Barnacles is a link-aggregation site for small, self-funded businesses that define success on their own terms. The goal is to continue and grow the generous, collaborative community that gathers at events like MicroConf and BaconBiz. Please sign up to be part of it.
To say a few more words about what that means to me: Making useful things for an audience I have a meaningful connection to. A business that tries to pay for the kid’s college fund, not join the “tres commas” club – a solid line drive rather than a grand slam. That doesn’t mean low financial goals, it means deliberately choosing my goals without an investor looking over my shoulder. A job that provides for my life, rather than the reverse.
And the community is the part I love: it’s folks who want to build their thing and talk honestly about what’s involved. Sometimes that’s sharing marketing techniques, but more often it’s sharing advice and experience. I released a small product last week, but it made more money than my previous product attempts because I knew how to do the right marketing for my size. The best conversations I had at MicroConf were with folks who were a year or two ahead of me, not the ones who were ten years ahead of me. And I was glad to pay back their time and counsel by sharing the things I know well. My goal is to pull the small entrepreneurs and other independent businesses away from the filter bubble of Y Combinator News into a community of folks with similar problems and goals.
You’ve noticed that 90% of YC News is off-topic for you because you’re not burning millions of dollars per month or fighting regulators or drawing hockey-stick graphs. You’re not pitching your next investment round, hiring a sales team, or losing money per user and making it up in volume. The things that are interesting and good ideas for VC-funded moonshots are uninteresting to or dangerous for your independent or side businesses. This is the community for you.
That means sharing links for folks having similar problems: running an effective email campaign, cold-calling those first ten potential customers, managing a VA, keeping customers satisfied, knowing there’s a market for a product before you spend six months of your nights and weekends building one. Talking to other entrepreneurs who work on their thing before going to the day job and before the kids wake up, who maybe never want to employ anyone, who are optimizing for fewest hours spent in the office or covering the mortgage, who have already lost that first two hundred dollars learning to uncheck the non-English countries on AdWords and AdSense.
Why “Barnacles”? The venture capitalists own the term “startup” and it’s not worth fighting over. There isn’t really any perfect term for this business niche, so I punted on trying to invent one. The clever animal domain name is a nod to the lobste.rs codebase the site is based on, and barnacles are infamously tenacious. That’s good enough to get started.
Welcome to Barnacles. If you’re one of us, you’re home. Sign up now, invite a friend (bottom of your settings page), and share the link with other folks. Thanks!
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