Founder @InPublicBeta. Ex-CEO / Founder @WooThemes. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.
I believe that personal passion is the only sustainable way to pursue any idea and / or startup in the medium and longer term.
In the short term, there's loads of other things that keep you going: momentum, money, press, great feedback, investor interest, new customers etc. What these things however do is it kickstarts your natural adrenaline making it easy to make progress.
Once that adrenaline runs out though and when you reach a low point (of the rollercoaster), you're only left with the things you naturally have. So your own ambition, drive and passion are the things that will help get you out of that low point and kickstart the adrenaline again.
And of those things, passion is the greatest motivator to do anything. If you are truly passionate about the idea or startup you are pursuing, I believe that you will do whatever it takes to succeed.
Everything you do (in life and as an entrepreneur) should start with an underlying passion. If you aren't pursuing the things you're most passionate about, you're doing it wrong (or just for the wrong reasons). IMHO.
So in that regard, I'd highly recommend reading Simon Sinek's "Start With Why". If you're not up to reading a book, just Google his TED talk as a start.
Think big. Start small.
You should always think of the bigger picture (i.e. Facebook for everyone in the world), because you want to make sure that you enable yourself to grow towards that point. Using Steve Jobs' analogy, it's about anticipating where the dots will be. Or as Wayne Gretzky puts it: skate to where you expect the puck will be, not where it is at the moment. Having this bigger vision in mind, will help you move forward.
That said, always start small. If you can make your product or service valuable for a small group of people (that are also representative of a bigger population), you can definitely figure out ways to reach those people. The initial challenge though is to make those first 10 / 100 / 1000 people really use your product or service (and preferably pay for it).
I think differently about this, because of two reasons:
1) I've always (and only) been involved in bootstrapped startups; and
2) I've been lucky that those startups grew organically and fast (enough) which minimized our need on marketing spend.
Instead of deciding on a specific budget for this, I would instead look at your current priorities (in terms of budgeting and re-investment into your team):
1. Build a great team.
2. Build a great product.
3. Craft incredible customer experiences.
4. Spend money on marketing.
If you've already hit all 3 top priorities and you can't reinvest any further into those, then you should start spending money on marketing.
If you don't have revenues today and you are hoping to generate revenues through marketing spend, you're on slippery slope (says the bootstrapper). Whilst not wrong, this is tricky and you'd need to take a realistic look at your customer acquisition cost (CAC) and how much you can invest into acquiring new customers.
First, I agree with Chad in that the pure pursuit of money is unlikely to render anything significant. By using a monetary value as a primary goal, you're only diluting the real drivers of success: passion, crafting great customer experiences, building an incredible team and culture etc.
That said, making $1m isn't that hard. :) I love this thinking by Amy Hoy and that's how I would go about making $1m: http://unicornfree.com/30x500. Using that logic, this is what I'd do:
* To earn $1m in a year, I need to earn +- $80k a month.
* To earn $80k a month, I need 1600 customers paying me $50 per month.
* So what can I build that could attract 1600 people to pay me $50?
* Or, what could I build that could attract 400 people to pay me $200 per month?
This logic works on two drivers:
* Cumulative revenue and growth. So SaaS works best in this regard, as you only need to focus on having new signups that are greater than your churn.
* Building something that people are willing to (really) pay for and going for quality over quantity. If you are building something that sells for $5 pm, you'll need to sell at much higher volumes (which are tricky).
In terms of doing that, these are the areas of my business that I would prioritize:
1. Build an awesome team that do things they're passionate about.
2. Prioritize customer experiences above anything else. Do everything in your power (regardless of whether it can't scale) to add value and help your customers.
3. Build a brand and reputation that has long-lasting value.
I don't think it's a case of outsourcing to a specific country (i.e. India vs Vietnam vs anywhere else), as much as understanding that outsourcing has its benefits (costs mostly), but also challenges (project management / communication).
My best recommendation is to use a service / platform like Odesk (http://odesk.com) when outsourcing any work. They assist both in tracking the work done (especially helpful when you're being billed per hour) and also in resolving issues (if your supplier screws up).