How to find your first 100 customers: An actionable guide for bootstrapped founders

If you’re a bootstrapped founder looking for your first 100 customers then this guide is for you! Finding customers can feel like an uphill battle, especially without paid advertising.
This guide will show you the exact steps to make it happen. But first, I’ve made two basic assumptions:

  1. You’ve performed some form of validation for your business idea. If you haven’t, start here.
  2. You have a functional landing page that can accept payments and collect emails.

I will break down each strategy with real examples, mostly from my investing newsletter, Ticker Nerd.

Reddit posts

As the name suggests this involves creating high-value posts in relevant subreddits. High-value posts should be engaging, inspiring, valuable, and not common knowledge to members. The post must be authentic to avoid removal. Moderators (and the community) are cracking down on self-promoting content.

Since I run a stock newsletter, I decided to test the investing and business-related subreddits. The two highest-performing posts were in r/EntrepreneurRideAlong and r/Stocks.


eComSubredditstickernerdredditposts


Breaking down the post in r/EntrepreneurRideAlong:


The first post I made was a standard business idea seeking feedback. These are common and usually won’t cause issues. I figured most people in the business subreddits are interested in investing. The purpose of the post:

  1. Get instant feedback
  2. Find early adopters to signup for the $ 49-lifetime membership deal

I received loads of feedback, both positive and negative. Either way, it made sales which gave us further validation. If the subreddit prevents links, edit the post after you gain some traction with a link or post it in the comments. You can also drop the business name and people will likely search for it on google if they’re interested enough.

Breaking down the post in r/Stocks:


This post was a couple of months after we had validated our idea, pivoted, and started sending email newsletters. We decided to post one of our gated reports. Considering we run a premium newsletter the research was comprehensive and well structured. An obvious value-add to the r/stock subreddit.

Steps to replicate this for your business:

Ensure you have more than two Reddit accounts.


First, you want to uncover which subreddits are relevant to your business using the Say It GitHub tool. Enter the most relevant subreddit that comes to mind. The tool provides a spider map of all the connected subreddits that users are also active in. The highlighted ones are most relevant.

From here you want to click on a subreddit and rank the posts using ‘hot’ or ‘top’. This will show you which posts are most successful. The easiest thing to do is copy the structure and add your own spice.


Anvaka Say It SubReddit Tool


Here are some example posts:

  • GPT-3 writing tool such as copy.ai or writesonic.com
    • Subreddit: r/copywriting
    • Post: I’m creating a tool that can write all your copy, would anyone actually use this?
  • Stock monitoring tools such as tickernerd.com or wallstrank.com
    • Subreddit: r/stocks
    • Post: I finally built a tool that saves me at least 10hrs a week reviewing Wall Street Analyst ratings. And yes, it actually works
  • Bicycle chain cleaning kit such as Muc-Off dirty chain machine
    • Subreddit: r/cycling
    • Post: I stopped riding in the rain because I couldn’t be bothered cleaning the dirt off my gears. So I built a tool to do it in 45 seconds.

Remember to be authentic in the post. Reddit is brutal and you’ll get called out if your post is too promotional or low effort.

Find the best time to submit your post using this tool. Make the posts on your account with the highest karma. Using your other accounts be sure to upvote, comment, and buy yourself an award.


Twitter advanced search


One of the most underrated features of Twitter is the advanced search. It’s hidden and only accessible once you’ve actually searched for something. It allows you to curate a very specific feed.


Each week Ticker Nerd releases a report covering 2-3 stocks. I use the advanced search feature to find popular tweets mentioning the stocks in the past 24hrs. From here I engage and add value where relevant.


Twitter Advanced Search


This is one use case for Ticker Nerd. I can also find posts mentioning high-performing stocks we covered and leave a comment about why we covered them. Other Twitter users who see this will be intrigued and visit our profile.


Steps to replicate this for your business:


The strategy is most effective when you add value to posts relevant to your niche. For instance, if you’re building a tool that helps write marketing copy you can find posts discussing:

  • Long-form sales copy
  • Best ads for [insert niche]
  • High converting [niche] ads
  • Email newsletter subject lines
  • Business name/startup name ideas

From here you could simply use the output of the tool to comment with ideas ready for them to use. This will draw attention quickly.


Medium article smasher


This is more lucrative and involves writing a high-value post on medium with a subtle plug to your product.
For Ticker Nerd this would include any of the following:

  • How we use software to find stocks before they blow up
  • Why alternative metrics should also be analyzed when picking a stock
  • Our bulletproof process for discovering stocks before the hype train arrives
  • How to save yourself 20hrs a week searching for hot stocks to invest in

For the hack to work, you need to find 10-15 people from MicroWorkers to read and clap for your article. Here’s an example brief:

Micro Workers Medium Hack


The goal is to make it on the homepage of its category so it can be syndicated across larger publications. If it works you’ll receive free PR and backlinks.


Steps to replicate this for your business:


Jared Codling, a well known Growth Hacker has a secret explainer video below:

Product Hunt


Product Hunt is a popular site where founders can submit their new tech products each day. Other users upvote and comment, the more engagement your product receives the higher up the list you are.


This requires a lot of effort and is only relevant to digital business models. eCommerce businesses should look into launching on Kickstarter.


Steps to replicate this for your business:


Again, the easiest way to do this is to copy other product launches. Spend some time analyzing which products rank in the top 3 for the day and month.
We followed a guide to launching Ticker Nerd. The high-level process:

  • Pre-launch:
    • Plan the title, images, first comment, and optimal post time
    • Follow 50-100 Product Hunt users prior to launching
    • Engage with other product launches
    • Reach out to 20-30 people on Twitter to get them on board for the launch
    • Found someone to hunt the product. Pat Walls from Starter Story kindly helped
  • Post-launch:
    • Make a Reddit post about the launch
      • E.g.‘We validated our idea in this sub and now we’ve launched on PH’
    • Make a Facebook post about the launch
    • Make a Twitter post about the launch
    • Add the upvote button onto our site
    • Follow 20-30 people over the 24hr period
      • Each person you follow receives an email notifaction. It usually includes your latest activity which will be “Just launched: x product”
    • Reach out to everyone who agreed to upvote and comment and have them do so

Join high-quality communities


The endless amount of spammy, low-quality Facebook groups can easily turn you off from this option. Yet, in the right community, you have the ability to:

  • Gain product validation
  • Engage in private acquisitions
  • Find new customers for your business
  • Make introductions to the right people
  • Learn from experienced entrepreneurs or industry experts


The two groups I’m most active in are Trends by the Hustle and My First Million. I’ve validated ideas in both groups and made incredible connections. Ramit Sethi and Ben Askren are two influential people I’ve seen engaging in the Trends community.


Steps to replicate this for your business


There’s really no secret here. Look at joining the following communities:


That’s a wrap! If you have any questions feel free to hit me up on Twitter. Otherwise, sign up to my newsletter. I send my favorite articles, processes, and resources.

Breaking down exactly how to achieve passive income for people still working 9-5 jobs

I work full-time as a Project Manager for Finder. I’m also growing an investing newsletter called Ticker Nerd, which was recently acquired. 

I’ve bootstrapped, bought, and sold many digital businesses. Three of them in 2021.

Now I’m sharing everything I know to help young people with full-time jobs build a passive income without risking everything!

If you want to learn more drop your email below. You’ll receive access to my strategies, processes, and resources 👇