How I Built It: 2019’s Best Trade Secrets

This week, I’m sharing with you the best advice I got throughout Season 6 of my main podcast, How I Built It. Over the course of about 10 minutes, we’re going to distill all of that advice into 3 overarching themes. Take a listen to find out what they are. Here are the best trade secrets of 2019. Listen to the episode.

Hey everybody and welcome to a bonus episode of How I Built It, the podcast that asks, “how did you build that?” We’re currently in-between seasons now, but that doesn’t mean the episodes have to stop. You’ll get 2 bonus episodes before season 7, and this first one covers my favorite trade secrets from Season 6. I’ll go over the 3 biggest takeaways from the first half of this year, and what we can look forward to in Season 7.

Listen to Your Customers

Far and away the advice that came up the most, as far as “trade secrets” go, is to listen to your customers. Nathalie Lussier was the first to mention it this season, and she made an important distinction – listen to how they are using the product.

Similar ideas were echoed by Mike McDermont of FreshBooks, Yuri Popov, and Steph Scappa. They all talked about how being open to customer feedback has made their products better. So trade secret number 1 for 2019:

Listen to Your Customers. It will improve your product.

Release Early, and Often

I think something that goes hand-in-hand with that is the second biggest trade secrets from this season: get a product out there as fast as possible. Jan Theiliman, Andre Gagnon, and James Kemp al said this in one way or another. I think Andre put it most succinctly when he said, “done is better than perfect.”

The general thought is to get your minimum viable product (MVP) out there as fast as you can, and then start listening to the people using it. Ultimately you can’t predict how people will use what you offer, and it could be very different from how you envisioned.

A perfect example for me is my online courses. I created them with the focus of a single individual who wants to learn how to do X. That’s also how I priced them. But I learned pretty quickly that organizations wanted to license them for use internally and with their customers. I had to come up with a completely separate business model and system for that. It worked out though, because that was a big income driver for me in 2018.

Now, I keep that in mind when I create courses.

SO trade second number 2:

Release your MVP as fast as possible.

Connect with People

The last trade secret that came from Season 6 is an amalgamation of several tips I got from guests, and it’s to connect with people. Brennan Dunn tells us to get involved in the community by going to an in-person event. Lindsay Miller echos this importance by talking about how great the WordPress community is. Brad Tousnard offers similar advice in a different way: he believes mailing lists are undervalued when it comes to connecting with your customers.

And really, all of the advice we talked about that here touches on that general idea in some way or another. Listening to your customers, getting their feedback for your offerings, and having conversations with them are all ways of connecting.

So the 3rd, and perhaps most important, trade secret for this year is:

Connect with People.

So to recap, the 3 biggest takeaways from this season are:

  1. Listen to your customers
  2. Release an MVP as fast as possible
  3. Connect with people

Wrap Up

Thanks so much for listening to this episode, and this season of How I Built It. I appreciate you tuning in. I also want to thank all of the guests for Season 6, and the sponsors. Without all of you, this show wouldn’t be possible.

For all of the show notes for this episode, head to

If you liked this episode (or any of the guests mentioned), please share them!

And until next time, get out there and build something.

Originally published on Creator Toolkit

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