If this is your first time reading, I recommend you start with my 6-month challenge and table of contents of weekly posts for the past 12 weeks.
tl;dr Now marks the end of the third month of my six-month challenge. I’m satisfied with my overall progress so far but unhappy with the speed at which I’m moving.
It is now the halfway point of my six-month challenge. The past three months felt like three days, and I’m shocked at how fast they flew by.
I wanted to have launched my MVP by now, but after talking with users and watching them interact with the app last week, there are things I still need to fix and tweak for another week or so. Not to mention just getting things ready to go, so that’s still a work in progress.
I’ve set some ambitious goals for myself the next upcoming months, so I am excited for that.
I. What I’ve accomplished so far
II. Top five lessons learned
5. Persistence Is the Key
A lot of founders were surprised how important persistence was in startups. It was both a negative and a positive surprise: they were surprised both by the degree of persistence required
Everyone said how determined and resilient you must be, but going through it made me realize that the determination required was still understated.
and also by the degree to which persistence alone was able to dissolve obstacles:
If you are persistent, even problems that seem out of your control (i.e. immigration) seem to work themselves out.
Several founders mentioned specifically how much more important persistence was than intelligence.
I’ve been surprised again and again by just how much more important persistence is than raw intelligence.
This applies not just to intelligence but to ability in general, and that’s why so many people said character was more important in choosing cofounders.
– Paul Graham, What Startups Are Really Like
I. WHAT I’VE ACCOMPLISHED SO FAR
Just wanted to take a step back and reflect on what I’ve accomplished so far in three months:
- Chose an idea with a noted market need that also sought to solve a personal pain point
- Narrowed my initial broad focus (vegetarian/vegan, Paleo, gluten free etc) to concentrating on owning the gluten free space (and lesser extent, food allergies)
- Learned more about gluten free through books, research, medical lectures and conversations with healthcare professionals
- Learned about my own gluten intolerance
- Built 3 MVP iterations even as a non-technical, single founder
- Sourced 50+ beta testers
- Collected 60+ quality surveys from potential users
- Conducted 10+ in-person usability tests
- Performed an interesting email experiment MVP
- Attended 5 office hour meetings with Rock Health (idea feedback, MVP 1, MVP 2, MVP 3 and then application tips)
- Attended 1 office hour meeting with Greylock Partners (pitch practice)
- Consulted an informal advisory board of current tech employees, former and present entrepreneurs
I feel like I haven’t accomplished much at all, based on how irritated I am with myself at being slow at pushing out my private beta, but reading back what I’ve done the past three months… that’s kind of incredible 🙂 definitely would not have guessed at all these were how things would turn out! Excited to see where I am in six months from now.
I had really hoped to have shipped a private beta by now (as of posting this monthly review), but am really pushing to get it done this week.
II. TOP FIVE LESSONS LEARNED
Here are the top five lessons I’ve learned over the course of this month — three of which I’ll repeat myself from last month as well:
- Be true to yourself. Whether or not you’re a morning or night person, don’t try to configure your habits to an “ideal” if you truly don’t work well that way. I’ve found coworking spaces actually don’t work well for me. But libraries and coffee shops do. I also, as much as I hate to say it, am a total night person and have wasted many days trying to convert myself into a morning person. Now, I don’t care. I just do whatever works best for me.
- Mobile user experience is key. The vast majority use case for Cusoy, based on what I can see from users and my own personal case, is mobile. This means to spend more time optimizing the mobile user experience over the desktop one.
- Talk to your targeted users. Unless someone is your targeted user, you probably won’t get much good actionable feedback, even from friends and advisors.
- Exercise. Keeps your body fit, your brain sane and your mind productive. Your health is extremely important. Exercise goes hand in hand with eating healthy and getting enough sleep as well.
- Keep building. Don’t go to networking events. I’ve RSVP’d for at least 10 events this month that I thought would be helpful for me, only to cancel my RSVP at the last minute for every single one of them. Everything is a distraction. Learn to say no – and say yes to focus and building your product for your users.
I am also seriously contemplating extending this to 9 or even 12 months, rather than my original 6 months… since it’s halfway over and I am just on the brink of launching — which, as we all know, can mean nothing if there are major iterations or pivots to be made. I have more than enough runway from savings, based on being financially frugal, to last me that long too, so runway is not an urgent, critical issue.
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