Startup Lockdown — Day 4 — Freelancia

Pivoting Before Starting

The fourth day of Startup Lockdown was challenging. We’d decided on Wednesday not to pursue “Day Launcher” because we didn’t have a viable business idea.

My best Product idea for Day Launcher was inspired by Eddy Adams’ shower method: An alarm clock that immediately started a Mission Impossible countdown sequence. Five minutes to shower. Five minutes to dress. Two minutes to grab your (pre-made) breakfast from the fridge to take with you, etc.

As much as I think it’d be fun (I’m up for spec’ing if someone’s up for building) it seems more like a project.

Instead, Ananya came to us with the idea of “Employees as a Service” — a way to hire some time from repeat contractors, depending on the skills you needed (but not all the time).

Marketplaces are 2x the work

Like with Waggr on Tuesday, we had to interview two different sets of users. After this week, I’m more in the camp of “Marketplaces are twice as much work” — because you’re basically trying to find Product Market fit twice.

In this case, by the end of the morning, we hadn’t found it on both sides. We’d found more interesting issues on the Freelancer side — so we decided to start there instead.

Some insights from freelancers: a lot of the job is educating clients, it’s frustrating to have to do all the “business overhead” instead of just working, and it’s hard to not have a community and mentors around.

Energy Levels

We also struggled on Thursday with our Energy level. By Thursday at least a few of us were distracted by our “real” lives. I was trying to schedule some meetings that couldn’t wait, Nate needed to tend to his nonprofit.

The energy levels hurt focus. I knew this before, but even moreso now: you cannot sprint all the time.

Leadership styles

Thursday was also a leadership contrast. Lots of HBSers are lead-from-the-front type leaders. Ananya is much of more of a guide-from-the-side leader (which I prefer!)

At least one team member felt they did their best work on Thursday. I felt that I did the work most outside of my comfort zone on Thursday.

Working outside your comfort zone

Part of why I was interested in this topic was that I would like to do more freelance work. I felt like I didn’t know how to start — let alone how to teach a class on it!

But as I started to read more literature — I realized that wasn’t the case. I just hadn’t been thinking of my work as freelance, even though it was. On top of that, I’d defined a very specific niche, so it doesn’t look like a lot of other work.

Probably the best thing that will come out of Freelancia (for me) is a better understanding of my own skills and goals.

Final Product: Freelancia — courses, content & community to build your freelance business.