How to Successfully Build in Public: A Guide for Entrepreneurs



The concept of building in public has gained significant traction among entrepreneurs. Building in public involves sharing the behind-the-scenes journey of creating a company, product, or endeavor with a public audience. It emphasizes transparency, authenticity, and community building. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the benefits, strategies, and best practices for successfully building in public.

The primary benefit of building in public is that it provides entrepreneurs with an opportunity to gain valuable feedback from potential customers. It also allows them to build relationships with influential people in their industry and establish credibility among their peers. 

Additionally, building in public can help create a sense of community and foster a supportive network of people who are invested in the entrepreneur’s success. Finally, it can be a great way to attract investors and generate interest in the entrepreneur’s project or company.

In embarking on the path of building in public, founders not only expose their business strategies and progress but also lay bare their emotional landscape to some extent. The emotional challenges and drivers that prompt them to choose this path are multifaceted and profound.

Emotional Challenges of Founders and Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship often comes with intense pressure and uncertainty. The stress of creating a viable product, securing funding, managing a team, and achieving market fit can be overwhelming. Founders frequently find themselves on a roller coaster ride of highs and lows, dealing with exhilarating successes and disheartening setbacks in equal measure. The intense nature of this journey often leads to feelings of isolation, as many people in their personal circles may not fully comprehend the extent of these challenges.

Building in public brings its own set of emotional trials. For starters, it requires a significant degree of vulnerability. Sharing their process and progress openly means founders are subjecting themselves and their companies to public scrutiny. The fear of judgment, the pressure of consistently meeting expectations, and the possibility of public failure can be emotionally taxing.

Emotional Drivers for Building in Public

Despite these challenges, there are several emotional drivers that lead entrepreneurs to build in public. 

Embracing Collective Growth

One of the most potent emotional drivers is the desire to connect with like-minded individuals and cultivate a supportive community. The act of sharing their journey openly allows founders to reach out to others who share similar experiences, alleviating feelings of isolation and fostering a sense of belonging.

Cultivating Genuine Bonds

Entrepreneurs understand that being genuine helps build trust with their customers, investors, and a wider audience. Sharing their journey, with its triumphs and trials, allows them to present an authentic narrative that resonates with people and engenders trust.

Fueling the Quest for Knowledge

The feedback and insights that come from the community can be a rich source of learning. Entrepreneurs are driven by the desire to constantly improve and grow, and building in public can offer valuable perspectives to help them do so.

Igniting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

By sharing their journey, founders have the opportunity to inspire others and potentially influence the entrepreneurial ecosystem. This can be a strong emotional driver, especially for those who wish to make a broader impact beyond their immediate business.

The Evolution of Building in Public

Traditionally, entrepreneurs operated in stealth mode, guarding their ideas and strategies as trade secrets. However, with the advent of the internet and increased competition, the focus shifted from solely relying on unique ideas to excelling in execution and building a strong brand. Building in public emerged as a powerful strategy to differentiate oneself, foster trust, and engage with the audience.

The Benefits of Building in Public

Building in public offers numerous advantages for entrepreneurs:

Authenticity and Trust

By sharing their journey, struggles, and learnings, entrepreneurs can build authenticity and trust with their audience. Transparency creates a sense of connection and fosters loyalty.

Community Building

Building in public creates a platform for entrepreneurs to engage with like-minded individuals and cultivate a supportive community. This network can provide valuable feedback, support, and collaboration opportunities.

Expert Status

Consistently sharing insights and knowledge through the building process positions entrepreneurs as experts in their fields. This reputation can attract attention, partnerships, and career opportunities.

Immediate Feedback

Sharing the development process publicly allows entrepreneurs to receive immediate feedback from their audience. This feedback can lead to valuable insights, improved products, and enhanced user experiences.

Talent Attraction

Building in public can serve as a powerful recruitment tool, attracting talented individuals who align with the entrepreneur's vision, culture, and values.

Strategies for Building in Public

To maximize the impact of building in public, entrepreneurs should consider the following strategies:

Choose the Right Platform

Selecting the appropriate platform to share the journey is crucial. Different platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, and forums like Reddit and Indiehackers, cater to specific audiences and have varying engagement dynamics. Entrepreneurs should choose platforms that align with their target audience and allow for effective storytelling.

Be Consistent

Consistency is key when building in public. Posting regularly and keeping the audience up to date on the progress of the project helps establish authority and trust. Additionally, it allows entrepreneurs to create a sense of anticipation and excitement.

Focus on Quality Content

Content should be relevant, interesting, and valuable to the audience. Entrepreneurs should focus on creating quality content that provides insights into their journey and provides value to their followers.

Engage with Audience

Engaging with the audience is an important part of building in public. Responding to comments, connecting with followers, and answering questions demonstrate the entrepreneur's commitment to their project as well as an appreciation for their community.

Be a Learner

Rather than projecting an image of expertise, entrepreneurs should approach building in public as a continuous learning experience. By embracing a learner mindset, entrepreneurs invite conversations, connections, and collaborations with their audience. This open approach fosters engagement and encourages the exchange of ideas.

