Tell us a bit about your business
Kinetic! is a free social network smartphone application for Iphone and Android platforms. It borrows elements from other social apps and makes the process of making spur of the moment plans more efficient. Unlike other apps it promotes activeness and encourages people to meet up by broadcasting that they are free or wanting to do something, making it easier connecting with friends. It goes under the mentality that there is always someone free willing to hang out, you just need to let them know otherwise it's a missed opportunity.
Why did you start up your business
I was experiencing situations where I wanted to contact friends instantly to see what they were doing but falling back on calling 5-10 friends which I found very inefficient. There were also situations where people assumed I was busy when I was actually free, leading to the commonly used phrase, 'you should've called me, I was free'. This happened enough times for me to realise there was nothing helpful in the market, and if done right, I could introduce an app that could help people with these common problems.
What are the major hurdles you experienced when starting up your business
Starting the project by myself, I had no colleagues or people to bounce ideas off or get motivation and encouragement from. Along with that I wanted to keep my idea close to the chest and not spread it around due to the nature of the app industry. These factors affected my confidence immensely. Some days I would be motivated and full of confidence thinking I had a great idea, while more often I would be questioning myself and thinking 'What am I doing? This isn't going anywhere. I should be working in a 'real' job'. I am still experiencing these problems since I'm still working by myself, but since the app out is out on the market I can start receiving feedback and more support from people.
What tips can you give other SavvySME members that are thinking or in the process of starting up their business
Get as much advice from friends and family as you can. Pitch your idea to them and get their honest feedback without the bias of being friends or family. You need to make that decision to commit yourself to something you believe in and that can sustain yourself financially. Therefore you need that passion while being realistic in seeing whether it can go somewhere. If you know that you will not regret taking the chance, even if you fail, then you know that you are on the right path.
What made you decide to take the jump and focus on your business
It began with having a mid-life crisis and wanting something different to a career in commercial accounting. I figured if I was going to work the majority of my life, it might as well be something I was interested in. So I quit my job with no backup plan and having no direction. I realised by not having family or mortgage commitments and having work experience and qualifications built up, it would probably be the best time to experiment and try something different.
How did your family and friends react?
Friends were very supportive and excited for me. Family were more concerned and worried, hoping that I would give up this 'hobby' and concentrate on something more stable and definable.
How has your life changed?
Although working for yourself can be less stressful in some ways, it can be even more stressful in others. Total dependence on yourself and the business is a big responsibility to take up. However in saying that, overall I can say I'm much happier in life in general compared to my previous job. Being in an industry that I actually want to be in and learning a lot of new things every day is very rewarding and satisfying. There seems to be more of a purpose now compared to the drudgery involved before.
What success have you experienced since starting your business?
I actually only released the app recently so I can't say I have had enough time yet to measure success. However the feedback has been great, I have just finished working on fixing bugs and installing a new chat system which I am very excited about. I will start promoting it heavily and contacting media, so hopefully the success stories will come round soon.
What is the vision for your business going forward?
Not to give away any secrets but I can see a big potential for different avenues if enough people use the app. As it is basically a platform to broadcast to a lot of people, I can see businesses taking advantage and wanting to do cross promotions, or even promoting themselves with flash sales and being able to reach an audience quickly.
What tips can you give other SavvySME about motivating yourself to push through the challenges that rise up while building your start up
Easier said than done but you need to keep a balance between being optimistic and grounded. Have faith and believing in yourself while keeping your emotions in check. If you are over optimistic, your goals will be unreasonable and most likely not be reached. If you are too grounded, you won't have the passion and faith to spur yourself on and to get people you talk to excited as well. A good level of confidence will keep you motivated while knowing generally what to expect.