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Recently I decided to be more open about the fact that I’m building my business, Epilocal, by myself. I thought this was the best way to be transparent about my solo-project and to avoid the temptation to “fake it until I make it.”

But isn’t this a huge mistake to go it alone? Doesn’t all the startup wisdom say that your founding team is one of the most important things?

I’m not so convinced — I’ll tell you why I’m not afraid to build alone.

The origin of the myth

Hint: You don’t have to take over the world

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As someone who has helped lead a successful funding round for a VC-backed startup, I have a pretty good idea of what it takes to get a venture capital firm to buy into your vision and cut you a check.

Yet for my current project, Epilocal, I decided that I didn’t even want to go down that path. In fact, I ruled out VC funding from the moment I started.

This is not to say that I have anything against venture capital. I think that VC funds fill a necessary role, but that role is very specific. …

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I’ve been a startup mentor for the last 5 years now. I started as part of my old day-job, working for a large bank in London, where I would advise FinTech companies on how to build products that would appeal to banks either as customers or as partners.

Then later when I moved to Athens, I got involved with the incubation programs at the Orange Grove, as a mentor specializing in financial modeling and budgeting for early stage startups.

I think for anyone who spends time advising others, there’s always the urge to take things upon yourself and to get…

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As the founder of a bootstrapped business, I know what it’s like to put in months of work without a payoff. That’s pretty much the trade-off of doing things without outside funding: on one hand, you have the freedom and independence to do things your way, but on the other hand everything takes a lot longer to get going.

That’s why getting your first sale is such a huge milestone for a bootstrapped business. It’s money that you created from your work — not money created from someone else’s money.

But getting to that initial first breakthrough takes a lot…

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I just spent the last two days straight working on one piece of code about the length of a paragraph.

Two whole days! You can imagine the frustration of trying a new line of code, testing it out, getting the same error message, going back to research new ways to do it and then failing… over and over again, every hour for two days.

And as someone who is building a business by themself, it is that much more frustrating knowing that everything else you want to do like writing content, building links or engaging on social media, is on…

The most important lessons I’ve learned from bootstrapping my solo-project, Epilocal

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I’ve been working on my own solo-project (providing tools for small online publishers), Epilocal, since the Fall. About 6 months ago I took the plunge to leave a steady job and focus full-time on trying to bootstrap it into a viable business.

For sure, there are lots of people out there that are looking to raise as much money as quickly as possible to ride a VC-funded wave to growth, but for my project I had different ideas. Since it has social goals as a higher priority than monetary goals, it doesn’t really fit the profile as an investable company.

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I have to admit I’ve been on the sidelines about this for sometime. I’ve watched makers and organizations that I really admire put their financial data out there for everyone to see or live-stream their way to building a product.

To me a lot of things feel right about this ultra-transparent way of working, but it’s really hard to know how to put it into action for yourself. After all, these are big companies and internet famous people with large followings, so of course people will be interested in knowing what they are building.

For someone who is still in…

How to use it and what to do if you don’t have any customers yet

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I don’t think there is anyone in the startup world or the wider business world who will argue with the statement that you should focus on building what your customers want.

But how many people know what that really means and how you should actually go about doing it?

With the rise of Design Thinking and Lean Startup methodologies that now dominate the thinking in startups and big corporations alike, putting users and their problems at the heart of everything you do is a generally accepted concept.

But from my experience, there are a lot of people out there who…

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Food delivery services are now about as ubiquitous as can be, whether it is Doordash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, Deliveroo — there are lots of flashy apps that are happy to send their gig-economy drivers to deliver your food from a local restaurant.

Similar to Uber, Lyft and any number of copycats, there is seemingly no end of new entrants who can come in and compete for your delivery dollars. But as Netflix discovered when it comes to streaming, the real secret isn’t in the distribution, but rather in offering something unique that no one else has.

For Netflix, this meant…

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With the election now just under 3 weeks away, it is easy to get caught up in the national race between President Trump and Former Vice-President Biden.

But to really understand what is going on across America, you have to look a little deeper.

If you dig into some of the great reporting from local newspapers on Congressional races, you can get a better idea of the issues that are being debated in communities around the country.

And one thing that really stands out is how the politics of those candidates that have endorsed Trumpism stand out against pragmatists, usually…

Greg Dickens

Maker, recovering banker, living in Greece. Building affordable digital tools for local news and other indie publishers at

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