Look at Me, I’m a Hipster and Started my own Company!
WHY? Starting a company at a young age sounds ideal right, let it mature as you get older and maybe your business plan will work out for you. Truth be told, starting your own company is tough, especially when your background has nothing to do with business management. From filing for incorporation to paying your employees/contractors and executing a business plan is something that every entrepreneur has to learn, and learning these things can be an expensive nerve racking experience. Going off my own experiences if I could back in time, I would have waited to start WKGS with a few business partners who were older and and actually had some experience dealing with start ups. There’s lots of things a CEO has to deal with in order to keep his company afloat, especially during the start up phase when your initial seed money is on the verge of depletion. We had expenses that could have been reduced during the start up phase if someone on our team had prior knowledge of particular subjects. For example, I paid LegalZoom to set up our LLC, they did a decent job but they made us pay for ALOT for their services. Where as if I knew what I was doing when filing for an LLC, it wouldn’t have cost us more than 100 bucks!
Having a team member who has experience in running a start up can help in many other ways besides filling out the paper work. In today’s society you need to have two things to be successful; have a good product or service and know the right people to help take your ideas to the next level. Luckily I met a few of those people at GDC 2015 in San Francisco, through networking events and getting a booth there to demo our latest title at the time, we met some key strategic partners. Some of those connections have enabled the company to progress. Before GDC my team and I were working out of our living room, now we have an office space provided by the City of Tempe, and our team size has nearly doubled. This year we are planning on releasing our first title “Turtle Boarden”, with the hopes of being able to keep the lights on. Our business plan is sound, and offers more than just one revenue stream, but reaching those goals and enabling those revenue streams takes a lot of time and sometimes a lot of money.
I have a great app idea, I’m going pay someone to make it, then start a company and get rich! The truth is, making an app is basically software development, and software development is very expensive because it requires talent and time. I know people who have invested a good amount of their lives in the hopes of making it big with their own products or apps. Their products aren’t half bad in many cases but these other start ups lack the marketing creativity and that natural hunger for success through business development. Partnerships are how business’s grow, you can’t just be those guys in your garage forever. Building a name and reputation for your company is one of the great benefits of having partnerships, other companies that can vouch for you is so important when your trying to obtain new clients or customers. Ideally, companies want the their products to become well known through organic streams, which ties back to having strategic partners to help your company expand.
You have a great idea, a solid team, but you don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest in yourself. Younger CEO’s and start ups only have 4 options for raising capital; 1. Crowdfund, 2. Find Investors, 3. Apply for a Loan (which usually you wont get without proof of revenue), and 4. Bootstrap for as long as possible. Obviously number 4 is the first path most people take but sometimes you need ride the bootstrap path for a really long time. Having no money all the time is a sacrifice you will have to make when starting a new business. Which means not being able to go to events and other fun activities when your in bootstrap mode. So if you can convince a team to work for hardly anything, have them invest time in you and your idea, and cross your fingers it’s going be a big success, then your on the right path to starting your own company.
If your thinking about starting your own business, don’t let this article scare you, rather it should prepare you for what’s next and what’s necessary. It’s hard work, it will consume your entire life, and their will be days where you love your company and their will be days where doubt your company will ever be profitable. At one point, your biggest enemy and weakness will be yourself. Finding a way out of the holes is how entrepreneurs become successful. Luckily when I feel like one of our products is poor, we demo it at a public event where we witness people and kids just fall in love with our stuff. And that’s all it takes for us to realize were onto something really great. Don’t doubt yourself, never give up, and always expect the worst, now your ready to start your own company.