Tag Archives: motivation

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]

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?

 

 

 

From sofa to start-up

3 Jun

I’ve been asked to write a guest blog for the Cambridge Accelerator Program about my journey so far, so I decided to write it here first, as it’s where I feel natural writing about this kind of stuff.

So “From sofa to start-up”

It was a year ago, two days from today that I decided to quit my job as a Research Scientists and jump into the unknown. I had a passion, an idea, and if I do say so myself, a hell of a lot of balls. I had always admired my Dad (a Physicist) for being able to take ideas out of his head, make them, test them, and make them useful. I wanted to do the same, but in a different arena.

I began my entrepreneurial journey with three ‘awesome’ ideas..they would all be ground-breaking. I would have them made perfectly first go round with some of the best professionals working alongside me for free because they believed in my ideas. Of course, in mere seconds after my products were released into the market, people would forget everything about civilised society and give up any forms of reason just to get their hands on my products!

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…I was very fortunate to be knocked down to reality relatively quickly by those who I now respect thoroughly. I was told to concentrate on one of my ideas, get a team, and get on with making something, instead of getting drunk and telling everyone I was already giving tips to Bill Gates in my time off.

The idea I decided to put all of my concentration into was an app – a gamified app that could help people suffering from mild-moderate anxiety/depression. I found a Designer and a Programmer who could make the app, and would be willing to come in for sweat equity. I found a counsellor who liked the idea and would give us advice on how to make this a successful tool. I decided I would make it a game where the user controlled an animal avatar and found out information and practiced therapeutic exercises, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness. It would be amazing, and we would call it ‘Life Pets’.

Why would this be amazing? Because I said it would.

It was at this point that I was welcomed onto the Cambridge Accelerator Program. I was offered mentorship, seminars on business and entrepreneurship, and potential seed grant funding later on. The Director, Hanadi Jabado, had me immediately test what I had of my concept with potential users. Those I interviewed – mainly counsellors, mental health professionals, and contacts I knew had suffered from depression – provided the feedback I didn’t want to hear. They thought it seemed good, but they wouldn’t use it, because it seemed too childish and complicated. It was the feedback I had needed to hear – that I’d been creating the concept just for myself, and not my future customers.

Over the last nine months I have continually developed my concept and tested it, getting bigger every time. At the start I used concept art of some of the important screens, and walk the user through the app journey. Now, I am beta testing my prototype on iphone, and thanks to the incredible feedback I got from this I am able to create my first product that I will be putting on the iTunes store for the public revel in.

In between the time I joined the accelerator and now a lot has changed. I’ve lost and gained team members, faced rejections and difficult feedback. I’ve rebranded to Remap, and pivoted around so many times I feel like a ballerina. I’ve celebrated in the smallest details, and always got up one more time than I’ve fallen down. 

Now, in one month’s time I will have my first product in the market. Remap – A gamified app that integrates therapeutic concepts to help users to track and develop their mental well-being through a series of engaging and interactive exercises.

I’ve gained support from the London Institute of Psychiatry, Mindtech (NHS), and a group of sixty counsellors in the Cambridgeshire areas. 

It may not become an overnight success, but I will learn from each attempt, and every time it will get better.

Sometime, like many of those around me I have doubted what I am doing, and wondered if my vision has been worth a year of my life, and however long in the future. Once I’ve had a cup of tea, I can always, unreservedly say yes.

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The vision I created a year ago has taken me on a journey I did not expect. Those who have shared my vision and passion for entrepreneurship, social impact, and following a dream, have helped me to gain incredible skills.

These skills I can use to progress my app further.  I will have these skills with me to help bring my future ideas into a reality, and I will use these insights and abilities to inspire those around me to strive and to succeed in whatever way suits them.

I’m extremely thankful to my incredible mentors, the Cambridge Accelerator Program, all of my dedicated beta testers, and everyone who has played their hand in keeping this going. I look forward to getting your review on iTunes in a month!

