When initially starting my website project I wanted the focus to be completely on the business and not on me whatsoever. I felt as though that there were enough people out there who were just gluttons for attention. I wanted all the attention to go towards the purpose behind what I was doing. It was my opinion that this was enough to garner attention. Especially if the purpose was for others, then people would care less about who I was and I was fine with that.
This way of thinking led to roadblocks in terms of progression. It also may have possibly hindered the growth of others because of what I was keeping to myself.
When beginning to put this site together, my trouble in finding a developer led me to reach out to like-minded people at a local business incubator. I left a message on their site where I was able to ask for the type of help/helper I needed. I received two responses:
- The first response came from someone who was willing to look into the project I wanted to start and possibly partner
- The second response is the focus of this post. This person sent a response that challenged me by letting me know that I was too vague and that they wanted to know more about me (where I’m from, why am I doing this, what/who inspired me to do this, what current struggles have I been having concerning this, etc). I read it and briefly took it in but ultimately wrote it off and put my attention towards the first respondent.
Once I got what I was looking for I didn’t care about the second response. I was satisfied that I had finally gotten a developer to partner with.
I met with my potential partner at a local library and we began to discuss the idea after going over his credentials. My excitement grew as he not only agreed with helping but informed me of possibly bringing in another helper who does web development. Not only was I about to get a partner I thought, I stumbled upon getting a team! Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way. Just a few weeks after our meetup, he decided to pass on the project. During the meeting, he informed me about Startup Weekend. At the time, I had never heard of it, but after finding out that it was taking place in Shreveport I decided to give it a shot.
I arrived at CoHab which hosted Startup Weekend in Shreveport and immediately went to the event after checking into the hotel. After arriving at the event and presenting my idea, I felt confident that I would be selected and would have the entire weekend to build this project with a team of people. Again I found disappointment, but this time it hit somewhat hard because I felt so sure that my idea would be selected. That night I went back to the hotel trying to figure out what was wrong with the concept of this idea and how could it improve. It was then that I went back to the what motivated me in the first place. What helped me get to the point of my “why” was the email reply (the second respondent) that I disregarded earlier. I wanted this project to represent an instrument that would help entrepreneurs and shed light on resources that may not be known.
The Startup Weekend loss sparked my lesson in the benefits of transparency. To this day I’m still not ecstatic about being transparent. But I see what transparency can be for others. Transparency can be the lifestyle evidence that can get someone to say “this is possible for me as well”. It’s the type of evidence that may be seen, felt and related to. This was the motive behind incorporating the concept of “journeys” into the site. I wanted to use the journeys of individuals to show the reality behind facing challenges. I don’t see transparency as only benefiting others but myself as well.
Incorporating my personal entrepreneur journey made me feel better about what I was doing. I knew that regardless of the outcome, my experience could help someone else. I also began to notice that I became more reflective about the decisions I made since writing my entrepreneur moments down. Being able to go back over these events made me more aware of future choices. Overall, the reflection of these events become an evaluator for me to check where my heart is.
The events that we go through hold lessons that can give knowledge to others without deliberately trying to teach. Think about that, learning from your situations and deciding against transparency can possibly be the same as keeping knowledge to yourself. Seeing and hearing about life events bring a certain genuineness that is generally appreciated. The person reading/listening appreciates it because of the possible connection of someone they can learn from. The person expressing appreciates it because of the feeling of release through their honesty. Although, transparency can make any average person feel uncomfortable because it could lend itself to uncertainty about how people will respond to the information they give. It’s at this point that you must decide if the potential benefits outweigh the costs.
A point of caution must go along with transparency. Some get caught up in the moment and give out information that isn’t needed. Be honest but be careful with your details. Make sure that your details go along with the point that you are trying to make. All other details are unnecessary. Just because you are transparent doesn’t mean that you have to forfeit your privacy. Select the issue that you choose to be open about and give details that apply to that issue.
The funny thing about all of this is that I never would’ve had these thoughts about transparency if I would’ve won at startup weekend. Thank you God that I didn’t win.
The moments referenced above can be found in the timeline of my startup journey below and at ambitiontrek.com