I am currently co-founder at a fully bootstrapped startup – Datazenit. Datazenit is a web-based database administration tool, built on top of Scala, Play framework and Backbone.js. Previously I co-founded Hiburo, a simple team management app, but it was more like just a project for me. There was no market research and real business goals behind Hiburo, because we mainly built it for our own need and then later decided to open it up for other teams. Hiburo currently is not in active development, because all my focus is on building Datazenit.
My roles in Datezenit are very broad - I am best suited do tasks related to software development and operational management, but a huge part of my time is actually spent on planning and strategy, marketing, content writing, sales, public relations and a lot more. This gets really overwhelming and takes a lot of my energy, because I am not a pro in any of these non-technical responsibilities. I love programming and I do it with a joy, but all the other tasks often bring frustration, because I need to do an extensive research and study everything from scratch to achieve at least minimum competency. I am aware that focus on a single goal is immensely important and I am constantly working on that.
Lack of native English
English is far from my native language and I can’t express myself as freely as a person from an English speaking country. This often is costly when communicating with clients or writing content for web or social media. I have outsourced the content writing a few times, but a full-time employee that would communicate with clients is not currently feasible. Client relations and sales manager will probably be one of the first hires after the launch. A great product is worth nothing if you can’t communicate your message.
As previously mentioned Datazenit is fully bootstrapped, meaning that no external funding was raised. Time is money and vice versa, so in my case all resources are somewhat limited. I can’t hire employees or have a large marketing budget before launching the product. I haven’t spent a single dollar on advertisement or directly on marketing, and so far everything is done in-house. It makes growth slower, but I am trying to embrace organic growth and make full use of social networks. I believe that apart from an excellent product, an interesting story is the key to success in reaching the target audience.
My boss is an asshole
Being your own boss is sometimes hard. I have to be disciplined, because nobody is pushing you or setting any deadlines and you have to find all the motivation yourself. I have to be an asshole to myself and prevent any slacking. The fact that no one is pushing you may sound great at first, but it actually isn’t that conclusive. You have to be exceptionally confident in your decisions to avoid hesitation and analysis paralysis. Talking with a co-founder helps, but some decisions have to be made unanimously.
All these challenges can be overcome with determination and hard work. I don’t let them become excuses to take shortcuts, because the hard part is what makes the result great. I am happy that I chose this path and am excited to see where will it take me.