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Aspiring entrepreneurs #sharethefailure ­čĄô

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Good people of Montreal (but also worldwide) do y’all know the Fuckup Nights

Basically they’re advocating for the fact that entrepreneurs are looking at failures the wrong way. Well, I have my own entrepreneurial-failure story i’d like to share (it costs less than therapy and it is probably more rewarding).

 

Bit of context: it’s a hot-weird-sweaty summer in Montreal, i’m in-between jobs, freelancing my skills just enough to pay booze and rent. Perfect timing to catch the entrepreneurial-fever and challenge myself to LEAD something of my own -_-

I come up with the mind-blowing idea to recycle an European concept: Vinted (a second-hand clothing online marketplace).

 

Long story short, I end up developing an online marketplace to:

#1 - prove myself I could build a website on my own  

#2 - because I really believe in the beneficial value of second-hand clothing

 

In less than a week I had a Minimum Viable Product (read: an unholly-full-of-bugs-website) up and running. Cool, or so I thought. But what is a product with no users? NOTHING. So I got in touch with an existing community, a Facebook group with 7K users. We partnered up to create : Swap Montreal (story archived here)

We had good feedback, people signing up and using the product. So I went FULL-ON entrepreneur, put on my big girl panties, crafted a cute little business plan, pitched the product to District3 (an innovation hub in Montreal) and got into the Social entrepreneurs business model validation program (read: fuck yeaaah).

District3 was intense. Lots of workshops, interviews, a very-very demanding and rewarding program. I’ve learned so much on a professional and personal level, but I was just not getting there. Something was off. 

SPOILER-ALERT: being an entrepreneur is HARD AS F***. You have to MULTITASK, be trustworthy & I’d say intuitive enough to surround with the right people. I realized that I was better off BUILDING products than SELLING them, because boyyy you’ve got to HAVE THAT BUSINESS VIBE.

 

So I quit District3. 

 

Decision fast-forwarded by the fact that I accepted a kickass job offer at Ulule as a designer. I had a very-very good gut-feeling about it so I left District3. Naively, I tried handling Swap Montreal and my full time job for a few weeks, but that was just me not willing to let go.

Few months later, partner and I split up and took the website down. I chewed on my frustrations, silently moved on and peacefully found a new way to deliver my love of second-hand clothing:  organizing swapping events (join the movement here). I embrace the fact that those events are part of a bigger picture, which is make second-hand clothing a real alternative to shopping (amongst them the great Troc Parties by Dress Me Up MTL).

 

My friends sometimes ask advices before launching their Ulule and here’s what I’ve learned so far:

Entrepreneurs do not fear failures, competition and changes

#1 - Failures are good they make you grow, learn and iterate

#2 - Think of competition as an ecosystem you are part of and in which your bring value

#3 - And most of all iterate on your ideas, learn to ditch the wrong ones

 

Today I’m right where I should be: part of a great team BUILDING a product that helps entrepreneurs reach success… and move on from failures!

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