Guest post by Neely Burks. Founder, President of SourceYourCity
SourceYourCity better connects reporters with expert sources for local news stories. As a member of the inaugural 2010 class of Jumpstart Foundry, SourceYourCity was chosen in the month of August. From there, we secured tech talent to build out our minimally viable product in preparation for a January 2011 beta launch in Nashville — the scariest and most exciting thing I’ve ever done.
A Year in Review
In this past year, I’ve spent time marketing not just a product but a concept—a new way of operating in what many consider to be an antiquated industry. In my humble opinion, it’s merely changing. What I can’t learn, absorb or process in my waking hours, I instead address in my sleep.
What most people don’t expect when they become an entrepreneur is that it NEVER stops. By starting a company, you agree to carry an 800 lb. gorilla on your back at all times, even when you’re not necessarily physically, mentally or emotionally prepared to do so.
The good news is: if entrepreneurship is in your blood, you will keep going. Once you fall down and pick yourself back up a lot, you get stronger. And while the pressure is never off, the weight somehow starts to lift. This is because you build a new source of strength that’s impossible to have from the start—perspective.
5 Things I’ve Learned
What I’ve learned from my first year as an entrepreneur under the mentorship of many talented individuals, including those in JumpStart Foundry:
1. Set Goals — There’s no set path in entrepreneurship. No single recipe for success. When you have multiple goals to achieve and multiple ways to achieve them, establish and rank your priorities. It sounds simple but failing to do so can fragment your attention and delay your progress.
2. Listen to Market — You’ll hear a lot about pivoting in the world of entrepreneurship. While pivoting is essential to the success of most startups, pivot wisely. Listen to the market, find out what it needs and when possible, test. This helps ensure that your pivot is a value-added decision rather than a wild-goose chase.
3. Take Advice from Others but Listen to Yourself — As a new CEO, the amount of advice you receive can be overwhelming. Listen to it all but take only what you need. You know the market and concept better than anyone and as the CEO, it’s up to you to filter all recommendations to determine the best course of action.
4. Networking Never Ends — A strong network is critical to the success of a startup. No matter how busy you are, make time to meet with new mentors, peers and contacts relevant to your market or industry. With these connections, don’t just ask but also give when you can.
5. You Get 10 Minutes — Good or bad, you get a limited amount of time to grieve a failure or celebrate a win. That’s because the highs and lows are endless and there’s a lot of work to be done.
A Year Ahead
In November, we launched in Austin, Texas as our second of many markets to come. All the while, we’ve been prepping for a Spring launch of SourceYourCity San Francisco — a decision that was made to test a major market and better position us for our next round of investment.
From one Jumpstart Foundry startup to all those considering this journey, be thoughtful in the decisions you make but above all, Go Be Amazing.
Listen to Neely’s interviewon the Jumpstart podcast.
Are you ready to apply to JSF 2012? Do it now.
Posted on February 21, 2012