Tag Archives: discipline

Falling back in love with my product

19 Feb

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It’s been a long year. I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve had the trials and tribulations, I’ve faced having to give up on my dream, and I’ve really come to find what start-up stress can be.

Over the last six months my mentors at Accelerate Cambridge have pushed me hard – marketing, team building, raising finance, developing sales pipelines, market segmentation, partnerships and product development – something I will be forever grateful for.

Thanks to them I’ve been able to concentrate on not only creating an amazing product, but at the same time a sustainable business. A lot of people believe that if a product is incredible then there’s no need for a business. I’ve found this to not be true. Creating value propositions, promotional documents, websites, sales structures and pitches – these all help you to identify, reach and streamline the purchasing experience for the customer, helping them from “Oh I’ve never heard of this!” to “This product is awesome”.

Without defining your customer, how you will find them, how they will find you, how you will make enough money to keep improving the product, etc – much less people will be able to enjoy what you create.

That being said the last two weeks I’ve been slowly realising how I’d gradually been falling out of love with my product Rize – (app integrating therapeutic concepts into interactive exercises to support mental well-being). My thoughts have been engrossed for months in deadlines, strategies, timelines and milestones. I had barely spent any time appreciating the quality of what I was creating for myself (beyond thinking “What would the user think of this?”).

Now, we have reached the big milestone – The launch of Rize is at hand! Rize will be ready on iPhone, Android, Tablet and iPad for the 5th March..just a few weeks away. I’ve had a small bit of space to think. At first I panicked – thinking I should be filling this space in my brain with sales, marketing, strategies for maximising downloads – and although believe me I’m filling a lot of my time with this still I’ve found that these parts of work just won’t fit in the space I’m describing.

So I took the advice of my ever patient girlfriend and tried this relaxing thing all the kids are talking about. I started to reflect on every thing I’ve achieved (and admittedly began to stress over everything I haven’t).

The most important thing is that I’ve come back to looking at my product – the app – and have started congratulating myself on getting here. I’m now starting to get great feedback from the beta testers of Rize. Through the talks I’ve been giving to large audiences people have reached out to me and suggested potential partnerships with existing health platforms. I’ve even been invited to pitch Rize to the Duke of Edinburgh at an event called ‘Pitch at the Palace’! We’ve been featured in Cambridge News and the Huffington Post and our twitter followers increase steadily by the day.

I may not have started to generate revenue yet – I don’t have an apartment of my own like I had hoped for, I’m still considering the sainsburys meal deal as the treat of the week, but I’ve still come a long way. For that I’m proud.

And into the future I plan to walk forwards, hand in hand with my new tool for mental well-being. And together we will see what the world has in store for us.

[Rize will be available on all major iOS and Android platforms on 5th March. In order to stay up to date and be the first ones to download it please follow us on twitter: @rizenow]

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Impatience!

8 Sep

Hi all,

This is going to be more of a frustrated rant more than a piece of writing that will add any value to the lives of people reading this..unless they like to oversee a good old rant!

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For the last three days I’ve been mainly confined to my bedroom with boxes of orange juice and tissues. I complained yesterday to my girlfriend that I’d been out of work for the last two days..she patiently explained to me that it is what a lot of people tend to call a ‘weekend’.

Anyway it’s now Monday and I plan to be back into the office tomorrow..taking it slightly easier from now on so I stop running myself into the ground like this every few months.

In bed today I’ve been watching a few documentaries on start-ups:

Nothing to lose – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4g_Hq2pwao
Start up kids – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2279353/

 

During the second of these I began to feel a building frustration and impatience. I think it’s a feeling I’ve been keeping down for a long time. After a year now it’s starting to rise. I keep feeling like I’m playing a game on a really old computer with slow internet…whenever I press a button (or make a business/product decision) I have to wait weeks, or months for the result.

This is the painful part of having a startup where you are having to bootstrap and cannot create the product yourself..you must wait. And it sucks.

The way I’m trying to remedy this is by focusing on preparing the next steps – i.e. the next product development costs, monetisation strategies.

