The end of the beginning

I have officially reached the end of the beginning

By the ‘end of the begining’,  I am referring to the early stages of starting a business. I have completed the ‘planning’ and ‘research’ , I’ve settled on a design for the site, and now I am preparing myself mentally for the hard slog that is, running a business. The blinkers are on. I’ve completed all the nitty-gritty things which need to be done before you can label your thoughts an idea, or even begin thinking you have the makings of a business. A majority of these things have little bearing on whether or not the idea will be successful, however on looking back they have taken a disproportionate amount of time, so I am glad they’re out of the way. For example, due to the incompetence of a high street bank which shall remain nameless, it took three weeks, four meetings, two replacement cheque books and an unhealthy amount of time on hold, before I finally managed to open a business account. These things always seem to take up the most time and energy, and when you are trying to startup, time and energy are in short supply.

I am unaware of a checklist, or specific set of requirements, which need to be completed before one can safely say they have reached this point, I am assuming every situation is different, and each individuals circumstances unique. However I know that I have reached this stage, as my candle now only burns from one end.

In a previous post I wrote about the difficulties of working a day job and trying to build a website. It was more a complaint than an observation, and I likened it to burning a candle at both ends. From today onwards, or to be precise from yesterday, I can no longer make that complaint as I am officially unemployed. I always knew that I was going to leave my job, that was a certainty, the only thing I was unsure of was when. I was eager to seek advice on the topic of quitting your job, I even planned to write a post on it, however It seems the gods have no time for indecision because I was pushed before I could jump. I always assumed I would leave on my terms, or at least try and  elongate my stay if I felt I was being forced out, but during the meeting I didn’t put up a fight. Deep down I knew that the time had come,  and ‘reflecting’ on it, I am glad its over and done with. I don’t have any regrets about working, nor do I harbour any animosity towards the CEO, in fact I think I respect him even more for getting the deed done. While working there, I learnt a considerable amount about business and more importantly myself, and at times, I actually enjoyed going into work. One of the unofficial strap lines of the company was Work hard, Play hard, and I hope it’s something I’ll be able to replicate in my company when I get the chance to.

Now that I am no longer working my only focus from this point forward is the website, I no longer have any of the safety nets I have grown so dependent on over the last few years. I’ve graduated from University, I no longer have a 9 to 5, and I am too old to play professional football. As a result this has to be a success, I literally don’t have a choice. In the early 1500’s an explorer from Cuba, called Hernan Cortez, set sail for Mexico with 600 men. On their arrival he ordered them to burn their boats. His reasoning was that with no means of going back, they were forced to go forward.

I think I just burnt my boat.


The Entrepreneurs Rollercoaster of Emotions

I’m starting the weekend shattered. It’s 1am on Saturday morning and I have been working on the website for most of the evening. I started as soon as I got back from work, and it feels as if the week has finally caught up with me. Working a day job, and then putting in  another shift when you get home is certainly not easy, I think I am beginning to understand what it means to burn the proverbial candle at both ends.

Before I get carried away writing this post, I would like to thank everyone who read my first post, and everyone who left a message. The messages and the number of people who viewed it, definitely inspired me to continue, and hopefully this blog will be going for some time.

It’s been a strange evening for some reason, and it’s definitely why I decided to post tonight instead of on Sunday. Earlier on I was overwhelmed with a mix of emotions, mostly fear, anxiety and inadequacy. I haven’t felt this way for a long time, not since the Quarter Finals of the University Cup where I stepped up to take a penalty and missed. I think I am in the middle of a reality check.

What’s even worse is that tonight was update night, and I never feel this way on update night, in fact, I usually feel quite the opposite. Update nights, evenings or afternoons, are any time I get to see the new changes that have been made to the site, and these are always greeted with as much joy and enthusiasm as a three-year old opening presents on their birthday. My emotions today are not a reflection on the work my developer has produced, it’s just that the size of the task ahead has dawned on me. If you read my last post, you’ll know that I used to be in business with my brother and cousin. During this time I never dealt directly with things I couldn’t handle as we were all very different and my weaknesses were their strengths and vice versa. However now, I am dealing with all aspects of the business and there is no one to hide behind now. The thought of having to source coders, designers, copy writers, and marketers among the other one hundred and one things I have to do, just seemed to engulf me, but after writing for a while I am beginning to see them as small obstacles, instead of one huge Everest.

One thing which I think will be a Mount Kilimanjaro in itself is raising finance. I would be interested in finding out what the options are for start-ups trying to raise finance in today’s market. I’ve started researching the topic, but my initial reactions have not been positive. If there is anyone reading this, that has been  through it, or is currently going through this process, I would be interested in hearing from you and I would appreciate any information on the subject.

Slighty off topic, I think writing a blog is very therapeutic, and I would be interested in reading someones elses account of starting up a business. If any one else is doing something similar, don’t be shy, make yourself known, and for the smaller, less dramatic updates, please feel free to follow me on twitter. @AmaraUkaigwe

Time to sleep, it’s late, it’s just gone three and I’ve got football in the morning , so that means I’ve got a hatrick to score.

Reality check over.