Being an entrepreneur means so many different emotions: ups, downs, rights, wrong, etc.
While Spartups has made me feel more of an entrepreneur than ever, Pinfluence and my consulting has kept me down. Not that I don’t believe in them - I feel like I could do a whole lot better without a little bit of baggage. While I’m extremely thankful to CCK, there are some avenues where I believe they’ve actually held back the company.
When I join a startup company without any initial compensation, I join as an investor. Instead of “investing” money, I invest my time specifically because I believe in the company. I’m still that “investor” because my time equals equity. That has been me with Pinfluence for the last 10 months. In those 10 months I’ve learned a whole lot - the ins and outs of a company (albeit not entirely), trying to keep investors happy, and the ordeals of dealing with a “contract” development team abroad.
This whole ordeal has actually made me a whole lot more appreciative of programmers. Whereas I used to think they weren’t extremely important in a company, now I’m at the point where even if I have an idea - I would give up majority equity for that idea to the right programmer. So much has development influenced the last year that I’ve decided to take my own programming classes and learn things for myself just so I can fill in the blanks.
Early investors are extremely important, but picking the right ones are more important than ever. While I have the utmost respect for our investors, if I had been the one to “find” this company I would have done it differently. Instead of making the deal for a development team abroad, I would have taken the time to find my own CTO within my own city (or country) and had him/her create the product. While the product was being created, I would have designed the other channels of revenue which I now know we can hit. Once the product was created, I would use those channels for publicity, testing and marketing. While they may sound like fairy tales, I strongly believe I can do them. It’s just unfortunate that I’m in a position where I value both relationships very highly, one with a partner who I admire and respect, the other with at least one investor who I consider my mentor. Trying to find the middle ground sucks without making one or the other unhappy, but because I’ve invested so much time and effort into learning the business I KNOW I can turn this around into something that will be profitable (as some of our competitors are).
As an entrepreneur, it’s tough. I’ve never been the kind of person who screws people over, just because I’ve been screwed over in the past. I was raised a different way, and always taught that good karma reeps ten-fold. I would still do this my way, but not without giving up a little bit of my shares to make sure anyone else already invested in this company makes at least a little bit. I’m young, I’m bold, I’m courageous - even if they feel cheated in any way, I know I can pay them back over time and make up for whatever wrongs they think I may do with my decisions.
Spartups is a result of realising those wrongs. We’ve been offered hundreds of thousands of dollars in early investment, and were more than happy to say NO. Now, I’ll just have to do the same with my other baby.