I’d start at the beginning of my Start-Up Story if I could be clear about what ‘the beginning’ is. Is it when I thought I might have an idea for a thing? Or when there was actually finally a thing? Or when someone first bought my thing (Thankyou Kim. I’ll always remember your name). Well let’s start in 2009 when the situation was thus:
Daughter is 4, son is 2.
I’d had a personal training business in the past but we’d moved across the country and I didn’t have any clients. I’d had other trainers contracted to work for me previously but hated being the middle-woman in an agency relationship so I gave them their clients and walked away.
I wasn’t earning any money and was a full-time mum.
I’d dabbled in nutritional supplements MLM (ugh).
My husband was working in a business he hated, but supporting us. Just.
We had very little money. Of course, claiming poverty is entirely relative, but things really weren’t going great. We had a very crappy car we couldn’t afford to repair or replace and were struggling and failing to meet the rent and the bills every month. Both of us felt frustrated at not being able to spend time doing what we felt we were good at, but both felt trapped.
But in my head there was *a thing*. A start-up story. Something my experience and knowledge of personal training and mothers’ bodies told me needed to be created because I had needed it and it wasn’t there. Something that served women better. Something that didn’t seem to be currently on offer… and that I believed I could deliver. It was in my head but I didn’t really know what it was.
I studied, practised and read… and I started writing. At the start, I thought maybe I was writing a book, but first forays into the world of literary agents made it perfectly clear that no one knew (or cared) who I was. And without some credibility, my type of book was never going to get published.
So my writing stayed on my blog. People were reading it. Not many, but some. My husband looked at my google analytics one day – ‘Did you know your web traffic is in America? But you have nothing to offer them. No way to actually make any money
And so gradually I fumbled my way from the book concept to some sort of personal training programme for mums, that be could downloaded from the inter-webs. Or something.
I knew a lot about women’s bodies, but nothing of building websites, digital programmes, e-commerce, social media… ANYdamnTHING. Just an idea that there had to be a way to get my stuff out there so that wherever people lived, they could access it.
So I started googling.
How to make a video, edit it and put it online. How to tell people it was there. How to put a PayPal button on my blog. What’s the HTML for a page break? How to go on twitter and find someone who would make a logo for less than 20 quid. How to password-protect a page. How to, how to.
Email lists, email marketing, payment processors, hosting, video editing, coding, membership sites, copywriting, design… you name it, I googled how to do it. And slowly, very VERY slowly something resembling an actual start-up story began to form.
It was the beginning of a thing.