4 Key Tactics the Pros Use for Launching a Profitable Startup

4 Unicorn Startup Lessons

I started WordStream in my 20s with nothing.

Just this month, it was acquired for $150,000,000 by Gannett.

Unicorn Startup Lessons

Here are my top 4 lessons I learned over the last decade from making a baby unicorn.

1. Project a Bold Vision

I pitched the boldest vision I could possibly imagine at the time –

A $100M marketing software company!

Believers found my vision in time –

Talent and investors who in turn helped make my dream a reality.

You ask, “What could you have done differently?”

I should have projected an even bolder vision 😉

2. Embrace Epic Change

First we made keyword research tools but prices and retention were awful.

Instead of making small tweaks, we pivoted to a selling a PPC management platform.

We changed the entire product.

Big changes = big impact.

3. Find Your Unicorn Growth Hack

My most spectacular growth hack is the AdWords Grader.

We showcase the product by grading AdWords account performance.

It took me and 3 engineers just 4 months to create this.

Yet it made the company a success.

Double down on your unicorn projects. Kill your donkey projects.

4. Make Unicorn Babies

You learn so much when building a startup.

Even when they don’t work out.

Don’t let hard-earned lessons go to waste.

I’m building my next unicorn, MobileMonkey – a Facebook Messenger marketing platform.

It’s that time again. I’m looking for believers. Talent & investor inquiries welcome!

Most startups don’t end with a big IPO or acquisition.

But they’re always an adventure.

And sometimes, can turn out better than you ever imagined.

I hope to make more unicorn babies.

You can too!

Photo via Shutterstock


Larry Kim Larry Kim founded WordStream in 2007. He serves as company CTO and is the author of 4 Award-Winning Books on Software Development. Larry also blogs at the WordStream Blog and practices photography in his spare time.

3 Reactions
  1. To make a unicorn baby don’t you need 2 unicorns to mate?

  2. Martin Lindeskog

    Kim: Congrats to you success! Inspiring read! 🙂