Archive for the ‘Startup’ Category

Startup Life

17 Jan
Startup Workspace

Waterfront view from my desk (West Seattle, WA)

Do you ever wonder what your entrepreneur friends do all day? Here’s a typical day in the life of a startup entrepreneur. (Cheryl’s day) I like to include a fitness factor in my day to break away from the computer. I normally go to sleep around 2 or 3 am and found out recently, that this isn’t a sustainable long-term practice. I ended up catching a cold/cough over the weekend which forced me to slow down and catch up on much needed sleep.

January 12, 2011
9 am: Coffee and Cache Crew status  mtg.
10 am: Follow target demographic on Twitter 50/day, respond to @mentions and thank RT, create content or RT articles relevant to busy moms on Hand Things Down
11 am:
Engage with law firm and email decision to other law firms we didn’t hire. Promote the blog of another entrepreneur on Hand Things Down Facebook fan page. Like their fan page.
12 pm Hit the gym – spin class today
1 pm: Split lunch with Bill and catch up on email via the phone during lunch.
2 pm: Shower and get ready for afternoon meetings.
2:30 pm: Work on founder homework
4 pm: Brainstorm blog posts
5 pm: Napped for 20 mins to try to get rid of migraine
6 pm: Drive to Meetup
6:30 – 8 pm:
WordPress Meetup – Seattle to learn how to drive more traffic to the Hand Things Down website using SEO techniques.
8 pm: Skype call for Founder Intitute working group
9 pm: Drive home then make a sandwich
10 pm: Listen to gamification webcast while working.
10:45 pm – 3:00 am: Continue to cross items off TO DO list.
3:30 am: Eyes closing as I draft this blog post.
As an entrepreneur, what does your typical day look like?

Interviewing Lawyers: The View & Cookie Factor

08 Jan

View from Perkins Coie

Mission: Choose a Law Firm
As homework for the Founder Institute this week, Bill & I had the dreaded task of interviewing law firms. This homework isn’t busy work or assigned for the sake of getting experience in interviewing law firms but rather to decide which firm, we would engage to incorporate our company. I was not looking forward to this task because I didn’t know what to ask the lawyers or even how to determine which ones would be better.

Getting Ready
To prepare for our meeting, Bill wrote up a few points to keep in mind, we had a brief animated discussion about the list he created because I was looking for 3 questions to ask each law firm to determine a base of questions we would ask all the firms that I could put in a comparison spreadsheet.


  • We want to form a Delaware Corporation because investors and lawyers know Delaware corporate law.
  • Discuss what is included in the incorporation package and how much it would cost.
  • Discuss “F” class stock.
  • Discuss whether the warrants we need to issue to Founder Institute would be included in the incorporation package.

Law Firm A: Small & Focused on Startups
Our first meeting was at One Union Square in Seattle. It was a rough start because we got a bit lost. After much swearing from Bill, we consulted my iPhone to find the entrance to the parking garage. I could only read the directions because I don’t have any map reading skills; GPS was invented for people like me. Luckily, we got to our meeting with a few minutes to spare and upon entering the conference room; we were treated to a breath-taking view of downtown Seattle. We started the meeting answering questions about our company, then we had discussion about various things we needed to consider around incorporation, assigning intellectual property to the company, terms of use, the lawyer’s experience with startups and of course how much it would all cost. At the close of the meeting, we talked about blogging since we read his blog to get a sense of his personality.

Law Firm B: Big & Well Known
Our second meeting was a few blocks away. After checking in, we were offered coffee and cookies…score! We were directed to go to conference room 4 to wait since we arrived a few minutes early for the meeting. Upon walking into this conference room, I was WOWed by the view of the Space Needle; I wonder if all law firms in Seattle have great views. The receptionist informed us, the lawyer was running a few minutes late so we treated ourselves to a second cookie and took pictures of the view like tourists. At the start of this meeting, we gave a quick overview of our company then had discussion around what would be included in the incorporation package. Since this law firm represented larger companies that could potentially acquire us, I asked what would happen if there were a conflict of interest. This would be a concern for us as the “little guy” because we do not want to be out on the street looking for a new law firm if we were fortunate enough to be in talks to be acquired.

