WHAT THE HECK IS A BETA?
Fellow entrepreneurs, I’ve learned so much about what I don’t know. There are some entrepreneurs who just seem to know everything. They know how to structure a term sheet, they know alpha vs beta vs soft launch, they know feasibility studies, they know how to construct the perfect pitch deck, etc. Now that I’ve gained some understanding of these things, I realize why I wasn’t taken seriously by some people before. However, there is something I don’t get. Since I’ve come along in this process, I’ve made a point to work with my peers who haven’t learned these things yet. I would prefer that they not have to endure the set backs I’ve endured if possible. I found that the competitive nature of entrepreneurs has at times led to instances of being a jerk. Don’t hate; educate… or get jabbed in the mouth.
Anyways, the time had come. My attempt at gaining traction through a small-scale consulting practice proved to be a failure. My experience working temp jobs exposed me to some new ideas. So… I decided it was time to go techy. I have this idea for alternative investments and utilizing services as capital but people aren’t understanding the concept. More importantly, people aren’t understanding how I can provide this service. The solution I decided to pursue was to take myself out of the equation (in a sense). Amazingly enough, I found that people I have personal relationships with are more likely to engage a website randomly sent to them (secretly by me) yet have no interest in the idea when presented directly from me. I’m not a coder, a hacker and I don’t have the latest iPhone but I had an online platform built. The first piece of advise I got was “don’t outsource”. Find someone domestically and pay a little more for higher quality work. So naturally, I outsourced… Thank you Elance.
The next few months were awesome. I woke up at 10pm every night to Skype with my new development team overseas. Their accents made communication difficult but we worked through it. The end result, a pretty good looking website. Energized by the fact that I had just had a website built without any previous experience or know-how, I was ready to make some money. Of course, that assumption would turn out to be wrong but hey. The site I had built had just enough functionality to allow users to engage in the fundamentals of what I call “Collaborative Capital Exchange”.
Did it accurately and effectively get the point and vision of my venture across? Yes
Was it worth paying for? Not quite
Did I get some users? Just a handful but Yep
Finally, I realized what I was doing had a name among the tech savvy. A beta launch. Cool. I have to admit, I’m proud of myself. After years, I finally have something that people could see, read, understand and potentially pay for (not likely but possible). The best part, it can all be accomplished without my presence.
Lesson in Retrospect: Sometimes, you just need to build it. The site may not have been a huge business accomplishment but I needed it. I needed the peace that comes with getting my idea out of my head and into the world through this online platform. I feel better.