A lesson from History
Today, Startup is the new gold (call it oil). Everyone is in a rush to be the unicorn startup out of Africa. The conversation is about ideas, pitch decks, funding, exits and acquisitions of startups. Take a minute to reflect that there are avenues that exist to make money without founding a startup, just like Levi Strauss did during the gold rush.
History has it that during the California Gold Rush era in Unites States, many people came prospecting. Only few succeeded, many failed.
But there was an immigrant from Germany, who was also part of the gold rush yet, he was not there to prospect, rather he came to support most of the prospectors. He figured out that instead of prospecting he can sell heavy-duty work pants to the prospectors. In May 20, 1873 he got the patent for the riveted blue jeans used by most of the gold prospectors.
Levi Strauss started an enduring fashion empire, selling to the gold rush prospectors. And the rest is history. As at today Levis Strauss & Co is a successful global company.
Let me introduce you to the startup support economy.
I bring this up because I am trying to open your mind to the Startup SUPPORT economy, so that you don’t get pissed that you can’t code or can’t raise enough money on your own to launch a startup. This is because there are other smart ways you can help and be an important part of the startup ecosystem.
Let me share with you 5 simple ideas that align with this startup support economy.
- Become a growth consultant to startups
What does it take to be a consultant to startups? Let me share my personal experience.
I started consulting for friend for free before my first contract engagement with a local fintech startup. It was a simple gig and I was able to grow this startup by 250% in 3 months. If you want to start a career like this today, there is no need to go for an MBA. You just need to help the business figure out how to improve traffic and conversion. Let’s I forget, SEO, Social media and content marketing are staples you can market as your expertise You can read this post on growth hacking to get familiar with the concept of startup growth.
- Help startups as a copywriter and conversion specialist.
Words, images and videos are the most powerful things that communicate the value of a thing. Imagine how useless the codes that power Facebook will be if it is just sitting in a flash drive.
That is how powerless developers are without you. In your role you will be responsible for the choice of words that describe the products, user profiling, conversion optimization and analytics. Don’t be afraid, this does not require an advanced class to master. Joanne Wiebe has loads of resources to get you started on this career path. Other helpful guides are covered in the growth hacking MBA post.
- Create Videos for Startups.
Video is the new content; e.g. demo videos, how-to-guides, customer testimonials etc. There are so many videos to create and platforms like Facebook loves video content. The cost of creating traditional videos with professional casts can hit hard at the budget of a startup. That is where animation comes in as a lifesaver. I have seen the archives of one of the players and I liked what I saw.
Luckily for you, there are not so many animators to compete with and if you are looking for training there are some local talents in 3D animation you can learn from or you can shell out $150 for an online training offered by this badass animation guru.
- Create innovative design for products, apps and web
Design is more than aesthetics; it plays an important role in the success of apps or websites, that is why designers must be very creative to render ideas in the most useful way to users.
There is a big difference between the amateur Photoshop guy and a creative design person.
As a creative design person, your role starts from the idea stage, to product mapping, user on-boarding designs, and logo. Here is a firsthand story from someone who handles the kind of startup-focused design I am talking about.
- Help Startups with Public Relations.
Ask Jason Njoku how much he paid to keep Jessica on her payroll. She was the startup’s PR person and was fully responsible for every publication and media you have seen the iROKOtv story published on.
This is what Jason said about her:
……. Yes we have a great story, but so do so many others. Yes, I can speak forever, but it all starts with someone helping me gather my voice……..Our wins have been evident. WSJ, Techcrunch, Pando, FT, CNN, BBC, Mashable, Variety, Fast Company, CNBC Africa, Le Monde, CCTV, BET, Reuters, Hollywood Reporter, USA Today, Mail&Guardian and Bloomberg …… Many people who are awed at our communications and media coverage have asked me who is responsible. My simple answer. Jessica Hope (source)
I have my personal firsthand experience with this when I contacted Jason to participate in one of my expert roundup posts. He aptly directed the conversation to Jessica, even for such a simple request. Today, I am aware that her Wimbart PR agency charges as much as $2,000/month for retainership.
This can be your playing turf too if you read Mass Communication/journalism or are just interested in getting the word out for startups. The goal is to become the startup storyteller.
What next? And an Important request.
There is an endless lists of services you can offer to the startup ecosystem by simply customizing your existing offering for startups. For example, a this lawyer has customized her legals services for startups.
Over to you, I want to challenge you to move on from the spectator corner, serve this startup audience and make some money like Levi Strauss.
I am currently working on a project with the amazing team at Tech Point and we are creating a completely free training called 20 days of growth. In it we want to share with you (and also get over 15 experts to join us) to share with you ground breaking concepts you can use to grow any startup project. Please let’s us know what you want to learn more about in the comment section