Sloths! New startups, pivots, and a few reviews

12 May

I’ve got good things to share today! I have some frustrations to include, but also quite a few good nuggets of information and tools for prospective startups like myself!

This month has seen me facing a few challenges. For Remap (the app I’m developing for mental well-being) I’m looking for a co-founder so I’m giving a presentation at an ‘app programmers’ meetup next week to see if I can find a programmer who can join the team and make the app without costing any money (just equity).

Another interesting place I’ve found, if you’re looking for a co-founder for your enterprise, OR you want to join a start-up check out – http://www.cofounderslab.com/ . A place where you can post or browse entrepreneurial opportunities, usually involving equity. Very exciting place.

On top of this I’ve been checking out this other blog – http://www.gameacademy.com – it’s all about outsourcing all of the work to develop an app game. It’s from there I got inspiration for a side project. I’ve identified that Remap is going to take a long time to get off the ground – a complicated app, and an even more complicated concept.

So to prevent me going crazy with frustration while finding a co-founder for Remap, I’ve decided to create a second app just for fun. A game that I can outsource the work for relatively cheap and feel like I’m finally getting traction with something.

Iiiiiiintroducing

SLOTH HOP

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Free download of Sloth Hop here for all android and ios devices! 😀

Google play:  http://tiny.cc/u7ushx Itunes:

If you’re on twitter feel free to follow and share 🙂 – @slothhop.

 

So that’s the icon for the app and I have the same people who did this design working on creating the app this week. I found the designers and developers to do this on – http://www.elance.com. It’s a great website where you post a technical job that needs doing and hundreds of designers/programmers/etc will apply for the job and tell you how much they will charge and how long it will take. I’m getting this app made for £350 in two weeks. It’s a very simple game, same complexity as flappy bird, but different game. Anyway I’m very, very excited.

Why?

It means I can finally get into some sales and marketing. I’ve been in ‘development mode’ for a year now and it’s gotten incredibly boring. I’ve definitely learned an incredible amount, but I need something to keep my energy going and this will be perfect for it.

How am I paying for it? Through my music. I’ve had a lot of gigs recently, so instead of new shoes, I’m making an app this month 😀

So yeh please follow my ol sloth hop venture on twitter, and I’ll announce the release date of this app in the near future.

 

Now back to Remap. So for a long time I’ve stubbornly insisted the next version must include lots of ‘essential’ features, great graphics, and no skimping…even though I can’t afford it, or have anyone to do this for me.

…Then I started reading a book called ‘The lean start-up’

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Review – An amazing book that is a fantastic read for anyone….in my opinion it can be applied in so many areas of life – startups, science, even personal lives. The biggest message can be summed up in this picture

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Whatever your idea ‘build’ it. Build the most basic version of it possible. Then test it, learn what worked what didn’t, then develop and build a bit more, then measure how good this next build is, learn from it, and build on it again. If things aren’t working then ‘pivot’ and try to build something slightly different to reach your end goal.

So from just reading this I’ve learnt a lot about what I should do. I’ve pivoted slightly with the functionality of the app, and have designed a ‘minimal viable product’ – with only the most basic functions of the app, and I’ve fortunately found an awesome designer/developer from Pakistan on [www.getacoder.com] who is designing this for me for free, and if I like it we create the next version together and I pay him £300 (ridiculously cheap!). While I’m waiting to find my co-founder I believe this is a fantastic path to walk in creating the next basic version, testing it, measure what works and doesn’t, so that the third version can be fantastic.

 

Yeh, good month! Keep your eyes peeled for Sloth hop (my game app) and thanks to everyone who’s always supporting me for Remap and believing in me and my idea..especially my girlfriend who has to listen to these ideas, revelations, and madness 24/7!!

Happy slothing 🙂

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Take a step back

29 Oct

Already today I’ve had a handful of comments on how tired and stressed I looked – I try to explain it’s the beard (and the inevitable itchiness it brings) that is creating this impression for people.

