I’m selling my startup for freedom.
Knowing when to let it go and start over.
It all started 3 years ago, when I gave up my job for a startup life. There was this energy in the air among my friends, on the web, the kind of energy that pushes you to make something of your own, something that matters.
I was so mesmerized by the startup scene back then, I remember watching LeWeb from home, and seeing the rising success of Airbnb. I was so impressed and I wanted to do something about it. The time felt right, I wanted to make something and put it out there, with the hope that maybe somebody will find it useful.
At first it seemed so easy, I felt confident, for almost 2 years I poured my heart into the project, because I believed in it. Yeah, it was a one man show, designing, coding and iterating day and night, it was all fun.
After 2 years of working and iterating on an already released product I finally realised that it’s not easy at all, and most important a startup cannot be a one man show. My confidence began to decrease day after day, how could I turn this into a profitable business? Do I still have the energy to pull it off? The scale of the product started to overwhelm me. I was out of energy, the passion and drive that started it all didn’t exist anymore.
I learned a lot down the road, I’ve had my ups and downs, I realised what my strengths and weaknesses are, what I did wrong, it was an awesome journey but it has to end here. I’m afraid that I’m going to have to pull the plug on it and let it fall in the abyss of failed products, it’s probably the most terrible feeling a creator can go through.
Exactly 4 days ago I decided to sell the product, to let it go, maybe I will be lucky to give it to someone who can make it grow, turn it into a real money making machine, with a team behind it. Why am I selling it? First of all I’m selling it for freedom, for the freedom that I lost when embarking on this journey, I’ve learned everything I could from it, time to move on.
Lessons learned along the way.
1. Creating something of your own can be cool, but involve others in the process, it’s more fun.
2. Work, work, but don’t neglect your health. Health comes first.
3. Do you research before jumping on the startup wagon. It hurts when you build something that nobody will use.
4. If you plan to go and do it yourself, pick a simple idea, don’t overcomplicate things.
5. Build the marketing plan inside the product, let the users be the voice of the product.
6. Make something that will sell by itself, don’t rely only on SEO, Ads and other marketing tools.
7. When hiring someone, hire people that you love spending time with, the atmosphere inside the company matters a lot.
8. Do your research before diving into the pixel pushing process. Research and solution thinking should be around 80%, and only 20% actual pixel pushing.
9. Whatever project you are working on, don’t let it consume you. Treat your life with respect, get out there and live, be kind and grateful, love, explore, be happy.
10. If a product doesn’t work, try to learn from it and move on, life is to short to waste it standing in front of a computer.
These couple of years I’ve learned a lot and I wouldn’t be able to say this if I didn’t gave up my job to start this project. I’ve worked for different startups, I’ve seen what can make or break a startup, I’ve tackled awesome projects, I tried new stuff, met cool people. All these made me the Product Designer I am today, and I owe it all to this one little project, so thank you Photolenser.
For anyone who wants to save this project, I listed it for sale on Flippa.