The 7 Day Startup

by Dan Norris

Troy Shu
Troy Shu
Updated at: February 23, 2024
 6 min read
The 7 Day Startup
The 7 Day Startup

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What Are The Big Ideas?

  1. The real journey and education in entrepreneurship begin with the act of launching your business.
  2. Successful startups navigate uncertainty and turn it into opportunities for innovative solutions.
  3. True entrepreneurship extends beyond self-employment, aiming to make a meaningful impact in the world.
  4. In the initial phase of a startup, prioritizing hustle and effective customer acquisition is crucial for growth.
  5. Proactive efforts, particularly in securing paying customers, are more valuable than passive waiting in the entrepreneurial journey.


Launching is Crucial for Startup Learning and Success

  • "You don’t learn until you launch."
  • "To really test whether you can build a business, you have to start building it."
  • "If you want to be an entrepreneur, you have to launch."

Startups Thrive in Uncertainty and Innovate to Deliver New Solutions

  • "Eric Ries defines a startup as ‘a human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.’"
  • "There’s a huge forgotten void between ‘idea’ and ‘successful business’ that validation doesn’t account for."

Entrepreneurship is About Impacting the World, Not Just Self-Employment

  • "Anyone can create a job for themselves. But not everyone can change the world."
  • "The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before." - Neil Gaiman

Hustle and Customer Acquisition are Key in the Early Stages of a Startup

  • "Hustle for an early stage startup is generally about spending your time on the things that are most likely to bring you, customers."
  • "Once you launch, you need to get more people paying you. You have to relentlessly pursue your best method of getting customers and not the stuff you naturally gravitate to."

Proactive Effort Outweighs Patience in Achieving Startup Success

  • "Things may come to those who wait … but only the things left by those who hustle." - Anonymous
  • "There is a very big difference between someone entering their email and someone paying you each month for a product."

The 9 Elements of a Bootstrapped Business Idea

  1. Enjoyable daily tasks
  2. Product/founder fit
  3. Scalable business model
  4. Operates profitably without the founder
  5. An asset you can sell
  6. Large market potential
  7. Tap into pain or pleasure differentiators
  8. Unique lead generation advantage
  9. Ability to launch quickly

Enjoyable Daily Tasks

  • “It makes no sense to start a business that is going to have you doing work you don’t enjoy.”

Product/Founder Fit

  • “If you want to be an entrepreneur, you need to be passionate about growing a business.”
  • “What will make you, and your company, unique?”

Scalable Business Model

  • “Your idea is not a solid startup idea if you don’t have the capacity to make use of a profitable, growing business model.”

Operates Profitably Without the Founder

  • “You need to be able to see a point where you can hire in staff or systems to replace you, and still continue to generate a profit. At that point it becomes a real business.”

An Asset You Can Sell

  • “Focusing on short-term launches or projects won’t build assets. Assets are built over time by ignoring short-term distractions in favor of a bigger, long-term vision.”
  • “A list of customers that pay you every month is an asset. If you focus on short-term projects you’ll make more money initially. But if you turn down projects and focus on providing recurring value, you build a valuable asset.”

Large Market Potential

  • “Solve problems where people are already paying for solutions.”
  • “Everyone might be saying that your idea is great, but look at whether or not they are currently paying for a solution to the same problem.”

Tap into Pain or Pleasure Differentiators

  • Identify and address unique pain or pleasure points that set your business apart from competitors

Unique Lead Generation Advantage

  • “Playing the visionary is a privilege reserved for second- and third-time entrepreneurs. It’s fun, but it’s fraught with danger.”

Ability to Launch Quickly

  • “A common MVP mistake is over-emphasizing the ‘minimum’ and under-emphasizing the ‘viable.’”
  • “The key is to forget about automation and figure out what you can do manually.”

A Framework for Choosing an Acceptable Business Name

Is it taken?

  • Check if the name you want is already used by someone else. If it is, you might need to think of another name to avoid confusion and legal problems.

Is it simple?

  • Choose a name that's short and easy to remember. Complicated names can be hard for customers to recall.

Is it easy to say out loud?

  • Make sure people can easily pronounce the name. If it's hard to say, people might not talk about it much.

Do you like it?

  • You should feel good about the name. If you like it, you'll be more excited about your business.

Does it make sense for your idea?

  • The name should give people a clue about what your business does. If it's related to your business idea, it's easier for customers to understand what you offer.

10 Ways to Market Your Business

Create Content on Your Site

  • Explanation: Writing articles or posting videos on your website helps attract people who are interested in what you offer.
  • Example: A bakery could post recipes or baking tips on their blog.

Start Sending Emails

  • Explanation: Emailing people regularly keeps them interested in your business and updates them on new products or offers.
  • Example: A clothing store might send monthly emails about fashion trends and sales.


  • Explanation: Making a podcast lets you talk about topics related to your business and reach listeners who are interested in those topics.
  • Example: A fitness trainer could start a podcast about health and workout tips.

Forums and Online Groups

  • Explanation: Joining online forums or groups lets you talk to potential customers and understand what they need or want.
  • Example: A computer repair service could join tech forums to offer advice and promote their services.

Guest Blogging

  • Explanation: Writing articles for other websites can introduce your business to a new audience.
  • Example: A financial advisor might write guest articles for finance blogs.

Listing Sites

  • Explanation: Putting your business on online directories or marketplaces can help more people find you.
  • Example: A handmade jewelry shop listing their products on sites like Etsy.


  • Explanation: Hosting online seminars or webinars lets you share your expertise and connect with interested people.
  • Example: A marketing agency could host webinars about effective social media strategies.


  • Explanation: Speaking at events or conferences puts you in front of an audience who might be interested in your business.
  • Example: A software developer speaking at a tech conference about new app development trends.

Doing Free Work

  • Explanation: Offering some of your services for free at first can attract customers who might pay later once they see your value.
  • Example: A graphic designer creating free logos for a limited time.

Media Coverage

  • Explanation: Getting your business featured in newspapers, on TV, or online can expose your brand to a large audience.
  • Example: A new restaurant getting reviewed by a popular food blogger.

Questions for Your MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

  • How can you start selling your product or service to actual customers?
  • How can you make sure customers will pay you within a week?
  • How similar will your first simple version be to your final product idea?
  • What parts of your business can you do by hand for now?
  • What tasks can you handle on your own instead of giving to others?
  • How can you make your product or service feel real and valuable to your customers?

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