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Category Archives: Life

Pitching a New Startup Idea: A Terrifying and Rewarding Adventure

October 22, 2015

Last night I did the unthinkable – against my better judgement and my inner critic, I pitched my (very fresh, very new) startup idea to a room full of strangers. 

Let’s backtrack. Two weeks ago I received a newsletter from Innovation Guelph about the second annual Startup Royale, an event that promotes youth entrepreneurship and friendly competition in a Dragon’s Den style contest awarding seed funding to the top contestants. Reading the newsletter felt a bit like a star-alignment moment because my mind immediately jumped to an idea that I’ve been workshopping (in my mind) for months and I thought: I’m going to pitch it at the contest! 

I don’t know what possessed me to have such blind confidence in an idea I had at that point barely explored, but I set to work getting everything together. My typical approach to something like this is to work on it quietly, keep my head down, do some research, but not share it with others, because heaven-forbid I do poorly and everyone finds out, or I hear the idea is crap and I should toss it out. I knew that that wouldn’t work in this case, so despite every perfectionist bone in my body screaming at me to keep it to myself, I started talking about it to anyone who would listen. I spoke to dozens of people, got amazing feedback, collected really valuable information and felt the power of opening up and sharing with others. 

While I chatted and chatted about the idea, I also had to do some legwork. I researched the market, I built cash flow worksheets, I calculated my profit margins and the amount of product I’d have to sell to make it a success. I also built a booth for the occasion because someone mentioned that visuals really help in the competition. 

With some good data and strong numbers, I had all the answers I needed to fill out an application to compete. I was overflowing with ideas and strategies and plans and future growth opportunities, so narrowing down my answers to make them succinct and impactful actually turned out to be quite difficult. 

After all was said and done, I was invited to compete in the contest. I practiced my pitch for days, I revised and edited and tweaked and got feedback from other entrepreneurs and got it to the point that I walked into that competition feeling incredibly confident. 

I would love to end this story by saying: and then I won ALL THE SEED FUNDING, but the truth is I didn’t even make it to the second round.

[womp womp]

Here’s the thing — and brace yourself, it’s going to feel like the end of a Full House episode with beautiful lessons learned and wonderful hopes for the future — here we go: though I didn’t walk away with funding from the competition, I walked away with so many valuable lessons learned. I learned about the importance of opening up and sharing your ideas. I learned that setting a public deadline for yourself is truly the most motivating way to get an idea rolling. I met some amazing people and competed against some incredible and brilliant young entrepreneurs. And most importantly, I built something from the ground up in a very short amount of time and now have very strong momentum on that idea. All in all, totally worth it. Totally terrifying, but totally worth it. 

I went to bed last night exhausted but restless, with a mind racing around planning the future of this startup and my new next steps. My idea is not going anywhere. 

The reason I’m sharing this story? I hope some brilliant mind stumbles across it and gets inspired to share their beautiful idea and build something amazing. And if that’s too much to ask, I hope to inspire even just one person to open up about something, anything that’s been on their mind. If I can do it, so can you, friends. 

fullhouse

Images via Unsplash and giphy

My fashion week takeaway: Think Less, Do More

September 17, 2015

New York Fashion Week is in full swing and it feels like its more present than ever before. Videos are flooding my snapchat, photos are pouring from blogs and YouTube sensations everywhere are shouting from their video platforms with opinions and thoughts on runway trends. It’s a media field day and I’m eating it up.

More than anything though – it is straight up impressive. Jay Buim recently mentioned that while working at Fashion Week, he shot, edited, produced and uploaded 21 videos in 7 days (!!!) Journalists are running around to shows, sharing content on their social platforms, writing detailed reviews, interviewing designers, mingling, all while looking fabulous and being photo ready at every moment.

While I’m not condoning the idea of fast media, nor do I find these habits in any way healthy, what I do take away from it is that humans are capable of extraordinary things when put under tight timelines and intense pressure. Editors, videographers, photographer and designers across New York are at full capacity this week. There’s no time to over-analyze, efficiency is the name of the game and hitting “publish” as early and as often as possible is what will make or break you.

So I’m going to harness this energy, a philosophy of doing more and thinking less. It’s time I hit “publish” on some of the ideas that have been collecting dust, not quite “perfect” enough to put out in the world. Because watching Fashion Week has been a reminder that it’s better to get it done than have it be perfect.

Image credit: Unsplash and Vogue Runway

Previous Experience: Weber Shandwick

September 1, 2014

As an ode to my departure from Weber Shandwick (4 years to the date of when I started as an intern!!), it would be a disservice to not include here some details of my experience. Here are the highlights, but feel free to contact me for an up-to-date resume.

My most recent role at the agency was as a Senior Digital Associate. Say what now? The title means I supported on a wide variety of CPG web-based content marketing initiatives. I helped launch a global YouTube platform focused on driving branded SEO amongst our client’s hair brands; I developed strategic approaches and oversaw the content development for large sponsorships and campaigns; I ran real-time content marketing experiences (or “war rooms”), coordinating a team of creatives who would develop relevant content live as an awards show or TV program was on the air; I launched many social platforms and built strategies for social media execution. Exciting stuff! I also was supporting in the growth of the Social Impact practice, which gave me the opportunity to work with amazing non-profits, charities and CSR initiatives.

Previous to my Senior Digital Associate role, I grew through the ranks from Intern to Account Executive. Throughout those titles I had the opportunity to act as community manager, conduct research audits, I even have some traditional PR experience. I did some internal communications, having gone on secondment to one of our client offices for a summer. I’ve done events coordinating, blogger programs and I’ve eaten a lot of cookies along the way.

I’m looking forward to taking a left turn in my career to focus on web development. I believe there is a lot of overlap between my previous experience and my future, and hope I can marry the two someday.

Image source: Weber Shandwick

Hello World!

August 24, 2014

This is my first official post on this here web development blog. This is an exciting time for me because I’m about to start a full-time 9-week front-end web development program. I will be attending HackerYou and learning everything I need to know to become a web developer as a full-time gig. 

I hope you enjoy watching the process, contact me for info on the course, my portfolio or any other questions you may have!

Image via Unsplash