Building your own company from the ground up is a huge undertaking, but modern entrepreneurship isn’t nearly as solitary as you might think. Here’s why you’re not alone…
It’s a common trope that “the best and worst part about being an entrepreneur is that nobody tells you what to do”. For the most part that’s true, but into the millennial age I’d happen to disagree.
I wont lie to you, if you’re thinking of taking the plunge and starting your company, it will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. But you’re not nearly as alone as you think, if you know where to look.
Where do you start?
The hardest part is without a doubt starting.
You’re expecting me to tell you the story of my earth quaking eureka moment when I thought of the website and my life irrevocably changed, right? I’m not going to. (Not until later in this series, anyway).
Growing up, I had absolutely no interest in business, or entrepreneurship, or websites for that matter. At University I was only really interested in drinking – not exactly the Bill Gates of the future, then.
So what was the best resource I had at the time? My friends.
If we’re honest, I’m lucky to be where I am, and it all came from the friends I lived with in Nottingham.
How it began…
Like the majority of students, I was going out most of the time and spending a lot of my week in bed. My housemates, meanwhile, were invested in start up ventures. I would come downstairs at about 3-4 pm with a shaky hangover and Joe (the handsome devil without a tie) would be zenned into an entrepreneurship podcast about starting a company. I swear his room had more books on entrepreneurship than I’ve ever seen.
Freddie (second left) was more of a writer. During our Second Year, Freddie set up FCapitalSport, a sports blog based around London. Initially I started as a blog writer because I figured it was a good chance to get some experience. As I had no idea what I wanted to do, I figured ‘may as well give sports journalism a swing’. Its not too much to say that my CV could have literally said “Experience: holding Freddie Stuart’s coat tails”. Anyway, I got more and more into it and began to see how simply a person can start up a website (more on that later).
Of my other housemates, one was a budding Graphic Designer (handy) and another was the funniest guy with the best knowledge of the internet I think I’ve ever met. Again, handy when starting up a business, trust me.
So why am I telling you about my friends?
Because Joe, the reader, would chat to me in the garden about whatever podcast he had been listening to and, eventually, I tuned in to what he was saying. I took an interest. Similarly, Freddie the writer had the minerals to just ‘start a blog and see what happens’ – an attitude of his I’ve now adopted for myself.
Being aware and being brave are essential ingredients to starting an idea.
This is the environment I was in that led to the Eureka moment for this Website. I’d been thinking about starting my own website (having decided sports journalism maybe wasn’t for me) and Joe made it look so fun. I had caught the entrepreneurship bug. So I was always on the look out for a problem I could solve. This was when I realised I’d messaged my course friend, Dave, about 30 times that week with little questions relating to our studies. I didn’t want to spend the time researching and I knew he’d give me a steer on. I thought “that should be worth Dave’s time”. So then I got thinking some more. Then it was 3 am one morning and I was writing “Third year, first year” on a piece of paper beside my bed.
I’d had my idea.
But it wasn’t quite as Eureka as it appears. It was the culmination of endless hours of chatting with my friends about how you start a company and why you should bother and what problems actually matter to the world.
So what about you? What if your housemates don’t have a rich and varied set of interests that you can use to help spark an idea? Guess that’s you done for then.
I was lucky. Having those friends, at that time, was a huge help. But there’s so many other things you can do. I’m going to assume you’re at least semi-interested in starting your own company, just by reading this article. And that’s a good start.
Next week, we’ll talk about what happened immediately after I’d had my idea, and I’ll tell you about the people that helped turn it into a reality. (Go give our Facebook page a like so you don’t miss it.)