I have got some bad news to break. No one really cares about you or your startup. It’s sad, but it’s true. There are many benefits of a startup community, but it’s all about the relationships you make.
Until you see some level of success, you are just another person, creating yet another company.
Even Mark Zuckerberg was famously turned down by his friends. He invited five people to help with the pre-curser to Facebook, and only two showed up. They are both billionaires today.
How then do you make sure your voice is heard? How do you get people to listen to your idea? Provide feedback? And potentially join your company?
12 months ago I was sitting in the same position you are. I had no network, no contacts and no job in a “startup.”
The only difference?
I knew that no one “really” cared about what I was working on.
We all see this time and time again. The posts in Facebook groups asking for someone to complete a survey. To join a company as a co-founder, or to test out their product.
Unless you are already well known, more often than not your posts go unanswered. Or at best receive one or two quick comments.
But if you recognize that no one cares, then you can at least do something about it. And the best way to make people care is to do something for them first.
I have always been passionate about business and entrepreneurship. I am also very fond of keeping up to date with news and what is happening in the industry, so I started a free newsletter.
Startup Soda is simplistic. It provides the ten best articles from the Australian startup ecosystem each day. I don’t spend any money or marketing. But it has grown through word of mouth alone to now have an audience of more than 500.
I set out to help others first. So I provide free ads to startups, promote events and connect people I know. I do all this for free. The goal is not to make money, but to create value for others.
And, I think this could be key. If you want to “join” a startup community, you cannot “ask” or expect people to “help” you.
This, in turn, has built my own profile. People began reaching out to share their ideas and ask for feedback. I gladly used the experience I have from running my past businesses to help where I could.
While I did this without any expectation of getting something back in return – I also knew that if I needed something in the future, I now had a network to speak to.
Sure enough, that time eventually came. About four months ago I had the idea for Task Pigeon. It’s a task management web application, and I was entering a competitive space, so I wanted to get feedback first.
Instead of reaching out cold I had a network of people I had helped in some way. The result? 85% of the people I asked provided feedback.
Not only did I get a high response rate, but some people wrote paragraphs of text. They weren’t just doing me the courtesy of replying. They were genuinely sharing their thoughts and taking the time to do so.
Since then, Task Pigeon has come a long way. We recently launched our beta with around 150 people. This reminded me again of the power of a network and helping others first.
Leading up to the launch. I was openly sharing my startup story by writing on our Task Pigeon blog. Our goal was to provide entertaining content about
On the day of launch, I posted heavily in Facebook groups I frequently interact in. The response floored me!
So many people I had spoken to in the past “liked” or “commented” on the post. A bunch also messaged me privately.
This all helped keep the post front and center in the group for more than a day. The net effect being more beta sign ups and feedback.
Then, the noise died down …
What launching Task Pigeon has taught me is the value of a network.
Launching a startup is hard. The more people you have invested in are likely to support your journey. It all starts with networking.
Do small things for people, help them, build relationships, without expecting anything in return.
Nobody is going to do the networking for you. You have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and help people first.
The startup relationships you make may just change your life!