I’ve also started working on an online course – ’30 days of mental well-being’ – publishing on Udemy. This is probably what made me ill – I set a deadline of two months to complete the course and man has it been hard – creating lecture slides, recording audio’s, video instructions, interviews, quizzes, and text. It was all going well, and ahead of schedule and then I realised that my microphone had malfunctioned in recording 13 of the lectures! That made me really angry with myself. So I’ve taken these sick days to not think about it and try and come back to it tomorrow with a fresh head. I hope some of you guys will check it out when it’s ready! I’ll be posting it on my website – http://www.rizenow.com.

Speaking of the website – I decided to describe my personal journey from depression to start up in  video on my website, so feel free to take a look 🙂

 

So how about all of you…anyone else find similarmfrustrations in their work/relationships/lives?

 

 

 

Finding your feet, again and again (discipline and belief)

16 Jan

Happy New Year!

It’s been a while! I’ve been putting all of my energy solidly into MoodMap, and have finally kicked my self up the bum to write a post here.

I hope you’ve all made some great new year resolutions, and striving to keep at them, whatever they may be. Mine is to keep believing and striving (I now like the word striving).

Before I get into what I’ve been doing, to make sure all new readers are up to date. I’m focusing solely on MoodMap – an interactive and engaging app to help people to flourish in their mental well-being, and providing practises and support to those suffering from mild-moderate anxiety/depression.

I’ve put to rest BlueSkies collaboration (blueskiesc.co.uk) to focus on MoodMap – but to leave on a high note I was invited to lead a 2-hour workshop at the Cambridge Conservation Forum Symposium – using the BlueSkiesc structure for approx. 100 conservation leaders and specialists. It was an AMAZING step up, and feel happy to put it to rest for some time with quite a big accomplishment!

So I took just two days off for holidays over the winter period – Xmas day and NY day – so yes I’m pretty tired and stressed, and want to chuck MoodMap in the bin every other day. I’ve hired a developer to make me a prototype (me doing the design for now to save money). It took a LOT of negotiating over the contract for development, which was a week of a bloody load of stress, but we finally agreed on a price which we’re all happy with and he’s full steam ahead.

Because I’ve realised it will take a LOT of money to get the full app made, I’ve had to just go for a prototype with just one of the features for now, and then use this to go for crowdfunding to raise the rest. So once the crowdfunding profile is up I’ll let all you generous people know 😀

This last month, with a great deal of challenges in costs, contracts, a new co-founder, finding more and more similar products every day, it takes a certain skill, which I’m hoping I’m getting better at — to stand back and admit I’m not on the right path, or I’m going the wrong way, and tweak the direction I’m going in.

This might not sound hard but when it’s you making the decisions, taking the initiative, and ultimately realising you’ve already dedicated 3 months of 50 hour weeks, it can come in blows to realise when you’ve been wasting your time on one area of things, or have wasted a week doing something wrong, etc.

Sometimes it comes to the point where you’re asking yourself what has been the point in doing this? Not a single penny has come in, and things still aren’t progressing fluently, and you want to give up and go back to working under someone else – who can ultimately take responsibility for giving you money, providing you the comfort of telling you what you’re worth, and what needs to be done. And I want to say people working in companies, etc – that’s completely legit and awesome if you enjoy it (don’t want this to turn into some uppity post where I start telling you all that my farts smell better than employed people) – this is to keep my fellow enterprisers motivated – It takes a great deal of discipline, humility, and belief to stumble back onto your feet and realign your sights to the horizon. I think every time one does this they get better at it.

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So- what is this post about again? Ah yeh – so recap on MoodMap – It’s been a tough month with a lot of challenges, unsurity, and heads in hand – really not sure this is going to work, and incredibly frustrated that I’m not generating any kind of income (Except music which brings in enough!).

Even though there’s a lot of doubt in the air my mentors (at the Cambridge Accelerator Program), friends, and my girlfriend constantly remind me that even though there’s nothing to show yet I’m learning an incredible amount about team-building, project management, vision, budgeting, contracts, constructive feedback, and resilience.

I’ve moved back from the Cambridge Accelerator Program office back to my old office with some old co-workers (they keep a desk for me :)), so that I can be away from all the noise and fast pace of the ‘entrepreneurial’ world so that I can sit down with a giant to do list and my sights to my better senses of where the horizon may be, and get it done.

Happy stumbling!