A few years ago I was just a kid who moved to Seattle because the weather was good and the rent was cheap. I had a dream to start a company and nothing else mattered. I loved it then as much as I love it now, and having had a number of young people approach me lately, asking about my experience and advice, I thought I should share with you what actually happens once you have started a company.
Three years ago there was no Scoutzie and I had no team. It was just me and the world. I was living in Seattle, learning to code, prototyping my idea, applying to various incubators, failing, and doing it all over again. The times were good.
I lived scrappily, not really eating out much, not going out, not doing anything but coding, running, and sometimes drinking coffee. I would go outside any time of day and night that pleased me, and I could work for as many or as few hours on any day; there were no constraints.
If you asked my parents at the time, they would’ve told you they were worried about me. I didn’t have a job. I didn’t have money, beyond the little savings that were slowly depleting, and I was in a new city with only a handful of friends and no job. As much as they were worried, I wasn’t.
I was free; free to think, free to learn, free to do whatever I wanted, as long as it didn’t require money. Sure, there was a question of what would happen when I ran out of money, but that question was for the future, and I didn’t concern myself much with the answer. Life was simple and life was good!
But then, then things got better for Scoutzie and things changed! We got an investment from SV Angel, we got into YCombinator, we got an investment from 500 Startups … things got really great for us! Seriously, I was on top of the world. But like they say, with great power comes responsibility.
Taking outside money gave us the flexibility to strive for further frontiers, to try new things, to test theories we would have otherwise left untouched, it opened opportunities and it was definitely timely and very helpful for us. But, along with it, our team grew and as it did, so did the responsibilities on my shoulders. After taking the funding and going through YC, It was no longer me, struggling against the elements to create a v1 that would gain traction, it was now my responsibility to drive the team to a common goal.
Now my team is investing their time into our product, therefore implicitly agreeing to join the ship in the pursuit of a brighter future. I see it as my job not to fail them. I promised our team that we will solve certain problems together, that they will get to work in an environment we’ve created, and as much as achieving these goals is everyone’s responsibility, I have promised and I cannot fail. This is my strongest motivator to wake up in the morning.
The way I see it, I am now responsible for the dreams of my team, and that’s not something that should be taken lightly. I don't mind the pressure, I love it, actually. But No one tells you about the long tail, when you start a side project, dreaming of it to become the next big success story. Keep in mind that starting is easy, but you will need to have the energy and the dedication to keep going. If you start a company, be ready to commit to the lifestyle.
If you want to reach out and give me feedback or ask some questions, please do, you can find me on Twitter @kirillzubovsky