Stacking the Bricks - Real Entrepreneur Confessions
If you're tired of all the buzzwords, boosterism, mythologizing, the cult of overwork in the world of startups, it's easy to feel like the oddball in the room. We're here to share the real stories of today's business bootstrappers: the makers who make their money with products and launches instead of client pitches and hourly consulting.
In this episode I visited with Will Toms and the REC Philly community here in Philadelphia, for one of their "creator talks" streamed live over the internet I shared 10 choice lessons from The Tiny MBA, and Will asked me questions about: - The importance of listening as a business skill, and how you can practice it. - Where I learned how to sell people back their time and confidence. - And how much sharing is oversharing. And a whole lot more! I love any chance to jam with the REC Philly crew, and I'm very excited to share this session with you.

In this episode I visited with Michele Hansen and Colleen Schnettler on the Software Social podcast, where they talk about their respective businesses and workshop through challenges together. During my visit, we talked about: - Why education is the most effective marketing you can create - How psychology can be thought of as "debugging, for people" - And why one question in The Tiny MBA left Colleen feeling TERRIFIED. And a whole lot more!

In this episode I visited with Tony Lopes on the Self Made Strategies podcast, where he talks with entrepreneurs, business owners, and more about how they built their own thing. We talk about: - The biggest hurdles and challenges in publishing a book (hint - it's not writing a book). - Making reversable decisions - And what people get wrong about risk. And a whole lot more!

In this episode I visited with Matthew Arnold on the Iowa Idea podcast, where he explores modern collaboration, craft, and persistence. Matt and I talk about: - Why businesses - especially agencies - get distracted by awards - What it means to "flintstone" your work - And what people get wrong about passion And a whole lot more!

In today's episode, I visit with Brendan Hufford from the SEO for the Rest of Us podcast to talk about some of his favorite lessons from The Tiny MBA. We talk about: - Learning and feedback loops - Building in public - The valuable knowledge that's often locked up behind closed doors Enjoy!

In today's episode, we riffed on a few of Ken and Becca's favorite nuggets from The Tiny MBA, including: - The power of slowing down to take a look for hidden C - The real reason self-promotion feels achy to you. - And we explored a hidden theme of "wellness" in the book!

Over the coming weeks I'm going to be adding new episodes to the Stacking the Bricks feed to highlight conversations that I've been having across the internet with creators and entrepreneurs. Today's episode is one of the first conversations I had about the lessons in my new book The Tiny MBA, with Louie Nicholls from the Sales for Founders podcast.

Nathan Johnson left a corporate gig to bootstrap an affiliate business to 100,000 users. But to get it any bigger - and profitable - he would have to give up the very thing he left his corporate gig for: freedom. Ouch. Find out how he changed course to build a different business that DOES let him travel and spend more time with his family, while helping an audience of professional photographers.

I've been wanting to do an episode with Brennan Dunn for a LONG time. He's one of our most successful students, having built an empire of resources and products for freelancers at But freelancing rates aren't the only thing Brennan has figured out how to he's mastered the art of personalizing on-page content to boost conversion rates, often 2x or more! Brennan has come a long way since he joined 30x500 with the idea to build and AirBnB for homecooked meals...and in this episode you're going to learn how he built his empire by stacking the bricks.

Dave Ceddia knew how to ship, but none of his projects had ever made a sale. Today, $15,000 in sales of his book "Pure React" later, he knows how to create new, bigger products for his loyal and growing audience. In this episode, you'll find out how he stopped thinking of himself as a "lifer" at a cushy job to being in control of his professional future.

Donovan picked up JFS in December. Read it over Christmas. By the end of February, he'd grown his mailing list to 1,500 people. He created a landing page and JFS'd an email course on CSS animation, with a price tag of $49. In the first 7 days, he made 50 sales — for a total of over $2,000. NICE. To learn more about how Donovan did it — including specific techniques for getting traffic to his blog posts — listen in right now…

Here is the double-edged sword of the software business: - All the “features” in the world will not matter if you don’t have the customer pipeline. - It is better to lose many customers over a missing feature than spend a month on a feature that people say will make them sign up. - Yet there really are features you’ll require in order to get and retain your best customers. OK, so maybe it’s a triple edged sword. Or maybe a citrus reamer. Shut up.

Adding people - partners, employees, contract staff - is one of the hardest parts of growing a business. It doesn't get talked about enough, and partly, because it's hard to talk about openly. In this episode we talk about the reasons why working with people falls apart so often and some things we've learned along the way to make wise decisions when adding people to the team.

2015 was the best ever for Amy's SaaS business Freckle, with $625k of gross receipts, and so far we’re on track to hit close to $800k annual run rate (ARR) before this year is out. Those are some big numbers, but we didn’t start out there, and it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. In this episode we talk about the first of five things I wish I’d known when I started Freckle, things that would have made my life so much more profitable and pleasurable. Up first: "Inflection Points," aka the myth that "everything gets easier when..."

When Kai Davis sends you an email, there's a good chance he's asking for something.

Let us show you how most of the "risk" in starting a business isn't really risk at all.

Got 5 minutes? Then let Amy give you a swift kick in the ass. Learn why "accountability" doesn't work the way you think it does, and how to change your mindset to get more done.

Got 5 minutes? Then let Amy give you a swift kick in the ass. Listen to this quick, bite-sized episode to learn why business is unlike any other game you've ever played.

If we're honest...some of the most crucial parts of our business are a mess. A mess that makes money, but messy still.

Amy has talked about starting Freckle. Alex has talked about starting Indy Hall. But NEITHER of these were our first brushes with business. To get our true origin stories, you'd need to see what we were doing to earn money while we were still in grade school. And it wasn't from babysitting... Jump into a time-traveling DeLorean with us to go back, back back in time and learn how our EARLIEST experiences with business, making sales, and understanding customers and their behaviors shaped the businesses we run today.