In some ways they’re right – I am pretty tired; working days and band rehearsals in the evenings. What if I don’t have rehearsal one night? – I tend to head back to the office or have a meeting with someone to advance BlueSkies or LifePets.

My name is John – I’m a workaholic –

 

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I admit it – I’m enjoying the work, and am very focused on progressing every day. It feels great each time I take another step towards creating a successful enterprise.

The problem is recently I’ve been spending so many hours at it (my next post will describe what IT actually is that I’ve been doing recently) that I suddenly found myself bogged down with the nitty gritty of all the tasks and not really getting anywhere.

For example in the game I’m developing I’m having to draw the storyboard of the prototype for our programmer so he can get to creating the game itself. I was adamant to include a very detailed and long tutorial with a storyline that will engage the user. Not only would this require a lot of time for myself, the mental health professionals on board, our designer, and programmer (ending up costing me a lot!) but it would mean that it would take a lot longer to get even the prototype complete – let alone getting the final product out to market.

So after a day of sitting there and just telling myself all I need to do is to work harder and this will get done in the same time I finally realised what needed to be done (and needs to be done regularly).

I took a step back

Instead of insanely thinking “this needs to be done, then this has to be done” ad infinitum, I sat back and said to myself “what needs to be done? – In less than three sentences?”  — “I need to have a prototype developed that can show potential customers what we offer, and something we can build on to complete as the final product” BOOM, one sentence!

So did I need a 60 page storyboard for the prototype? No. I need a 15 page one that can show off effectively the value of the product – 5 mins sitting back and checking what really needs to get done = a whole evening I don’t have to do any work; watch game of thrones.

I’ve got a quick story that taught me the same thing in a different way.

I was on holiday earlier in the year with some old friends. Near our flat was a small island with a lighthouse on it. Three of us wanted to swim out there.

So one day we set off. It took us about an hour and a half eventually. In our first 30 mins two of us tried to go as fast as we could. We looked at where the lighthouse was when we started swimming and then kept our heads down for long periods of time as we swam as hard as we could – we just wanted to get there as quickly as possible.

The other one of us did breast stroke – keeping his eyes firmly on his goal, the lighthouse. The two of us quickly got out infront, but because we kept our heads down a lot the current kept taking us off course and we swam in a direction that wasn’t directly towards our desired destination. Each time we realised this we had to change our direction and make up for lost time we spent going the wrong way. Half way there we realised the third guy was making distance as well as we were, and had spent less energy doing so.

So, at that point we learned from him, and as a three we swam hard, periodically looking up and making sure we were headed straight for where we wanted to go. We got there in good time with less wasted energy. What if we had have not looked up at all ? (like we all do some times in situations in our lives) – we might have been to far away by then to even reach the lighthouse.

In enterprises it is important to often take a step back, look up, and make sure you’re on track and not going off course. If the goal changes, as indeed it does sometimes, that’s fine. You don’t need to religiously lock eyes on a target and get there regardless of developments in the situation. I think it’s helpful just to be aware of your goals, and ask yourself on a regular basis – “Is what I’m doing taking me towards this goal?”

Happy swimming!

Picking up where we left off

24 Oct

Hey guys!

It’s 4am and the sleep just isn’t coming, and suddenly I thought it’s time to get back to my wordpress peeps!

First off a big apology for not posting in recent weeks! I think it’s just a matter that I’ve been incredibly busy now that I’m on the Cambridge Accellerator Program, but it’s no excuse.

This blog is important to me and the ultimate message I’m trying to communicate with everyone is similarly something I feel passionately about — that opportunity awaits everyone just round the corner- whether in the business world or other; how can you take the first steps.

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So my work has now boiled down to three projects. I work on average, each week about 40 hours for LifePets – my game on mental well-being – I’m spending my time  developing the storyline of the game and the concepts involved – whilst carrying out businessy things like marketing, value propositions, building a network, etc. Beginning of next month I’ll be paying my game team to develop the prototype.

