Becoming a Full Stack Entrepreneur
What skills does it take to repeatedly build scalable companies?
You’ve heard of the full stack developer.
They are the coding ninjas and rockstars that deliver 10x what any other developer can.
Anyone building a tech company knows what it means to have one.
They can make or break you in the early days. And having one as a technical Co-Founder can be the difference between success and failure, funding or no funding, the life and death of a start-up.
Their path is so clear.
They follow a set of rules and build brick by brick.
There’s never any uncertainty about what needs to be done.
And the value they add to a project is so well defined.
Better still, if there’s ever any gap in their knowledge, it’s pretty straightforward to fill.
Like, when they’re stuck… A quick search on Stack Overflow will usually solve their problems.
But what about us non-technical Co-founders?
Why isn’t there a technical framework for us or anyone wanting to be an entrepreneur?
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to accelerate your learning, by knowing which tangible skills you need to make you more successful in business?
I wanted to understand how great entrepreneurs repeatedly build companies which they can scale to hundreds of millions in revenue a year.
And over the last 15 years I’ve obsessively studied every book, article, and online course I can get my hands on about entrepreneurship and its related topics.
I’ve tried and failed my way to building my own companies.
And I’ve watched friends and mentors around me build theirs.
But it’s only really in the last year that I’ve begun to understand more about what it takes to be repeatable. And to have the confidence to know that I can build a 7-figure business again and again.
Just as mentors can spare you from making the same mistakes they did.
I’d have loved someone to tell me exactly what skills I’d need in order to be the best entrepreneur I could be.
To save you from learning through trial and error, I’ve created my own framework.
I’m calling it:
The Full Stack Entrepreneur
In my opinion, there are 5 key pillars to becoming a full stack entrepreneur:
If you know anything about any of these topics then you’ll know it’s not quite as simple as learning Programming or Marketing. For every topic there’s a diverse range of subtopics and skills that you’ll need to engage with.
Here’s why each of them matters.
Marketing is vital for anyone going into business.
If I could start over, this would be the first skill I’d learn as an Entrepreneur.
In fact, I’d say it’s the single most decisive skill for determining whether or not you’ll be successful as an entrepreneur.
Some of the biggest success stories come down to at least one of the founding team being shit hot at marketing.
And you can understand why.
Great marketers tend to think in terms of market-first. Not product-first.
They’ll validate multiple products across multiple marketing channels before wasting time.
I wish I’d been thinking market-first earlier on in my journey. Because when you find a way to reach massive audiences cheaply, you can sell them almost anything.
Selling was one of the first skills I learned.
And as entrepreneurs, we’re always selling.
Whether that’s selling a product or service to customers, selling your business to investors, or selling your vision to a team. If you want to build a business, you have to learn how to sell.
A lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking product-first.
I was guilty of this myself when I first started.
The fact is, very few of us will have the opportunity to go from zero to one.
And if you’re not creating something new then you’re going to get lost in an ocean of competitors.
Unless of course you can market and sell your product better than those competitors!
That said. If you want to build a unicorn, you’re not likely to do it selling a shit product.
Being able to build and ship a product with nothing but a laptop and an internet connection is one of the best skills you can have.
Now, you might not want to build a tech company. And you might have the resources to outsource your development.
But for those of you that do want to build a tech product, you’ll save yourself a lot of headache by learning the basics.
You’ll be able to validate ideas much faster if you can make changes to the product on your own.
I’ve left Networking for last, not because it’s any less important but because it’s something you build as you go.
Having a great network gives you access to opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise.
You could argue it would take a lifetime to master any one of them. But you don’t need to be a master.
And if you cut out all of the noise, and choose the right people to learn from, you can effectively learn each of these skills in a matter of months.
Which skill have you learned which added the most value to your business?
What’s missing from my stack?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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