How to build a successful web startup. 15 do's and don'ts

This is something I taken from BD4D. It is a great article and it make a lot of sense. It was about how to start a web startup in UK but I think the situation is the same here in Malaysia, or, pretty much all over the world.

10 Ways to Promote Yourself for Free

1. Start a Blog – Blogging is a powerful way to promote yourself. The trick is to increase your status from being a nobody, to someone who is considered an authority in the industry. This demonstrates that you really know what you re talking about. Make sure to avoid things that could upset people like politics or useless details about your personal life. To get started blogging, download and install WordPress ( or a similar blogging tool – it only takes five minutes to set up a blog.

2. Promote a Cause – A great way to make the world a better place, while also promoting yourself, is to help a worthy cause. Find something you re passionate about changing and create a web site about it. A great example of this is “G8 Reboot” ( The founder, Gareth Knight, wanted to help raise awareness about the G8 summit so he created this site. In addition to doing a good thing, he also became fairly well known for it, which in turn will bring in work.

In a weird way, this has happened with us and BD4D. We didn’t start it to promote ourselves, but it happened anyway.

3. Speak at an Event – A stellar way to promote yourself is by speaking at an event. You are instantly seen as a leader in your industry, presuming, of course, that the event is related to your job. Spend time Googling for events in your specialist area of the industry and get in touch with the event organisers. (Why not get in touch with us?!) They are always looking for talented fresh blood and they just might take you up on your offer to speak.
Attend Events – If you can t quite convince the event organisers that you re the next David Carson, then the next best thing is to attend the event and meet as many people as possible. Make sure that you ve got a good stack of quality business cards in your pocket, put on a smiling face, and go shake as many hands as you can. You d be surprised how many opportunities could come out of it.

4. Create Your Own Gallery – If you re serious about raising your profile, a great idea is to start you own gallery. It can be digital or physical, but it will be much easier if it s digital. Think of an interesting subject, invite some artists that you respect, and go for it. A great example of this is the Ping-Pong remix by Gaston Caba. By doing this, he not only promoted great artwork but himself too.

5. Network – Nothing will get your name out there like some good solid networking. If you re an introvert it s often quite scary meeting new people. However, once you get started, youll enjoy it and will make a lot of friends in the process. The best way to network is to find local events that relate to your field and go there with your goal of meeting people.

6. Don t forget your Signature – Every email you send out could act as a small advertisement for you and your skills. You’d be surprised how often people click on links in email signatures. Make sure to put the full URL of your site (including the http:// bit) with the name of the site. Avoid cryptic messages or strange spelling and you’ll be onto a self-promotion winner.

7. Start a Community Web Site – One of the most powerful ways to promote yourself and your skills is by starting a web site that is centred around your industry. This takes quite a bit of time and effort, but the payoff can be amazing.

8. Have a Memorable Business Card – When you re networking at events and parties, the first advertisement people will ever see for you is your business card. If it s printed on good quality paper, is well designed and, easy to read you will help people to remember you and what you do. This is a vital step to moving your career to that next level.

9. Be Nice – You d be surprised at the power of simply being kind and thoughtful towards people. The trick is to not have secret agendas and hidden motives with people – just be honest and open. This will show people that they can trust you and that it s nice to work with you. In a world of selfishness, a smile and a kind word can go a long way.

5 Things Not to Do!

1. Don’t be Abrasive – The best way to throw your career into the dungeon is by being difficult to work with. If you get a reputation for being abrasive and closed minded, people will steer well clear of you, and most likely, advise their friends to avoid working with you as well. Everyone likes a happy person, so try to smile when someone asks you to do something and do your best to not complain. It s also a great idea to listen to other’s ideas and offer encouragement wherever you can.

2. Don’t Let Your Web Site Get Out of Date – The first sign that someone is not on top of the game, is an out of date web site. It says “I’m not keeping up to date with technology and the industry … and I m lazy!” Either way it’s not the message you want to be giving to potential employers and contacts. By keeping your site fresh and fun, you re showing visitors that you re informed and motivated. Oh and don’t forget the spell-checker.

3. Don’t be Idle – Let’s face it, no one is going to call you up and say, “I know we ve never heard of you, but we’d like to give you some work.” So the cardinal enemy of self-promotion is idleness. Get out there and network! The primary thing that will separate you from the masses is the fact that you ve gotten off your ass and done something. People will respect you for it.

4. Don’t Make it Hard to Be Contacted – If you ve got a web site (which you should, if you re concerned about self promotion), make your contact details very prominent on the homepage and every other page to follow. If someone wants to call you or email you, don t bury your contact details six pages deep in your site. Clients won t try that hard, and neither should they have to. Another great idea is to include your photo on the site, which helps people put a face to the name.

5. Don t Stalk People – Although we ve encouraged you to network with people, there’s a fine line between being out-going and being just plain annoying. If you really want to get mentioned in a magazine or newspaper, send a press release and follow it up with a phone call or two. But don’t try to annoy people into covering you. If anything, it will just encourage them to avoid you even more.


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