3 Entrepreneurial Reflections Over the last Year Since Resigning from my full time job
In August 2020 I jumped off a cliff by resigning from my full time job to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams. I won’t bore you with the reasons as I already wrote about them here, but in essence I was ready to start living the life I’ve always known I should. It’s roughly been a year since taking that step of faith so I thought it would be fitting to give some reflections on how this last year has been.
Reflection 1: Start Then Improve
Finding the courage to resign from my full time job and start a business was a decision 24 years in the making. Now aged 25 I can definitely say that I’m glad I started.
The prior years experience of starting passion projects and side hustles, culminated in me starting a business selling mindset inspired phone screensavers.
A Shopify store, branding and over 100 digital products later led my co-founder and to launch MindSaver on 13th September 2020.
They say starting is the hardest part.
Although sales were inconsequential, I developed a lot of skills whilst working on Mindsaver such as branding, video marketing, advertising.
It gave me the understanding of what I enjoy and problems I care about, which led to me eventually iterate in April 2021 to create a mental toughness community for early-stage and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Had I not started in September 2020, I would not have been able to improve.
If you have an idea or a problem you see - start trying to solve / build it, learn from the process and improve later.
Reflection 2: Leverage Resources Around You
Resigning from my full time job in August 2020, meant resigning from my sole stream of income. I was fortunate enough to have some savings and have relatively low expenses.
Building our first mindset business idea required money. We spent money on Shopify, Canva, PlaceIt, Gmail subscriptions; Facebook ads; Influencer marketing and other miscellaneous expenses.
The term bootstrapping is paying for things yourself.
As a bootstrapping start up you want to keep costs as low as possible, but as mentioned things still need to be paid for. Ever since a friend of mine got a free trip to Morocco for a Young Person’s Leadership summit, my eyes were opened to the world of grants and competitions.
Over this last year, I would aggressively apply to as many relevant competitions and grants as possible to win financial and in-kind resources.
Thanks to the lovely team at Foundervine and WeWork, I was able to earn 1 year’s free access to WeWork co-working space from March 2021 to March 2022 which has been a blessing as I’m able to work in a productive environment and network with other founders (my target audience!).
I also recently was successful to gain a free paid-summer intern, whose wages were paid by Santander (whose done a phenomenal job creating video assets may I say) and I’m currently awaiting for the results of other grants & competitions.
Joining start-up networks, subscribing to start up community emails lists and following well connected individuals in the start up ecosystem increases your chances to about the latest financial or in-kind opportunities you can benefit from as a bootstrapping founder.
Leveraging resources around you also force you to be creative, improve your sales skills and most of all refine your business idea when pitching - all tremendous benefits regardless if you “win” what you are applying to.
Reflection 3: There Route, Is Not Mine
Often on social media the “success” of entrepreneurs can be perceived to be very formulaic e.g. resign from job > launch product > make tens of thousands per month or drop out of university > start tech company > gain thousands of users > gain investment.
Of course this is an oversimplification, but its only hindsight that showed me that I too subscribed to these unrealistic formulas. However, after hearing from other entrepreneurs (both directly and indirectly) I’ve realised that there are a plethora of different routes to entrepreneurial success.
This gave me the confidence to create my own route.
When leaving my full time job, I was expecting to replace my income in less than a year. When I noticed this was not happening and I realised that personal bills wait for no one and future plans can’t be planned on wishes, so I decided income had to be earnt.
I was grateful that throughout this year I was able to freelance and earn money from public speaking; doing research and copywriting. However it was around April 2021 that I decided I want some regular income, but not at the expense of time to invest in my business.
The route I chose was a part time job.
My criteria for such a job was a high hourly pay; somewhere I can develop new skills and learn a good level of flexibility.
My prayers were answered around last month and after nearly one year I became a (part time) employee again!
When I resigned from my full time job in August 2020, I was not expecting to begin working part time however I don’t see this as a failure or a detour but actually an opportunity to maximise the 25 hours per week outside of my part time job to work on my own business.
Some founders have a quicker rate of business growth, some don’t - I find peace in enjoying what I’m doing and becoming a stronger person through the process of endurance.
This last year has really been dynamic. It's been filled with highs, lows, lessons and blows. I don't regret it as it's started the initial moulding process of becoming the person I've always wanted to be. I'm grateful for the opportunity to build a community of like minded entrepreneurs starting out their journey to develop their mental toughness (something I need as much as our members).
Come back in a years time to se my two year reflections!