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!