I covered Vancouver-based Noomii, a startup that brings the concept of life coaching to your laptop last week. Since I am one curious gal, especially about people behind the startups, I emailed Stephan Wiedner, the founder of the company and asked him about how he got started. I am saving many of you research time, I hope.
How do you begin a startup, other than the idea?
You turn off the TV in the middle of a Canucks playoff game, flip on the radio to the Team 1040, roll up your sleeves, and get to work. Oh ya, consistent with the whole Noomii concept, you blast off an email to your most well respected friends and tell them you're going into business and that you're going to be a millionaire in two years. If that doesn't get you motivated, nothing will.
How do you know the idea is really “awesome” other than you think it’s just awesome.
You can ask everyone you know if the idea is awesome but that's risky because if you don't get the love you were hoping for, it may discourage you from pursuing it. Plus, if the idea is a really forward looking, it may not appeal to anyone because they haven't experienced it yet. There is a great quote by Henry Ford that goes something like this: "had I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse."
Life coaching is an interesting topic. Did you know that you'd have a market that would participate?
Yes. It's a multi billion dollar industry that 20 years ago, didn't exist. The growth is exciting to see.
Do you have investors?
What is your ad-revenue model?
Ad revenue is only a small part of our revenue model. With Google Adsense, it's simple to set up and start collecting small streams of revenue but it won't be lucrative until we have millions of page views. Instead we are going for a subscription, software as a service, revenue model targeted toward professional life coaches. Those features will be launched in the coming weeks. In fact, we're beta testing right now.
Most valuable lesson for others wanting to startup?
Quit your day job and make a full commitment to follow-through.
What is the idea behind the buddy or peer system?
Karma. The idea is to help people take the focus away from themselves for a bit and spread good karma. By focusing on helping others first, namely your pair coaching partner, you can trust that good things will come back to you.
Any advice for entrepreneurs?
Assemble the best team you can. Especially being in technology, having the right people to execute is key.
What would you do differently or the same?
There are a lot of things I would do differently. I think that's why you see so many entrepreneurs start up more than one company. The main thing I would do differently is hire good local people. We started by outsourcing our web development to a foreign company and that introduced some challenges. The thing I would do the same is persist. That's why we're still here today.