Small Tech Business #6 - Notion productivity, SaaS marketing book (free), Ultimate startup checklist

Week of 10/4/2020

Small Tech Business is a weekly newsletter for people looking for inspiration and learning around starting their own small internet or technology business.

Content of the Week:

1) Six Figures in 6 days

by Traf - Blog Post 📰 (5 min)

A super inspiring example of someone combining an existing skillset, motivated drive, and a novel opportunity. The author created a viral tweet of his slick iOS 14 custom homepage and then opted to sell his custom icon set on Gumroad for $28. He was set up well for this “lucky” opportunity because 7 years prior he created and sold a custom icon set that only netted $17. That “unsuccessful” project gave him the foundational knowledge that allowed him to take quick advantage of this next opportunity.

Short-term metrics:

  • 4,188 total icon sales

  • $116,147 in revenue

  • 97% profit margins

  • 6.2m impression

  • 216,800 visitors

Long-term metrics:

  • 5,216 email subscribers

  • 4,620 Twitter followers

  • 180 Super customers

2) Is Y-Combinator worth it?

by Daniel Rubén Odio (DROdio) - Article 📰 (6 min)

Applying to Y-Combinator is something many indie founders consider when starting a new business. This piece gives an overview of learning and insights from the founder of Armory (W17 YC batch).

Side note: Y-Combinator is a solid option for early-stage startups, but there is a growing trend of alternative funding for small tech businesses. TinySeed and Earnest Capital provide ways for small bootstrapped businesses to get some funding without going the VC route. Tiny Capital provides a way for small tech founders to sell their companies.

“Here's the main thing you need to understand before you apply: YC has a "standard deal" where they take a 7% stake in your company. YC also gets pro-rata rights in future funding rounds.

Other angel/seed/Series A investors can become unhappy when having to live on a cap table alongside YC.”

3) Writing a book: is it worth it?

by Martin Kleppmann - Blog Post 📰 (8 min)

Martin Kleppmann, the author of “Designing Data-Intensive Applications”, recaps his journey and experience in writing a very successful technical book. In total, his book has sold over 100,000 copies and netted him $477,916.

“If you are considering writing a book, I strongly recommend that you estimate the value of your future royalties to be close to zero.”

4) Notion Productivity template

by Zoe Chew - Article 📰 (6 min)

Utilizing productivity tools well has become a hobby of mine, but is often a crucial skill for many small tech business owners. Notion is by far my favorite productivity tool to help me organize my thoughts and ideas. Zoe shares how she uses Notion to manage all her projects, along with templates so you can easily follow her system.

5) B2B SaaS Marketing Playbook

by Dru Riley - Online Book 📕 (FREE)

An excellent resource that breaks down how successful B2B SaaS companies market their products effectively. This free resource is written by Dru Riley, the author of

6) The Ultimate Startup Checklist

by Vaibhav Namburi - Article 📰 (10+ min)

A very detailed checklist of things to consider as a small tech business founder. Not everything will be applicable to your business, but it is a great resource to see if there are any important things that just aren’t on your radar.

Small Tech Spotlight: Bannerbear

🔗 Link:

👤 Founder: John Yongfook (@yongfook)

💰 MRR: $5,276 (Sept. 2020)

📦 Product: “Bannerbear is a simple API that auto-generates social media visuals, ecommerce banners and more”

Bannerbear is an open startup - meaning all they share all their financials. John is a serial founder that I highly recommend following as he often shares really insightful posts and is active on both Twitter and Indie Hackers.

In the News:

From the Archives:

The Problem with a Comfortable Career

by Cory Zue - Blog Post 📰 (4 min)

A thoughtful piece on optimizing your life to maximize its potential and avoid getting “too comfortable”. Cory covers the processes and mental models he uses to evaluate his own life and how he adjusts his path forward. The importance of re-evaluating your goals and priorities regularly cannot be understated, and Cory provides some great insights from his own learnings.

Attitude Adjustment

The problem with living a life of comfort is stagnation. What happens when we get to a comfortable place is that we decide we like it and we want to stay there. Possibly for a long time. Possibly forever.”

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Written and curated by Justin Chu (@jstnchu)