Self Help

7 Day Startup You Don't Learn Until You Launch, The - Norris, Dan

Author Photo

Matheus Puppe

· 13 min read

“If you liked the book, you can purchase it using the links in the description below. By buying through these links, you contribute to the blog without paying any extra, as we receive a small commission. This helps us bring more quality content to you!”



Here is a summary of the key points from “The 7 Day Startup” by Dan Norris:

  • The book teaches how to launch a startup idea in just 7 days through a proven process.

  • Norris shares his experience launching multiple failed startups and businesses over 14 years before finding success with WP Curve.

  • Some key lessons he learned include the importance of actually launching ideas rather than just planning them, having an idea that can be tested and proven quickly, and focusing on customer acquisition from day one.

  • The 7 Day Startup process outlined in the book covers ideation, minimum viable product development, branding, website building, marketing strategies, target setting and launch - all within 7 days.

  • Additional chapters provide advice on refining your business model based on feedback, and 14 rules for running a sustainable business long-term like continuous testing, problem solving, learning, managing motivation and more.

  • Contributors to the book endorse Norris’ hustle and ability to iterate quickly through launching ideas until finding product-market fit, which the 7 Day method is designed to achieve for early-stage entrepreneurs.

In summary, the book aims to teach entrepreneurs how to compress the startup timeline and efficiently validate ideas through a 7 day launch process based on the author’s extensive experience launching businesses.

Here is a summary of the key points in the provided text:

  • The author refers to hitting the “hallowed six-figure mark” as achieving an annual salary of $100,000, which was a goal of his early in entrepreneurship.

  • After 7 years of running his first agency business, he had managed to grow revenue to around $180,000 per year but was still only earning $40,000 in profit annually. He never came close to hitting the $100k salary mark.

  • His next startup idea lasted 11 months but also failed to achieve profitability or recurring revenue, and he ran out of money.

  • On his third and final attempt, he pivoted to a WordPress support service called WP Curve (now WP Live Ninja) which achieved 10 paying customers in its first week, matching the revenue from his previous 12-month effort.

  • Within a month the new startup was covering costs, and within 13 months had 475 customers generating over $33k in monthly recurring revenue, well surpassing his original $100k salary goal.

So in summary, the text discusses the author’s journey of failing to achieve a sustainable six-figure business and income over many years, until finally succeeding with a minimalist, customer-focused WordPress support startup within just 7 days.

  • Most successful startups are teams rather than individuals because no one can do all the required tasks like idea generation, execution, and hustle alone. It’s important to be honest about your own strengths and weaknesses and find co-founders to fill gaps.

  • The idea is important but only one part of a successful startup - you also need strong execution and hustle. Spending too much time focusing only on the idea is a pitfall.

  • Execution is how well you present your idea compared to competitors. This takes ongoing effort to continually improve and compare favorably.

  • Hustle means relentlessly pursuing the most important tasks, like getting customers, rather than distractions. Different businesses may require different types of hustle.

  • Attempts at validation like pre-sales, landing pages, surveys, and tech press coverage don’t reliably predict success. Getting feedback doesn’t mean people will actually buy. Validation is difficult when the answer isn’t a clear “yes”.

  • The 7 Day Startup approach works better than assumptions because you immediately learn from real customer behavior and launch quickly without over-validating ideas.

  • The author built a consumer web app called hable and got coverage from Australian tech blogs like Startup Daily but didn’t get any paid users from the traffic.

  • He then built a targeted survey for content marketers to validate an idea for a content marketing analytics app. The survey found interest but people didn’t actually use or pay for the app when it launched.

  • Pre-selling a product before it’s built is touted as validation but isn’t a good experiment as it tests discounted offers, not the real pricing. Launching momentum is also killed.

  • “Validation” is too simplistic - luck, timing, execution ability also determine success. An idea can be validated but the founder may not succeed.

  • The author advocates working under tight deadlines like school assignments to be more efficient. Deadlines drive urgency.

  • Entrepreneurs launch instead of just talking about ideas as “wantrepreneurs” do. The author argues a minimum viable product can launch in 7 days.

  • The author argues that most business books focus too much on coming up with ideas and perfecting business plans before launching, which wastes time and is based on assumptions.

  • Instead, the book outlines how to launch a startup in just 7 days by focusing on real customer feedback from the earliest possible stage.

  • The pre-launch tasks include coming up with an idea, creating a minimum viable product, choosing a business name, launching a basic website, setting up marketing, defining metrics for success, and officially launching on Day 7.

  • On Day 1, the author discusses the importance of the initial idea but emphasizes that ideas don’t need to be perfect and can evolve based on customer feedback.

  • Nine key elements of a viable bootstrapped business idea are outlined: enjoyable daily tasks, product/founder fit, scalable business model, ability to operate profitably without the founder, creating an asset that can be sold, large market potential, competitive advantage, low startup costs, and the ability to quickly iterate based on learning.

