Everyone participating in Founder Institute has a date circled on their calendar and burned into their brain from day one: the day by which you are to have your idea culminate into an incorporated business. Everything we’ve done up to this point is meant to prepare us to engage a law firm to “put some wood behind the arrow” of our intent. So the past week most (if not all) of us were finalizing company names, buying domains, negotiating with co-founders and various other activities in order to make the December 6th deadline. So I’m very pleased to report that the company through which I am developing my service, Fotojelly Inc, was formed on December 2nd. Phew. Ok, so what’s next?
Now, my nose is really to the grindstone. The clock is ticking. The pressure is on. Because it’s one thing to talk about “oh, I’ve got this startup that I’m working on” and quite another to pronounce “…but I’ve not really done anything with it.” No one wants to be in the Sally Bucket at this stage of the game. And so there was no popping of champagne corks, celebrating, or even a high-five. Instead, I’m in the process of negotiating with developers, tweaking my Office 365 implementation, and putting together a work schedule to hopefully have a “minimally viable product” to show before the end of the year. The excitement is still very palpable, but the reality of my obligation to take advantage of the opportunity given to me by Founder Institute and all of the great mentors I’ve been introduced to weighs heavily on me.
Before going any further, I want to publicly recognize and thank the team at Much Shelist that has worked with me and many of my FI colleagues. Frankly, I wasn’t sure I was going to use them, as my budget is tight non-existent and I thought that the process was simple enough that I could use LegalZoom or whatever. Thankfully, one of the practice managers, Greg Grover, held what I’ll describe as a “Scared Straight”-session in which he explained not only everything that was necessary but also shared anecdotes of what can happen if things go slightly to horribly wrong. The dual realizations that a) it’s much more involved than a few wizards on a website would offer, and b) these guys have a lot of experience that will come in handy, made engaging them a no-brainer for me.
With less than two month to graduation, I’m now hyper-focused on building my team, developing a “base” product, and validating my business model. All of this work needs to then be summarized into my pitch, which I’m sharing with anyone and everyone I can. Really – ping me and I’ll pitch to you over Skype. I’m very open to feedback! Thus far, the general consensus is that a) Fotojelly solves a unique problem that can be monetized, and b) there are several products/services “nibbling around the edges” of this problem, so move with haste. I’m sure that I’ll discover some gaps in our plan, and hopeful that they are found sooner rather than later.
I also want to thank you, the readers. Many of you have emailed or tweeted me with feedback, and I really appreciate that. My reason for sharing this experience is because I believe in the power of openness to inspire and improve. With that, I want to offer 3 additional ways for you to consider supporting Fotojelly:
· “Like” our Facebook page. We are just a few individuals shy of being able to secure our vanity URL (you need 25 “Likes”). I promise not to spam you.
· Follow us on twitter. I’d love to cross-pollinate between the twitter handles we have for our respective businesses. If you are open to following with your personal account too, that’s a bonus.
· Our launch page, http://launch.fotojelly.com is operational too. We have created a limited edition “badge” that will be given to our first 100 members to display on their profile page.
Why am I doing this so early? Because Fotojelly is very dependent upon being part of the social fabric, growing virally through consumer engagement and clear business marketing value. And, I need to continually stay mindful of my personal shyness and realize that keeping things under wraps can be detrimental to my business success.
Wish us luck as we hunker down with our eye on the starting line. The Founder Institute experience is really all about preparing for success, sprinting towards the “end of the beginning”