With BlueSkies – my wildlife conservation organisation I spend 5 – 10 hours a week – simply because I don’t have any extra time – it’s still going really well though. We’re currently forming partnerships with conservation organisations and vital networks in order to boost and diversify our membership base, we’ve been invited to conservation symposiums to give talks and focused workshops, and generally spreading out well – my team is doing really well also which is brilliant.

My third project, music, is also going well. I’m progressing really well in my abilities, and thoroughly enjoying the creative process – even though it does take up a great deal of my spare time!

So all in all things are going well – I barely have any down time, which I’m sure will have to change as time goes on – I’m working hard and progressing, and I’ll keep going with a bit of encouragement from my wordpress community 🙂

Alright back to bed Blueskies!! Thanks for listening all. I’ll be getting back into posting once each week so keep your eyes peeled here!

Happy progessing

Return from holidays, recent achievements

12 Aug

Hey guys,

 

Just got back from very nice, well-deserved (if I do say so myself) holiday away from phones, meetings, and computers for a bit of R & R.

While I was away it gave me a chance to look back over the last few months of work, and I’ve realised that although day by day it feels like I’ve accomplished very little, using my holiday as a point to measure the distance between where I started and where I am now I’m able to see that I have achieved a number of things.

With BlueSkies we’ve now successfully held three collaborative events – producing reports for the conservation organisations asking for help, and creating partnerships with them each time. We’ve now worked with organisations in the UK, Nepal, India, and Iran in wildlife conservation. After my first three events I said to myself I’d start branching out to the big local conservation organisations in Cambridge and see if they can help me to develop, so I’ve arranged a meeting with one of the best for this goal – Cambridge Conservation Initiative, to discuss BlueSkies and how it can better achieve its aims.

As for the game I’m working on I now have a very talented team of designers, programmers, and mental health professionals who are happy to work for shares to create this game because they, like me have an optimistic outlook for the success of this project. Not only this but the Cambridge Accellerator program (http://www.accelerate.jbs.cam.ac.uk/accelerator/timetables-dates/) heard about my work from the Enterprise Alchemy event I attended (see previous post) and have asked me to pitch this project and my team for potentially being a part of the accellerator program in September.

What does this mean? It means three months of mentorship from already-successful entrepreneurs associated with Cambridge University, free office space, potential investment capital, and a 10k open salary to continue the project if they believe the game has potential to make it in the market.

Unfortunately I’ve received no reply from the app guy after I told him I wouldn’t pay in money for his programmer’s license, and wanted us to secure our agreements in a contract, so potentially this project won’t be carried forward..no worries plenty more ideas up my sleeve that I have more space to do now! ..

so now that I’m not working on that app it means that I’ll be starting a new project, which I’ll be unveiling in the next post so make sure you tune in!

 

Finally my music. This isn’t going too fast at the moment. The blues band is going slowly since we lost our bass player and we’re trying to get the band regrouped so we can’t focus on getting gigs. The new band I’ve started is really fun, with two very talented people, learning and composing a lot of great songs. So although that’s going well in terms of enjoyment I have to be very patient as we probably won’t be giging for a while. I’ve set up our first gig for Sept (non-paid) at a pub just to get us some experience, so we’ll see where it goes from there.

In terms of the acoustic music I have one or two gigs a month but nothing really special. I’m not sure how to take this to the next level now. I’ve contacted all of the pubs, bars, and a lot of restaurants and already gotten a clear yes or no, so I’ve run out of venues to ‘sell’ to.
Although thinking now, I guess once that’s been done I can try and re-sell to those I’ve already played at, and offer lower price packages to those who rejected me. There we go! There’s always something more that can be done.

So here we are – through the months of hard work I haven’t made any eye opening developments but I’m developing in confidence and skills, and my projects are now showing potential to be sustainable and strong in their applications!

Where there’s a will there’s a way!!

Happy progressing.

 

 

Milestone snapshots!

28 Jun

I think today is a good day to take stock. It’s already been a rollercoaster ride of waking up with the birds, going to sleep with the bats, and even .. a day off along the way (dun dun duuunn!).

