Pivots and Moments of Insanity

Its been two weeks since leaving the part-time work and being able to focus on the startup full-time. The harsh reality of business building has approached fast. The single phrase to describe the past two weeks would be described as pivots and moments of insanity. Despite the cute novelty of having a view of recent pictures in a web application, Picture.ly has yet to define its business. As resources will become more scarce, (no income), the timer on business building has started. When I think of business building, I’m reminded of the conversation with my mother when I told her that I was going to leave me job.

Me: I’m going to leave my job.

Mother: Why? Do you have another job?

Me: No, I’m going to become self-employed.

Mother: With that website thing? But you’re not getting a paycheck from that. How is that employment?

Although, I often justify the things my mother says as a generation thing. She makes a valid point. Building a business includes identifying your business’s method of generating revenue, other than that its just an hobby. However, there’s often a balance between the two for an entrepreneur. If I was solely focused on generating personal revenue (having money in my pocket), then it would be a lot easier for me to apply my ten years of engineering experience to a high paying job in the valley. But I would like to think that the entrepreneur is driven by more than just money, (at least this entrepreneur). The entrepreneur is a unique blend of problem solver, passionate, and money savvy. I’m betting on this unique blend of personal attributes for my success.

So, as mentioned before its only been two weeks of full-time dedication. I’m for sure not looking for overnight success, but it is important for me to start the timer, learn and reiterate as fast as possible. I believe the 2011 phrase for this is “fail faster.”

Normally, people list their accomplishments. I’m going to list my top 5 failures that I have learned from, so far.

1. Start with a problem.

2. Delay building a product until you have “proof points” from potential customers. Customers who show an interest.

3. Stay in private beta longer and work with your initial set of users to better your product.

4. Ensure that your team has a singular vision

5. Find customers who will pay

I’m sure there will be many other failures along way. However, we’re taking notes of these failures and learning quick.

For those in the early stage or thinking of developing a startup, wanted to pass on a video that was shared with us this past week. The video is from Tedx Soma and features Jeff Lawson (ceo of Twilio) discussing the process of idea generation. Enjoy and Happy Business Building!

-Diyah

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3 thoughts on “Pivots and Moments of Insanity

  1. money should be your first incentive…

    who told you they want the solution and would pay for it? have you asked anyone have you said this solution cost $9 a month would you buy this?

    How can a entrepreneur be money savvy but yet not know how to make money?

    “If I was solely focused on generating personal revenue (having money in my pocket), then it would be a lot easier for me to apply my ten years of engineering experience to a high paying job in the valley”

    No thats not how business works thats how getting a higher paying job works….

    business= revenue and profits

    your mom was right you leave your job when you have some revenue coming in… and not before! this validates your idea with paying customers…

    1. I disagree that money should be your only (or first) incentive when thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, but it is the most important part of your business model. The chance of startup failure is very high, so statistically, if a person’s first incentive is money, then it easier to stay employed (especially if you’re a software developer in silicon valley), without all the other stresses and risks of running a company. But it is more than money that drives an entrepreneur, it is passion and problem solving ability. Passion and the ability to problem solve is the fuel that will lead an entrepreneur through the failures, pivots, and disappointments of starting up and on to success. The time that someone decides to leave full-time employment to become an entrepreneur is a personal one. There were many factors that lead to it being the “right time” for me to leave my company. I have also planned over the years, which afforded me some privilege, so leaving my job did not cause a financial hardship. I’ve been working full-time on my business for two full months, and have accomplished more than I was able in the past year of working full-time, and doing nights and weekends for the startup.

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About Hadiyah

Software Engineer and Startup Aficionado. I co-founded software agency, Playpen Labs, and Black Founders nonprofit. I teach women how to code at Hackbright Academy.