2015 in 10: the year-ender
Convinced myself not to make a year ender for 2015 but eventually gave in. Note: 95% shirt.ly-related.
1. Risking it all
Sold 100% of my shares in my stable business to jumpstart shirt.ly in May 2015. It’s when we started having an office and getting sufficient compensation.
2. Letting teammates go and growing a new one
One of the toughest things to do is letting a cofounder and teammates go. This is when having a couple of mentors became tremendously helpful.
Growing a team though has been a different animal. Everyone is young with many things to learn. Nowhere to go but up.
3. Store owners cashing out real profit
Hearing stories of where store owners use their profit for is pretty interesting. One has gone to a solo Japan trip while one has bought a laptop — the one who bought a laptop wants to buy his own car by June 2016. Whew.
4. Exceeding target growth rate
The cool thing about having a high growth rate is that it means more store owners are figuring out how to sell shirts. From 100 orders in July, we wanted to help them generate 1,000 orders/month in December. Next year though will be a different story. 10k a month, here we go!
5. Three pivots
The notion that shirt selling will easily work for any organizatiin or any entrepreneur is not true. We learned this the hard way this year.
6. Relaunching the platform
Launched during late 2014, shirt.ly’s MVP was a combination of grid-like static Wordpress pages and third-party forms. By January 2015, we launched v2 and had it down after two months. Upon the arrival of our new CTO, the pressure to launch a new one was unnerving.
7. Securing financial aid
As a bootstrap all-the-way type, we weren’t really looking for financial aid. Thankfully we met people that have added real value in different industries, people whom I trust. With this, our 2016 goal is one step closer.
8. Learning limits and capacities
Pushed to the limits in the last quarter of 2015, we now know how to be operationally prepared for our 2016 goals. Nowhere to go but up.
9. Creating a new way to produce
Uber is the biggest taxi company but it doesn’t own a single car. Airbnb, same. Would this model work for producing ‘customized’ shirts? Thankfully worked for 1,000 orders, we are yet to see when we have 10k.
10. Seeing good ideas fail
This year, we saw no-brainer intuitive ideas that were proven to be ineffective / not profitable.
More than those, I’ve developed unique personal relationships with these Q4–2015 team. Things got really tough but they did not let us down.
On another note, 2015 gave me a chance to become a better friend, cousin, brother, son and partner. The year has been tough for some of them and I’d like to think that I was able to help in ways I know. That deserves a different post though :)
2016 looks to be the most promising one by far. Nevertheless, it’s time to step up and evolve and step up one notch higher. Here we go!