I’ve been running the motor pretty close to overheating, and I’ll be taking a four day holiday next week. I feel, with what I have achieved in this week especially that I put a flag in here and celebrate what successes I have made and how I’ve gotten here.

 

First off – I am now officially a MANAGING DIRECTOR peoplee! I got my certification of incorporation of a private limited company today – BlueSkies Collaboration Limited (http://blueskiesc.co.uk/). For me this is definitely a milestone moment, and something I will keep with me for a long time.
To be honest this doesn’t really affect how the enterprise will work compared to before, except people who might want to support BSc Ltd in the future will be able to make sure we’re a registered company.

 

For BlueSkies I held the second event. I have had a HUGE influx of conservation organisations from abroad get in touch and request support from BSc. The problem I’ve faced recently is getting people in Cambridge to want to come to the events I hold. The second event I held yesterday included myself and one other special person in a cafe.

At the beginning stages I really don’t see a low attendance as a failure; everything is a learning curve right now! I’ve learned I need to develop my own confidence in BSc so that I can start inviting people outside of my social circles of conservation, and really aim high for the events. I feel like after three events (one more) I’ll be confident to start approaching the Directors of organisations and talk to them about them, and their staff attending.

In order to do some networking I attended the Cambridge Conservation Forum Summer Symposium – there was a lot of opportunity to meet new professionals, and get my flashy new business cards out! All in all i enjoyed the symposium, but as is with Cambridge sometimes there’s a lot of talking, and then talking about action, and then a wine reception. Sometimes I find this really frustrating, but what can I do? What can we all do when people just talking annoys us? we can either 1) call them out and/or 2) act ourselves and lead by example.

 

Now for the other projects – Music.

I have been cold calling the sh*t out of Cambridge pubs and bars. I’ve had so many no’s now I was starting to wonder if I should stop trying but finally yes’s are starting to leak through. It’s a very low percentage, but I’ve already got five gigs lined up in the Cambridge area for my acoustic stuff; one of which I already performed and have been asked to come back again soon! So, true to my last post, the success here has lied in two things – Persistance, and also Preparation – to prepare for the cold calling I made sure I had done a few radio performances so the general public were talking about me more, and I put some new songs of mine online so pubs and bars could check out what I was offering with maximum ease. All I could have done better is if I had have brought round a CD of my music for them to listen to, or literally have gone round with my guitar and shown them first hand! 😀

 

As for the Game project – after months of trying to recruit a programmer who will work for free (a share of the final profits instead of paid by the hour) I’ve had a number of positive responses from people wanting to get involved. I actually stood one of them up for a meeting yesterday evening because I fell asleep (DOH!), but one guy said he’d like to do the project to expand his portfolio. I’ve also been trying to get a mental health professional on board so we can make this game really effective; I had a very constructive talk with one such guy today, who seems again interested in being part of the team. So maybe in two weeks I’ll actually have the full team recruited to make this product, and get it out to market by the Autumn!!

Finally the app – our programmer has all the updates on IOS7 and we will be constructing it properly when I get back from holiday.

 

So this week – it has been very tough. Now that all four projects are developing and I’m having to arrange meetings day and night for all of them. Along with gigging to pay rent it means I’m left feeling pretty stretched! It may mean as these four projects develop I have to give one up for someone else to run, or become much better at prioritising. This is especially true with emails – I need to have a forwarding system so that I have different folders in which to categorise things. At the moment having 100 emails to just sift through and reply to does not work! I’ll let you all know if I find a useful way of doing this.

Tonight I’m going to the first part of a three day workshop at the Entrepreneurial department of Cambridge University business school. It’s going to be intensive but I’m sure I’ll get a lot out of it. Come Monday I’ll be writing a full piece on how it went.

 

What are the main points of this article? – First of all I’m lathering up my own ego with oodles of well done sauce.

