Bootstrapping Lessons From 37 Signals

Over a million people use the web-based applications that 37 Signals built. Many of them are paying customers. So I called up the company’s co-founder, Jason Fried, and asked him to teach us how 37 Signals does it.

Jason Fried

Jason Fried

37 Signals

A few lessons from this audio program

You don’t need money

Lack of money, Jason says, forces you to focus on building something that works. It forces you to find ways to earn money, instead of amusing yourself with projects that are just fun or interesting.

Become a teacher

Teaching is 37 Signals’s marketing. It’s what get helped them build the audience that uses their products and generates their revenue. Jason says his company thinks like the top chefs who know that teaching on TV enhances their reputation and builds a following.

Get a voice

37 Signals has one of the most respected blogs in the business, but you don’t have to be a blogger you just need a voice. Find your medium–audio, video, whatever–and let your voice be heard.

Charge for subscriptions

Too many internet entrepreneurs are afraid to charge their users. If 37 Signals didn’t get any new users this month, it would still have revenues because its business is built on a subscription fee.

Be well-rounded

37 Signals hires people who are more than “just programmers,” or “just designers,” or “just” anything else. Jason says that people who cultivate non-work interests can bring in new ideas can bring in new ideas from outside their industries.

Thank you Melvin Ram for introducing me to Jason and suggesting this interview!

Do you have any bootstrapping tips? Tell me by email or in the comments.

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