Challenges (thus far) of Entrepreneurship
I’ve always felt an entrepreneurial itch. I’m not sure what started that for me. I can pinpoint that most recently, I wanted to prove my own worth. I was tired of waiting for someone to give me a shot. I wanted to step up and start something and show I could get it done.
Starting Coder Kids hasn’t been easy or sexy in the way Entrepreneur magazine might make it seem. I’m hoping that by writing this post and being open about the challenges I’ve faced, I can get good feedback and also (maybe) not fall into the same traps moving forward. Without further ado, my challenges:
Marketing: Not the Easy Part?
I have a good product that many people want. The problem is, not enough people know about it. I thought getting the word out would be easy, but it turns out it is going to be the hardest mountain to conquer in this business.
After summer camp, the kids and parents were genuinely pleased. I got most of my sign ups for summer camp through word of mouth, but now I’m struggling to replicate that for fall classes. I want to build an base of advocates who know our classes, trust us, and are willing to share the word. It will take time, but it’s something I want to really learn about and focus on. I also need to really focus on getting into more schools and setting up more locations for summer camps- but finding locations that I can’t fill at all seems like a pretty dumb idea.
Working Alone = Idea Stagnation
During the MBA, I loved sitting around and talking about business stuff with my teams. Now I’m working on this project alone. I know it’s not ideal, trust me! It can be very lonely sometimes and I’m not the best (historically) about reaching out for help or ideas. When I have a day that I don’t talk to anyone about my business, I become stagnant, lazy, and sometimes even depressed.
I’m starting to see the light here. I’m reaching out to more and more people to get advice and talk about things, business related or not. Working in a vacuum isn’t going to work for me any longer. I'd love to have a partner, but an equity partner would have to bring major value to the table at this point in the game. Otherwise, I’m just going to continue building a network of people who are willing to help on a friendship basis.
Negative talk: Dream killer
Talking down to yourself or complaining about your situation is of course, not a good thing in any line of business, employment, or life in general. I got into this bad habit of complaining at some point as a teacher, and self-doubt started earlier than that. Lots of “I can’t do that”, especially when it comes to sales or talking to random people. I’m emerging from it, because I guess I finally see what is and isn’t in my control. In sales, for example, my own approach and response are in my control. Whether or not they say yes isn’t a reaaon to beat myself up.
Missteps happen, and we should learn from them — but dwelling on them is ultimately a time suck from moving forward with a strategic plan.
In yoga, there is this thing I did once called an Om. Basically you just take any stresses or bad thoughts and just yell it out of your body. What’s the point of feeling tense or stressed about work? If I can just clear my mind, even just periodically, it will help my idea development and ultimately my business development.
So there you have it.
Four months into this venture, haven’t lost money yet, and I’m trying to grow organically. It’s definitely more challenging than I foresaw in April, but I think I’m getting into a better path each day. I’ll try my best to write often about coding, my entrepreneurial venture, and other aspects of life!