Day One — Our Start Up Journey
It’s time for the move to be made and that nagging feeling to be tackled head on. Its time to stop endlessly scrolling through Product Hunt, Crunchbase and Angel List.
Its time to start up and actually put my time effort and energy where my mouth is.
A constant and always present feeling sitting there in the back of my mind and never fully tackled or acted on. You know that feeling when you feel like you were made to do something but have never done it? Like all the previous attempts were just you testing things out? Building your skills so that you could one day fulfil your true potential?
All your life experience as messy and complicated as it is channeled into one single idea, product or vision?
Well, that is exactly how I feel and have felt for the last 5 years, trapped in what I had to do and not what I wanted to do. Don’t get me wrong its not bad at all working hard is fun but when you are working really hard on projects for other people there is a feeling of helping others grow while your precious ideas go stale.
That bloody unfulfilled potential! Always staring back at you.
Currently, I run a digital marketing agency based in Crows Nest, Sydney Australia called Elevate. We get exposed to many different ideas for apps and businesses on a daily basis. Some good, some great and some not so much so.
While it’s always fun hearing people’s new ideas and business propositions there are some that just require some radically honest advice. And maybe even a “thanks but no thanks, we are not the right partners for this project”.
The interesting part of agency life and our business is that we spend the vast majority of our time scaling other people’s businesses.
Ensuring unit economics are maintained and improved for companies with a fresh round of funding from their favourite VC. Testing new channels, new creative new targeting and audiences.
Educating teams on conversion value and potential lifetime value of the customers they acquire.
Performing product audits and competitor reviews to educate agile design sprints to build MVPs in a week.
After a while, it becomes a strange feeling. Growing someone else’s business for them.
Isn't this what we should be doing for our business?
At my last company (and there have been a few) I failed because I was not passionate about the industry. That’s a terrible feeling seeing a business fail but I guess that’s part and parcel of playing the game. High risk and high reward. One of the things that really started driving the direction of this new business are the following.
Office Hours — Spending 9–5 in the same office tethered to a desk and phone.
Physical Location — The same consistent and permanent physical location day in day out, year after year.
Business Process — While running Elevate offers many luxuries such as great staff and awesome clients I want to try a different revenue model unrelated to the hourly rate card.
While these are not necessarily negatives they are points of current frustration.
So with that said, this is a new adventure, a move into start up life with all its excitement and difficulties.
I want to build something big. This is not an exit strategy (well maybe from the office) this is an entry strategy. Building a business that I want to be a part of for many years to come. This is not about raising millions of dollars and having some crazy sky high and totally unrealistic valuation and the associated expectation of world domination and glory.
This is about building something I believe is needed to help solve some complex problems we see our client’s businesses facing day in day out.
As on of the great founding partner’s of 37 signals once said.
The game I’m in is maximum happiness for the maximum amount of time. What I found is one of the things that makes me really happy is to work on stuff that I care about with people I really like working with, with the independence of nobody telling me what the fuck to do.
David Heinemeier Hansson, Creator of Ruby on Rails, partner at 37signals
Perhaps I will face criticism from the outset as All In One SAAS sweeps the market. But I am far less interested in offers and far more interested in forging our own path.
My goal is to try and document the process and show you the real struggles and difficulties as I go.
There are a lot of start up stories out there of which I have read and admired a stack.
But this will be the most real version I can give you. The good the bad and the ugly.
You will see us during the startup ideation phase. You will see me tackle customer feedback on current solutions in the marketplace and hopefully watch as I battle our way into our own product.
What I am seeking to develop is a distraction free product-focused mindset. Filled with creativity and openness about success and failure.
These articles will be published on Medium and I will keep teh fluffy consumer focused stuff on our product blog.
You can view this as a behind the scenes of start up.
I will write about a purely product focused journey but it will include the partners I find, the services I use, the customers I serve and the individuals that I come across that are helping build the vision.
This is our startup journey.
Lets Get Started
I am just a normal guy with some ideas I think I would like to bring to life.
You will see me come up with product ideas, direction. You will see apps designed on napkins and roughly wireframed. You will see me trying to scale a team of freelancers and remote team members to try and build something.
Most of all you will get a glips into how I see the world and the problem that I am trying to solve for SMB’s