This week, I had my first startup meltdown.
Have you ever been up to your eyeballs (or should I say the water is already floating over your head and you’re trying not to drown) in overwhelm?
That was me yesterday. I didn’t want to do anything and felt completely exhausted.
As a bootstrapping company, we’ve had some hard times over the past year, but yesterday was really hard.
Let me give you a little social wedding planning startup 101.
We built wedocracy to plan our Nigerian-American-Jewish wedding in Mexico, and it helped us celebrate one of the most amazing days of our lives. Since then, we’ve been bootstrapping our company for a year. I can’t overstate how much this has helped us shape the product, and focus on building something to help engaged couples and their guests have an amazing wedding experience via social wedding planning.
And now, we’re hurting because we’re running out of money.
I know the statistic: 90% of startups fail. But, I want us to have a fighting chance. I want to know we gave it our all.
Right now, we’re working our butts off to launch the mobile app (6 weeks away & we’re keeping our fingers crossed) and we’re counting the pennies to make sure the money will be enough.
Remember your childhood piggy bank? I remember how excited I was to turn it over and collect my savings when I really wanted something special. I saved for my first grown up bike. It was exactly 63 dollars and I remember counting each dollar and penny and feeling my palms sweat as I prayed it was enough.
I pray we have enough to get us launched.
My husband and I both worried that we won’t have enough money and a flood of emotions came crashing down. And so, instead of stopping them, I let myself cry. I let myself feel tired. I let myself lay in bed. I let myself stop, and I let myself ask: Why are you doing this?
Let’s get the money part out of the way. Of course I’m doing this because I want it to be a financially lucrative business. Who doesn’t want that for their company. But, I can take a pass on the craft beer and ping pong tables.
Before I wrote this post, I listened to a poem I wrote called To the poet not yet born, which deals with what happens when we know what we were born to do. Here is my favorite line:
You now know what you were born to do
Although I was referring to being a poet, the words still ring true when it comes to running our startup.
After publishing my first book of poetry, I was asked why I chose writing.
I wrote this poem as my response to this question because I never thought about choosing to be a poet. I always knew it was something I was born to do.
I’ve always enjoyed helping people by sharing my experiences. I’m good at taking my life experiences and giving it back to people in a way that’s useful to me and to them. As a poet, I got so much out of performing and watching people in the audience nod their heads (don’t worry, the post about my experience as a poet-techie is coming soon) when something I said resonated with them. There’s a craft to poetry. There’s the art of taking life as we know it and transforming it into something else. There’s something magical about saying: This is not how it has to be. Here’s another way to look at this.
I had to figure out why solving this problem was so important
I reminded myself of the fact that so many people don’t get to enjoy their weddings as much as I did. So many people have wedding horror stories and after spending tons of money, have nothing to show for it except regret. I realized that the same motivation for my writing also influences my creativity in tech startup land. I found myself saying: This is not how it has to be. There is another way to do this.
We created wedocracy because we want to help more and more people live with less regret, especially on one of life’s most important days. Life is short. Life celebrations don’t happen so often. Let’s make them count. Let’s make them amazing!
Today, I feel inspired again.
I know that I’m doing this because our lives are made up of these amazing moments that shape them. We have a chance to engage and transform our experiences. I created wedocracy because I want to help people enjoy this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Weddings should be amazing. Mine was, and if I can help you do the same, then I’m all in.
Have you ever had a business-related meltdown? What got you back on your feet again?