Aug. 10, 2016

I've been at this for 3 years, and that's not even counting my last startup.  AwareLabs started as something totally different and grew from two initial clients.  Back then it was a scary idea, create a website builder.  Everyone said it was crazy, some still says it's insane, and a few see what I see and love where it's going.  

This post isn't a congratulatory post, AwareLabs is a small success right now.  I just wanted to take a moment and jot down where I'm at with all this.  If AwareLabs becomes what I think it will, then things will change fast and I won't remember this.  If it doesn't then this will be a footnote.

Right now the product is entering that weird realm where I show it to people and they like it, I explain it to people and they opt in, I see people use it and they volunteer great reviews.  Which reminds me, get the reviews up.  It's not huge, we don't have millions of users, we don't even have hundreds yet.  It's just delivering on its promise.  After two years of hard work, really hard work, the kind of work that you pay for with a pound of flesh, I'm finally catching a toe hold with AwareLabs.

I'm starting to move from development and some crude marketing into direct sales.  Its exciting, and so far completely morphing my business model.  Here is where I'm thankful for bootstrapping, at my first startup investor baggage crushed the pivot.  At the last one my partner flipped out because there was some money on the table and he decided he wanted all of it.  I've since formed a theory, people get stupid when money shows up, especially if it's not quite enough for all but plenty for one, that's a dangerous time for startup teams.  Pushing this alone without investors, without raising money, has been incredibly hard.  But at this moment, I think it's worth it.

I have been working with a colleague that has been instrumental in pushing AwareLabs to its full potential.  The only way I can describe the relationship is cooperation. Like two guys that get in a life raft and row because that's the only way they'll make it to land, taking turns rowing the same boat.  That's such a rare person to find by the way, it takes a high level of maturity, confidence, and trust, also known as character.  It's weird experiencing that after a string of bad partnerships, suddenly I can just see the genuine people.

The strangest part is taking a moment to reflect on how I and AwareLabs got here and where here is.  Thinking back to other startups around me that have failed and those that have succeeded amazingly.  Trying to think where AwareLabs is on their scale in terms of growth.  Am I closer to failing or succeeding, I think succeeding, or do I hope succeeding? Reading articles, and following the success stories of the people who I remember being exactly where I am now, it's like a weird sense of what's to come mixed with fears of stumbling when I'm so close.

So how do I wrap this moment of reflection up?  By reminding myself that there is so much work left ahead.  Future me, you need to stick to the path you chose, slow and steady wins the race.

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