  • The emphasis is on validating ideas in the market quickly rather than spending too much time planning, and being flexible to pivot the idea based on what customers respond to.

So in summary, the passage advocates for rapid, low-cost validation of business ideas through an almost immediate launch within 7 days, rather than lengthy business planning. The focus is on learning from real customer feedback.

  • Companies need to serve large markets to maintain consistently growing profits, as they cannot rely on a small, limited pool of customers.

  • When starting a business, consider if it will serve a small group or have potential to grow into a large market.

  • A unique selling proposition or differentiator is not enough - what really matters is solving customer pain points or providing pleasure.

  • Advantages like unique lead generation methods that tap into founder skills can help bootstrap a business initially.

  • The ability to launch quickly, such as within a week or two months, is important for bootstrapped startups to learn from customers and iterate the product.

  • Evaluating a business idea against elements like scalable business model, operating profitably without the founder, appealing to a large market, and resolving customer pain points can help determine if it is suitable for a bootstrapped startup.

  • The “Measure-Learn-Develop” loop for an MVP should emphasize creating a viable minimum product, not just the absolute minimum.

  • Many startups fail by creating unusable, unmarketable MVPs that are too minimal to properly test assumptions.

  • A good MVP closely mimics the full customer experience even if done manually at first. It validates customer interest through sales or usage, not just feedback.

  • Examples like Informly, WP Curve, AppSumo, Underground Cellar and Bare Metrics focused on testing core hypotheses through early revenue instead of building incomplete platforms.

  • When defining an MVP, emphasize what can be done in 7 days to closely match the final vision from a customer perspective, even if manual. Test core assumptions through sales or usage as quickly as possible.

So in summary, the key is creating a viable representation of the product or service idea quickly to actually test customer interest through real metrics like sales, rather than developing incomplete versions that don’t answer critical questions.

The goal for Day 4 is to build a basic website for the startup business in under $100 and within one day. This will allow the founder to start communicating their business idea and learning how potential customers respond.

The key steps outlined are:

  1. Register a domain name for $4-5 using a registrar like GoDaddy.

  2. Set up basic hosting for $4/month using a service like GoDaddy or Bluehost that allows one-click WordPress installation.

  3. Install WordPress using the one-click installer on the hosting account.

  4. Customize WordPress with a theme, plugins, content to start showcasing the business idea and capturing email addresses.

The purpose of the initial website is to either capture emails, pre-sell the product launching in 4 days, or set up the actual sales page to go live on launch day. The goal is to have a payment button live by Day 7 so learning can begin on customer demand.

  • Setting up a basic website and marketing funnel for a new business using affordable hosting options like Bluehost, Godaddy, or other hosting control panels.

  • The process involves registering a domain name, pointing it to a host, installing WordPress (either manually or via one-click install), and choosing a theme or opt-in landing page plugin.

  • Tools like Fantastico, Softaculous, and Coming Soon/SeedProd plugins make opt-in page setup easy. PayPal buttons can be used for payments.

  • Google Analytics and conversion goals should be set up to track traffic and optimize. Basic funnel involves opt-in, email sequences, then purchase.

  • 10 marketing strategies are provided to test in the first 30 days to find what works, like social media, blogging, partnerships, local listings etc.

  • Documentation and worksheets are available at for setting things up and crafting a initial marketing plan. The goal is to get the product in front of qualified buyers initially.

Here is a summary of ideas for generating traffic and buyers to a new product launch presented in the text:

  • Create high-quality content on the company’s website around problems the product solves and make it actionable and useful for the target audience. Optimize for email opt-ins.

  • Start an email list from the beginning by adding contacts and setting up landing pages. Continually grow the list by providing valuable content and lead magnets.

  • Start a podcast for networking opportunities and exposure on platforms like iTunes. Go on other podcasts as a guest.

  • Engage in relevant online forums and social media groups where the company is a trusted member to find early customers.

  • Publish guest posts on other high-authority blogs and websites in the niche to get in front of new audiences.

  • Use in-person strategies like networking events and meetups to promote the product face-to-face if online strategies don’t work as well for the business.

The ideas aim to generate traffic and sales quickly after launch through content marketing, email list building, podcasting, forum engagement, guest blogging and some face-to-face networking depending on what strategy is most effective for the specific business. Partnerships and crowdfunding are also mentioned but don’t usually happen as quickly.

  • Terry wrote a guest post for a finance industry blog about his experience starting a business and lessons learned. This was a unique angle that resonated with readers.

  • The 600-word article led to $700 in sales for Terry’s business within a day, as his bio included a link.

  • The keys to Terry’s success were being honest and sharing a genuinely interesting perspective for his target audience. Effective guest blogging requires understanding your ideal customers.

  • Other marketing strategies mentioned include listing your business on relevant comparison/directory sites to reach qualified leads, using webinars to build an audience and make sales, presenting at local events, doing free work to build reputation and referrals, pursuing media coverage, and consistently promoting your message.

