Bootstrapping is about launching products on existing markets (so the idea is already validated), niche it down ideally to 1000 customers worldwide (1000 x $50/m, ±$500k/y), then niche it down again to reach and segment target audience easily, establish better execution and UX as a main competitive advantage (and to attract competitors refugees) and find your flywheel via semi-automated marketing/content creation (to achieve the lowest possible CPA). Don't create new markets, don't chase innovative ideas. Prefer optimization over innovation.
Bootstrapping (and entrepreneurship) is a career. Don't expect quick results. Stack bricks one by one. Stairstep rather than jump. Run a marathon, not a sprint. Do back-envelop estimations and plan to spend on one project three years rather than three months. Read/Listen Rob Walling today.
You don't have a business if you don't have profit. Be always profit first. Pay yourself first, then pay your creditors.
Start marketing before coding.
Start write/collect your content before marketing.
Recognize and write down your product value metric. Read/Listen Patric Campbell today.
Niche down, then niche down again.
On-boarding should guide a user on how to get value from the product in less than 30 seconds and nothing else.
Eliminate as much friction as possible along the user-to-customer journey in your product. In extreme show your offer to a user right after on-boarding.
Avoid trials - they prolong user's journey to your offer, put time constraints to a potential customer and force them to focus on your product (that's bad as we all have ADHD). Prefer freemium to trials where you could restrict the user's ability to get more value from the product keeping it just on a bare minimum. The user should stumble upon the product's "value metric" every session and suffer by not able to have it all. If you concerned of support burden for the free tier make registration private and rechannel the rest of the traffic to a waiting list.
Always collect emails. On an early stage prefer email collection to conversion. You have better chances to reactivate user with email than reactivate a lost visitor without one.
Always be testing. There is always a better version of your product (and more profit) waiting for you in just a couple of commits.
Any hype is good for your content/marketing strategy. People love controversy. Consider: "10 reasons why PayPal is better than Stripe for your info products checkout page" or "How bootstrapping ruined my life. Drained and divorced with $150k in debt".
Sell on value rather than on price: products with product-market-fit either making money, saving money or saving your time.
Charge more, it's the easiest and most controllable way to immediately increase your revenue. Read/listen Patric McKenzie today.
Charge more, reconsider (rise) your pricing monthly while something bad won't happen (you'll see it as significant conversion drop/churn rate increase). Read/listen Jason Cohen today.
Optimize conversion. It's the second most important way to increase your revenue after pricing. Fix your leaked bucket before double down on marketing. Squeeze any penny from the current product state before moving forward and build more features.
Invest your time into 1. conversion optimization 2. execution (UX) 3. marketing rather than new features.
Don't ship features. If you are developing new features stop today and think which one to remove without losing your UVP.
A new feature in your product should always serve a new segment of your potential customers. Build it just after you already optimized the previous version of your MVP. If it's not the case you probably don't have an MVP.
Be able to dynamically change pricing to your service in seconds (not days) through your admin panel (or DB).
Make sure your bounce back rate is low, otherwise you attract the wrong audience.
Bootstrappers don't build products. They build marketing/conversion systems around MVPs, optimize them and replicate what works.
Choose products that could be scaled horizontally to serve similar audiences. This way you could replicate the system and product relatively easy, target a different segment of customers and multiply your revenue.
Build technical platforms to reuse them to multiply success.
Use boring technologies, that decreasing the cost of bootstrapping and code maintenance. Hack around for fun, not for profit.
Don't forget to use Black Fridays/ XMas sales to close more deals from your mailing list.
Implement promo codes and offer a small discount to everyone in your mailing list as a part of your drip campaign.
Use "Unlock" CTA rather than "Upgrade" CTA. People naturally love to unlock doors (paywalls).