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 3 Comments ▼


Larry Kim


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. Kim: Congrats to you success! Inspiring read! 🙂

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