A little over four years ago, SureSwift was just a couple of co-founders with an idea. Today it’s a rapidly growing portfolio of more than 30 online businesses, managed by a fully remote team of 80 people working across 14 timezones. Hear from co-founder and CEO, Kevin McArdle, about how we got from there to here.
Spoiler alert: There’s no “recipe” for a great startup founder. And anyone who tells you that you just need 7 habits, or 10 qualities, or any other magic number of things is probably more concerned with selling ad space than mentoring founders. Great leaders come in many different forms, with different backgrounds, strengths, and areas of expertise. But some patterns do start to emerge when you look at a big sample of successful founders — especially in the bootstrapped business model. Being in the acquisition business we’ve had the distinct advantage of purchasing more than 30 companies and reviewing hundreds more from behind the scenes. These are a few things we’ve noticed along the way.
There are a lot of great businesses out there that can benefit thousands of potential future employees and customers that need some help getting off the ground. But the typical funding paths and assistance available to startups don’t work for the vast majority of founders. The majority of venture capital funds and accelerators create one successful business in 20. Sure, small business loans are available — but banks don’t offer any support or advice when it comes to running or scaling your business. That’s exactly why Earnest Capital was created: To offer a new model of startup business funding and accelerator guidance specifically for bootstrappers.
Hiring your first employee is an exciting, and potentially stressful time for any business. Expanding your team beyond the founders means your company is bringing in enough money to grow, and having help means you can work less in the business and focus more on the business from a strategic level. But if you’ve never hired or managed anyone before, how do you find the right people for your team? We’ve got all the details for you including where to post your jobs, how to filter applications, interview questions, and more.
We came up with this list of 15 of the best books for bootstrapping entrepreneurs by asking our own team of founders for their personal favorites. These are the titles that came up over and over because they’re like playbooks for running your business better. From classics to new releases (and even a little inspiration outside of the business section) we’ve got something for every entrepreneur’s reading list. Eyes blurry from staring at your screen? Relax, we have links to the audiobook versions, too.
When Tristan Gamilis and Nicholas Firth-McCoy launched their SaaS startup, Paydirt, an online time-tracking and invoicing tool for freelancers, they were also running a website and app development company. Later, they added another SaaS usability startup to their already busy lives. Eventually they faced the question many entrepreneurs will: Which business ventures to dedicate their attention to? And what to do with the rest?
A lot of SaaS startups have a blog as part of their marketing strategy. On most blogs, a few posts will outperform the rest of your content combined. Instead of spending time, energy, and money refreshing outdated and poor performing articles, learn how to identify your top-performing content, and maximize the heck out of the results.
She Was Working a Full-time, Six-figure Job When She Bought Out Her Co-Founders and Grew Her Startup to Scale
SureSwift Capital acquired HelpTeaching, an Education Technology platform for teachers, tutors, and homeschooling parents with more than 1 million global members in 2015. Lilia Tovbin, who co-founded the business shared her story with us recently including what it was like to scale a business while working a busy, full-time job, why she decided to sell a company she considered her family business, plus her latest business venture.
Building a virtual team should be a top consideration for every startup, entrepreneur, and online business in growth mode, because expanding your talent search to “everywhere” means access to better job candidates. However, managing a team that’s spread across the country (or the globe) presents its own unique set of challenges. SureSwift’s rapid growth from a team of two to a global company of 80 over the past four years has been like a crash course in managing virtual teams, and this is our guide to doing it right.
“Co-Founder and CEO.” That’s what it says on my business card, on the signature line of my emails, on my LinkedIn profile, and my Twitter bio. The “Co-Founder” part tells you that I started SureSwift Capital with a partner. The “CEO” part means that I’m ultimately accountable to my team for creating an environment they can thrive in, and for the overall success or failure of the business. So it’s correct and complete… but it isn’t the title I’m proudest of today. That title is Entrepreneur.