The blank page

Credit: Unsplash Jan Kahánek

It’s already been 2 weeks since I wrote my first blog post and the pressure has slowly settled in. The pressure to have interesting news to write about, pressure to find the product idea, just pressure to show progress. That doesn’t matter though, I’m used to it and I’ll get through it. It just feels really weird to restart something entirely new after working tirelessly for the past 4 years on a project that will become my past.

On top of that, another thing that I find challenging is the fact that we’re starting from scratch. We are exploring different markets that we are not familiar with and it feels like there is not a clear path to where I should be going. That blank page; how do I start or more importantly where do I start? I’ve been reading a lot of articles, but I have yet to find one that specifically discuss exploring new markets and finding gaps or problems in said market. An article by @kevsandlin got me started (thanks for the advice too), but if anyone has any suggestions of books or articles that discuss the subject further, leave a comment, that’d be awesome.

Now for the concrete stuff, last week was not an easy one. It appeared I only had minor tasks to do at Samsao during the week, so I made myself unavailable for 2 days to be able to focus on the product idea. As chance would have it, it turned out that these 2 days were the busiest for me and filled with tasks that I had to take care of for Samsao. It is challenging to juggle between the product and the agency, that’s why an important part of this transition is to be able to make a clear separation from the agency and the product. That means, structure my week days to have days where I am 100% focussed on the product and vice versa to limit the impact of one on the other.

As you’ll see, I applied what I already do at work and set myself weekly goals that I can achieve. To keep the momentum and to not lose motivation, I kept my goals lightweight for now, but as our idea becomes clearer, goals will also become clearer, harder and bigger. I’ll be sharing some of those goals in the blogs posts. I will also set a stricter routine for myself which will consist of complete days where I focus solely on the product and weekly meetings with the cofounders to share my progress and get challenged on the goals I’m trying to achieve. This should prevent me from going too deep into something that we don’t need. That external view is exactly what I need to stay focused.

The second week was certainly much better. No potential emergencies on the radar and I already had the time to write that blog post and I started learning a bit more about the market we want to tackle. Yes! I just started writing, but we have been discussing for a while about potential markets and I think we have settled for one; travelling. It is quite a large market and we feel like it would be ready for disruption. So from now on, I’m setting myself smaller goals to be able to quickly learn a bit more about the market and work on finding the problems.

My goals for the first two weeks were:

  • Learn more about the travelling market by mapping who does what and where there could be gaps and problems.
  • Reach out to people in the travelling industry to meet and discuss.
  • Setup a meeting with the cofounders to review the market and discuss potential problems.

Mapping the travelling market was actually much easier than I thought thanks to this amazing website (thanks Skift). This has given me a really good idea of the different companies that are in the market and the services/product that they offer. I have used the research I have done to prepare the meeting with the cofounders.

Reaching out to people seemed challenging, but thanks to the great startup community we have in Montreal (thanks MTLNewTech), there was an event with the founders from which was a great opportunity for me to meet people in the industry. I was able to get some meetings setup through that. Also, if anyone reading my blog works in the travelling industry or knows anyone that could help me out, let me know, I’ll be more than happy to meet with them.

Finally, the meeting with the cofounders ended up being squeezed at the end of the week due to everyone’s busy schedule. It was good to share my progress and discuss my findings on the market we are exploring. We had a lot of discussions about the problems we found during travelling (we’re all avid travellers of course ;)). This gave me a lot of ideas to explore further which will be my focus for the next weeks. I’ll need to work on structuring the next meetings better, but I feel like it was overall a good meeting for the little time we had.

All in all, I’m satisfied with my progress and although the start was rough, I’m structuring myself as much as possible to be able to quickly progress and hopefully start working on a specific idea as soon as possible. With the meetings I have been able to schedule and the discussion of ideas I had with the cofounders, this has given me a lot of energy to keep up.

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