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What It Really Takes To Start A Business

First months after the idea conception have been extremely exciting and intense to say the least. We were brainstorming the business logic, conducting competitive research and market analysis, designing the user interface and searching for a web developer to help us build an MVP which we could use to test the very soundness of the idea and see if it has the legs.

I’m guessing you are reading this blog post because you are curious as to what it takes to go from an idea to money-making. In that case, stay tuned because you’re in the right place for I’ll tell you the firsthand experience of what it takes to take an idea from conception through an MVP on to the version v1.0 and ultimately to product market fit (PMF) which is in essence the seal of approval and a measure of success, or at least a short-lived success while the hockey stick growth is on.

My lovely wife and I – both of entrepreneurial nature – in our first year of marriage came up with myriad of startup ideas only to bury them after exhaustive brainstorming and meticulous research. Many months into our search for an exciting idea which could have enough merit to take off, we got our break in the summer of 2014 as we came up with the idea for Parttimerz. Prior to Parttimerz, I’ve started three different businesses since the start of the new millennium, all of which have eventually flopped but not due to a weak idea, bad timing or insufficient funds but lack of focus and persistence to see it through – lessons learned from those failures I’ll share with you in detail in another post.

Now back to Parttimerz. The idea came from our desire to improve the quality of life and raise people’s standard of living – so we had our BIG why which was twofold; one, to help create part-time job opportunities for everyone who’s skillful enough and willing to offer professional services on a part-time basis to our invaluable clients and two, to provide our clients (startups, SMBs and individuals) the means to outsource their needs to professionals when needed in full confidence that they’ll get their money’s worth – and so Parttimerz was born.

First months after the idea conception have been extremely exciting and intense to say the least. We were brainstorming the business logic, conducting competitive research and market analysis, designing the user interface and searching for a web developer to help us build an MVP which we could use to test the very soundness of the idea and see if it has the legs. While I’ve never really been a sleeper as I usually sleep 5 hours per day, the months from August 2014 to January 2015 I’ve slept on average 4 hour per day but funny enough, felt exhilarated and upbeat – probably because of the adrenaline rush I’ve felt from all the excitement associated with doing something we believe in and are passionate about, and partly because of excessive caffeine intake.

Nearly four months later and north of 1500 hundred hours of ‘give it all you’ve got’ hard work and dedication, through a business acquaintance of mine we’ve been introduced to a freelance web developer who became a part of our team over the next several months. Over the next eight weeks, we’ve taken four months worth of notes, sketches, writeup, workflows and business logic and converted into our MVP, which in hindsight looked like it was built-in ancient – pre-internet – era.

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MVP landing page

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MVP Activities page

Nonetheless, despite the bare bones look and feel, our MVP was fully functional with relatively complex relational database system (RDBMS) and business logic in the back. Anxiously and with much anticipation, we’ve taken down a pre-registration page we’ve put up two months earlier to gather valuable information on prospective users – freelancers and clients – and uploaded our MVP instead. We went live in March 2015 – seven months after the idea inception.

Having set up our social media hubs and promoted our platform in parallel to aforementioned activities we’ve done over the period of 7 months, by the time we’ve launched our MVP we’ve had several hundred pre-registered users waiting our invitation to partake in our initial test and we’ve also added another hundred members from our friends, family and business acquaintances.

We’ve invited all of then and started testing Parttimerz rigorously. Over the next three months we’ve been stress testing and closely monitoring performance of our platform, interviewing users, collecting feedback and taking notes. By June of 2015 we’ve realized that Parttimerz has merit but needs loads of work to get it ready for the international audience and ultimately achieve product market fit (PMF). Armed with knowledge from MVP testing and enthusiasm, we went in search of a professional web development company to help us build our v1.0.

The search took us to my home city of Sarajevo, where in July of 2015 we’ve incorporated Parttimerz and entered into a Web Development and Design agreement with the leading web development company. Over the next four months, we’ve been breathing, eating, sleeping, thinking and walking Parttimerz, literally. From daily interactions with our technical team discussing our platform’s desired look and feel, business logic and user experience, to market analysis, business planning and go-to-market strategy, we’ve been fully consumed by it. Finally, in November of 2015, we’ve successfully soft-launched Parttimerz v1.0.

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Parttimerz v1.0 landing page

On the back of previously established social media hubs, we’ve been promoting Parttimerz and testing various traction channels along the way. We’ve decided not to go overboard and promote our platform with fanfare but instead to learn as much possible how to improve overall user experience and have – as a result of that decision – spent the whole of 2016 learning, tweaking and optimizing our platform. And so armed with enormous intel obtained from a yearlong of real-time observation, feedback, interviews and tweaking, in January of 2017 with mere several thousands of our members, we’ve launched Parttimerz v2.0 with fair bit of fanfare.

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Parttimerz v2.0 landing page

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Parttimerz v2.0 Profile page

Our newly improved and utterly unconventional business model which focuses on quality over quantity and rewards the top performing freelancers with an extra paycheck while it weeds out the weak has clients beating a path to our door. We are committed to providing the best freelancing service that money can buy and are only interested in recruiting, mentoring, guiding and retaining PREMIUM GRADE freelancers which guarantee to meet – if not exceed – our clients expectations time and again.

While we’ve seen a long-awaited hockey stick growth in clients and PREMIUM GRADE freelancers with tens of thousands already registered, I’d say we’re still few months away from product market fit (MPF). Nonetheless, sheer determination, commitment and hard work we’ve demonstrated throughout the past 2 years and 7 months will help us get to our coveted goal.

Wrapping it all up

If you’re thinking about starting a business, be it online or brick and mortar, before all else make sure you’re mentally prepared for all the obstacles, setbacks and uphill battles you’re most definitely bound to encounter. Don’t listen to the naysayers who will readily come up with thousand reasons why you’ll fail but instead focus on the BIG why, which you absolutely must have before embarking on an entrepreneurial journey if you’re to come out victorious.

 

Did you find this post useful and what are your thoughts on starting a business? Get in touch with me via Twitter or Parttimerz

P.S. If you’re open to guest blogging and want to make $50 per 500-750 words blog post, sign up.

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