In 2011, armed with a bachelors degree in Information Systems, like many a student, I set out on my path to find a job. My first ever proper job out of university was with a startup based in Montreal. It was my first foray into the world of startups, given that the only job I had held before that was with Yahoo! Southeast Asia, and needless to say I have been hooked since then!
Startups are a wonderful thing, the feeling of having the freedom of being able to operate without one too many traditional boundaries set on large corporations and the ability to give formal project charters a swift kick is liberating. Plus a lot more gets done and sometimes you get to be an entrepreneur!
Fast forward to the summer of 2014, and I was ready to have the best summer of my life (and I have a diary entry to prove that!). That night, the night I wrote the diary entry that is, believe it or not, I received a twitter DM from Saadia Muzaffar, a force to be reckoned with in the startup industry in Canada. She asked me if I would be interested in participating in tech for good based Startup Weekend in Mississauga (talk about the power of ideas!). My first reaction: Am I ready? eeeegaawwdd so much pressure.
I didn’t want to do it alone, so the next morning I contacted my friend Nancy and asked her if she’d like to go on a summer adventure with me to Sauga. She said yes because she is awesome like that and two weeks later we were on a Go Train to the mysterious land of GTA. (Side note: Go Trains are pretty awesome) Once there, the nervousness got the better of me and I refused to pitch my idea but after a little coaxing from Saadia, I did it anyways, only to find out that my idea wasn’t selected for the weekend.
While I sulked in a corner and talked to people about their ideas, a guy came up to me and asked if I still wanted to work on the idea that I pitched, I was like whaaaaa? didn’t he hear them? they said we can’t! That was lesson number one in entrepreneurship for me, as long as someone believes in you, you can at least give your idea a go because hey at least one person is going to use / support it.
My team mate number 1 (Harpreet) then went on to speak to a few people and formed the team #hustle. The next hurdle then was to get approval from the organizers, who, as awesome as they were, weren’t really all that willing to allow us to participate. Reason being that they only have a certain amount of time allocated for judging and didn’t want to have way too many projects.
The next 30 minutes are a huge blur in my memory but somehow we managed to participate! Lesson number 2, persistence pays off.
That night when I went back home, I started thinking about how I wanted to develop my idea, a million thoughts ran through my mind, at the speed of bullet trains. I was so happy to be allowed to participate that the thought of winning was nowhere on my mind aka it didn’t exist.
Over the next two days the team and I poured our hearts and souls into it. Tempers flared, patience ran low but 48 hours later came presentation day. For those of you who know me, I am not the best public speaker out there and the fact that it was my idea made me even more nervous! after 15 attempts at trying to master my pitch I decided that I was just going to say how I really felt about it and lo and behold we won, which was a far cry from not even being selected. And that my friends is how AccessEZ was born.
The lesson from all of this? Be persistent, hustle and let the universe do its thing.
While a lot of us are in it to win it in life, the path of entrepreneurship will never be a straightforward one and even if you don’t always win and face a failure, you will still have a darn good story to tell!
Stories are powerful, you can learn so much from them and the best stories are told by people who have actually experienced something. So if you are entrepreneur or someone trying to take a gander and delve into the world of entrepreneurship, check out the Art of Entrepreneurship conference happening on October 7 in Toronto and learn from the best! http://info.theartof.com/et14/connect26
Time: 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
Venue: Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Date: October 7, 2014
If you use the link provided above and go with a friend, you get to save money too and what’s more fun then being able to enjoy an experience with a friend? NOTHING! So what are you waiting for? clickety click and learn!