Postmortem: Interviewing Lawyers is Hard Work
We have 2 or 3 other law firms to interview in the coming week, I told Bill I was making my decision based on the quality of the cookies and coffee we are offered. All joking aside, this is a serious decision, much like entering into a marriage. All the law firms and lawyers we scheduled to interview have been recommended by a respected entrepreneur or mentor in the Founder Institute. On paper, they could be equal; we have to determine which law firm is “the one” who can help us push our company to its highest potential. Since we are bootstrapped, we don’t have the money to pay lawyers all sorts of money that could be better utilized to attract rockstar developers to join our team. Another consideration is which law firm could help us secure the most favorable terms in financing rounds and eventually help us with an initial public offering or to be acquired.

It is easy to be seduced by the beautiful views (equal between the law firms we met thus far), the cookies, and the coffee. We need to decide which one will be the best partner for our company in the early stages and throughout our growth. I will release my decision table once we’ve concluded our interviews in the coming week.

As an entrepreneur, are you ready to incorporate your company and start fundraising?

Law Firms – Links to Startup/Business Formation

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Monday is D-Day

19 Dec

We will be pitching, we are creating mobile and web software to help busy moms share the things their kids have outgrown with their social network.

We will be rated on a scale of 1 – 5 on each of the following areas; idea, name, and pitch. We need to score a 4 – 5 in each of the areas to be able to continue with the program. While I knew that we were having the mentors review our ideas, I didn’t realize the consequence of being mediocre would get us kicked out of the program. I guess internally, I was treating this as a dress rehearsal for a VC pitch and ended up causing myself a lot of stress and anxiety this weekend.

We are hoping to hit it out of the park, wish us luck!

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Seattle: 2.5 days for Cheryl

03 Dec

I’ve been in Seattle for two and a half days and the adrenaline from making the decision to join the Founders Institute, packing my things and flying to Seattle has worn off. I might be a little delirious and distracted since my co-founder Bill was doing his best to pull my focus while I tried to record my video blog. We are going to be talking about what we learned through the mentors from the Founders Institute along with what we are doing to move our business forward.

Let us know what you want to know in the comments and we’ll make sure to cover them.

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Everyone is in Fashion

29 Nov

Think real world meets startup. Watch as one startup learns what it takes to create a successful company.

You are watching Cheryl & Bill as we go through the winter 2010/2011 Founder’s Institute in Seattle. We will be living in a 2 bedroom apartment, creating software, drinking lots of coffee, brainstorming with other founders, and hopefully giving you a taste of what it’s like to quit your day job and pursue your dreams.

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How to Grow a Successful Small Business Without Going Crazy

17 Aug

How to Grow a Successful Small Business Without Going CrazyI attended the Front Runner Alumni Reunion at Infusionsoft in Gilbert, Arizona. The keynote speaker was Clate Mask who is one of the co-founders of Infusionsoft and the co-author of Conquer the Chaos: How to Grow a SUCCESSFUL Small Business without Going Crazy. He talked about the growing pains of a small business and getting caught up in the daily details of doing what you can to make money. While that is a good goal for a small business, sometimes that activity is so distracting that business owners don’t sit back to strategize about how to build a company.

The two main themes he talked about were mindset strategies to achieving a balance and systems strategies to control speed. I am joining a book club with other business owners to discuss this book and see what strategies we can implement to grow our businesses. Clate said in his keynote, to achieve the right mindset, business owners need to invest in emotional capital, disciplined optimism, and entrepreneurial independence. In order not to become consumed, the three systems strategies are to centralize, follow-up, and automate. He also mentioned it’s important to read business books and he goes over techniques of speed reading in Conquer the Chaos since most entrepreneurs think they are too busy to read a book.

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