I tend to distance myself from conferences and networking with people that claim to be experts at this that and the other. If you have never created anything, you can not judge a start-up or an idea. A start-up is just that, the probability is that it will change totally, yet week in, week out, we see panels of people all working for SME’s or corporates, having never taken a risk before, telling what it takes for your business to be a success.
What does work, is hard work. A lot of it. And the ability to think, react and keep changing direction.
To be a success while starting up, you have to work so hard you cannot catch your breath, you have to stop watching TV all night, you have to forget long lunches and going down the pub, you have to work like a freak. But be careful, it is addictive.
I was told this week that our business that guarantees SME’s online conversations is right place right time and very lucky. Bullshit, that luck is four years of ball busting and hard work. Walking away from a six figure salary and solid career after my 30th birthday, with a comfortable family, lovely house, sports car and stability was my first step towards becoming something I could finally be proud of.
To create a business that never existed before and then make money from it is the most satisfying feeling I have ever had. It has not been easy and I imagine most people would have given up during some of the dark times we have been through. But my biggest problem, I have never ever walked away from anything I have started.
Hardly anyone knows what the business is doing or where it is going. I like that. The people that pay to use our service love it and keep coming back month after month. My target is to pick up 5,000 brand new paying customers this year in our first year of aggressive customer acquisition. That represents a huge amount of money, but more so, it represents a whole shift in the way SME’s do marketing.
I signed a few Joint Ventures in the past few weeks in the UK and we will be the first platform doing what we do covering the entire Middle East with a team secured out there within three months (and have commitment from a Government in the UAE). I have also pitched my vision at cabinet level with the UK Government, which is being discussed and am told there will be some kind of progression.
Why I am saying all this. Because to get here has been very very hard work, with loads more highs and lows to come. And everytime I feel alone, I watch the following video. Morten Lund had everything and lost it, the speech he gave just after this happened at Le Web ’08 remains the most inspirational ten mins of my life. Watch it, be patient during the clumsy start, and let me know how this made you feel.