You read that right,
It’s taken six years to hit a 6-month goal.
I’ll be honest; I’m still trying to figure out if that’s something I should be proud of or embarrassed by!!!
If I cast my mind back to the year 2017, when I decided to register a company and chase my entrepreneurial dream, I naively thought I would have it all figured out within six months.
My ego was fueling my brain with the classic ‘Only Fools & Horses Line.’
“This time next year, Luke, we will be millionaires.”
That didn’t go to plan!!
What followed was six years of highs, lows and a lot of unexpected challenges.
When I think back to everything that’s happened since 2017, there’s one huge life lesson that sticks out.
Hopefully, it will be a valuable lesson for you, if you’re thinking of starting your own business.
I’d like to think it might contribute to your success.
However, before I throw my conclusion at you, let me first provide you with the backstory of the last 6 years.
I think understanding the story will help you to see how I’ve come to this conclusion.
In 2017 I was coming off the back of a couple of great years working in Sydney and decided that instead of buying a house, I would pump my savings into this little thing we now call Giig.
The plan was simple:
Move back in with my parents for six months and live off my savings until the money started rolling in.
What could go wrong?
Little did I know that the first six years would throw a couple of challenges my way, and it would take me slightly longer than expected to fly the nest.
Here’s a quick rundown of what happened each year,
Year 1 (2017):
After opening the company in January, we spent 12 months getting together a prototype.
I didn’t realise software development takes this long.
At the same time, I had to move back to the UK as my Australian visa wouldn’t allow me to open a business abroad.
Year 2 (2018):
Like most businesses, we lost money in our first year of trading!
The UK was still in a spin due to this thing called Brexit (some of you may have heard of it), so most businesses kept their cards close to their chest.
To top that off, my Co-Founder decided to leave.
Year 3 (2019):
I now find myself running a software company without any technical expertise, which leaves me scrambling to find a way to keep the product afloat.
Year 4 (2020):
After securing a bit of backing, we rebranded to Giig.
A fresh approach, a fresh brand and a fresh team. All in time for a global pandemic.
A year in which there were much bigger issues than staying in business.
Year 5 (2021):
Things started to get back to normal; I’m now five years into something that’s spent the last four years losing money/scraping by.
Things are starting to improve and a team is starting to build.
Year 6 (2022):
We have our best year yet!
With a small stable team and consistent progress with the platform, it feels like we might finally be moving in the right direction as a tech start-up.
Year 7 (2023):
I finally moved out of my parent’s home!
Which brings us to the current day!
Now at the start of this blog, I mentioned that there’s one life lesson that I wanted to share.
I will be honest with you, it’s not groundbreaking, and you’ve probably heard it before, but it’s something that people overlook and something that shouldn’t be forgotten:
“Make sure you give yourself time and prepare for things to take longer than expected.”
Today we live in a world of instant gratification
Need to get somewhere — Uber
Want to see a film — Netflix
Feeling Hungry — Deliveroo
Everything comes quickly,
The modern-day gives you access to everything your heart could desire and it’s all at the tip of your fingers.
However, the one thing in life that still takes time and patience is your career/business.
This instant consumer lifestyle we’re living leads us to believe that our career goals will also come quickly.
When in reality, it takes an insane amount of time and dedication.
If you are someone that’s thinking of starting up a company and leaving full-time employment, make sure you give yourself enough time to learn and fail.
If you only have six months to make it happen, your chances of survival are way less than if you give yourself five years… and I hate to break it to you.
It might take you longer than five years.
It took Nike 16 years before they completed their IPO!
These things take time.
Before signing off, it’s also important for me to talk about the good fortune that I’ve had.
It’s not all been doom and gloom over the last six years.
At the start of this blog, I focused on the negatives to emphasise my point, but naturally, the reality is different.
As well as my fair share of bad luck, I’ve also received some incredible luck along the way and support from some incredible people that have been the reason why I stuck with it.
For letting me live at home for six years longer than expected. Without a roof over my head, I would have been forced to quit years earlier.
They’ve never told me to quit, they’ve never told me to play it safe.
When my first Co-Founder walked away at the end of 2018 it hit pretty hard.
Naturally when you’re a non-technical Co-Founder, losing your technical support is a pretty big kick in the sprouts.
It’s hard to take on the challenge on your own and I was incredibly lucky to cross paths with two new Co-Founders who have both taken a chance on Giig.
Since then, I’ve never looked back and it’s arguably been my biggest stroke of luck to date.
My First Investors
Landing the initial investment comes in close as my second biggest stroke of luck.
When I was running without a technical Co-Founder, I must have pitched the idea to over 30 different Angels/Funds.
I got lucky that one of them and a member of my family decided to take a chance on the idea.
You’re often told
“When you start a business, expect to lose friends”
For me, this couldn’t be further from the truth! I’ve been very fortunate with the mates I’ve had around me who have supported me with the odd pint here and there when I was struggling financially.
One of them has even supported me to move out and buy this house.
The point is,
If you’re thinking of starting a business, plan for the worst and hope for the best.
Our egos always lead us to believe that things will come easier and faster than we would like to think.
Give yourself time to learn and make mistakes and then strap yourself in and keep your fingers crossed because you will definitely experience some ups and some downs.
They weren’t lying when they said that it’s a rollercoaster!