Things we didn’t know: Part 1 – Starting up a Startup

“How hard could it be to start a subscription box business anyway?”

It was summer in 2015 and we were on a beach in Brazil, on the wrong side of a few caipirinhas. All Dulcie and I had was the beginnings of our vision, brief knowledge of The Lean Startup and The Business Model Canvas, and cumulative one year’s worth of work experience, but we were ready and raring to take on this thing called ‘startup’.

As it turns out, the surprising answer to our question is that it’s actually pretty easy to start a business. Anyone can have an idea, and these days anyone who knows a bit of HTML, or how to use WordPress, can create a website and show it off to the world. What we’re learning is that the hard bit isn’t doing stuff, it’s in figuring out what to do in the first place: the endless discussions about branding, pricing and everything else, the dilemma about which tasks on your to-do list are most important when there’s only two of you, the job of keeping up motivation when working from home most days in the week, and the hard task of deciding which job title to give your pet dog.

littlepuppywilf
Wilf the border terrier is our resident Social Media Intern

One thing that makes life a little harder for the two of us is the fact that we come from academic backgrounds – Dulcie studied Chemistry at university, and I studied Maths and Philosophy – and that means that we face the issue that many new graduates do of not having much practical business experience. This means that a lot of our conversations tend to go something like this:

“Okay, so we need *insert massively unrealistic target* to happen.”
“Cool. Sounds simple enough.”
“Yep.”

(Silence)

“Any ideas on how we’re going to do that?”
“Nope.”

Because we love giving people the opportunity to laugh at us, we thought we’d write this series of blog posts called ‘Things we didn’t know’. The general idea is to try and give others of you in the same position some insights into the day-to-day running of a subscription box company – at the very least, you might get an idea of what not to do! Expect these posts roughly once a week, but sign up to our mailing list if you’d like an email reminder to check the blog.

Next week’s installment – “What’s in a name?”

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