Give Generously

Building in public is not about self-promotion; it's about giving value to the audience. Entrepreneurs should aim to provide helpful insights, resources, and support to their community. By demonstrating generosity, entrepreneurs build credibility and establish themselves as trusted sources of information.

Engage in Two-Way Conversations

Building in public is not a one-sided endeavor. Entrepreneurs should actively engage their audience in conversations, seek feedback, and involve them in the product development process. By listening to their community and incorporating their insights, entrepreneurs can create products that truly resonate with their target audience.

Document, Don't Create

Rather than creating generic content, entrepreneurs should focus on documenting their work-in-progress and sharing personal stories. Authentic and relatable content that showcases the journey and lessons learned resonates more with the audience than polished expert content.

Know When to Share

As the size and complexity of a business grow, entrepreneurs need to evaluate what information is appropriate to share. While transparency is essential, there may be certain aspects, such as sensitive financial data or internal operations, that should remain confidential. Entrepreneurs should find a balance between transparency and maintaining a competitive advantage.

Build a Content Creation Engine

Consistency is key when building in public. Entrepreneurs should establish a content creation engine that enables them to produce high-quality content consistently. This engine could involve batching content creation, utilizing automation tools, and leveraging existing resources and experiences.

Cultivate Relationships

Building in public is not solely about posting content; it's about building relationships. Entrepreneurs should actively engage with their audience, respond to comments and messages, and foster a sense of community. By nurturing relationships, entrepreneurs create a dedicated and supportive audience.

Embrace Feedback

Constructive feedback is a valuable asset when building in public. Entrepreneurs should welcome feedback, both positive and negative, as it provides insights into what resonates with their audience and how to improve their products or services. Responding gracefully to feedback demonstrates a commitment to growth and an openness to learning.

Expand Your Network

Building in public presents an opportunity to expand one's network. Entrepreneurs should actively seek out collaborations, partnerships, and mentorship opportunities within their community. By connecting with others in their industry or niche, entrepreneurs can tap into valuable resources and support.

The Don’ts of Building in Public

While the "Building in Public" movement has certainly introduced new opportunities and advantages for entrepreneurs, it does come with its own set of challenges and pitfalls. 

As with any strategy, it's crucial for founders to approach this method with careful consideration and an understanding of what to avoid. Here's a quick rundown of the "Don'ts" when embarking on the journey of building in public:

Don't Reveal Too Much Too Soon

Although transparency is a cornerstone of building in public, it is important to find the right balance. Revealing key aspects of your business too early might expose your venture to unnecessary competition or even lead to the misuse of your ideas. Protect your core intellectual property and key competitive advantages.

Don't Neglect Privacy Laws and Regulations

Sharing your journey openly doesn't mean that you can compromise on privacy regulations. If your business involves sensitive data, ensure you're not inadvertently breaching any legal obligations when disclosing information.

Don't Let Transparency Become a Distraction

While building in public can provide valuable feedback and community engagement, it can also become a distraction. Remember, the core task is to build and grow your business, not to document every minute detail. The goal is to share your journey, not get lost in it.

Don't Skip Context

When sharing your business operations or decision-making processes, ensure you provide enough context. Without it, your audience might misinterpret your actions, leading to confusion or negative perceptions.

Don't Over-Promise and Under-Deliver

In your zeal to keep the audience engaged and excited, you might be tempted to make big promises about your product or service. However, if you can't deliver, this could damage your credibility. Maintain a healthy balance between building anticipation and setting realistic expectations.

Don't Ignore Feedback, But Don't Let It Drive You Either

Building in public means opening yourself up to public feedback. While constructive criticism can provide valuable insights, remember that not all feedback will be relevant or beneficial. It's important to stay true to your vision and not let public opinion sway your strategic decisions excessively.

Success Stories: Inspiring Examples of Building in Public

Building in public has proven to be a successful strategy for many entrepreneurs. Let's explore a few inspiring examples:


divvy product on green background

Divvy, a spend and expense management solution by Bill, utilized building in public to engage with their audience and generate excitement. By sharing updates, milestones, and challenges, Divvy created a narrative that captured the attention and support of its customers. Building in public allowed Divvy to build trust, invite feedback, and emphasize its company culture.

Lambda School

Lambda School, an online coding boot camp, leveraged building in public to attract talent and generate interest. Founder Austen Allred used Twitter as a platform to share his entrepreneurial journey, solicit feedback, and brainstorm with his followers. By building a community and showcasing his vision, Allred attracted a dedicated following and demonstrated his expertise in the field.

Nathan Barry

Nathan Barry, the founder of a subscription-based SaaS company, took the building in public to the next level. He publicly announced his intention to create a revenue-generating tool within six months and documented the entire process in a blog. By sharing his wins, failures, and insights, Nathan built authenticity and credibility, attracting attention and support from his audience.


Building in public can be a powerful tool for entrepreneurs looking to differentiate themselves, build trust with their audience, and attract talent. With thoughtful planning and execution, entrepreneurs can leverage these strategies to maximize the impact of building in public.

Building in public is a great way to build an engaged and supportive community around your business. It can help entrepreneurs establish trust with their customers, while also providing valuable feedback that can be used to improve the products and services they offer. Additionally, it provides entrepreneurs with an opportunity to showcase their expertise and position themselves as thought leaders in their industry.

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