I started my journey as a technology gaming app entrepreneur 4 years ago at the University of Utah. My very first app was a simple soundboard of a famous actor called Shia Labeouf. The app has received over 100,000 downloads. Building this app helped me see the joy and pain one can receive from building an app that real people care about. Building my first app spawned another idea, called Blerp, which is the company I am currently working on today. Blerp is a platform for people to find, share, and create short audio clips. It is also a growing database of over 200,000 sounds for people to enhance their communication and interactions. We are currently growing the fastest by helping streamers make money on Twitch using our Blerp Twitch Integration. When I first started Blerp, I had no clue how hard it would be to bring to life an idea even if you passionately believe in the idea. I want to share with you some of the thoughts I think you should be prepared for if you are thinking of becoming a technology entrepreneur yourself.
1. Prepare to be patient
I have been building Blerp for three years. I started out building it on the side while working a full-time job. Some people choose to raise money and give up a huge part of their company at the beginning to move faster. I thought for a long time I was doing things wrong because I wasn’t out raising millions of dollars. Eventually, I realized I had most of the skills and time needed to take things slow and build the product myself. Ultimately, I decided to side hustle my company while building up a savings because I thought this path would give us the best chance of building a sustainable company. For me, I thought this choice to bootstrap was great but that doesn’t mean that this path is what everybody should do. If you are becoming a tech entrepreneur, try to understand that building a valuable project takes a huge amount of time, and you will need to be very patient to build and sell a valuable product.
2. Prepare to fight
Great things don’t always come easy in this life. I had a skewed view of what it felt like to get users because, to be honest, my first app went viral pretty fast and easy. One should remember that long and lasting value is built through long hard work. Just because you can get people initially using your app doesn’t always mean you are solving a real problem. If you have a great idea, be prepared to put great time into building your product. If you have a great product, be prepared to put a great amount of thought into grabbing people’s attention for your product. Business is a tough and competitive game. Don’t get me wrong, I believe competing against yourself and understanding how to continually innovate and add value to this world is more important than focusing on your competition. But your competitors in the market won’t wait for you. If you are trying to build something large and lasting, then be prepared to give everything you got for your company. If you aren’t prepared to work hard, then someone else will be more than happy to take your place.
3. Prepare to learn
If I knew how much learning and work one really needed to go through to become a successful tech entrepreneur, then I would have probably been more scared to take the journey. Starting out as an entrepreneur feels like running up a hill where after some time that hill becomes a mountain. Ignorance can be a blessing sometimes when it comes to taking on tough challenges. Don’t let knowing that an event is tough stop you from putting yourself into situations that allow you to grow. Being a technology entrepreneur requires you to not only know how to build great products, but it also requires you to understand how people work as well. You will need to understand how to motivate people, sell to people, and even build healthy relationships with people. You will need to learn how to control and direct your time as efficiently as possible. You will need to understand how to cultivate a brand, sell a vision as well as take time to structure a business organization. You will need to think through tough decisions and solve problems that you may not be used to solving. Learning how to learn effectively is a huge part of being a technology entrepreneur.
4. Prepare to be hurt in many ways
Over the past three years, I have had many ups and downs while running my company. As the years go on it seems that the lows get lower and the highs get higher. Being an entrepreneur requires maintaining healthy business relationships as well as making sure people love your product. One of the best parts of being an entrepreneur is working with creative, smart, self-motivated people. It’s also one of the hardest parts of the job because it’s easy to feel inadequate. Learning to take criticism and being able to self-reflect is a huge part of being a good entrepreneur because self-reflection is a tool that helps you accurately understand yourself. Self-reflection is also how you understand how you are influencing the people around you. If you aren’t surrounding yourself with people who care enough to give you honest feedback, then it will be harder for you to learn what you are doing wrong. Stretch yourself, be prepared to toughen your skin because becoming an entrepreneur is not easy.
5. Prepare to have fun
If you aren’t enjoying the journey of life then you are really missing out on life. I have noticed that some people fall in love with the idea of becoming an entrepreneur rather than the actual work that comes with being an entrepreneur. I come from a background of immigrants and have always enjoyed the entrepreneurial spirit of working hard. I also enjoy building new products from the ground up. Becoming an entrepreneur is a choice accessible to most people. You don’t need to be a single type of person or like a single type of industry to become an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs can choose the field or industry they decide to build their company in. People with various passions and backgrounds can become entrepreneurs. Becoming an entrepreneur should be fun especially if you plan on making a successful career out of it.
As I continue to build my company, I can’t help but think of all the wonderful growth that happens from working as an entrepreneur. My hope is that as you choose to take this path yourself you will learn to find joy in the things that matter as well as grow to become the person you want to be.
If you are interested in more gaming entrepreneur related topics feel free to check out my other articles on how to make money playing video games and growing your business through Twitch video game live streaming platform.