It’s been a while… I’ve launched another start up – Check it out!

Hello World, so the last time I wrote a blog, I was working on Sorted – the marketplace for local tasks.

Sadly, Sorted was too expensive to keep running, we had some FANTASTIC support and worked hard to make a great product for our 30,000+ users. However, with the lack of traction, and our competitors raising much more money from investors and other external factors, it made sense to shut Sorted down.

On to the next as they say.

I’ve had a short sabbatical and thought about what business/problem I wanted to help solve and invested a bit of money into AsianBride.  After working with the team there and realising just how much pain it was to plan a wedding, I thought it would be a great challenge to start a new business in the Wedding Industry and see how much of an impact I can make.

The new company called….. wait for it….. LetsGetWeddy!

My objective has been to create compelling and rich content for all brides-to-be and grooms, to read, learn and inspire.  I know it sounds a little fluffy but hear me out.

We started by posting two blogs a day and have a team of writers contributing.  We moved into a small office in west London and were selling advertising solutions to wedding suppliers all around the UK.  Suppliers have been super receptive in joining the bandwagon and we have learnt SO MUCH since the launch in December 2014.

Since then we have created an awesome piece of technology that helps facilitate a bride or groom to plan their big day without the pain, stress and hassle of juggling so many suppliers.

The thought process goes something like this: most weddings have between 15-20 wedding suppliers (florist, wedding dress, DJ etc.). Subject to availability and price, the wedding supplier would be happy to offer their product/service to a couple.

With this NEW technology we’ve built, Brides would be able to book a wedding supplier like anyone would normally book a hotel room or a flight – you simply select your wedding day, (schedule a viewing/tasting), allocate the budget, location, make sure the supplier meets the basic requirements (capacity, size, colours, fitting, taste, products etc) and purchase the service or product directly from the supplier.

Of course its a lot easier said than done, but we are hoping that with one bride having an AWESOME experience can relay to more and more brides wanting to use our service FOR FREE may I add – we can slowly but surely make a dent and positive impact in the wedding market.

Acquiring and speaking with brides has been a great experience, we have been exhibiting at the National Wedding Show around the UK, Manchester and Birmingham were great and we had the most success at the Olympia.  Brides NEED this product, it typically takes around 8-12 month to plan for a wedding – with this decent piece of tech, we could not only save them money (lots of cool features and promos from suppliers) but LOTS of time too!

Brides should be able to – in theory, plan and book their whole wedding over a weekend – wouldn’t that be awesome – well we at Weddy are going to have a crack at it.

I feel that Weddy will assist wedding planners, wedding suppliers, showcase their products and services in a better light and Brides will have a seamless experience planning possibly the biggest/most expensive day of their lives.

We have over 6,000 brides currently on our database and most are very fond of our offering where we can recommend wedding suppliers to them FOR FREE as a form of Lead Generation to see how the process of booking a supplier looks like.  What are the pains, where are the drop offs and what can we do to stop it or make it convert better?  We also are building what we call the “Weddy Declaration” which basically means that we are able to assign basic “Rules of Engagement” for all parties to adhere too from what is expected from a brides on our platform, and what each supplier needs to do to offer the best product and value to our brides.

Not ALL Brides are for certain Suppliers, and not ALL Suppliers cater for Brides.  The trick is to find what each Brides wants, give her the tools to best search for the supplier shes looking for and find the PERFECT supplier who meets her requirements and vice versa.

We are now in the process of scaling our suppliers on the platform which I believe will be a market leading technology, no doubt we will have a thousand clones overnight, but our focus is to make sure both brides and suppliers are happy.

I wish anyone looking to get married to check out LetsGetWeddy and share it with friends.  Soon you’ll be able to do so much more so keep coming back.  And for suppliers, please register, we’ll have lots of tips and tricks on how you too can grow your businesses and acquire more brides with the knowledge and experience we’ve gained over the last weeks and months.

We will become the one-stop-shop for all things weddings in the UK.

