Resources for Non-Tech Startups: the Ultimate Guide

guide for non-tech startups resourcesI work frequently with tech startups. They have a unique needs set.

But what about the rest of us, launching businesses — startups — that could really give a frog’s fine ass hair about the App Store, taking down a round of venture capital funding, or the numerous launch conferences across the country?

I got asked that question so frequently that I wrote a guide.

This week on American Express OPEN Forum, they published my piece that’s pretty much the ultimate guide for non-tech startups. But I’m giving you some added bonuses to supplement that article here. The article covers mailing addresses, legal resources, funding options, internet marketing resources, and community resources.

And yeah, I want you to click and see what’s new for you. But let me share a story that didn’t make the final cut of the article.

Back in 2006, this blog began. I would have never thought that today, it would be a crucial component of how I earned two book deals, 2 national magazine columns, speaking engagements, a TEDx talk-of-a-lifetime, or introductions to people whom I never would have met if I hadn’t put fingers to keyboard to share my thoughts.

When I ventured out on my own in 2008 and again in 2009, all I really knew is that being someone’s employee really didn’t work for me. Bills were due and I had to make shit work somehow.

What I wish someone had told me seven years ago about launching a business of any sort is that it begins in your heart. So here are 7 pieces of advice I wish someone had given me when I decided to commit to the path of entrepreneurship. I’d have become profitable (and happier) much sooner:

  1. Know the type of person, company, and client with whom you NEVER want to do business. I spent too many years looking at my caller ID and inbox, realizing I’d let the wrong people into both.
  2. Ask for help. Yes, I was capable of doing everything on my own, but it destroyed my life. We launch businesses in order to to business and live life on our terms and serve a certain group of people. We can’t do either if we’re bogged down by every gnat’s ass detail.
  3. Compete on value, never price. If customers want to price shop, you can’t change that. Clearly define the aspects of your business and service that are incomparable — personality, relationships, processes, results, reviews. You can tell me I’m full of shit when you can walk into Target and buy any of those on an endcap display — and on sale.
  4. Get paid. There are certain things that make sense to give away for free. But you run a business, not a free clinic. There’s no shame in stating your price and earning a living (and a good one) from doing what you love.
  5. Build more relationships than you’ll ever think you’ll need. I spent a good part of my business’ early years as a hermit — working on my business. Things really started to take off, however, when I got out, went to conferences, attended events. You know — places where other people hung out. My relationships are the most beautiful (and profitable) part of my business today. I wish the same for you.
  6. Embrace the phrase “because fuck you”. I used to be afraid to piss people off (seriously). So I stood in the middle of the road, where my business effectively became roadkill. The day I decided to embrace ME, incredible things happened to my audience, client base, and life. Believing in yourself is contagious — and while I would never (ever) tell another person “fuck you”, I think we all need our own version of this pie chart. If someone doesn’t like what you’re doing, you’re probably not doing it for them in the first place.
  7. Be honest, and stop apologizing for who you are. If you take away nothing from this list of 7 things than #7, my work here is done. There is something completely glorious about being YOU, and since when did we have to apologize for being human…to other human beings? My business exploded when I accepted that me, today, is a glorious thing. Each day I get better. Can the haters say the same?

Now, grab a read at my list of resources for non-tech startups over on OPEN Forum. And enjoy.


#5 is so important, you just never know what doors someone will open for you, simply because you smiled, made eye contact and had a genuine conversation with them. Love it.

Barbara Goldberg
Barbara Goldberg

Great list Erika. I think we all need to do a better job at embracing #6 and #7.


I absolutely LOVE this list! I started out on my own about a year ago and am still slowly learning these lessons. As someone who used to work in the world of customer service where it is your job to make EVERYONE love you (and if you don't, then your boss tells you to eff off), branching out on my own and feeling OK with some people not liking or jiving with me has been a strange pill to swallow. I've also wondered if I should go to conferences and events or if they were for people bigger than myself. As my business grows, I plan to take your advice and branch out more so that I can engage with ACTUAL people. Thanks for yet another great post Erika!