In the beginning...

19th April 2015. 00:13.

Boom. I launched. Went live. I've made my website live to the public and I have people signing up. I am no longer in my comfort zone. I am out there.

I came up with this idea in 2009. I tried to persuade others to do it but they weren't interested. So I decided to do it myself.

I purchased the domain back in July 2013 and it's 'only' taken me 21 months to get this far. 

I was delayed for a number of reasons, major organ surgery, the subsequent recovery, mental illness, the subsequent recovery and the breakdown of my marriage but mainly because I had too many questions and didn't know how to this 'properly'. Finally, with a small nudge from my employer and the realisation that my contract was ending shortly (31st July), I was forced to focus.

In late 2014 I discovered a company called Www.escapethecity.org and I attended one of their events about choosing to leave the corporate lifestyle. It cemented what I knew but hadn't yet admitted.

With July approaching fast I joined their 'Start Up Tribe'. Fifty people, all with their own start up idea. Three months. Every Wednesday and one weekend each month. The knowledge and experience they sling at you is amazing. The atmosphere is energising.

My highlight from the class on Sat 18th April was to strip back your idea to the minimum viable product ("MVP") in order to start speaking with customers as soon as you can. 

Further motivation, the catalyst, came in the closing comments on the Saturday from our tribe leader and course provider. Ben started by saying that we should go home, think about what we've learnt today and apply it to our own ideas and that if anyone launched, they'd be given five minutes on stage to discuss their idea on Sunday. This did not motivate me.

Rob followed Ben's comments up with a laugh and said that launching overnight would be cool and that if anyone did, he'd buy champagne.

It was a total throwaway mark. But it motivated me.

With what I'd learnt that day, I'd been able to identify my MVP and I wasn't that far away from it.

The champagne may have been the headline but I don't even like champagne that much, since my colectomy I've avoided fizzy drinks and with the London Marathon only a week away I wouldn't have drunk it anyway. 

However I recognised that a challenge had been lain down and I was prepared to accept.  On a scale of 10, my enthusiasm and motivation were now turned up to 11.

I left the Escape premises Saturday afternoon, amended my evening plans and set to work. Redrafting the the site and adding a mailing list sign up functionality. Sounds simple but of course, having never done this before, it wasn't.

I posted on Facebook asking if I knew any First Aiders at Work and was inundated with responses although many were from people whose training had expired. (Hmmm. Maybe an opportunity there).

At just past midnight on Sunday morning I started telling a select group of people (First Aider at Work qualified, still current) what I was doing. I was seriously out of my comfort zone.

Another point from Saturday's class that struck a chord was the quote from Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn "If you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late."

I was and still am suitably embarrassed. But by 9am Sunday morning I had seven signups.

I look at the site as version "-3". And that the site will go through four iterations/improvements before being finally becoming v1. Or something like that.

This weekend I also learnt that the number one killer of start ups is SCALE. Getting too big too soon. Trying to cope with numbers without having a strong foundation. I plan to approach a small number of First Aiders at my employer to see if something like this would help them out but nobody else for now.  I'm delighted to have a small number of people to try this out on. Any more and I'd be even more nervous. I'm going to make mistakes and I'm glad it will be to a small audience.

I've also set myself the target of proper beta testing (questions and answers) from Monday 27th April. 

Only the London Marathon to get out of the way first. If you're reading this, please would you consider reading my training update page (www.briancumming.strikingly.com) or my donation page. It'll be open and working for some time after the marathon on the 26th April 2015.

www.virginmoneygiving.com/brianscolonathon (at the time of writing it was just over the £4k barrier and not far from my £5k target. Super happy.

Watch this space...