So you’ve taken the exciting first step to make and build a side project. The path to succeeding without having the right knowledge can be very difficult. I have spent years building in many different industries and I want to share with you the tools that have changed the way I work.
My perspective is coming from an engineering background and this will be focused fairly generally but will have engineering specific sections. Buckle up and prepare yourself for a good time.
Product recommendations listed here are focused on more cost conscious options and will be re-evaluated periodically.
This resource is constantly updated. If you have topics you would like to add feel free to email me at email@example.com 😊
In the beginning you will likely start off with an idea. The first thing you will want to do is to find out if your idea can gather traction.
One of the first things that people tend to do is look for a domain name but that may not be the most important thing here.
Company Name: Use the search function in your state (or Delaware if you choose that) and find out if the name is available. If the name is NOT available then you may have to file a DBA.
Define your brand: The best way to set your self up for success is to define your brand. Then you can use this in your marketing, operations and engineering aspects of your product.
Registered agent: once you have finished the process of finding a name that works for you, the process to turn it into a legal entity will start. Typically we use something called a registered agent in the state to register our company. They handle the paperwork, requirements and yearly registration.
DoolaHQ ($197 + state fees): YC company that has made it possible to register in 50 states.
Stripe Atlas ($500): With atlas you can get credits to things like AWS
NY Registered Agent: I use a smaller state based registered agent for simplicity
Getting an EIN may take some time, in simple cases the IRS allows for online submission of the EIN (single member LLC). Otherwise this process needs to be done manually by printing out the paperwork and physically mailing it to the IRS.
Once you have obtained an EIN you should apply for a bank account. We want to seperate our personal bank account from the businesses bank account.
It’s only natural that a brand will then want to have a website. More than likely if you are just starting you will create a website and then nothing will happen. This however can be prevented by some work on your part.
Logos come in many shapes and sizes. The simplest of which is a wordmark. A word mark is typically just your company name in a font. Many applications are fine with just a word mark.
A project needs a marketing website. The website will have a minimum number of things that will make it useful for you.
Below is categorized by complexity.
You should finish your marketing website before your product but this will leave you with a bit of a pickle, you are bringing users to your website but they do not have anything to purchase or act upon.
You should have an initial call to action that allows for the collection of email addresses at a minimum.
It is also possible to create your own email lists but I would not recommend this for someone just starting out. Emails have a surprising level of complexity and its better to focus your efforts on delivering your product.
Drip: as users sign up to your site you will want to remarket them, drip emails are emails that are sent in a sequence following a specific event.
Ok, we’ve come a long way 🌈 . Marketing is one of the most important and high leverage things that you can be doing as a founder / indie hacker or however you define yourself. If no one knows that you exist then it will be difficult to get any users!
One way that people will find you is through search. The basics here are going to be getting Google, Bing etc to find specific pieces of information and highlight that on the SERP (search engine results page).
OpenGraph tags: OpenGraph tags are a snippet of HTML that gets added to the
<head> section of the HTML page.
<!-- twitter does tags their own way because of course they do, this first tag describes what kind of card is shown to the user --> <meta name="twitter:card" content="summary_large_image" /> <meta name="twitter:site" content="@bradfordtoney" /> <meta name="twitter:creator" content="@bradfordtoney" /> <!-- The og:image allows for an image to be shown in applications like facebook, twitter, iMessage etc. --> <meta property="og:image" content="https://www.bradfordtoney.com/og-image.png" /> <meta property="og:image:width" content="1200" /> <meta property="og:image:height" content="630" /> <!-- Every image should have an alternate which describes it --> <meta property="og:image:alt" content="bradfordtoney.com" /> <meta property="og:locale" content="en_US" /> <meta property="og:site_name" content="bradfordtoney.com" />
A backlink, also known as an “inbound link” or “incoming link,” is a hyperlink from one website to another. In the context of search engine optimization (SEO), backlinks are important because they can signal the popularity, credibility, and relevance of a website to search engines like Google. When one website links to another, it is essentially “vouching” for that site’s content, and search engines use this information to help determine the ranking of web pages in search results.
This strategy takes some time to work, usually it will take weeks to months for your SEO strategy to start working.
There are a ton of people that are out there that will help you start this process but here are a few resources that I’ve used with good success.
Many people recommend using sites like HARO (Help a reporter out), where reporters would reach out to you and you would answer questions for them. I personally found this to be time consuming and very noisy but it may make sense for your strategy depending on the kind of product you are building or selling.