My “Side-hustle” story — Part 1

Late 2014 I was visiting my two girlfriends back in Barcelona, the city that I call #homeawayfromhome. It was maybe three or four AM in a busy club by the beach and to get away from the craziness, we stepped out to get fresh air and continue our conversation. One thing let to another as part of our conversation (maybe it was the alcohol!) and bam! out of the blue an idea morphed and we decided to investigate it. The next day, with a hint of a hangover, we discussed the idea, spent all day researching it and agreed that it’s something we want to pursue. Super excited, we agreed to start our own start-up. The next day on the plane back to Toronto, I spent six hours writing-up the business case, putting the plan together and I couldn’t help but feeling super excited about this new venture.

Given that all three of us lived in different countries and had full time jobs, we scheduled talks on the weekends and tried to work through things on the side. I would wake up 5:30 AM every morning, work on the start-up, head to work and then pick it right back-up when I came home. We continued the pace for few months but then we started facing challenges with the app development and the typical start-up challenges before we go live. One of my co-founders was in the midst of going back to school and needed all her time to study and save money and the other had an increasing work mandate and decided to focus on her full-time job.

With my co-founders gone, I was left with two choices; 1) leave the idea and reward myself with the extra two hours of sleep before work and live a “comfortable” life or 2) pursue the work and see where it leads me. At this time I decided to choose option #2 and keep going. As you can imagine, life got super busy with a very demanding full time job during the day (because I need to self-fund the start-up and basically survive!) and a “side-hustle” in early mornings and late at night. As any normal human being in this situation would feel, I would go through thinking that “I’ve got this” and then the very next second I would ask myself “what are you doing with your life?” or my favourite, “Is this even worth it?”. I still don’t know if it’s worth it or not and whether I made the biggest mistake of my life to continue working on the idea but now two years later, the app is a few weeks away from launch and the learning from all of it has been invaluable. Preparing and planning for launch, I am now looking to create a new and strong team to help and support me in facing new and even harder challenges that this new venture is going to bring. I know nine out of 10 start-ups fail (I am under no illusion!) but even if it does, at least I got to learn things that the two extra hours of sleep and a “comfortable life” wouldn’t have taught me. Isn’t this what life is about? I will continue posting about my “ups and downs” as I go through this adventure. Stay tuned.