who are just looking for their next job or a pay raise. Ultimately, the greatest candidates are the ones who plan to replace you.


go. Believe me, I know how difficult it is to fire people. But it is an essential skill if you want to build the house you want to live in. To my people, I promise no surprises. Even if it’s not a fit, I make it clear—and, due to our asynchronous culture, in writing—exactly why I have concerns that it may not be a fit, corresponding each issue with our values. I do this at least twice over several weeks, making sure they have the clarity and time to make the changes I need them to make. But ultimately it’s their choice, and often the best thing you can do is to have an honest conversation, tell them it’s not working out, and wind things down. Almost every time, they’ll be grateful you brought it up instead of them. And if you’ve been hiring well, they’ll find a new job in no time at all. And you should help them with that, providing introductions and a positive reference—you did hire them, after all. They weren’t bad employees, they just weren’t a fit for you. Your company is a business, not a cult. Embrace change, don’t abhor it.


already built one product for customers, now you’re building another: The product is your company, and your customers are your employees. Building a company full of humans is more rewarding than building software, but it is also much harder. Articulate your values early and often, because you will need them to avoid veering off course as you grow. (It’ll happen anyway.) Fit is two-way: If it’s not working out for you, it’s probably not working out for them. Have the hard conversations early, as they’ll only get harder the longer you wait.


While I was no longer on track to become a dollar billionaire, I realized I was a “time billionaire,” someone Graham Duncan defines as having at least a billion seconds left in their life—or at least thirty-one years.


our goal should be to bring together our passions, our missions, our professions, and our vocations. This is the Japanese concept of ikigai, which aligns what you love, with what the world needs, with what you can be paid for, and with what you are good at: When you are in ikigai, you feel at peace, and you can work to improve the world at the same time. You can live in the present while working toward a better future. I