Tag Archives: hope

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?

 

 

 

I’m not giving up on my dreams

11 Jun

That is all

Momentumising once more

13 Sep

Hey guys,

 

Sorry it’s been a while. I just got back from my final holiday in Shcotland – lots of walking, playing music, and letting my work brain rest for a while.

This post will be again tracking and describing the progression of my projects, and probably a little bit of whining on the fact that I am yet to be making enough to buy an aqua jet pack.

I will start on the most recent of my attempts for success. It’s a bit random but stay with me okay?
Have you ever heard of nap pods? They’re basically relaxation chair/pods that are being installed in some workplaces to let employees take naps, or people waiting in airports, etc. I recently watched a film called the internship, based on two guys trying to get internships on the google campus. These nap pods were featured on this film .. and I thought to myself ‘these are going to soon be in pretty high demand’ .. so I dropped an email to the company who retails them, telling them I’d be interested in selling these in the UK for commission. Following a very brief talk with the Managing Director he sent along a commission agreement that details if I sell one of their products I’ll get commission on this. They sell for $8000 a piece, so you can imagine the share I get is pretty good.

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Unfortunately they didn’t send any extra info – no promotional material, and are yet to answer my questions on if there’s any of their products already in the UK I can use for potential customers to ‘try before they buy’. I’ve been waiting two weeks so far and no reply. So although it does seem like a great opportunity I’ll have to just wait to see if they can provide anything to help me sell these.

Aside from this the other projects are coming along very slowly indeed. However, with BlueSkies I now have an intern – an Administration and Strategy Assistant – who’s based in London and is really helpful in managing the social media, outreach to conservation organisations, and is very willing to become Branch Manager if I ever expand to London – which I will be doing in the new year.

The game is going extremely slow. Now that I have a team of four – programmer, designer, therapist – it’s really hard getting everyone to meet up, and because there is no momentum trying to get the initial work done is really hard because we’re yet to come to a consensus on what actually should be done first! I guess this is something I need to decide as the leader  –  consolidate the vision for the first ‘draft’ and delegate for this to happen .. just I’m not used to this so I guess it’ll take time.

The music is going quite well. My acoustic music I’m getting a gig at least once a fortnight. My biggest aim at the moment, along with developing my songs and skills, is to try something I’ve never had the confidence to do before – create a following. So if you have the time please do ‘like’ my music page – https://www.facebook.com/jhmusica?ref=hl – and encourage others to do the same.

The book is also a toughy (reminder – I’m writing a book called ‘Cambridge Success Stories’…I’m running out of success stories that I know of in Cambridge so I’m trying to do some research on businesses that are not only successful but also have an interesting or inspiring story. I’m thinking what I’ll have to start doing is going to networking sessions for entrepreneurs/managers to find more stories.

Anyway that’s about it to bring you all up to speed. This is my second day back to work and it’s a little hard getting the momentum back but it’s really not so bad. It really does feel like I’m having to give a big old boulder a push after allowing its momentum to stop, and I’ve just got to keep pushing for a few days before the work mindset flows again.

Image[This is exactly what I look like when I push boulders]

As is kind of obvious I’m yet to be making more money than can just about pay rent and food (holiday came out of my dwindling savings!). It’s frustrating – I imagined by the time I was 25 I’d already be quite set and doing well for myself. When you’ve got friends doing well around you it can be tough sometimes to wonder why I’ve taken this path. But I know there is a reason for it, and I’m getting to develop and progress and explore the way I want to. I guess it’s just a little tough this way sometimes, and a bit of a gamble. Who knows guys, maybe one day it’ll pay off!

Happy pushing