Meet our Mate Dave (the Ninja)
I haven’t written about Boston as yet (but it is on the list), however when I was there I went to a product demo at Techhub one of the people I met that evening and demo’ing their product was Dave from Ninja Outreach, we met up later that week and talked about some of the challenges we faced and a lot of them were exactly the same, so with that in mind I ask Dave to guest post for us (Our very 1st one!)
Dave, over to you…..
As a first time startup founder for my blogger outreach software, NinjaOutreach, I have been on the roller coaster ride that you so often here from seasoned entrepreneurs.
It seems as though every day I wake up, not knowing whether it’s going to be a “good” day or a “bad” day (usually it depends on my inbox and how many cancellations there are).
That said, there are some things I have come to simply know are the status quo for running a startup.
My goal with this post is to share with you what you can expect as a first time founder.
You’re On 24/7
I knew that startups could be a grind.
I was expecting long 12+ hour days (and I got them).
But I wasn’t nearly prepared for the 24/7 aspect of running a startup, most of which isn’t spent working on the startup but thinking about the startup.
Yes, that’s right – I probably spend more time thinking about my startup than I do even working on it.
It seems like no where is safe.
Out at a restaurant – thinking about my startup.
Watching TV – thinking about my startup.
Dreaming…about my startup.
It occupies a lot of mental space, and as someone who has a girlfriend who requires normal human attention, it can be difficult to turn the switch off.
Without a doubt, it has been the most time intensive undertaking I’ve ever voluntarily signed up for.
You’re Always On Call
Outside of mental capacity, I’ve been surprised by how erratic the startup’s needs have been. It’s kind of like an insatiable child, who can’t be reasoned with.
That is to say that 12 hours of work hardly means 12 contiguous hours of work, it’s disjointed and filled with sporadic naps.
Often, I’ll have meetings very early in the morning to talk with clients in Europe, and on occasion meetings very late at night to deal with clients in Asia and Australia.
Although your expectation is that more or less the work day is going to be the same for everyone, it’s not.
And there are a lot more international clients than you expect!
As a result, I generally sleep with the phone next to me so I can be up at a moment’s notice. Fun!
Iteration Times Move Slowwwwly
How many times has this been you:
“Feature X will be ready next week”
“Sorry, just one more week”
It seems that no matter how certain I am that said feature is going to launch – it doesn’t. It gets delayed by even more time than I could have imagined it getting delayed, sometimes being months late!
Technology is different that way. It’s hard to correctly estimate bugs and features.
And of course, there are always distractions (*cough* – customer support), which eat up our developer’s time.
As a non-techy, it can be difficult for me to understand why this is happening, but I’ve sort of gotten used to it, and try not to predict release dates anymore.
Competition Is Everywhere
It seems I look at every startup, regardless of whether or not it’s in my niche, as a competitor.
Not in the sense that they’re stealing clients from me, but simply comparing my achievements against their perceived achievements.
Which is just wrong, and I know it.
But it’s hard to look away when startup X just reached their thousandth customer.
The fact is, when you care deeply about something, it drives competition, even when you’re not looking for it.
So why would anyone start a startup?
The best explanation I’ve heard is that you just can’t imagine doing anything else.
And now that I’m here, I have to agree.
What have been the most unexpected consequences of your startup?
David Schneider is the Content Director at NinjaOutreach an all in one Influencer Outreach software for marketers. He blogs about business at SelfMadeBusinessman. You can also find him on twitter @ninjaoutreach