It’s high time for New Year’s resolutions. But even if you’re not one for making year-long promises to yourself, you have to admit that, when it comes to being better at what you do, there’s no better time than the present.
You don’t need to be the resolution-making type to take advantage of great inspiration for your business. This week Product Hunt provided several sources for finding inspiration to keep you going — even through the rough patches. From tips and testimonials to lessons in unexplored subjects, there’s motivation for everyone in this week’s roundup.
How I Got My First Three Customers
Stories from entrepreneurs’ early days
The hardest stage of a startup is often just starting. Taking your big idea from your living room to the outside world takes a lot of work, which makes getting those first few customers all the more important.
How I Got My First Three Customers is an online collection of stories sharing how entrepreneurs of all kinds got their first users/customers/readers, etc. Some of the stories are longer and go in-depth with lots of detail. Others are short and cut right to the chase. Either way, sometimes this is just what you need. While it’s beneficial to go to conferences and lectures, this wraps up a lot of those long talks in a brief story that you can read at your leisure.
Each story ends with “The Tip” in bold at the bottom which summarizes the lesson of the entrepreneur’s early days in one sentence. You can even sign up to receive a PDF of lessons learned by everyone who’s on the site.
The home page is simple to scroll through with icons for each entrepreneur, and their business listed below. Around each icon is a colored circle corresponding to one of three categories: Physical Product, Digital Product or a Service. This makes it super simple to scroll through and read the stories that are most relevant to you and your business.
You can start reading stories now from the First 3 Customers website.
Brilliant quotes from founders
The world of innovation inspiration did not start with Steve Jobs. From Mark Twain to Thomas Edison, innovators have long been spreading their knowledge to anyone willing to listen. Startup Quote is a Tumblr that you can follow for beautiful, insightful quotes from innovators throughout history until now.
“Be suspicious of any work that is not building product or getting customers. It’s easy to get sucked into an infrastructure rewrite death spiral.”
Other advice is more all-encompassing, like this quote from Charles Darwin:
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
It’s easy to get addicted to the never-ending scroll of this Tumblr and eat up all of the great knowledge it has to offer, not just because of the diverse and clever insight but also because the design of the page itself. It’s simple, thoughtful and easy-to-read. Bright colors pop off of the black background and no matter how prominent the founder, the quote really steals the show.
Even if you’re not a founder or entrepreneur, you can find some helpful tips and motivation to keep you working toward doing what you love. It seems that updates to Startup Quote have been few and far between lately, but there’s nothing like a jump in traffic from Product Hunt to reignite a passion project. Hopefully updates will be more frequent in the future. And you can always submit ideas for quotes right from the home page.
Scroll through inspiration from the Startup Quote website right here.
Read what founders are reading
Everyday there is new information available on the Internet to guide you through your life as a founder, entrepreneur or freelancer, and it can be hard to know what’s good and what’s not. Whether your current go-to is Medium, Fast Company, or ThinkApps (*cough, cough*), there’s a new content source worth adding to your docket that’s curated by some of the best founders in the game.
Foundcy is an almost-daily list of what founders are reading (and loving) on the Internet. Next to the icon of each founder, there’s the title of the article they’re posting. Foundcy doesn’t host the article, so when you click the title, it’ll take you to the original post.
This started as a side project for the people who run Accelerated By, which is a way to discover the latest promising startups coming out of programs like Y Combinator, Techstars and 500 Startups. With a great pool of resources from their main venture, Foundcy was born.
While the Foundcy team is still responsible for publishing all posts, in the near future, they will open up the platform for founders to post directly in beta.
You can read what founders are reading right now on the Foundcy website.
Expand your knowledge daily
Highbrow offers you daily courses for subjects that probably have little or nothing to do with your day job — which is one of the many things that makes it great. When you’re working on your own business it can totally consume every part of your life. Highbrow is a welcome break to bring you knowledge on topics that fulfill your personal curiosities.
To use Highbrow, you sign up for one of their (approximately) 10-day courses in everything from “Philosophical Ideas that Everyone Should Know” to “Easy Tips to Eat Healthy.” After you choose a course, you’ll get one email every morning on your topic of interest. The email is brief, and if you want you can click through to the full article at its original source on the web.
If you signed up for the previously mentioned Philosophy course, then this morning, you may have gotten an email on Plato and learned that one of his main goals was to help people reach Eudaimonia, a very particular brand of happiness that accepts the unavoidable toil of life as part of living. Deep, huh?
What makes Highbrow so inspiring is that it features articles with specific insights written in plain language, so you don’t need a reference book nearby to understand the subject at hand. It truly is a daily resource for anyone who wants to learn about anything.
The only catch with Highbrow is that you can only sign up for one course at a time and this constraint is intentional. Co-founder Zavyalov Artem said, “We want you to form a good daily habit and not tire yourself out at the same time. Thus, you can subscribe to only one course at a time and take all the courses one by one. We want you to stay with us as long as possible – we’re playing the long game here.”
Email startups can quickly burn out their audience that’s already getting more emails than they could possibly read each day, so it seems that this one-course-a-day idea is not only key for longevity, but for actually keeping the Highbrow audience committed to learning … even beyond January.
You can sign up for Highbrow for free right now on their website.
Just for fun: Startup Fighter
A game of elevator pitches
Whether you’re talking to a potential investor, collaborator, or user, your elevator pitch has got to grab a person’s attention and quickly and clearly describe to them what your company does. Why not test out your pitch skills with a computer game that looks like it belongs in an arcade next to Street Fighter?
Startup Fighter lets you play one of two games to test your startup skills: “Guess that Startup” or “Which Pitch is Better?” With each artfully pixelated game, two startups are matched against each other, and you either guess the better pitch or match the pitch with the right startup.
Other than testing your knowledge of up-and-coming startups, and playing an arcade game on your computer, Startup Fighter is actually a great way to see examples of pitches and use them to help you come up with your own.
At the bottom of the homepage, there is a complete list of the top startups from each game, so you can see which ones are the most successful, at least from their pitch.
Play the game right now on the Startup Fighter website.
Have you tried any of these products? We’d love to hear your thoughts on how they did (or didn’t) improve your productivity!