Overtired on a plane = the decision to build a company
This is how my business partner and I started our company. It seems to work for us, although I’m pretty sure this may not be the typical route for most first time entrepreneurs.
It started with a friendship. Katie (my now business partner) and I worked together for a giant global media company for two years. We quickly learned that we were a good team. She is the ridiculously smart one with the ability to digest intense amounts of information in a few hours. Her brain amazes me everyday. I am the relationship builder, making sure we have the right assets to tap into when needed.
We are both task masters and work-a-holics.
This is where the odd part comes into play. After quickly realizing the power of our partnership, we chatted on a plane about what we could do if we simply (massive understatement in retrospect), worked for ourselves. We did not have a passion that we wanted to turn into a business. We did not have one great idea that we had to get into market. We had each other, and that seemed liked enough.
We decided to start at the end. What type of life did we want to lead? How many people did we want to work with? Where did we want to be based? How much money would make us happy?
This is where we netted out:
- Life: fun, challenged, freedom to shift course along the way, balanced, healthy
- Company Size: 10 – 40
- Location: work remotely (aka – have every aspect of the company be cloud based)
- Money: we would need 50K – 100K+ to pay our personal bills
We realized the company would need to be web based. We would either have to sell a product or a service to the public. Next we brainstormed ideas. What web-based company should we start?
The top five were:
- Life Stories: a multimedia platform for individuals or families to capture their stories (like if ancestry, facebook, and prezi had a love child).
- Viral Video Hub: a space for brands and user generated content to come together.
- Life Guide: a site to help individuals make complex life decisions like what health insurance to get, mortgage to take out, or mutual fund to invest in.
- A Social Media Agency: essentially buddy media ( this would have to require clients however).
- Date/Rate my X: a tell-all on your X-beau or X-belle
We picked one and have continued to work backwards – figuring out what is necessary to get to the end goal and then organize and activate the necessary steps to get there. Beta is projected for Sept. 1.
The Two Types of Entrepreneurs
There seems to be two different types of start-ups – ones that are purely digital, and ones that are not. Within the digital set, there seem to be two different types of entrepreneurs – your “techies” and your “non-techies.” I am definitely a non-techie, which can be a challenge seeing that I am starting a web-based company.
As a newbie entrepreneur, I didn’t realize how odd this paradox is.
It’s not to say that I’m the black sheep of the Silicon Valley/New York Alley world, but I would definitely say that I’m not in the majority. I’ve noticed that founder’s back-stories often involve coding software when in college, or building websites for friends in their spare time. What spare time I had between the ages of 16 – 21 was not exactly spent behind a computer.
But as the start-up has moved from a conversation on a plane with a friend into an alpha site with my now business partner, we’ve had to answer the question, “what makes us think we can pull this off?” Here is where I’ve netted out.
What I Am
- I am ridiculously driven (too often to a point where it becomes unhealthy)
- I can talk to anyone at anytime and am convincing
- I can see the big picture, then drop into the weeds to do the baby steps to get to the end goal (this is REALLY important)
- I am fun (seems odd to list, but you’d be surprised how many favors you can get if the other person is having a good time)
What I Am Not
- I am NOT a techie
- I am not good with numbers
- I am not someone that can sit still for more than 45 minutes
- I am not good with stopping at the status quo
The most valuable trait I continue to hone as I continue down the uncertain path of owning your own company, is to make the above two lists work together to complement each other.
Today, we have an incredible agency building our site that I’m in love with. All my college friends are good at keeping the books and are giving me valuable insight all the time. I think my A.D.D. works to my benefit most of the time, and pushing past the status quo is the reason behind why we’re building the site and this will (hopefully) shine through at launch (which we expect to be by Sept 1).
So there may be 2 different types of entrepreneurs, or 5 or 10, but if you don’t think you fit into any category, make your own. That’s what a true entrepreneur would do.
I’m an entrepreneur…I think?
“I don’t know what I want to do with my life” seems to be the common theme among my friends. I am one of the confused ones. My name is Mitchell Orkis, I’m 24, I live in New York City, and I work in advertising, but I am an entrepreneur… I think?
Everyone seems to talk about passion, and I say with passion, that I have not yet found what mine is. What I am starting to find though is the world or entrepreneurship. Working for yourself. Riding the emotional rollercoaster of starting a company. Toying with the idea of building something, and then busting your ass to achieve it.
There are great blogs that I have recently come to find written by people that have started company after company. My current favorite is www.cdixon.org, co-founder of www.hunch.com and an early stage investor in www.skype.com and www.foursquare.com. What I have not found is a blog written by someone that is just starting to tip his or her toe into the uncertain world of entrepreneurship. That is what I hope to do with this blog – to chronicle my journey as I start company…I think.
I am also going to post what I write at www.mitchellorkis.blogspot.com because I’m not exactly sure how tumblr works and my sister uses blogspot. See…I’m new at this. We’ll figure it out together and I’ll share my learnings along the way.