I am starting this diary to keep track of my emotions which have been so far going up to the sky and then down to the bottom of the deepest ocean on a daily basis.
Women will be probably thinking “welcome into our world! “ and they are right I suppose but for me has been a complete new way of living for these past 2 years and it’s not easy sometimes to control these feelings.
For some reasons I expect every book to be boring at the beginning so just for today I am going to introduce you a bit of what happened 2 years ago!
Sure of the fact that I was wasting my potential and my life into an office in London and with a strong passion for acting I decided to take action quitting that job and starting to work on a project that I had in mind even though I wasn’t really sure what the idea was.
I’ve started creating a mobile app for actors that I called Actors Contacts inspired by the fact that when once landed in the UK as an actor I had to buy a book to find out which agencies to call and to get some advice on this industry here in London. And because the book was heavy and uncomfortable to bring around I decided to give to this idea a go and my girlfriend decided to follow me (I am too lucky!).
Believe it or not the research of all the industry contacts required over 6 months of hard work we came out with the app which we were selling for 2 pound each and while we were expecting to become millionaires we underestimated the necessity of marketing it and instead we decided to move on and creating a website for the creative industry to let everyone to sell their skills locally because this is what I would have liked to do while developing our projects, being able to profit by offering local people my skills as service.
We send our business proposal to the Camden Collective incubator which loves the idea and call us for an interview! We above the clouds!
They love us and the idea and we are offered for the first time a office into this fabulous incubator full of other startups like us.
After developing the full website for all the categories of the creative industry (IT, Crafts, Fashion, Marketing, Film and TV, Design, Music, Art and Culture) we started the marketing development and realised that as startup we should have addressed only a few categories otherwise it was going to be impossible to address all of them and their subcategories which are endless!
In the meantime you constantly sense happiness and proudness for the project that you are developing but at the same time fear mixed with the first mistakes beat you down making you feel like you are on the wrong way.
So we decided to keep only the ones that we knew better (Actors, Models and Extras) and to cut down the others.
Now with a shrunken focus we were able to create marketing content for the website and thinking about “what we were solving” or “what service” we are going to provide to these categories.
So we were basically at the 7th month of development of the website and still understanding what service to provide! This all because we started with an idea in mind, created the website and then changed the customer type which put us in the position of evaluating again the real purpose of our main idea.
Tiredness, a bit of sadness and some inclination toward quitting to find a job like I had before cross our minds. We need to rest and recharge. The greatness about the startup is all the excitement of creating your own idea but it’s a 24/7 hard work and constant thinking. You go through all the processes of the business and product development and marketing, and this can be stressful if you don’t contain it. And at the beginning, along with all the mistakes already done this is one of them.
So for some reason we keep going, we brainstorm and now we have it! “Let’s make everyone be an extra!”
Good! Excitement again, we are all happy but now we need a more tailored website to address this niche properly and develop a useful product.
Which is what we start doing immediately but this time we are going to need the help of some interns. But we don’t have any money to offer because we are not trading and we are already struggling by ourselves to keep our head above the water. A bit of frustration. So let’s try to hear from universities.
We find out that they can send you interns for free and the universities will pay for them!
Fab! We get some developers, graphics and photographers and a marketer. We plan 2 months of development for the new website and 2 for the first mobile app!
The excitement puts us into a whole new creative world where we decide to start two new projects related to joboundu which are “the joboundu show” sitcom which is a fictional representation of our office and the “Joboundu On-Camera” where me and Mandarina act as presenters and interview talents making them cry and laugh on cue aside some self-promotional questions to sponsor their previous and future works.
Probably too many projects to handle all at the same time but when you are in love with what you do, the excitement mixed with the inexperience will make you do things like this!
So we immediately get writers and a director on board willing to make the sitcom happen!
And we start managing script/story development, casting for the main characters along with the website and mobile apps development and marketing. The 24/7 became 48/7.
We will sleep 5 hours a day for the next 5 months. If you don’t love it, it will be a nightmare.
Some days I was feeling like I was into a fish tank. I could hear people talking but not understanding a single word. I was simply replying “oh yeah, it happens!” and subtly sneaking away like a weirdo.
