Archive for October, 2007

I got funding!

Friday, October 19th, 2007

One of my most important tasks on my return to London was to try and secure speedy funding. I didn’t have much money left, having spent much of what I had on the business and then on a rather extravagent 7 weeks of travelling around Europe and Canada (securing clients and researching the holiday and wedding market, but when you are on Aussie dollars, everything feels extravagent!). And living in London is not a cheap thing to do – I needed money.

Although my client has paid, living in London, hiring a great designer and usability expert, planning PR, and paying myself enough to live and eat, is not cheap. I needed it quickly too, so trying to get Angel funding wasn’t really a solution, as it wouldn’t be ready in time, and if I was clearly desperate and panicky (which I have been), it would not be a good negotiating position to be in.

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Trusting people

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

How do you know who to trust?

Being a naturally trusting person (some may say naive), I tend to trust everyone. “Surely they just want to help? Surely they have my best interests at heart?” And I guess I’ve been lucky in that, for the most part, I haven’t been completely screwed in the past as a result of this naivety.

However, now that I have a business that is potentially lucrative, I cannot help but be suspicious of people’s motives. “Are they helping because they want something out of it? Am I meant to be rewarding them for their advice? Is their advice tainted because they want something out of it?”

I couldn’t help it. I had been in places like Egypt, where the ‘baksheesh’ is part of the culture… where you are meant to line the palms of people who give you unrequested help. Its such a foreign concept to us westerners – we pay for things we request, or for things we choose to give to (charity, buskers, etc). But to pay someone because they approached you and gave you unasked for advice on the streets of Cairo, was always something I hated, especially because it made me suspicious of every person that was nice to me… are they only nice because they expect a baksheesh?

So here in the business world, it sometimes feels like I am on the streets of Cairo. I naturally assume if someone introduces me to someone who turns into a customer, that they were doing it to help me out, but then I discover I am expected to pay a significant commission. I find people so willing to help, and then I find myself wondering what the expectation is to reward that assistance, or whether its genuinely altruistic.

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Setting up in London

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

I have now been in good ol’ London town for about 3 weeks. And what a whirlwind of a maelstrom of dizzy madness its been. Somehow in this time I have moved to a new country, found a place to live, bought furniture, found a housemate, plus attend the Future of Web Apps conference, applied for a loan through the Small Business Loans Guarantee scheme, and of course, ran a start-up. Calling it hectic and a trifle stressful would be an understatement, but I am determined to enjoy the ride. This is a dream come true – I have to keep reminding myself – so I need to stop focusing on the fact that I am living in the world’s most expensive city with no income, and that I am risking everything on this venture.

Instead, I am loving being back in London. In the dynamic exciting ambience where truly anything can – and generally does – happen. I always used to say that London’s magic stems from the fact that it is the city in the world where more people come to chase their dreams. Everywhere you turn, someone is trying their hardest to achieve something, and these attempts should be even more celebrated because they are doing it amidst such greyness and coldness.

I have left sunny exuberant Sydney just as it gets warm, and am here already wearing scarves and using hot water bottles. And I couldn’t be happier.

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