Tell me the other half of your success story

I appreciate you taking the time to freely share your learnings with us here. But I also want to hear the rest of the story: what it took to get there and how you could've done it better.

If you've ever shared a flex piece on here, please tell me the rest of the story.

Some prompts:

  • Workload: How many hours/week did you work?
  • Personal Life: What personal life tradeoffs did you make?
  • Personal Finance: How was your personal piggy bank impacted?
  • Product: Did you compromise product quality or direction?

Most importantly, how could you have achieved the same amount of success more efficiently?

  • What could you have ignored? How could you have done more in less time?

Commenters: Link back to your original post
Viewers: Share this with the success story authors you're interested in

  1. 2

    For myself, it was indeed a very long road before knowing initial traction on a project.

    I got a business background (business school into first employee in a startup into head of growth) but I always had deep interest in the tech community (I code since 13).

    Before going all in in my entrepreneurship journey, I took a Real estate credit and a good exit with my old company. Thanks Airbnb and the generous policy of french state regarding unemployed it allows me to keep a great deal of my old revenue.

    For the first 3 months I try to crack real estate problems with 2 associates on a all-in-one SaaS. I played the role of CPO/COO. The association explodes before having our first client. I decided to recode from scratch what we built and to launch the SaaS by my own.

    That's where it started. On a technical part it was a crazy time: I've learned so much and so fast + I really enjoyed shipping features and getting quick feedbacks. I had a list of 3-4 industrial players very commit to the project. So, I was on a good direction. My first MVP came out 1 month after.

    That is where things became nastier. Brick and mortar + blue ocean kind of product is very hard. Too hard for a solopreneur. The directors of agencies were very interested by the project but ask for wrong shiny features (like dashboards and stats) BUT the actual end users (the Real estate agents) were for the most part anti digital and do not have the same needs. It's classical for a CRM to have their end user not interested at all by the product. Too complex, overengineered, a top-down solution for their manager but nothing useful for them.
    Plus the fact that I was chasing 500€/y ACV deals with the very old school strategy. Cold outbound prospection. No Real estate agent would like to even have a business call: you got to do indoor canvassing with insane sales cycle. It's like a 10k€ CPA business and very low willingness to pay.
    And I was all alone to code at night and maintaining this kind of non-scalable deal flow.
    It was insanely hard. So, I was distracted on this path by having other side projects that seem on the paper as quick wins to solve a specific issue they had (about contract generation or about photo enhancement...).
    But it was clearly a flight forward. I was not able to focus on any of this idea post MVP.

    I was tired. I overworked a lot like 100 hours per week, I was alone and I was very frustrated to have no result at all + to have zero external traction when I tried to find cofounders. All my previous coworkers, bosses and Friends who very strongly believed in me began to have serious doubts on my entrepreneurship quest.
    It was like dude just why are tout doing this? is Real estate your passion? No, it was the cup of tea of my old associate. I've just continued for a while the project because I don’t give up that easily.

    In short, I did a Burnout, I remember during like 6 weeks I did nothing. I came to the office (in a incubator) and during all the day from 7am to 11pm I was either watching random videos or playing poker. I was at a very low point. So, I took a 4 weeks holidays to clean my mind.

    After it, I focus on finding a business associate because this loneliness was way to hard for me. I found one I was like following and coaching in its early days.
    He told me the problem solution fit he was trying to build and its current technical Stack and difficulties working with freelance. He still had at that Time 0 turnover.
    I found a leaner solution based on Google APIs for generating and editing documents instead of very old and non-user-friendly WYSIWYG technologies.
    I build the MVP in 10 days. It was at first a quotation software for destination management companies.
    Then We got our first client and a second one. We build the company the following month and have pretty good traction the 2 first months.

    Then covid. It was really hard. We Lost like everything except 1 early adopter. We decided to maintain our focus and energy on the product to be ready at the end of this dark period. I had to do at this time a 40 days freelance mission to find some cash for myself. We did quite a good job in that Time: finding improbable deals that led us to enough feedbacks to continue the product development and think the strategy.
    Then end during May, some magic starts to happen. The business in Europe was going up like crazy due to end of covid. Old prospects were knocking at the door and new ones were insanely easy to close.
    We are now in an insane phase of growth: it may seem small numbers for the moment but I never felt si close to doing it.
    We have 7k MRR and our week-to-week growth was at 43% last week.

    So, this is my first part of the success story.

    1. 1

      Interesting journey, thanks for sharing & good luck!

    2. 1

      Wow, man. I really appreciate you sharing this! You could even turn it into a post of its own.

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