Get Help Starting Up: Win A Free Scholarship To StartupToDo

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Get Help Starting Up: Win A Free Scholarship To StartupToDo


I've run three startups, and every time it felt more like stumbling around in the dark than confidently striding along a path.  Most everyone I meet feels the same way.

It's worse the first time around of course.  You read blogs and books, you take other business founders out to lunch, and you join entrepreneur support groups (I mean, meet-ups).

But still.  There's like 1,000 things to do, none of which you've ever done before or even seen before, and certainly nothing any school has prepared you for.  What about all that stuff?

Bob Walsh, author of several startup how-to books and the Micro-ISV blog and podcast, has all the answers at StartupToDo -- a combination web application, guidebook, and community for startup founders.

And better still, here at OnStartups we're giving away 10 scholarships, so you get all this love without paying a cent!  Even if you don't get the scholarship, however, check it out.

Here's how StartupToDo works.

First, there's already 50 guides walking through every aspect of a business from deciding on a name to selecting a web host to Google AdWords to creating your elevator pitch, .... you name it.

Second, as you progress through those guides -- in any order you please -- you can watch your progress exactly like a burn-up chart for software development:

Startup burn-up chart

This makes it easy to ensure you're making steady progress on important areas of business while you tend to the obvious fires and daily chaos.

Third, the guides aren't static -- it's more like a Wiki + comment system so you can also learn from everyone else on StartupToDo who has gone through that guide.  So it's a living, breathing lesson and checklist, not just some stale prose from 1994.

Fourth, there's amply opportunity to not just go through guides but to interact with other founders through things you've heard of (e.g. forums) and brand new things (e.g. "What do you think of my website" system).  Now you're not just guessing by yourself -- you're part of a thriving, intelligent community of people just like you, helping each other get through the pain and thrill of running your own company.

Ever need help answering questions like these?

1. Which online service should I use for what? Creating your online infrastructure - from Google Apps to finding the right service to monitor server uptime - there's a variety of online business services you need to put in place in order for your startup to succeed. Guides turns finding the right services into tasks that take minutes, not hours and days.

2. Does my web site work? With their Site Reviews, you tap the power of the community to get quantitate and qualitative confidential feedback on how well your site explains your product, connects to the visitor and influences their decision making.

OK ok, so now you're convinced it's really useful -- and worth paying for -- but it's even sweeter if OnStartups treats you to an account, right?

We're going to give away free 6-month subscriptions to (valued at $105).  To be eligible, you need to do just three simple things:

1) Visit OnStartups on Facebook

2) Hit the "Like" button (needed, so you can post a comment)

3) Leave a practical tip or ask a question about starting up.

Or, if you'd rather use Twitter than Facebook:

1) Provide a practical tip or ask a question about starting up and append @onstartups to the end so we can see it.

We'll be giving out a free, 6-month subscription a day for the next 20 days.

So, lets see those comments and questions.  Good luck!

Posted by Jason Cohen on Wed, May 19, 2010


StartupToDo looks cool idea. Glad that somebody takes startups as customers seriously :) 
thought, it would be cool if system would be simpler. Now there is too much of functionality, too many tabs, too much time to study the system. I would expect something easier and with less functionality for my startup. 

posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 9:30 AM by Mark

Awesome. But his sort of communal knowledge should be better dispersed. I'm a part of a couple email lists, the main one through MIT, which is helpful for harnessing communal knowledge on these basic questions like the ones you've hit (collecting money, taxes, capital, etc.)

posted on Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 10:55 AM by Kevin Vogelsang

I wish Bob Walsh and StartupToDo the best of luck. 
But I've found that doing or trying to do, not reading and talking, is the essence of startups. Lots of people get sidetracked by all the books, blogs, forums and products and most never find their way out such that they end up actually trying to start a startup. I think that that's where the Business of Software forum (on Joel Spolsky's site) went off track, everybody became expert forum posters instead of entrepreneurs.

