The Clouds & Dirt.

Gary Vaynerchuk is right...

I’ve been working on my startup for a year now and it took me a while to face reality, but I finally have. I’ve done all the necessary steps an Entrepreneur must take to be “Fully committed”.

I’ve been living on my savings, I’ve sold my car and I’m following a strict budget to extend our runaway. Doing all these steps have allowed me to work on my startup full time.

For those who don’t know, my company Chad is developing a new social messaging platform that is helping consumers discover who & what’s around them through location based chatrooms.

Users that open the app are greeted my a map with their exact location, similar to what you see on Google Maps. Users can then see chatrooms around them on the map, allowing them to easily join and start connecting with others.

Our goal is to provide a platform that changes with the users location, allowing them to connect with people in the surrounding area. We also give the opportunity for users to zoom out on our map and join chatrooms in other locations.

For example: Users in Baltimore could zoom out on the map and join a chatroom in San Fransisco, California. Allowing them to instantly connect with people in that area.

We just submitted our application into the App Store today (December 7th), but you can still take part in our beta by tapping here.

Clouds

For the past year I’ve been working in the clouds. Here are some tasks that represent that: developing my business plan, pitch deck, financials, go to market strategy’s, developing partnerships, taking part in accelerators (2020 Startups, Batchery), along with adding people to our team to develop this product.

Along with these tasks, I was searching for cofounders to join the team and I was blessed enough to find two. They’ve put in so much time and effort into this project and have developed Chad in just 2 months. I was getting quotes from others, saying it would take 4+ months. These guys are machines and I’m excited to see what the future brings us.

As they were developing the product, I found it difficult to move forward. I don’t know how to code and I don’t have a product to show, which made it even harder to sell. During the development phase I was building our social media accounts, emailing/developing partnership with colleges (Thank you Goldey Beacom College, Coppin State University and hopefully Cabrini University… still working out the details), contacting/updating investors, reading books on team building/how to keep your business lean, designing new features to add later down the line, take part in the Accelerator classes/activities, the list goes on.

Here’s why I had to pivot.

Dirt

I thought back to when I watched Gary Vaynerchuk everyday of my life, which was back in 2016. He constantly preached, clouds & dirt and I wasn’t sure what he meant until a couple of weeks ago.

You see the great entrepreneurs have great minds, know how to delegate and more importantly they work their asses off. I feel I have ALL these qualities, except one.

Mark Zuckerberg, developed Facebook on his own.
Elon Musk is hands on when it comes to building his rockets/Tesla cars.
Jeff Bezos developed Amazon on his own as well.

These are just three examples of how these entrepreneurs worked in both the clouds and dirt.

I decided if there was a time to learn how to code, it’s now. I’m working full time on this venture and I spend about 8 hours a day learning React Native. At night I’m working on the tasks that fall under the “clouds” (see above).

I came to point where I looked in the mirror and said two things:

  1. I want to help my cofounders, I feel terrible. They’re doing all this work and I can’t support them. Having three developers on the team would have allowed us to go to market quicker and add more features than we have.
  2. I don’t want to rely on anyone else or the money of any of investors. If my cofounders end up leaving or have to scale down the amount of time that they work on this project (praying this never happens), I don’t want Chad to suffer. I don’t want to rely on getting funded to keep this project going either, I’ve sacrificed SO MUCH to get to where we are today. If I know how to code I can continue to build and grow the platform without having to use any sort of funds.

To me this is going to be the key to success for Chad and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make this happen.

I want to encourage other Entrepreneurs to read this article, so please if you enjoyed this… throw me some claps!

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AJ Picard

UI/UX Designer who loves designing and building products. Currently scaling ZoZo App.