What should I learn as an aspiring founder?

I love challenges and I would love to start my own online business. I’m ready to work hard and learn. What would you advise me to study on my free time to generate new ideas and start my own online business?

If you’re serious about this — I highly recommend you to learn programming. It’s not impossible to start an online business without it, but you will be at a pretty big disadvantage, unless you’re planning some purely non-technical info-product or coaching stuff.

Start with HTML, CSS, JS at a bare minimum, and if you like it — learn Django or Node, and possibly React. Those will enable you to build your own software products.

Check out YCombinator Startup School to learn the fundamentals of creating and running a technology company. Check out Alex Becker’s YouTube videos to learn about SEO and Internet Marketing.

Join Hacker News and just hang out there, learn from the community, and be on top of the developments in the industry.

Read autobiographies of awesome founders and books on how the biggest companies were made. Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, Alexis Ohanian, Amazon(The Everything Store), Google(In the Plex), YCombinator(The Launch Pad), Pixar(Creativity, Inc).

If I had to pick the top 3 books for getting started it would be “Start Small, Stay Small”, “Rework”, and “Lean Startup”.

And, most importantly — just start building something, the sooner the better. You won’t know what you’re doing, but that’s okay, because experimenting and seeing what works is the fastest way to learn and gain experience.

Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, just pick a business model that already works, copy it, and learn to make it work for you. Here’s a few ideas for getting started:

  • Email Affiliate marketing. Pick a niche, create an optin, build a mailing list, sell affiliate products.
  • Content Marketing + Social Media or SEO. Build a blog or a youtube channel, learn to drive traffic to it, monetize it with affiliate products, try to figure out how to make your own product to sell.
  • Info Product — create an ebook or a video course and try to sell it.
  • SaaS — create an online tool or an app, market it, sell it.
  • Service — pick a thing you’re good at, and offer to do it for people.
  • Physical product — look into shopify+ dropshipping.

So choose one of these options, make your first website, dive deep, and make it work. Good luck! =)


Do you have questions about building and growing an online business? Send them to advice@startuplab.io, and I will answer the best ones in my future posts!

Receive weekly digest of my best posts!