But a mistake was around the corner.
As ex-employee I was very deep into the idea of having the developers working in a very relaxed environment. So we decided to allow them to check on facebook, read newspapers and just chat if they felt the need to. And we felt like we were the “new style entrepreneurs”.
We were literally over the moon.
Let’s start to get some talents on the platform so that we can hear some feedback as well!
We open the signups on the website and we get 200 users in one month and 2 bookings from a jewelry company.
It’s paradise. Actual product is working, excellent new product in development and hopefully ready very soon with mobile apps as well, everybody’s happy till…
After 1 month of development I ask the developers to show some results of their work, even a homepage would have sufficed, and they couldn’t because they were still working on the structure. I felt that something wasn’t right so I start to constantly supervise them. The “main developer” was chatting on facebook with 4 people at time even in front of me (yes of course we allowed them to!!), then writing a couple of line of code and then back on facebook or a newspaper! Unbelievable!
I know that I have to fix this situation but still I don’t want to get rid of their “privacy” so I go gently “would you mind to reduce facebook a bit so that we could speed up the development since we are 3 weeks late already on a 4 weeks of development please?”
And he goes “oh yeah I would but my friend is doing an internship into another company and he doesn’t know anything about java, I need to help him!”
I feel for a moment that I am living in a dream and that this is not happening! Oh yeah it can’t be true. Really!? Everything crosses my mind (guns, bazookas, tanks)..but I rationalize, I cool down and I go again very gently “well this is something he should figure out himself maybe?” and he replies “yeah maybe I’ll help him later” and he continues to work but constantly bouncing on facebook and newspapers dramatically reducing the productivity time.
Only my mistake. I wanted to prove (stupid!) that productivity is higher if the environment is relaxed. Fine I get it! I deserved it!
It’s january 2017 now and after 4 months of development and my inability to manage people properly has led to an incomplete new website. Stress and frustration are all over now. It has been almost 2 years since we started with the Actor Contacts mobile app and we still don’t have a final product to use, show or market properly.
One good news arrives from “Film London”, the capital screen industries agency which replies our partnership request with a Yes but still we have long way to go.
We still get some bookings but we are late in the development so we cannot be competitive as we could have if we had all the products done. Plus the few things developed by the two developers are full of bugs and need to be reviewed (more development time to add).
If I could buy a time machine I would have but I know it doesn’t make sense even to think about it so I find the courage somewhere (Mandarina my soul mate is the “somewhere” I get sustain, courage and motivation from) and we decided to get another developer. This time just one but the right one to get things done.
We make the call and we select him. He is very nice but this time we are here only to work. Only one reward, if we finish the daily tasks earlier we can go (it never happens).
We regroup (me and Mandarina) to brainstorm the next step.
In the list of the potential partners the “The Department of Work and Pension” comes up and we decide to give it a go.
We study their plans for the next 20 years and we plan how we could be of service and we draft a custom email!
This email works like a charm! They are enthusiastic and we are asked to meet asap to discuss how to collaborate with them! Happiness all around again. Proud and satisfaction are walking with us now! The path is clear to us.
So today is Day1 and this is how I feel:
I have to say I feel better now that I have written everything that you have read above because it has made me realise all the awards achieved so far. But this morning has been slow and I felt like I was lost. You perfectly know what’s in development and all the steps are planned but now I am kind of expecting a mistake to come up and say “hello you forget I am here!”
it‘s not easy to stay focused when it has been a long time that you have started. For this purpose it’s good to see motivational videos and speeches from the best entrepreneurs and most successful people in the world.
It assures you that every success has always arrived after struggle, hard work and vision.
So the point you need to reach is where you know how to keep yourself in balance of controlling your emotions and being able to drive them in the direction to pursue your goals.
Mistakes are in the path. So it’s good to make them in the pathway you love.
Today we drafted an important business proposal for the government. A project that could put us and Joboundu in the position of helping thousands of struggling actors, models and photographers, directors and all the people in the film industry to make their projects become a reality.
We would like to get an unused building, refurbish it and make it use by people to create projects related to filming, photography and fashion.
Today we wanted and we needed to create the next step to put a dent in the universe!