Bootstrapping your way into Millions – If you are in Product Management and don’t know about Product Hunt, you should check out this episode of their radio channel.
In this episode Abadesi talks to Marcus Taylor, founder of Venture Harbour, a digital product company based in the UK. They’ve launched nine companies in the last few years and have grown them to millions in revenue. He is also the youngest patron of The Prince’s Trust youth charity and has committed £100,000 to support young entrepreneurs across the UK.
In this episode, they talk about…
The business philosophy at Venture Harbour
“We built a WYSIWYG form editor for ourselves initially and put it out there to see if other people found it useful. This is how a lot of our ventures happen. We’re working on one venture and we discover a problem and solve that problem and it’s like, okay, new venture!”
Marcus explains how he got started with Venture Harbour. He was working at a digital marketing agency out of school and was building side projects. Those side projects started earning him more in revenue than he earned from his salary, so those projects became Venture Harbour. He explains how they approach building an audience for their products, and why they don’t “buy audiences.” He explains the power of content marketing and why they invest so many hours in creating the very best content for a particular topic, as well as the tools and strategies they use to find the most impactful pieces of content to create.
How the team works together
“Often we will build these hacked versions of ventures keeping the team very small, and then it over time as that venture matures, we start assigning more people and building teams around those ventures.”
He explains the in-the-weeds details of how they actually get things done at Venture Harbour, and how he thinks about his role of head of product at the company. He explains how he tries to facilitate and coach to get the most out of the team, and why nailing their vision and values has been so important for them — something that you may not necessarily think of as pragmatic but has really helped with the day-to-day at Venture Harbour.
Some of the unconventional views Marcus holds
“I started Venture Harbour with 500 quid in my bank and a broken laptop. We’ve never raised any money for any of the ventures. I find so many friends in the startup world spend so much time messing around with cap tables and pitch decks and high-fiving each other when they raise money. I believe so strongly that if you had spent that time listening to the customers and letting your customers be your investors, you’d be in a far better position.“
Marcus explains why bootstrapping is his preferred way to build companies, and says that it is, in fact, a more sustainable way to build a business than raising venture capital. He also talks about his leadership style and how he uses coaches to get the most out of his work. He also explains why he likes to read books slowly, why he doesn’t have social media, and more.
How he thinks about personal development
“You’ve got primary books, where the book should have been 2,000 pages but it had to be condensed down to 300 pages. Then you’ve got secondary books — most business books fall into this. They are extrapolating stuff and applying it to a concept. And then you’ve got tertiary books, which are more storytelling and anecdotal.”
He runs through the strategies he uses to make sure he is always getting better as a maker and manager. He explains his method of categorizing books and how he decides which to read and which to only read the summary. He also talks about overnight conferences and why he seems to get the most out of those types of gatherings. Marcus also talks about how he used the tips from the book Getting To Yes by Robert Cialdini as part of his wedding planning.
Of course, he also talks about some of his favorite products.
We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