  • The chapter argues that most marketing methods are essentially the same - it’s about connecting your message with qualified potential customers as effectively as possible. Understanding your audience is paramount.

  • Marketing methods to consider include getting noticed through a unique service offering or giveaway, paid advertising, throwing a party, or other methods that play to your strengths. Test various options and focus on what is working well.

  • Build a list of marketing methods you plan to use for your launch. Create a rough plan for the first 1-2 weeks.

  • Set targets for what you hope to achieve, like number of signups or revenue. Be reasonable in your expectations. Track key metrics like monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and growth rates.

  • Launch your business and start executing your marketing plan. Your first version doesn’t need to be perfect.

  • Post-launch, focus on getting real customers, seeing if they pay and stay, and listening to feedback. Determine if your business model is fundamentally scalable and profitable. Refine your approach based on customer responses and data. The goal is to build a sustainable business with ongoing growth potential.

The business owner ran into difficulties trying to scale their business. Some key challenges included:

  1. Not being able to afford additional hiring needs as the business tried to grow. More clients/projects would have required more staff.

  2. Increasing costs and prices too much could hurt sales volumes and make the business too reliant on high-touch sales approaches.

  3. The owner wasn’t able to personally manage more clients, so hiring a client manager previously didn’t work out due to margin issues.

  4. The complex work required more specialized roles like project managers that would be hard to outsource affordably. Higher costs threatened profits.

  5. Various attempts to grow revenues also increased costs and stress without increasing profits significantly.

In the end, the business model and cost structure made it very difficult to profitably scale the business. The owner concluded they needed to “scrap it and start over” with a business designed for growth from the beginning.

  • Question assumptions in your industry that may no longer be valid. One small discovery could lead to a new business or product.

  • Solve problems as they arise, don’t spend time on problems you don’t have yet. Many issues can be resolved quickly when needed.

  • Deliver on promises made to customers. Under-promise and over-deliver to build trust.

  • Benchmark quality against industry leaders once you have traction. Compare to set high standards.

  • Learn from others and past experiences. Don’t debate issues internally without perspective.

  • Outlearn competitors by running experiments to gather real customer insights and feedback.

  • Consider how the business will operate without you as it scales up. Plan for growth.

  • Focus on areas that are gaining momentum. Do more of what’s working well.

  • Manage your own motivation to sustain success long-term. Find balance and enjoy the work.

  • Cull difficult customers who waste time. Replace them to focus on better customers.

In summary, question assumptions, solve problems pragmatically, deliver quality work, learn constantly, experiment to outlearn others, plan for growth, leverage momentum, manage motivation and prioritize good customers.

  • Focus on retaining your existing customers rather than chasing new ones. It’s easier to keep customers than acquire new ones.

  • Find out why customers are canceling their subscriptions by sending a simple email asking if you did something wrong, rather than a long survey. Address any issues that arise.

  • Avoid short-term thinking and chasing shiny new projects. Build your business for long-term sustainable growth rather than quick wins.

  • If feeling overwhelmed, focus on improving your product or customer experience as that is the best use of time and resources.

  • You need to truly love your work for the business to succeed long-term. Passion will help you persevere through challenges.

  • In summary, the key advice is to prioritize customer retention, take a long-term view, focus on your product, and make sure you genuinely love the work to succeed with your startup.

Here are summaries of the sources:

  • ConvertPress is a WordPress plugin for creating landing pages and opt-in forms.

  • Infusionsoft is a CRM and marketing software for small businesses.

  • MailChimp offers email marketing services.

  • GetDrip is a platform that helps increase conversion rates.

  • PayPal allows sending and receiving money online and setting up merchant accounts.

  • The Post Snippets plugin allows adding excerpts or snippets of content to WordPress posts.

  • The Copywriting Checklist provides tips for copywriting to sell products and services.

  • Google Analytics is a tool for analyzing website traffic and user behavior.

  • offers affordable customer success software for SaaS companies.

  • Linchpin provides demand generation services.

  • DynamiteCircle is a social media marketing agency.

  • Baller is an online leather goods company.

  • SupportBee is a platform for managing customer support emails.

  • AlternativeTo recommends alternative software.

  • Beta List discovers early-stage startups.

  • KillerStartups features internet entrepreneurs.

  • Product Hunt surfaces new products daily.

  • AppVita discovers useful web apps.

  • Cloudlist curates SaaS apps.

  • Entrepreneur On Fire provides business podcasts and webinars.

  • Bluewire Media offers strategic advertising and marketing solutions.

  • Oracle Digital provides SEO, PPC, analytics, and content strategies.

  • Startup Daily reported on a tech startup becoming profitable in 23 days.

  • WPCurve extends WordPress functionality for sites.

  • Basecamp is a popular project management app.

  • KISSmetrics offers a marketing blog.

  • Bench provides bookkeeping services.

  • Simple offers online banking with automatic budgeting and savings.

Author Photo

About Matheus Puppe