I’ve been involved in building 4 startups of my own, and involved in several others in a close consultancy context. I just wanted to write a couple of thoughts of why I love building startups and a few words to those of you who would like to, but for one reason or another have not at this stage.
To begin, every single one of these startups has been bootstrapped. None of them have received any external funding, except perhaps a few thousand in bank overdrafts. The majority of it has been financed by time, savings, and occasionally small amounts of credit card debt. All of my startups have been in the form of online products (Games), or online service business (Consulting). I’ve also been involved in startups from the early stages in online retail and various types of advertising and other web applications.
It’s fair to say that the majority of businesses can be started for little or no upfront capital that utilise your existing skill set. Consulting in something you enjoy and know more than the average person about is a great way to get a few 1000 in the bank and learn a thing or two. The only cost is your time, and some small capital for various things like materials and a website.
There are two main things that I really enjoy about building a startup:
1) Being able to create
There is something powerful about a blank canvas, especially one where you decide how everything will be. You choose your brand, your prices, your services, your followup, your level of support etc. You choose how everything flows. Ultimately you learn a great deal through this process as the market responds to your brand and offering; or doesn’t.
I personally really enjoy this space, especially testing different offers, working on materials, and reshaping what the business offers based on feedback. It’s fun when you’re small and agile and can change.
2) Creating Value
It feels great when the system and brand you’re creating begins creating value for clients and customers. It’s extremely uplifting to see clients experience positive growth and feedback as a result of your work. Forming relationships and experiencing mutual business growth is a very motivating experience.
If you create a startup in the consumer space, seeing customers take up your software or service is great. In the digital age, feedback is often instant with social media enabling you to derive value of what you’re offering instantly.
What about the downsides?
You’ll usually ditch the 9-5 for longer hours and more unpredictability. What you gain for that is control and ultimately the ability to perhaps write your own bigger paycheque one day. The journey and experiences should provide you with far more personal value than just money ever would.
It’s certainly not for everyone, but if you’re on the fence, dive in and good luck!