What Do You Need When You Start?

The first Inbox Collective website was six Google Slides, with a few details about my work and contact information.

Four years ago this week, I left The New Yorker to launch Inbox Collective. I kept things simple at the start.

I launched Not a Newsletter as a Google Doc so I wouldn’t have to build a website. It was enough to start.

I set up my email list with TinyLetter, not something more sophisticated, so I could launch faster. It was enough to start.

I set up my company’s website as a set of Google Slides, again so I could get something live as quickly as I could. It was enough to start.

I didn’t spend money on a logo or business cards. I realized: Why would I need those on Day 1? I just needed enough to start.

Four years later, a lot has changed. I’ve switched email platforms (twice, actually), built a real website, and brought on freelancers and contractors to help with some Inbox Collective work. I still don’t have a logo or business cards, though — maybe one day, but that day isn’t today.

The question for you is, and always should be: What do you need when you start? Figure out the stuff that’s worth spending time and money on right away. The rest can come later — or, as the work progresses, you may find you might never need it at all.


Above, the original Inbox Collective “website” was just a public set of Google Slides.