posted on Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 12:06 PM by Dan Howard

Hi Dan, 
I agree wholeheartedly with you: too often reading and talking take the place, and the time, of the doing that needs to be done to build a startup. Doing is the core approach at 
Two quick examples. Let's say you want to announce your startup to various sites that review/publicize startups. You could spend hours reading posts, asking questions at forums, searching via Google and to prep for what is a 30 minute task. Instead, if you're a member of, you grab the Announcing your Startup to the Startup Industry Guide, work through it, perhaps also hitting some of the sites suggested in comments, and you're done in 30 minutes. 
Another area is getting site feedback. Getting feedback at the Business of Software Forum can hugely help, but as a moderator there for 4+ years I felt that tapping your fellow startup founders, in private, for both quantitative and qualitative feedback using a 10 minute form gives you more actionable information and less noise. 
I'm all for discussion and getting answers (which is why I'm a moderator at both BOS and, but besides development there's a huge number of tasks you need to do to successfully bootstrap a startup. That's where comes in.

posted on Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 5:32 PM by Bob Walsh

Hi Dharmesh, 
Can't you relax your eligibility criteria by giving an alternative to the Facebook option? 
I'm not on Facebook and given all the controversy going on since last few days, I don't even think of joining Facebook. 
Nice offer though, thanks. 

posted on Friday, May 21, 2010 at 9:17 AM by Manoj Waikar

Good point Manoj. 
Now you can qualify by using Twitter instead of Facebook. See the article text above for instructions.

posted on Friday, May 21, 2010 at 1:23 PM by Jason Cohen

typo in  
free 6-month subscriptions to

posted on Friday, May 21, 2010 at 6:28 PM by Paulina

Hi Paulina,  
Don't see it - maybe Jason or Dharmesh already corrected their post?

posted on Friday, May 21, 2010 at 6:33 PM by Bob Walsh

Just wanted to let you know about an exciting event siliconindia is organizing on May 29 & 30, 2010 in Bangalore.  
Limited seats. Register FREE: 
Roll up your Sleeves. Meet over 100 cool startups. Learn new Technologies; Watch live product demonstrations; Get a peek into cutting edge technologies; Lay hands on the best-of-breed solutions; Meet young, energetic, passionate geeks; Experience the culture of innovation in small companies; Listen to Visionary Keynotes and In-depth Panel Discussions 
Come. Meet the Startups that will become tomorrow's industry leaders. 
Here's you chance to meet and hear inspiring entrepreneurial story from Krishnakumar Natarajan, co-founder, CEO & MD of Mindtree and Bharat Goenka, Co-Founder & MD of Tally Solutions 
Heads of Dell India, Sage India, Mphasis will talk about building next generation technology companies from India. 
Founders of startup companies like SMSCountry, 123, Manthan Systems, Ittiam, Jade Magnet will talk about concept to success and idea to revenue. 
You also get to hear interesting discussions on Mistakes entrepreneurs make when approaching VCs and Best Opportunities for Entrepreneurs in 2010, Angel Money and many others from leading venture capitalists like IDG Ventures, Intel Capital, Helion, Clearstone, NEA-IndoUS Ventures. 
This is undoubtedly the biggest event for startups. 
There are limited seats. You can register yourself for FREE at: 

posted on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 2:46 AM by dhivya

Hi Dharmesh, 
I opened an account on Twitter (@mmwaikar) and posted my question (as my first tweet). Please let me know if you see it, thanks. 

posted on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 6:23 PM by Manoj Waikar

Looks pretty interesting. One thing though, the homepage kind of reminds me of a "I'll make you a millionaire" type of website (especially, the huge "Be successful faster" text - it could be a lot sleeker). There's also overlapping issues with the member comments on the right (I'm using Firefox 3.5.9). I'm gonna sign up for the 30 day trial, and see how helpful it really is.

posted on Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 11:39 PM by Ralitza Iankova

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