With Chris Brown
How To Start a Venture-Backed Tech Startup as a Side Hustle!
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61 – Starting a Tech Startup as a Side Hustle with Chris Brown
Christian Brown was born in Mississippi and raised by a single mother in public housing, something that fuels him for success today. Growing up, Chris was frustrated with how he had to live, forcing him to become obsessive with personal finance and economics.
This spiraled into entrepreneurship, where Chris started many small ventures as early as high school. His first recognition came from Mississippi State University, where he would win the “Student Entrepreneur of the Year” award.
Chris is a huge “internet nerd” and loves all things internet/tech.
Chris’s first company was called “Techsterminators”, where he would repair people’s technology in an app. He claims it the “Uber for Technology Repair”.
Chris Brown has an influential day job as a professional business consultant with one of the large firms in the USA.
He works on Extra Founder as a side hustle and hopes to take it full-time soon!
What is Extra Founder?
Extra Founder is a skill trading platform and community for startups.
Some of the most common use cases already:
Technical founders who don’t have knowledge find a cofounder in the marketing space and vice versa.
Extra Founder is not necessarily a place where you go only when you are looking for a cofounder for your side hustle. You can also go to Extra Founder to barter your services with other side hustle founders.
If finding a cofounder was marriage, you can see Extra Founder as casual dating. Sometimes casual dating leads to marriage, most times it doesn’t.
How did you get into Extra Founder?
Chris did not start Extra Founder himself. During his day job, Chris was put on a development job and started to look at building a product with Python. He first thought of the idea of creating a credit card calculator, which would prioritize your debt and then pay it off in a priority sequence.
During the time Chris was building the calculator, he stumbled across Extra Founder, where he was looking to trade with other engineers. He first traded with a few members of the community and then traded with the co-founder of the platform, by accident!
Through the communication, the founder at the time was very happy with Chris, his ideas expertise and essentially poached him to work on Extra Founder with him.
While working on his idea of a credit card calculator, he realized that the idea was not viable for different reasons. Chris decided to fold the business, and when he let Extra Founder’s Co-Founder know that, he quickly told him to come work for Extra Founder.
The Debt Snowball:
The debt snowball is a debt reduction tactic where you pay the smallest debt first, and then you keep paying them, one by one. The smallest one helps you get momentum, and then you continue that momentum until you finish all your debts.
The Emotional Snowball: Pay the lowest principle account first so that way you feel good.
The Intellectual Snowball: Pay the biggest interest first. They look at what is the most expensive debt and prioritize that instead of the smallest one.
What do you use for personal finance?
Chris wanted to build a fintech app because he uses so many different fintech apps! Chris current list: Mint, Credit Karma, Equifax and excel sheets!
What is your day job?
Chris is a consultant at a big firm, similar to Boston Consulting, Deloitte, etc. and a lot of what Chris does is in the IT or Marketing/Strategy space.
What are some of growth tips you can give?
Always having a side hustle is the best start!
As uncomfortable as it may feel, don’t hesitate to spend money on your business. IF you are generating revenue, don’t hesitate to put that money back into your business.
Business cards are not relevant anymore, don’t spend your money on that.
Put 20-100% of your revenue back into the business!
Where should you put your money when you re-invest in your business?
Outsource is a great place to start. Spend money on people or tools that will free up your time to continue to grow the business.
Chris is a big fan of outsourcing tasks on Upwork and Fiverr or other freelance marketplaces.
In order for you to have a business, it needs to have a proper business model, which means you need to be able to accept money. Once your business can earn $1, it can earn $1,000,000 and more, but you need to make sure it is set up to earn that $1.
What validation do you do when you have a business idea?
Chris day job really helps with this and that is part of the reason it is not documented.
Who am I selling this too?
What problem am I solving?
Is this something that the market wants or is it something that I want to do?
Is this something repeatable?
Can you eventually delegate it?
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced growing a startup?
Growing a startup is hard enough in itself! When you have more than 1 founder, the two founders need to first get to know each other and make sure they are on the same page both professionally and personally. They had to make sure the vision and goal they have for the company aligns.
Pro-Tip: You need to know when to give your cofounder the benefit of the doubt.
How did you know that this was going to be the right decision?
The first two times he was asked to join Extra Founder, Chris declined. Through his co-founders persistence, he learned to respect the hustle and give him the benefit of the doubt.
Questions to ask yourself when deciding a co-founder:
Does it really make sense for me?
Is this somebody I want to spend 5 years with?
Is it someone who I respect to be in the trenches with?
How did you get your first few hundred users on the platform?
Don’t think about getting 100 users, think about getting 1 user at a time. When you do that, you end up getting 1-2 or even 3 at a time.
Be the representative of the founder. If someone has a question, answer it and be present, it doesn’t matter what platform it is on. When you are talking to founders, they may look at the platform and hopefully will stay.
If you have no clout or platform, one-by-one is the best approach!
Chris works with many multinational companies and they take a similar approach.
They start by creating a buyer persona of their perfect customer. They get to know that person, where he/she hangs out and how they like to connect, and then figure out a way to connect with that one person.
What is your team looking like?
Extra Founder is a team of 2, just two cofounders! This is one of the questions they think about every day in the business and it is a question you will find yourself pondering as you start to grow your side hustle.
Although, Chris has the luxury of working on a skill trading platform!
Chris utilizes freelancers on Upwork and Fiverr to edit the podcast and get that up and running so he can focus on the business!
How do you get money from venture capitalist?
Think about it from their perspective that is the first step!
Understand what their goals are, they are looking for the next rocket ship.
They want to know the founder, if the founder has traction, and if the universe can ride this rocket ship.
You have to present your business as an opportunity for them, not needing them to grow your business.
What are the most sought after skills on the platform?
Surprisingly, marketing is the most sought after skill on the website. The close second is anything technical or to do with engineering.
What is next for you and Extra Founder?
Chris is hoping to raise capital and if not, they will continue to bootstrap it. As it currently stands, users are allowed to trade their services, but they are working on a token system where they can allow indirect trading.
What is the #1 tip you have for side hustlers before starting a tech startup?
One bite at a time.
Chris always needs to remind himself that at one point, he wanted where they were at this current time. When you have 5 users, you’re going to want more, but remember, when you had no users, you just wanted 1.
By definition, as an entrepreneur, you are always going to want more, and that is completely natural but don’t get yourself down on it.
This advice really helped me, thank you Chris Brown!
Connect with Christian Brown
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