Here’s How to Succeed as a Single-Person Startup

When it comes to the startup world, there’s always a new company to know on the horizon. Whether it’s the latest tech startup, or an up-and-coming niche, it’s important to keep an eye on the rising stars of the industry. But whether you’re running your business with a large team or with one employee (you), it’s still important to understand what ways you can push your business to success.

Staying Adaptable

Pieter Levels, CEO of NomadList was able to grow his startup from a side hustle hobby to a business generating nearly $400k a year in revenue. Along with learning code and other technical skills, he advises always learning new skills to stay adaptable. He writes:

“The hardest part? I think early on capturing a new market quickly, keeping it while lots of competitors (including funded ones) keep coming in again and again and try to copy everything you did but do it better. And then hopefully don’t get traction, haha. Also dealing with the hate you get when you charge for an online service requires you to grow a thick skin.”


While Levels pushes for adaptability and skill learning, others advise keeping persistent in the face of shifting marketing trends. One software developer for Windows writes:

“Coding is easy, marketing is hard. Persistence, persistence, persistence. In a very crowded niche. Desktop software is definitely not dead – you can charge a whole lot more for it, and ongoing costs (other than people) is comparable to trendy web apps.”

The Downfall of Being a Single Founder

Being a single founder can also have its downfalls and challenges. Especially if you are transitioning from a full-time position or previous company, being a single founder can have an impact on your business. One anonymous founder writes:

“The hardest part of being a single founder, at least in my business, is the need to maintain your current business to keep the income flowing and the customers around while you build the product that the business needs to leap forward. At that point, you’re basically running two companies, the old one and the new one. And you can’t just throw money at it because you’re bootstrapped and only have revenues + credit to play with (assuming you haven’t taken funding).”

Having a successful startup doesn’t have to depend on your role as a single founder. Whether you place emphasis on the skills you’ve learned, want to remain adaptable, or pushing to conquer any challenges that come your way, being a single person startup can lead you to success.

H/T Y Combinator

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Written by:
Cameron is a tech and culture journalist, comic book enthusiast, and lives near New York City. A graduate of Stockton University, she's using her words to shift the world of online journalism, one byline at a time. When she's not writing, she can be found reading sci-fi novels, collecting succulents, and planning her next obnoxious hair color. Cameron is an editorial fellow at Tech.Co. Send your tips to or tweet @BlkGirlManifest.
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