Secondly is to allow those who have been reading for a while to see the progression that has come to my projects through consistent hard work and persistence so far – paying rent through the music, registered company – being contacted for help by so conservation organisations ranging over seven different countries. I have almost recruited two full teams of people without spending or offering a single penny from my account. I’ve shared my vision, and brought together people who believe in it enough to dedicate their time for free! 

— All of this is not because I’m especially good at any skills required to do this. If anything I’m probably making more mistakes than the average person. If I can acheive these things you all can too if you ever choose to take the dive.

 

Thirdly I’m starting to learn – don’t push yourself beyond your limits. Try to stick to a handful of projects that you believe in – if I had any more than 4 I’d already have burned out completely. Stay focused on the aspirations you have closest to you, and don’t stretch yourself too thin!!

Happy condensing!

 

 

 

Persistence is a good key

14 Jun

Alright that’s it that .. last orders for the end of my first week!

Number of hours worked – 40

money made from projects this week – £0

Jaw dropper I know! But that’s how it is and that’s how it’s going to be for quite a while. Fortunately I’ve saved up sufficient money, and I’m spending basically nothing (I’m quite the catch, I know!). These projects are less tuned towards make a quick buck, and more to planting a seed for a big tree: a slow process of developing towards an effective person who is eventually able to create very valuable services/products/etc. I’ve realised if I stick with worrying about money at this time in my life I might very likely end up in a random, possibly half-enjoyable job and still be fairly poor from spending anyway (see Parkinson’s law for more details), maintain some possible security, and probably be happy.

Happy? Secure? Nahh .. I’ve decided to invest my time and energy into personal botany. My vision is that if I slowly develop the skills I want on such an open canvass as entrepreneurship, I’ll be able to become the person I want to be to a larger degree of freedom instead of having a stick up my backside – metaphorically – that makes me develop in the standard career-ladder way. I’m not saying I’m right in this hypothesis; just that I’m giving it a try. Hopefully this experiment will help you guys to see if it is correct or not from your own evaluations.

I’ve just written a list of the main things I’ve accomplished this week. It may not seem like much, but still I’m proud because every one of these things I’ve done, I’ve done through my own initiative, perseverance, and camomile tea. Here’s what I got done (see ‘projects’ for background details):

Project 1 – Social project:

– Created social media sites for BSc

I suggest that everyone goes and likes these pages .. they will make all of your dreams come true

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One of my weaknesses is definitely keeping up with social media. I’ve never done twitter before, and I don’t much see the point in Linkedin as of yet. My facebook has no likes and I’m not sure how to change that. But my aim for this week was to get them up. Maybe next week will be to get 10 likes, or twoots, or linkin vouchers, or whatever it is.
But you see – One step gets done (put up the site), next week it’s get ten connections, next week will be a step up. So long as you can keep progressing, and resting/going easy on yourself when required, your projects will become stronger. If your project takes a knock, take a breath, stand back up, and YOU will be stronger.

 – Got the website ready:

I’ve filled in all the content, and set up emails for the website. I have no idea what photos to put up for the website. I know it sounds like a small thing but it’s bugged me the whole week and I haven’t got anything done. I’ve gotten to the end of the week so I’m going to stick with what pictures I have and update them when I’ve got inspiration..sometimes it helps to be an imperfectionist to get things done. All I need now is to link the social media and publish the site. So keep your eyes open for blueskiesc.co.uk next week!

– I wrote a formal report for OFI concerning our first event. Awaiting their response.

– Reached out to other conservation organisations to take part in our next events coming up.

– Trying to buy lots of BlueSkies t-shirts to give to people who volunteer their time..turns out that’s very expensive..looks like I might have to start looking for some small funding.

 

Project 2 – Game project

Very little. Because this game is to do with anxiety and depression in the public it means I’m going to need professionals on board for this. This seems like a very big ask.

 – I’ve already contacted one person who seems to have some good content http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/ (there’s a lot of wishy-washy, or just fake ‘life coaching’ things out there to be wary of). She says she’s too busy unfortunately but wished the best of luck. So I’ll continue looking..this is going to be difficult but I will continue trying next week.

