Ten things we’ve learnt in six months of startup life
Tuesday, July 16, 2019/
Laura and I were part of the 2018/19 Australian-based Catalysr accelerator.
A husband-and-wife team, we created YogiBirth, an online education-based yoga programme to support mental, physical and emotional wellbeing during pregnancy and parenthood.
Our vision is a world where no woman, or their partner, fears birth.
Over the last six months, we have pivoted our business model. I resigned from corporate life to pursue our dream full-time and we (mostly me), wasted valuable time looking for investment when it turns out we didn’t need it yet.
As we look to launch on the App Store next month, here are the top 10 things we’ve learnt since starting our business, warts and all.
1. Get a whiteboard
The best tax-deductible investment we’ve made. We run our business from a $120 double-sided whiteboard every day.
2. If you can’t explain it simply enough, you don’t understand it well enough
One of Einstein’s supposed pearls of wisdom that is very apt for budding and experienced entrepreneurs alike.
Your audience typically judges the message and messenger in the first five-10 seconds. They’ll thank you for keeping it short and easy to digest.
On that note, try to listen twice as much as you talk. You’ll learn more and increase your chances of being considered.
To help refine and simplify your elevator pitch, continually question your business model canvas.
3. Is the juice worth the squeeze?
If it is, keep going. If it isn’t, cut it and move on.
You’ve likely got a short runway of cash you’re burning through. Ruthlessly qualify, disqualify and prioritise which leads to pursue and what activities to undertake.
4. Use your BRAIN when making decisions
Benefits: how much better off am I by doing this?
Risks: am I comfortable carrying that level of risk?
Alternatives: how else can I do this?
Instincts: what are your head and heart telling you?
Nothing: what happens if I doing nothing?
5. Continually reinvent yourself
Become egoless, swallow your pride and make yourself uncomfortable each day. Our two daily goals are simply to learn a new skill and do more right than wrong.
6. Outsource, wisely
Resources such as Upwork can be invaluable (with the right freelancer). Dividing and conquering can increase your speed. However, don’t be afraid to DIY tasks you’ve yet to master.
For example, IP protection and trademarking may initially seem intimidating, but with a bit of research, it’s actually really straight forward and you’ll save on legal fees.
7. Shake it off and jog on
You’re going to cock-up, probably daily.
Acknowledge it, look for a solution, and learn from it. Then wash it off and move on.
If you wallow in your mistakes you’ll cripple your confidence, stunt your progress and burn through your cash reserves quicker.
8. The idea is 5%, execution is 95%
We all have that friend who said they came up with Uber before Uber. Don’t be that friend.
Minimise the talking. Maximise the doing. The lengthy execution phase will also help validate how committed you and your co-founder(s) really are.
9. Think about your diet and booze
Alcohol is a depressant — it affects your thoughts, feelings and actions. You’ve probably only got one shot at this, two if you’re lucky. Look after yourself and ease back on the booze.
We’ve tried to remove sugars, bread, processed food, dairy (almost) and grains from our diet. Within half a week, our focus was better and our moods more consistent. As a result, our output increased.
Think about what you’re putting in your body. It makes a huge difference!
10. Find different skills in a co-founder, not the same
To be challenged and grow, you need to be a small team with a broad range of skills. If you’re a technical co-founder or domain expert, find someone who is, for example, good at sales and marketing, and vice versa.
This piece was first published on Medium and has been republished with permission.
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