I was hungry. Desperate even.
I needed a product or service that could help me transition from the corporate world into a super low overhead entrepreneur business. Where would I find it and what was I willing to pay for it?
And then the solution just dropped right into my lap. It’s called The Bootstrapper Guild (TBG) and it comes from one of the most brilliant minds in DIY entrepreneurship…Tyler Tervooren of Advanced Riskology.
If you are or want to be a DIY entrepreneur (a.k.a. “micro-business”) then this review is for you. It will help you determine if a service like TBG is right for you or someone you know (like that struggling entrepreneur friend that needs help like I did/do).
And this applies whether your micro-business is a side hustle or your main source of income. OK, here we go!
How It Works from the Outside
I’m not going to talk about how TBG works from an outsider’s perspective because Tyler has covered that already. I definitely encourage you to look at the details yourself though.
He advertises TBG as a simple service with one goal: “To help you grow a low-overhead business that adds freedom to your life.” He calls these micro-businesses because they can be run by as few as one person (you).
The awesome news? There is a two week one dollar trial that gets you in the door with access to the thirty day Quick Start Course and the Community Forums. Talk about a low commitment test run!
Let’s dive into the Quick Start Course, the forums and the Strategy Sessions from an insider’s perspective.
How It Works from the Inside
After introducing yourself in the forums (optional) you’ll get cracking on the Quick Start Course. This is a structured thirty day mini-sprint to get your footing and to build up to more in depth Strategy Sessions.
Quick Start Course
This is designed for people without a lot of time who need a walk-through of the core parts of starting a micro-business. It’s so good that I have fifteen pages of copied and pasted wisdom of the best parts in a Word document for easy reference.
Tyler starts with the fundamentals, how to make time for the business, identifying your expertise and the problems you’re going to solve, defining your target audience and builds from there.
The questions he has you ask yourself are eye-opening and the examples he gives to get you in the right frame of mind are excellent. It takes a lot of skill to frame an issue in a way everyone can understand but Tyler has a knack for this.
For example, day four is about the problems you’re going to solve with your business. He asks you some great questions like:
- What problems do you experience on a regular basis with the issue you’re going to address?
- What problems have you already solved for yourself on this issue?
- Do other people experience these same problems?
- How bad does the problem hurt?
- Is the problem more general or very specific?
These questions lead nicely into day five about laser-targeting the perfect customer with a typically great example.
Tyler asks and comments:
“So who am I going to sell this to?
For instance: Rather than selling to dog owners, you sell to dog owners who have children, or dog owners who work full-time, or even dog owners who work full time in Santa Clara, California. Rather than selling to e-book lovers, you sell to indie e-book lovers, or indie e-book lovers who read fiction, or indie e-book lovers who specifically read horror. See where we’re headed with this? To get to the $200/month level (in revenue) in 60 days, you have to be extremely clear on who it is you’re serving.”
Hopefully this gives you an idea of the quality of the exercises Tyler runs you through.
Eventually you get into declaring the business concept, discovering what makes you and your business different/special, how to sell a product or service before it’s created, forming the strategy of your launch, turning one-time customers into repeat customers, and lots more.
He dives deep into the business side as well like choosing the right price point, payment options and analytics to measure and track your business progress.
Bottom Line: If you do nothing more than take the thirty day Quick Start Course it would be an absolute steal for the value.
After a month of membership you get access to the Strategy Sessions which Tyler adds onto roughly every week. You can immediately see the dedication to providing fresh content with each month representing a different component of a bootstrapped business.
The first strategy session is on web-design for non-designers (like me) as everyone needs an online presence these days. To say this is comprehensive is doing Tyler a disservice. The guy practices what he preaches as he’s designed the website for Advanced Riskology and TBG in a way that maximizes usability and navigation.
Other strategy sessions include:
- Creating an email list to use as a lead funnel and for marketing in a respectful, non-aggressive way
- Preparing for the epic launch of your product or service with everything from beginner to master class level lessons
- Marketing specific to the micro-business
- Creating an unforgettable brand
Personally, I believe Tyler’s commitment to his community within TBG is unquestioned. He has a genuine interest in seeing you succeed which leads into another way he shows it.
Tyler shows his helpfulness in the forums all the time. Although bootstrapping it is serious business he does it with a signature charm and sense of humor. Did I mention the guy’s a hoot?
Some of the sub-forums are for:
- The core of bootstrapping it (“Bootstrapping Central”)
- Progress journals if you want more accountability and help from the community
- The Saloon (in keeping with his Wild West theme) for off-topic threads
From the moment you walk in the door he creates a welcoming environment. Tyler also is great at enlisting the community to help you with whatever challenge you’re facing.
For example, I needed some guidance on the creation and tweaking of my Personal User Guide so I created a thread in the forums. Tyler reviewed the guide and gave me some excellent feedback but he also gave me an outlet to have a fellow bootstrapper give me great input too.
Other people have used the forums to get feedback on early versions of their product or service with success. And when the community isn’t trying to help each other out Tyler is constantly trying to assist by asking us questions and getting input to make TBG even better.
In the interest of full disclosure I’ll note I’m a huge fan of Tyler’s. I’ve been reading his blog for years and the amount of awesome free content he generates is hard to top.
Update 08/01/2012: I’ve become a community manager for TBG and no longer pay a monthly subscription.
Update 10/08/2012: Tyler has added an affiliate program for TBG and some of the links in this article are now my own affiliate links.
I pay $20.00 a month for TBG though and I wouldn’t be committing that kind of money just because I like someone. I don’t have an agenda to promote with this review and Tyler didn’t ask me to write this up. My goal is simply to give you the run-down of the service, what to expect if you join and help you find out if this is something you need.
If you fall into any of these categories (and probably more) I would recommend TBG.
- You don’t have a lot of time to strategize and implement a new business venture
- You work well with someone providing structure for you
- You appreciate a service that constantly builds on an existing framework
- You like having beginner, intermediate and advanced content all in one place
- You want to take your business seriously but not to the point where you can’t have fun or have a few laughs
Perhaps the greatest thing about TBG is that it applies to people regardless of whether they have a product or service or regardless of whether their business is online or physical. Tyler knows when to ask the right questions, give the best examples and distill content into actionable steps.
If you have a micro-business that is struggling or want to create one, you can’t get a better value than The Bootstrapper Guild. Trust me, I’ve shopped around plenty and this is the cream of the crop.
How was this review helpful to you? Do you have experience with another bootstrapping product or service that could be compared to TBG? Please leave a comment about it!