From (Almost) Zero to Hero: How I became a serial entrepreneur in 48 hours and what I learned from it
How it all began…
It’s been a while, since you all heard from me. 24 hours to be precise. The last time we talked, I had just exited my last startup #iamkathrin to Rails Girls Summer of Code. Kinda. As you can imagine, after I’d done that, I was pretty excited. Too excited. I couldn’t sleep. Insomnia.
Usually, when I can’t sleep I turn to Cupcake Wars, Toddlers & Tiaras or Loose Change, the 9/11 “documentary”, that for some reason never fails to put me to sleep in less than 15 minutes. Yah. Weird. I know. As I was browsing YouTube in search of a Cupcake Wars episode I hadn’t seen yet, I started to wonder: Now, that I’m an entrepreneur, shouldn’t I be watching things that make me smarter? The answer was pretty obvious. Yes. Yes I should.
I pivoted my plan of watching Cupcake Wars and started my research on what else the world (YouTube) had to offer. Eventually I stumbled across SXSW’s channel. I searched through the videos… and after another 30 minutes I’d found a video I actually wanted to watch.
It was a video about TOMS, a shoe (eyewear & coffee) company, that donates one pair of shoes to a child in need, whenever one is sold. Pretty cool, huh?!
I also thought, that I needed a way to proof (to myself and others), that I’d actually stopped watching Cupcake Wars and had moved on to more educational content. I thought I should blog about the things I learn and summarise the talks in 3 bullet points, just so you all know, I’ve actually changed my life and am no longer watching Toddlers & Tiaras on a daily basis. I thought, it’d be fun to set up a blog about this.
A few minutes later, it hit me: Maybe YOU’d actually be interested in those talks as well. Maybe sometimes YOU could’t sleep either. And maybe YOU (unlike me) wouldn’t want to waste half an hour looking for that one perfect talk…
My new startup idea was born. It was obvious (to me) that I was (yet again) onto something BIG. And without any further due, I decided, that I would purchase yet another domain tomorrow.
I was pleased with myself and eventually fell asleep.
Fast Forward: The next day.
I woke up the next morning and was still excited. About my new startup, but also (mostly?) about about the fact, that I’d be a serial entrepreneur in just a few hours time.
i took a shower and thought about how i should monetise my new awesome startup, cause if there was one thing, i’d learned from the experience with my first startup, it was that you always need to give people the opportunity to pay you, to make you rich, because in the end, that’s what they really want. I evaluated a bunch of business models.
At first I thought, I’d put Amazon affiliate links to further reading under each video. ->$$$
Then I thought, I’d monetise the site with Google Advertising ->$$$
And then I remembered, my friends at whatchado, who’ve built a video startup as well. On their platform people can watch employees talking about their jobs and employers, can pay them to be featured. And I though: Hey, screw B2C, I am building a B2B startup. I’d allow conferences and companies to sponsor channels on my site, where they could showcase their Top5 YouTube conference videos.
- Conferences would be interested, because they want the videos to be seen by more people in order to sell more tickets.
- Companies would be interested, cause they want to showcase how awesome they are. And how awesome the people, who work for them are. Holding fancy conference talks and all, you know. ^^
I’d charge people 600 USD per channel and given the amazing brand I was about to build, I knew it was totally worth it for them. People would love it. They’d shower me with their money. I was excited. Yet again.
Having watched the video about TOMS One-for-one business the night before, however, i knew I wanted to build a social component into my new business. My idea: For every channel sold, I’d donate 100 USD to a meetup of the customers’ choice, mentioning them as a sponsor and helping them do good, while still achieving their business objectives and dream of being featured on my site.
Of course I also included a PayPal Donate button again. Because why not.
My business model was bullet proof.
What I really needed now though, was a name. Surprisingly enough, it was pretty easy. I’d call my new startup I missed her keynote.
We’ve all been to conferences. And yes, we’ve all been to conference parties, where the alcohol was free and the dance floor was full. We’ve all enjoyed ourselves at those parties. I know I have…
Sometimes however those parties unfortunately lead to a pretty bad hangover, which keeps us from getting out of bed the next morning and makes us miss the keynote. Bummer.
Once you’ve missed the keynote and eventually stumble into the conference venue, looking like you’d been overrun by a truck on the way there, what do you do? Exactly, you walk up to your colleague and say: “I missed her keynote. How was it?”. And hopefully they will have paid close attention and are able to answer your question, summarising the most important talking points.
