Between this blog, my podcast, MicroConf and the Micropreneur Academy, I’ve had the privilege of watching hundreds of entrepreneurs launch products over the past decade (even into the thousands, depending on how you count).
After a while, I started to notice a pattern emerging among the pool of bootstrappers who were able to successfully replace their income, buy back their time, and quit their jobs.
I first captured this pattern in my notebook in early 2009, but I didn’t have enough data to be confident in the theory. I started embracing it as a framework on my podcast around 2010, and in 2013 I gave it a name.
I call it The Stairstep Approach. After fully fleshing it out in my talks at DCBKK and MicroConf Europe last fall, I’ve been struck repeatedly by how many successful bootstrappers have followed, or are currently following, this trajectory.
The interesting part is that my own path moving from consulting to products followed the same steps, as you can see in my product revenue chart from the past decade: