My First Three Months As A Startup Founder

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Three months I ago I decided to start a startup.

For the third time.

My previous two “startups” had failed at or before launch.

And that was despite having success in the past with two other businesses.

Going off those metrics then, I should have a 50% chance of success this time round ūüôā

… Just joking. I know it’s harder than that.

That aside it can be hard for some to step back up and have another go. But I know this is what I want to do with my life. I have literally been building businesses for as long as I can remember.

Starting with garage sales when I was 8.

To selling things off eBay when I was 12 or so.

It’s never been hard to find an idea that I wanted to pursue. And Task Pigeon was no different.¬†I personally had an itch that needed scratching. And no tool on the market did just want I needed to.

Month One – Getting Started

I would love to say that I spent a weekend knocking up an MVP.

Launched it on Product Hunt come Monday. (We did eventually get featured on Product Here – Here’s the lessons I learnt)

And was figuring out what feature to build next based on the feedback by Tuesday.

But I’m a non-technical founder….

I needed help.

I had the idea, the vision and the wireframes.

I knew how I wanted the application to work, but words don’t sell. People need to see what they are buying to become attached.

words don’t sell. People need to see what they are buying to become attached

I also wanted to move fast.

Try Task Pigeon Today!

It's the straightforward task management tool for teams who want to get things done!

I know that moving too slow was an issue with my first attempt at a startup. I blew too much time (and effort) chasing an idea that never got off the ground.

This time I was committed to being different.

I took my wireframes and asked five freelancers to create a single mock up for me.

Why five?

Cause I knew 4 of them would probably be no good.

Luckily, my hunch was right. Designer number five was a hit. Solid on the design. And more importantly he understood the vision.

That single mockup turned into three.

I now had something to show people.

Month Two – Testing

Month one finished with some outreach to my network.

Over the past 12 months I have made a point of helping others in the startup community any way I could.

This gave me around 50 people I could hit up for some advice.

The biggest thing I could ask for was their raw and honest feedback. Don’t pull any punches or try not to hurt my feelings.

I wanted to hear it all.

And hear it all I did.

By month two I had taken this early feedback and refined my landing page and fleshed out the design.

It was time to hit up some¬†people who didn’t know me. ¬†So¬†I contacted 200 people on Linkedin.

That worked okay.

But by far the biggest success was listing on BetaList.

70+ People subscribed.

And a handful even wrote in to give me their feedback.

My initial hypothesis was proving to be correct.

There isn’t a one size fits all approach to task management.¬†And perhaps their is an opportunity to carve out a slice of the market for Task Pigeon.

Month Three – The Tech

By now I had basically designed the entire web application.

The interface.

The user on boarding.

Even the settings panel.

But I needed to find someone to build Task Pigeon.

And to be honest this process really started back in month two. I knew it would take a while to find the technical talent I needed to build Task Pigeon so I looked at a couple of options.

  • Outsourcing on Upwork
  • And hiring a developer on a contract basis.

I had, had some solid proposals via Upwork.

In fact, I am sure they could have built what I was after.¬†But I wasn’t 100% satisfied.

The other approach I had taken was advertising on Angel List.

I had a decent number of applicants. And went on to interview around 10 people.

But none of them seemed the right fit.

Until I found the one person I was after. Immediately I knew that they were the person who could build Task Pigeon.

They had the skill set. They had some experience. But most importantly they loved working in the startup scene.

But most importantly they loved working in the startup scene.

I moved quick and in around a week we had sorted out a contract agreement and work had begun.

That was around the end of November.

It’s now been a month since we started building Task Pigeon. Everything has been progressing well. And we are on track to launch on Beta in early January (you can subscribe here).

It won’t have every feature under the sun. But it will be competitive with everything else on the market.

We will then move fast. Listen to our users and build like crazy to flesh out the other areas of the app we want to prioritise.

Reflecting back

I’m sure we all want things to have happened faster.

And I am no different.

Starting this journey with Task Pigeon I didn’t want to waste 6 or 9 months like I had done on my past projects only to see them fail.

I didn’t want to waste 6 or 9 months like I had done on my past projects only to see them fail

I took the lessons of those failures and tried to move faster.

Sometimes it worked.

Sometimes it didn’t.

But at least this time around I am only 3 months in, with some great user feedback and a product that will be ready in a few weeks.

Overall I would say that’s a solid effort.

Besides working faster (and smarter) I’m pleased with the hands on approach I have taken with the development of Task Pigeon.

Despite being a non-technical founder I don’t think you can take a hands off approach. You need to understand all that you can. And if you don’t know, just ask.

Finally though, there is always room for improvement.

I still need to nail content promotion.

My blog posts are getting better (both qualitatively and quantitatively) but I need to spread the word more.

It’s only a matter of finding the time. But with so many competiting priorities it can be hard.

So that’s a wrap for 2016 and my first three months as a startup founder.

I look forward to bringing you Task Pigeon in the New Year. (And also penning a 6 month post hopefully sharing some of our success).

Try Task Pigeon Today!

It's the straightforward task management tool for teams who want to get things done!


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About Author

Paul Towers - Founder @ Task Pigeon

Paul Towers is a 3x Entrepreneur and Founder of Task Pigeon. Join me on my journey to build an open & transparent startup from day one. Paul is also the founder of Startup Soda, a newsletter curating the best content from the Australian startup ecosystem.

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