From the outside, it often seems like certain companies or products just blow up unannounced and become huge overnight. In reality, it rarely works like that. It certainly didn’t for us.

When we launched Basecamp five years ago, I think we had less than 2,000 people subscribed to our RSS feed. Add a few thousand more who were just checking the site manually and it’s probably reasonable to guess that our initial audience was below 5,000 people.

By today’s standards, that’s tiny! And that audience had even taken a few years to build. But it was what we had and it was plenty to launch a very successful suite of products.

It wasn’t enough to make us blow up overnight, though. To get today’s levels we’ve relied on the compound interest of attention. Every year a steady stream of new readers and customers have joined the flock while still keeping the bulk from the year before.

That’s why it annoys me dearly when our advice is discounted with “that only works for you because you’ve got this massive success to roll from”. That “massive” success was built convert by convert. Nobody handed it to us. We’re sharing exactly how we got there and hoping that our experiences and discoveries will help get you to where you want to be as well.

So stop thinking that you can’t get there because you don’t have a huge audience already. Start building that audience today. Start getting people interested in what you have to say. Then in a few years time you’ll get to chuckle about your overnight success as well.