“How can I get my first 100 customers?”

In 2.5 minutes, you'll learn:

  • How 2 huge brands acquired their first customers
  • A few early customer acquisition strategies you can use TODAY
  • TREND: Singing in the Rain (or Musical Showers)

“How can I get my first 100 customers?”

I receive this email a few times every week.

And after answering it so many times — and experiencing it myself even more!! — I thought it’s time to share what I’ve learned with you.

Has this happened to you?

  • You have a great idea…
  • You validate it…
  • You build it…
  • You launch it…
  • … and then… wait, what now?!

Right. You need customers!

Even if you are the next Google, people won’t find you on their own.

You need your first 100 (for B2B) or 1,000 (for B2C) customers to really get going.

Shower Thought


Did Google have an SEO strategy when they launched to make sure people could find them back then?

But acquiring all those first customers is not that easy and you are not alone.

Big brands that now have millions of customers also struggled to get their first ones.

And some of them were REALLY desperate!

“How desperate?” you ask, “they couldn’t have been more desperate than me!”

Well, the co-founder and CEO of Pinterest, Ben Silbermann, went around Apple stores in the San Francisco Bay, with a cheeky plan.

He’d open Pinterest on every computer and then step aside and observe how people interacted with it.

Look at all that free advertising space!

Not only did he learn about user behavior, he also gave Pinterest the required credibility — an Apple store stamp of approval! — for those 1,000 first users.

Even crazier still was what worked for the founders of Snapchat.

They started in shopping malls, handing out flyers to adult shoppers. Although the messaging varied, the core concept was the same — “Hey, would you like to send a disappearing picture?”

Guess what? Nobody did.

Interestingly enough, what ended up working was the opposite of the advice in The Mom Test. In this book, Rob Fitzpatrick tells readers to not share their ideas with their moms, as the advice they’ll receive is biased, and not a real reflection of the market.

But I guess co-founder Evan Spiegel hadn’t read it…

Cos he told his mom… who mentioned it to his teenage cousin… who showed his classmates…

And the rest is teenage history!

Here are some key takeaways I’ve learned after researching the launches of all the big companies, and building an early customer base for my own startups:

  • When you are about to onboard your first customers, don’t rush. Focus on each one, see how they use your product. Ask them what they think. Show them you care.
  • Don’t dream about getting 100,000s of customers at once
  • Getting a few right customers is more important than getting hundreds of irrelevant ones
  • Do things that don’t scale to get the right customers. Because in the beginning, learning is more important than scaling
  • Double down on channels that work and scale, once you have those core learnings from the right customers.

And if you’re looking for a few channels you can leverage:

  • Create an email waitlist
  • Create a VIP WhatsApp group
  • Send out free samples to influencers and journalists
  • Use Product Hunt
  • Try all these crowdfunding-friendly channels
  • Work with Reddit/group/forum admins