As always, I welcome all feedback and thoughts.

Godspeed
Jade

When do I throw in the towel?

So its been over 18 months since Sorted was created. We’ve had a lot of challenges and I feel like we’re constantly fire fighting. If its not funding, its staff or talent acquiring, or marketing and fighting competition. There is always something which keeps me up at night, trying to figure out what the best next steps should be.

Recently I had dinner with a few friends who are all experts and professionals in their respective fields. Over the mains, we started talking about what we were all working on. I heard myself sound miserable and grumpy when it came to my turn for speaking. Everyone turned and asked why I kept doing what I was doing with Sorted and why not get more security by working a decent 9 to 5 job and have a secure lifestyle which was so clearly missing at the time?!

So that evening I went home and had a good think about what my core drivers and values are. I looked at myself in the mirror and needed to ask difficult questions which I would normal not take too seriously.
StruggleMy decision was actually quite easy – after feeling sorry for myself and missing some stability, I came to the following conclusion:

Sorted is a marketplace where anyone in the world, from any background or lifestyle can add value to themselves or someone else – even a stranger. Going through a down market where jobs are scarce and opportunities may not be so obvious, Sorted fills that gap in for people – at least potentially or financially for some. The idea that knowing someone across the world and a stranger to me can wake up and be booked to do a job which he or she may enjoy and make a living from, is extremely appealing and satisfying for me. I mean, where else can you make money from either a hobby or knowing that if you’re good at something, another human will appreciate your help and skill and pay you money to do a task?! Knowing I can potential help someone is much more valuable and important to me than working in a cubical 9 to 5 and having a comfortable lifestyle.

Sometimes going to places where you don’t know how you’d react or feel comfortable with is good for the soul!

Sorted is almost like my way of adding or giving back to the world. Given that its not a huge success today, a quote from one of the co-founder of AirBnb (another marketplace) keeps me going – he said “our “overnight” success took us 1000 days!”.

It’s ONLY been 18 months and I’m ONLY half way there – I need to give at least another 18 months for myself to either throw in the towel and fail/learn from the experience or to keep pushing pushing and pushing to make this dream/vision into a reality!

Failure doesn’t scare me, what scares me is not having a good bloody go at making my dreams come true!

About being a CEO

So Sorted is in its first year – we are a start up which is a marketplace for tasks where customers can find a “Sorter” in their local area who can facilitate any non-expert task from dog walking to cleaning and gardening.

Sorted has been a fun ride so far with many ups and downs. With my experience I know not to get to excited or upset if things don’t go exactly to plan or the way I’d like.

Since being CEO of Sorted I have become aware of a few things – the following is a mind dump of what I think are the most important traits.

Managing people can be a very satisfying and fun job and can also be extremely hard at the best of times – managing expectations (for both parties), making sure a message is clear and deliverable to the team is possibly the most challenging thing I have to do on a daily basis.  Its an art – my favorite word to use is being tactful – making a point without making an enemy, and being clear with what level of achievement is expected and how I can help facilitate to achieve the goal(s) we need to achieve for Sorted.

Unstoppable

I’ve surrounded myself with talented and competent people who know more about their respective roles and are better at their roles than I can be, sure sometimes I know I can do a better job, but for me, its about helping and learning through the process of growing a business together – don’t get me wrong, I don’t mother anyone, I make sure we are all on the same page and commercially moving in the right direction.  I enjoy challenging and asking as many relevant questions about their thought process so they come up with the answers and combined with my expertise, can decide fairly quickly as to what is the right or wrong decision to make at that particular time.

Options are the key, make sure you have as many options and explore as many outcomes before taking a giant step – worst case scenario you can always choose an alternative option – move fast and be lean.

