Startups Need To Stop Chasing After Unicorns — Here’s How We Can Support That

Joe Procopio
3 min readJul 28, 2020

Did you start your business to raise a billion dollars?

The mainstream take on entrepreneurism is that of a tech wizard in a dorm room coding an idea into an empire before graduation. The truth is that there are literally tens-of-thousands of these wizards — although not currently working out of dorm rooms — and less than a fraction of a percent of them will see any sort of funding, let alone a billion dollars.

The vast majority of new business ventures have a much less sexy story. But when we hear that a startup wasn’t founded by a bunch of MBA candidates taking a semester off to build the next Uber, our imaginations automatically conjure an image of a someone opening a destined-to-fail theme restaurant.

Both of these stereotypes are fueled by the same conventional wisdom around startup that has persisted over the last two decades, and that needs to change.

For every dorm-room bust, there is a startup out there quietly gaining traction and slowly creeping into the growth stage. I’m not talking about brick-and-mortar restaurants or mom-and-pop retail shops or drop-ship digital storefronts. These are folks like you and me, who are exploiting all the advantages technology has brought the entrepreneur over the last two decades to build a growth business around a viable product.

These entrepreneurs are the future of startup. And even better, they’re much easier to create because you don’t have to throw $20 million at a $100 million valuation to get them revenue-positive.

They don’t need what conventional wisdom has told us makes startups successful. They don’t need the crazy money or the urban office space or the $200K-a-year tech talent.

But they need something, because starting a business has changed drastically over the last two decades, just not in the way that stereotypical conventional wisdom would lead you to believe.

I founded Teaching Startup to bring the same kind of entrepreneurial knowledge that I use every day to build and advise viable businesses that aren’t just a lifestyle or a hobby or a lark. I get paid a bunch of money for this kind of advice, but I also give it away for free in my blog posts.

As an entrepreneur, I realize that there’s fertile ground between “a bunch of money” and “free.”

Teaching Startup sits in that space, bringing real-world, real-time startup advice, at an affordable price point, to those entrepreneurs who’d rather chase product-market fit than insane valuations. Teaching Startup changes the way startup advice is delivered, thereby democratizing who it can help.

I’m betting it can help you, whether you’ve never started a business before or you’ve sold a couple recently. To prove that, I’m offering 15 days of Teaching Startup for free, no credit card needed. If you do put in a credit card, you can use promo code NOTAUNICORN to get the free 15-day trial plus your first month for just $5. After that it’s just $10 a month.

If I’m wrong, you’ve got nothing to lose. If I’m right, a bunch of people are going to see startup in a new way, and they’re going to stop chasing unicorns and start building new viable businesses.

Teaching Startup is a premium Q&A newsletter with actionable expert advice and answers to direct questions about building and growing your business. Use the NOTAUNICORN promo code in this form to get a 15-day free trial PLUS 50% off your first month. After that it’s just $10 a month.



Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building & GROWERS. Write at and More at