It’s not easy and I just started. It’s intimidating and exciting like a blank canvas. It feels like I am standing at the edge of a plane or a precipice looking down and appreciating or dreading the free fall. The difference is whether I have a parachute or not, and whether that parachute will indeed function as designed. I’ve made my first couple of moves last week by attending a couple of networking events, one in Baltimore by Innovate Baltimore and the Co-Founders Wanted meetup in Rockville. I’ve already made some good connections and it felt reassuring to meet other people at various stages of the entrepreneurship path. It remains scary and I dread it. Like that task you keep putting off because you are scared of how big it seems and the effort it will take to get it done.
I’ve nurtured this micro-finance application idea for a while but never took the time to sit down and implement it. It had started as an open source project idea discussed long ago with some of my techie in-laws, but that never panned out but internally, I retained it as something of potential value. With the rise of social networks and sites like Groupon, the idea seems even more feasible now. I’ve been meaning to invest myself into more personal coding, and as I technically grew more frustrated with my daily work, which lead to this post, I finally found the inspiration and the motivation to start working on it on a regular basis. I never planned for it to turn into a start up idea. Originally I thought about it as a way for me to do something fun, programming wise, on the side while at the same time building up my web and mobile development skills.
Being that I am a news junkie, and through my Twitter timeline where I followed a lot of entrepreneurial folks, i realized that there was a potential there for a full fledged startup. Naturally I have been following up on that idea and trying to turn it into a business. The Co-Founders Wanted meeting was eye-opening in that regard. I met a lot of smart, motivated individuals and the common thread in the room was the level of frustration with not much the corporation itself, but the feeling that there was more out there than just the daily 9 to 5. That’s what I took away from it. I met Jordan Engels, a business strategist who offered to provide business strategy advice to help with my idea and after our first meeting, I must say that he helped me understand more about the process of going from an idea to a business. It was an eye opening experience and I understand a little more now the idea of the effective “pitch”. I’ve learned that what seems clear in my head does not translate well to my tongue and there is a specific language to use to get my idea across the table. Jordan made it clear to me for example that as far as pitching I have been presenting my idea backwards which might have come across as a good idea, but quite naive. I had some initial reservations about sharing my idea, but I see that it is with external skepticism, constructive criticism and feedback that I can refine, tune and even expand it to turn it into a viable business product. Lesson learned.
How I feel now is a mix of excitement and dread. I dread and am mentally pushing away what I know is awaiting me, while at the same feel excited about my idea and the possibilities it could bring. This is a exercise in self-discovery and old teenage years ghosts of timidity and public speaking fear came back for a moment at those networking exercises but I exorcised them quick because I am passionate about what I want to achieve. Entrepreneurship is also an exercise in humility, and I can already see that it is not the smartest people in the room that will be successful but a combination of a lot of factors. I am slowly plowing through Eric Ries’ book, The Lean Startup, and am specially attracted to the concept of pivoting as I believe it will definitely apply and be crucial to my startup’s success.
I will blog along, share my experiences and feelings as I evolve through this process. Stay tuned.