The most important thing as CEO is giving 110% to multiple people at multiple times (Sorted has 5 people at the moment so its fairly easy to manage directly) – its like juggling different shaped balls, its hard enough with juggling the same shaped ball but different shapes and sizes can be extremely tricky.  From employees, investors, accountants, lawyers, customers, family, friends etc. it can be hectic and emotionally and mentally draining – I’ve found that for me, I simply meditate and take my time when making big decisions.  I plan my day/week/month/quarter as early and quickly as possible, which then allows for me to think about my approach to relay my thoughts to my team which will ultimately help achieve the goals or objectives and then slowly put a process together which will chip away at the goals.

Hard work, dedication and perseverance is the key, it takes discipline and whatever serves the business is normally the right thing to do, even if people don’t agree with it – being honest to yourself and the team is a daily thing for most good CEO’s – it’s business not personal – always try doing the right thing which serves everyone.

So in conclusion, for all those wannabe CEO’s out there, here are my key points:

Work hard/smart, keep learning as much as you can about competitors, markets, people, topics which are relevant to your business, be focused on goals and imagine what they will materialize to, become good at prioritizing what is important and serves the business and what serves you/your team, be able to step outside yourself and ask difficult questions, have a high level of integrity always and most importantly HAVE FUN!

My First Blog – EVER! Self-awareness!

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Disclaimer:

I’ve never been someone who has naturally written thoughts, ideas, feelings and emotions down on paper or in a blog.  I tend to talk things out, debate, ask, listen and challenge people face-to-face on their views and opinions about the chosen subject – I’m a thinker, I enjoy my own space and am perfectly happy on my own.

Over time, I’ve come to realize that each person has his or her own path in life.  I’ve also discovered that its the easiest thing in the world to push ones opinion onto others.

This blog is a way for me to express myself without putting my baggage on to anyone else.  I intend to blog about topics which are important to me, about where I am, what I’m doing, experiences that have or are challenging me, thoughts which are foreign to me and a way to get things out without offending anyone – intentionally anyway!

All this is with the objective of creating a dialog with an unknown world of followers and bloggers who can give me some form of feedback, helping hand, and assist me to discover my own path in this life.

So here goes – Today (Saturday 10th November 2012 @ 18:33), as I type this, I’m sitting in my temporary open space office provided by a tech acceleration program called Oxygen (based in Birmingham, UK), shared with 6 other start-up companies where my team and I are based for the next 6/7 odd weeks, for my newest start-up called Sorted (www.getsortedapp.com).

It’s our sixth week here, I’ve been away from the world – my world, family, friends, familiar faces and loving voices for the past 6 weeks – its made me hyper aware of what makes me – me.

The Oxygen Accelerator has been Interesting – we’ve had a fast and positive start, with a few minor bumps along the way.  Sign ups have been good, steady and sometimes explosive.  The concept seems to be well received (helping people get local tasks done and helping “Sorters” making money by completing the tasks successfully).

All the mentors during our first month have tried to pull the model apart, but the team has kept strong – debated and come to realize that we might actually be on to something which people may benefit from.

We’ve created an MVP (Minimal Viable Product) which has been pushed on to the Apple App Store and got some very good traction and have even made our first bit of revenue.

Here’s what’s personally become very apparent for me.

Half way through the program, I’ve noticed that I’m a lot more aware of myself and with my surroundings.  I’m no longer owned by my possessions, I have my own beliefs which serve me mentally and emotionally.  I’ve learnt that my past doesn’t dictate my future – I believe that I can do ANYTHING I want – I have experience which I can now use to help others.

I, along with anyone else who believes in themselves, deserves an opportunity to make the most of the limited amount of time we have.

The only thing I can truly hang on to are my own abilities, my own intuitions, my own physical labor and enough self-love to know that I deserve to live a fulfilling, comfortable and secure life of my own choosing without harm to anyone else and to myself – what that looks like for each other is subjective, ultimately be aiming towards serving you, the ones we love and those around us.

The funny thing is, If we think that not everyone can have this feeling, we’re probably right – perhaps they don’t have the emotional ability to see what is real and what really matters?

Only those who CHOOSE to do so, can – I CHOOSE I can!

Looking forward to some feedback – Godspeed!
Jade