This cherished memory led my dad to a somewhat mystical conclusion: that my brother and I were unwittingly following in his footsteps when we both found ourselves working in an estate agency, a year apart. While I thoroughly enjoyed my time in estate agency, our experiences were notably different. The thought of taking an applicant file home today sends GDPR shivers down my spine.
You might be wondering how this familial connection to property and the estate agency world ties into my current venture—a PropTech start-up. Well, in November, I faced redundancy for the second time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The experience is undeniably traumatic, but channelling my Dad’s yuppie confidence, I decided to embrace the challenge.
As I write this, I am less than two weeks away from the launch of UK Homes Network—the property industry’s first professional networking app.
However, my journey hasn’t mirrored the chaotic scenes of Grolsch and chain smoking that preceded it. It has been a more measured and introspective process, yet I feel compelled to share the challenges I’ve encountered in launching a start-up, despite adopting a ‘go get ’em!’ attitude.”
Since November, my days have been consumed by a relentless stream of emails exchanged with suppliers in preparation for our upcoming launch. In navigating this phase, I continually remind myself that, while challenging, this represents the ostensibly ‘nice’ or ‘easy’ segment of business development—a stage characterised by unwavering commitment to innovation and creativity. The imminent end-of-month launch date looms, and, fortunately, the absence of immediate revenue targets grants me the space to focus on pioneering approaches.
Yet, despite this seemingly creative pursuit, the experience has evolved into a nuanced exercise in emotional regulation, marked by persistent self-interrogation:
“Why aren’t they responding instantly?”
“Do they not share the same vested interest in my business as I do?”
These incessant and, admittedly, unreasonable questions dominate my daily reflections. To weather this entrepreneurial storm, I advocate for start-up founder cliches like cold showers and Wim Hof breathing exercises. The shock of an ice-cold shower serves as a metaphor for the stressors encountered throughout the day, creating resilience that mitigates the impact of, say, an unattended support ticket for nine hours.
Now, if you’ve endured my ramblings this far, let me share a crucial lesson: delegation is no walk in the park. In my quest for progress, I’ve embraced the mantra of ‘Don’t know it? Delegate it!’ Yet, I’ve encountered a flaw in my logic, particularly when it comes to the intricate task of BUILDING A WEBSITE.
I’ve enlisted the help of a local agency, and for the most part, they’ve been outstanding. However, a challenge has arisen as they attempted to double delegate on top of my initial delegation. My project brief goes through my account manager before being distributed to various web developers across Eastern Europe. The issue isn’t necessarily the language barrier – it’s the struggle these talented and cost-effective developers face in deciphering the details I’m trying to convey. This, as mentioned earlier, has led to the email frustrations I’ve experienced.
To overcome this hurdle, I’ve had to swiftly adapt by using visual aids. I’ve resorted to screenshotting elements of the website into Canva and creating diagrams. This approach allows me to visually communicate my delegation intentions and avoid getting lost in the intricate process involving three parties.
I’ll just leave you with this final pearl of wisdom from my Dad which has served me well: “Get a bloody good solicitor and a bloody good accountant”.