How do you get momentum back when you’re feeling bogged, slogged, or just beaten down? After our failed Kickstarter campaign in April, the mood in our office was noticeable. Our team kinda sorta pinned our hopes on this campaign and we really wanted to be able to pay our intern programmers (some of whom had been with us for 16 months). Blair, CEO & my husband, and I were feeling a bit like failures, to be honest. I don’t think entrepreneurs are any stranger to that emotion – in fact, there are moments where our failures drive us to get back up. And we did get back up.
1. Connect with people who are excited by your vision
The transition to on-board four new programming students from Georgian College was difficult for Blair (this is the fourth term of teaching students the ropes) because our more experienced students had left us to return to full time studies. How do you balance being the technical lead, software architect, teacher and husband all at the same time? The truth is, some things are sacrificed. I may have played more Candy Crush than usual while he worked extra hours. It’s important for us to not beat ourselves up for letting things fall by the wayside. We’ve now wrapped up week three of this term and we’ve momentum going with the new students.
Once we were able to get out of that slump – by the way, the energy of eager students wanting to work at a games company… if I could bottle and sell that… – it was easier to see the other small wins we were having. We both work at expressing our gratitude at the end of the day (what was a win, what are you thankful for, who rocked it today) and those moments add up.
We also got to connect with some folks at a local Research Innovation Centre – people who see great (and not so great) ideas often. It feels AMAZING to have validation and support moving forward.
2. Make your asks
Know what it is you need and ask people for what it is you need. You need connections to Joe Smith? Ask Mary Jones if they’ll connect you. You need help crafting a more succinct message because your customers don’t understand you?Explain your business/product to your coach until it is crystal clear what your customer is supposed to understand and want about your product.
3. Cut out what isn’t working
Maybe you’re working with a partner or ally and it isn’t working anymore, for some reason or another. It is the hardest decision in the world (some would say the easiest) to be honest and end the current working relationship. If partnerships and alliances aren’t helping your company grow, then you’re not making the tough decisions as a business owner. Especially as a startup, you cannot afford to lose time, energy and money on a failed working relationship. Stay in integrity, be kind and fierce: remember you’re an entrepreneur because you want to be paid to do the work you love. Learn the lesson you need to learn from the experience and do better next time.
4. Follow up
It’s amazing how many times we let great opportunities slip through our fingers by lack of follow up. I admit I am not a rock star at it – and there are people eager to use our services but because I’m “busy,” I’m losing out on building those relationships. I’m really excited to launch our storytelling publishing platform next week – YAY!!! – and get to play with all these amazing writers, screenwriters and game developers who want to create something new and fun!
As for momentum, this past week was pretty awesome. We got some great news and some very promising connections and it feels like the roller coaster of the One More Story Games startup is going up again. This time, the peak is taller… which can mean it will make your stomach drop. Or it could mean we’re in for one helluva ride.
All I care about is that the roller coaster is moving again – life is boring if you stay in the station.