 – I’m meeting up with a game/app designer this evening who I get on really well with. He loves the idea and so I think I have a great partner here for the project. We’ll discuss the display and asthetics of the content for him to create.

 – Recruiting a programmer: now this is more difficult. Programmers tend to be pretty well paid, and are less up for accepting shares of a project. I’ve been to numerous events in cambridge to do with gaming and apps. I’ve met some great and talented people but yet to find one who believes enough in the idea to dedicate their time. This week I emailed a few of them..have one potential guy to meet in two weeks but.. The search continues!

 

Project 3 – App project:

This week I wrote up the main content of the app that the users will be reading. I had a meeting with the programmer today and we added it into our basic skeleton draft we have of the app. Now if there are any enthusiasts of iphones here you’ll know that IOS7 is soon to be coming out. There are a couple of features on this that we are planning to use that may be very exciting..however we have to wait a couple of weeks before I can get him onto programming because of this.

 

Project 4 – Personal project (Music):

 – Band gigs: I got one potential gig for us coming up through the phone call I described in the last post. Fortunately the bassist and singer are great at finding gigs. So we have quite a few lined up.

 – Acoustic gigs: Now this is where I’m really proud. If this is your first read of my blog you’ll now see this is a big aspiration of mine – to start making money from my own original music. What I did this week was that I located a pub/bar map of Cambridge on the internet and divided the map into sections. I then called a quarter of all of the pubs and bars in Cambridge (A LOT of pubs) and asked if they were interested in my performing at their venue. I got a lot of positive responses. They said they’d listen to me playing on BBC Cambridge this weekend and then decide after! A really great step for me. I hated cold calling but it paid off in this instance.

Guitar lessons – This is probably what’s going to pay the rent. Put an ad on gumtree and with a lessons agency. If I get three or four a week then I’m all good!

 

Now why did my subject title highlight persistence when I’ve barely talked about this in my post as of yet? Congratulations on reading this far because now you’ll be rewarded.

This week so far, every day, at least 5-10 times, I think to myself “What the hell are you doing man?? You’re not making any money whatsoever..you’re just a bum with a Linkedin profile!” Indeed I am at the moment. But letting this trail of inner conversation go further than this doesn’t help me. I’m looking to develop myself in a new way, and hopefully be successful in doing so.

When I was really down and out; no job, no motivation, no idea what to do, I pretty much thought those thought were ME. I even tried going to a life coach for two sessions to help me sort things out. Now I believe there are a lot of good ones out there who do amazing things for people and are very talented in what they do, and please go out and form your own opinions. My opinion is that there are lot of people out there who get into over charging for a service they learned to ‘sell’ and provide, from an institution that was made by someone else who didn’t really know what they’re doing. There is a big mix of good and bad so if you want to try something like this just take your time and be objective: identify what useful things you get from a session and decide if it’s worth the cost.

Anyway I learned one very valuable thing. When I start having negative thoughts that aren’t helping me, it helps me to become aware of this, and say to myself “what do I want and how am I going to get it?” “what do I want and how am I going to get it?”. It can be very simple “I want to be warm, so I’m going to have a hot drink”, “I’m lonely so I’m going to call someone I care about”, etc. I recommend to everyone try doing that 5 times a day for a week and just see what happens. It was a helpful tool for me, maybe it could help someone else 🙂

My perseverance is in every time I had my thoughts that I’m wasting my time this week, I brought my attention to what I want to get done and how I’m going to do it. This has helped me a lot this week, and I’m sure will be invaluable in this initial process of getting started.

Anyone else with any similar thoughts that take over sometimes and get in the way of what they want in life I wish them the very best of luck, and would like to give a gentle reminder that those thoughts (in my opinion) aren’t you. What is you is something probably a lot wiser, kinder, and stronger. Go ahead and find it.

And with that new wisdom and strength find your path.

Happy exploring!