Business & Entrepreneurship,  Startup & Technology

How to Start a Startup

When I start building my first startup in 2006, online book store, I don’t have anything in mind. All I know, I want to work surrounded by books. And that can only happened if I make my own book store. After years, a friend on twitter @penq, ask me some tips on successfuly starting a startup. So let me analyze my own experience and show you how to start a startup.


For me, passion always come first. It’s cliche, but you must have a soul in your startup. Or else, it will be just another product. Before I launch, I already write my first book, and my passion in books is bigger than anyone else around me. And that’s what keeps me going til now.

Solve a Problem

Every startup should have a story about where the idea come from. For me, it’s all about scratching my own itch. I found a problem, and I turned it into an opportunity. A new startup, to be exact. Before creating, I found difficulties in publishing one of my books. Not because it’s a bad book, but because it’s simply unabsorb by the market (based on publisher’s point of view). I thought, if I, the writer of more than 10 books, could have this difficulties in publishing book, then how about the other junior writer or even writer wanna be? And that inspired me to build


Find a partner to build your startup. Believe me, to build a startup, money is never a problem. All you need just a good partner to start. If you’re good in marketing or operational, find a partner that is good in technology. If you’re good in technology, find partner who have wide network and good in marketing. If you don’t have seed money to starting up, find someone with money! Just find someone to fill your lack. Collaborate! And you’re good to go. Come to networking events like #StartupLokal Meetup to find your future co-founder! Psst… Selina @MissDimps from Urbanesia found @Tista, her partner, here, also @SaGad & @DennySantoso of Sixreps! :)


I don’t like making a business plan. Because all I think was piles of papers with too much words and numbers that I don’t really understand what & why it’s there :P But surely would enjoy making plan for my startup. So what’s the difference? Only the name (‘just’ plan is less intimidating hehe) and it takes only maximum 2 page to grab all we need. Create your map towards your ‘destination’. What’s your vision with your startup? What’s your startup unique selling points? How you make money? Use mind map to clearly see the overall plan in your head. If you think you need further research, do it. But don’t overthink it just yet.


Schedule when you’re going to launch your startup, and stick to it. Follow the deadline. And wrap it up when it’s time to launch. You might going to find yourself with a little bit buggy websites or unperfect user interface, but just launch it! I said this many time and I’m going to say it again: perfection is a journey! If I postponed the launch of just because I thought it’s not perfect yet, maybe we haven’t been able to inspire  thousands of people to write and hundreds of self published books launched, right now.


Getting the media attention is critical to boost your startup reputation. Think or create something that has high level of newsworthiness. launch for the first time at Indonesia Book Fair, and with the website launching, we also launch 99 books from 99 writers that we collect in 9 days! We did it all from twitter with hashtag #99writers ;) Create a press release and distribute it to online and offline media. #StartupLokal already partnered with Kompas Tekno. So, if you want to be covered by Kompas Tekno in StartupLokal page, just send email to press at

Have Fun in Social Media

Be very loveable in social media like twitter and facebook. As a founder, build your personal branding there. More and more journalists watch social media for new entrepreneurs and you might get highlighted just because of twitter ;)


My partners & I have been bootstrapping for our first startup. We created and do the operational for several months before hiring our first employee. But for, we already hired several employees to handle operational. Just analyze your need. Legal, tax and financial stuff also things you should think about, but not too much. You could always outsource it. I didn’t like it so I won’t talk about it here hehehe.

Up to this point I’ve managing several startups, and they’re generating active & passive income for me. My personal branding helps build my reputation in business, a lot of opportunities coming, and it’s all started from there.

Well, I have no other idea and the restaurant is closing. I need to pay my bill. See you and hope to see your new startup launched soon!



A writer of 30 books. Co-Founder & CMO & Initiate StartupLokal, the biggest startup community in Indonesia. Co-Managing Director of Girls in Tech Indonesia.


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