How I can help Esc members
I'm always up for a drink if you want to meet to discuss starting a business. I might not always know what I'm talking about but I have had a little first-hand experience of most things anyone wanting to leave their corporate lives and start a new business will face.
It's full on. In the last 2 months we've launched a new website, and 2 mobile applications that run off it. The apps only just came out so we haven't officially 'launched' them yet publicly.
We're not big into cold-calling (or doing actual work like that) so instead of telling people about us we're hoping to make them come to us by organising a huge event, called EatMeUp.
Before I escaped...
I was at JPMorgan, a dirty great American bank. I had a rather unique experience for an investment bank in that me and one other started a new line of business - so I got start-up experience, albeit with a huge amount of money and resources behind me.
On the most part I actually enjoyed my time there as when things are going well, they're going really well. It's just when they turn bad in a place like that you quickly realise who your friends are...
My moment of truth...
When I had to close a multi-million dollar deal on my honeymoon and my boss didn't thank me.
Planning for it...
I didn't. My whole department of 70 people was shut down in a day. I was having a sandwich at my desk when I got a tap on the shoulder - after 5 years there they wanted me out in under 5 minutes. "Don't pack your stuff, we'll send it to you". So I thought I'd go and do something completely different where I would never get treated like that.
Fortunately they paid me off nicely, so that funded HitMeUp. There was no real plan and I made a huge amount of mistakes and looking back at it I wasted an awful lot of money - but you have to. You have to look at it as backing yourself. If you honestly believe in yourself - that you can make it happen - then it is worth every penny; it is an incredible adventure and will give you skills, experience and confidence you'd never have in a corporate, even if it fails.
The worst and best bits...
The little milestones. The day you get:
- Your company registered
- Your logo finalised and printed on a business card
- Open for business
- Your first customer
- Someone else believe in you (funding)
- When you realise your idea is actually crap and nobody wants it and you have to change direction
- When you realise how much money you've wasted
- When you realise how much money you could have made if you were in your old jo
The best outweigh the worst!
Never give up.
Useful resources and information...
Shared office space - I used to be in the Bathtub2Boardroom (with Escape the City) and that was a great space to start. Then when we started to grow we had to move out, but have stayed sharing with other companies and in nearly all cases somehow their businesses have helped ours.