Apter started a company called Fit Day Pass, which sold day passes to gyms in NYC. It was geared towards travelers.
He pivoted into a new company that did automated marketing for health and wellness businesses. He cold emailed 150 gyms and fitness studios.
Ideal bootstrap candidates are software-based and a core part of a client's operations.
User interviews are scary, and critical. Apter had an idea obliterated 45 seconds into a user discovery call. Justin Wilcox has a great guides on conducting user interviews.
Your MVP can be more basic than you think.
Buy, don't build. Remain flexible by integrating with other platforms (ex: textmagic or clicksend instead of twilio). Build a custom feature when you outgrow home-grown solutions.
Find a client who will partner with you to provide ideas and feedback. Sanity check their requests and ideas against other prospective clients.
Cold email is critical. There are guides available on generating lists with things like Mechanical Turk. To write compelling copy, check out CopyHackers. Yet Another Mail Merge is a great tool that sends mass email from Gmail. Don't bother with re-emailing unresponsive recipients.
Monetize as early as possible by building what people are willing to pay for. You don't need to build out the entire concept - find one small thing people are willing to pay for, and let other ideas follow from there.
Nothing converts a prospect to a client as much as reporting the revenue you generated for them. "We made you $200, and we only cost $10!"
Don't be afraid to ask a client if they're interested in a trial. Also, explicitly ask for referrals.
I'm sending out a beautiful PDF eBook of notes from every MicroConf Starter and Growth talk – both Speaker and Attendee. Want a copy?