How Not to Start Own Business

15/09/2013

In the previous post I advised to apply a critical thinking on stories of successful businessmen who just “started doing what they liked.” For illustration, I introduce a story this time. The story from my own life.

If one has a vision, a clear business idea that he/she believes and that is preferably validated enough, he/she just needs to find a team sharing the same vision.  If one has a good team, he/she just has to to be sensitive to business opportunities, discuss them in a team, listen to each other – and hopefully a  good idea comes in the end. I had neither a strong idea nor a team. Simply, I decided one day to start my own business based on web apps and I resigned for my job.

Fool.

Jump Into Vacuum

Of course, inventing ideas during evenings after the whole-day hard work is not easy. But a jump into “vacuum” that I did was definitely not the best way to start. I did not have anything to grab and use and anything showing directions to go. My decision resulted into bouncing from one business plan to another, to a lot of unfinished coding, to no achievements and to a complete loss of motivation. Every obstacle and loss was so much harder with no team and vision. I was open to everything and everyone, which resulted in nothing and noone in the end. Of course, I was aware that I need to focus on one thing. But the thing I considered the best in one month was turned into ash by never-ending doubts even before the other month came. And I think those doubts were right in most cases. This way it happened that a shy proposal of my former boss to found a joint-venture company for web apps stayed unanswered. Because of was focused on something else – on my ideas. Nevertheless, those ideas were not validated much and so they were left soon. And the chance was gone.

Idiot (me, not my former boss)

A Couple of Right Decisions

I think that if one works on self-development and if one does something to improve his/her skills, it is the right path. It is an investment that may pay off once. And even though I made a lot of mistakes on that path, I made also a couple of right decisions and experienced stories that were definitely worth it.

  • I managed to keep good relationship with my former employer. Due to this fact I managed to have a tiny part-time job from him. Even though I was spending  more money than I was earning, the loss was not terrible.
  • I was a part of a bit funny story of the hopeless startup that I used to be a CTO for a very short while and where I almost invested 8000 €. Unfortunately, the story is not public yet, since the startup still exists and I do not want to make anything bad to its co-founders – it would not be fair. Moreover, possibly, they could still achieve some success in the end: Never say never!
  • I learned some web technologies that I had only heard of before and that I had not had any time to try before.
  • I changed my mindset from the employee’s:

uhhh, getting up to work – looking forward to holidays so much – not going to any stupid conference – I need to raise my salary and get promoted

to the employer’s one:

isn’t this an opportunity? – I have to go there since I need to meet these interesting people – cool, new stuff to learn – first customer, contract and then the developement – uhhh, never enough money to pay for employees

Please, do not take the mindset comparison too seriously :-).

  • I went to TechPeaks, became a lean methodology enthusiast, met a lot of interesting people and gained a plenty of inspiration acompanied with processes to get as much as possible out of it.
  • I live my life in the way I want. I do what I think is important at the moment. When I make a mistake, it is my decision and my responsibility. Noone is paying for my mistakes. And I also do not blame anyone for them. It is a small adventure for me too. Fortunately, I know that even if I failed I would have a family and friends to return to without being mocked.

So, what’s next? 2 months at TechPeaks – enough space for validation of my backup ideas (I always have some backup ideas :-) ). If I do not succeed, I will start earning money in more conservative ways. And once I find something with a real potential, I will go for it, again.

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