I missed her keynote. wants to be that colleague for you.
Business Model: Check.
All that was left, was to build the actual product. Yet again I decided to use the awesome technology and design, WordPress had graciously provided me with for free and put up my prototype.
I also figured, that people would want to see content on there, so I created a bunch of channels for The Nomad Summit 2015 (conference), SXSW 2014 (conference) and Mindvalley (company). I also added a bunch of other videos of people, I admire like Tony Hsieh (founder of Zappos.com), Cindy Gallup (founder of Makelovenotporn.tv) and David Noel (community hero at Soundcloud).
This was also to some extent part of my launch strategy. I’d set up accounts on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for my startup and once I was live with my MVP, I’d reach out to everyone mentioned on my site. Pretty smart, huh?!
After about 2,5 hours my new startup was ready to be launched. It was crazy. I was excited.
I sent a tweet. I posted a message. And there it goes. It’d happened. My startup I missed her keynote. had launched.
I was ready to be overwhelmed by all the positive feedback. What I got however, was even better. Not even 30 minutes after the launch, my startup had made 10 USD. I had traction. I had fans. I had followers. Bascially I’d made it. I felt great.
BREAKING ### my new startup I missed her keynote. has made 10 USD of revenue. 30 minutes after the launch. -> http:…www.facebook.com
The rest of the day brought even more likes, followers and messages. But no further revenue. As planned, I reached out to all of those featured on I missed her keynote. Feedback however was rather, well, non-existent. What had gone wrong? Was my launch strategy not as ingenious as I thought it was? I was confused.
It was clear to me, that I needed to hire a Head of PR and while I was at it a CTO. I wrote the job post and pushed it out on all social media channels.
The results, however, were rather humbling. I didn’t understand, why people didn’t want to work for me for free. It sucked. I was frustrated. And depressed. And wondering whether my startup had failed.
Luckily at this point one of my mentors (aka friends) wrote me a message to join her for a drink. I gladly accepted. It felt good to talk to someone about the rollercoaster ride, that entrepreneurship was. To be told, that it was ok to fail. I was ready to give up. To accept defeat. To shut down my startup.
It’s not over, till it’s over
When I got home I got ready to do it. To send out, that tweet, that would inform everyone, that I missed her keynote. had failed. That I had failed. And as I was typing with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes, I got a notification, that someone on twitter had mentioned us. I decided to click on it. And this was, when everything changed. My startup had been endorsed by one of my ultimate heroes. Cindy Gallop, the founder of MakeLoveNotPorn.tv loved I missed her keynote. and told all her 35K+ followers about us.
From then on, everything happened really fast. We were endorsed by another one of my favorite companies, Zappos.com.
We also found an interim CTO, who was… well… surprised (read: shocked), when he saw the backend of our site.
Oh well. I remembered Reid Hoffmann’s words:
It was already late. 2 am. And I figuered, I should call it a day. It’d been an exciting day for I missed her keynote., but also for me. I was exhausted. But also happy and very proud. I’d become a serial entrepreneur. As Britney would say: Oops, I did it again.
Where do we go from here?
Well. We’ve achieved a lot.
We launched. We thought, we’d failed. But we kept going. We touched the hearts and timelines of many. And even made 10 USD. Pretty damn awesome, if you ask me.
But I also realize: There’s so much more we can do. Unfortunatly our revenues have been stagnant, so our first priority is to ramp up our sales.
We are also still in need of a CTO and Head of PR. If you know anyone, let us know.
We’re working on our pitch deck and media kit.
We’re also looking to join an accelerator program or close a seed round or find an angel investor, who believes in our vision. Our priority is to grow (in revenue, but also in traction), to scale our operations and to hire. We’re evaluating joining some startup competitions like betapitch Vienna or Pioneers. We’d also like to be on Dragon’s Den.
As you can tell: It’s only just the beginning…
But in the end, we’ve already reached our most important goal: We’ve shown the world, that entrepreneurship is fun. And anyone.. really anyone.. (even me) can actually be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Sophia Amoruso, if they put their mind to it.
xoxo, Kathrin “Don’t let Cupcake Wars rule your life!” Folkendt
Founder & CEO of I missed her keynote.
PS: We’d love to spread, the word about how much fun entrepreneurship can be, so we’d appreciate your like, share or recommend, if you’re enjoyed reading this article. ☺