The realities of being an entrepreneur

Everyone loves a good success story, and these days, “entrepreneur” is the coolest title out there. The truth is that it’s hard and rarely makes any money in the early years of a business. So, how do you explain the realities of being an entrepreneur when you’re being interviewed about your business before you’re successful?

P.S. I finally threw away the display at the tip yesterday. I don’t feel as bad since I bought the door at the Green Shed second-hand, and the metal could be salvaged. It has truly caused me more stress than almost anything else in prep for this campaign. If I need a new display, I will definitely get it done properly next time.

The dreaded display now at the dump.
The dreaded display now at the dump.

On the homestretch

With just a few days to go before our product launch, we just finished about 90% of the video shots today and all of the photo shots yesterday. Yes, we’re still way behind schedule, but at least we are on the homestretch.

The display is trying to kill me

I finally picked up my display on Tuesday, but it’s not the best looking or steadiest thing you’ve ever seen. I totally regret buying an old door I found at the Green Shed rather than buying a new one for this project.

The display was designed to fold in half so that it would fit into my car, but this feature has also been it’s undoing. Who knew that it would be stuffed with cardboard to keep it’s form? I just wished my carpenter told me earlier (and got me it on time), and we could have swapped it for a $40 new one.

Old used door for my display
Old used door for my display

So, I spent the last two evenings painting it in my apartment complex’s garage to try to improve it’s appearance. I picked colours from my logo, but quickly realised that I should have used the darker green. The lighter green looked like a Canberra Raiders supporter lived behind the door. While I am actually a Raiders supporter, the colour also made my white prototype appear lime green too. Oops!

Display painted in Canberra Raiders' colours by accident
Painted in Canberra Raiders’ colours by accident

Blood fell from my fingers as I cut myself again that night. Then I scrapped the paint when I loaded it into my car. Ugh!

Photo shoot

At the last minute, I decided to do the photo shoot without the display which I think was a good call. “Iggy,” the photographers’ dog at Lightbulb Studio helped too as a model, showing off the product.

Iggy the dog
“iggy” at the photoshoot

Painting again

Last night, I once again spent the evening in the garage painting the display a darker colour and to hide the scraps. At one point, the whole door started to come apart as it did the previous night. I tried superglue, but it didn’t work. This time, I resorted to black duct tape which did a pretty good job, but is obviously hard to hide.

Trying to superglue the door back together
Superglue not working

As I tried to paint over the tape and the lime green, I accepted the fact that it was not going to be perfect and then decided to only partially paint the door so that it’s more of a creative mix of greens which also better hides the paint scrapes from the previous night and the tape.

Multi-colour green door.
The now multi-colour green door loaded for the video shoot.

Video shoot challenges

Early this morning I stopped at a retail store to pick up a baby gate for the video, and then headed across town for the video shoot. I thought it might take about 2 hours, but with all the set-up issues, it took about 3.5 hours instead.

3 hour video shoot location
3 hour video shoot

We had purposely decided to film this video outside because we weren’t pretending to be an expensive commercial shoot. Instead, this was a grassroots campaign like crowdfunding used to be. But shooting outside does have its challenges.

First, the door blew over and bent the metal frame. From the side, it was pretty crooked, but we managed to hide it in the front-view. We had to put things behind the door to keep it from falling over again.

Then, the baby gate I had bought (I did try to borrow one first), was harder than I expected to put together. When I finally did, I realised that it was defective and wouldn’t close properly. Ugh!

We had planned to use a teleprompter that I could read since the script was fairly long, but unfortunately the glare made it difficult for me or the cameraman to see. So eventually, I had to try to memorise a few lines at a time which wouldn’t have been so hard if it were not the fact that my brain is really full right now.

Other issues included the wipe board being swept away by the wind in the middle of the scene (I thought a bird had jumped on it by the noise), I struggled to remove some extra panels on the prototype for one scene because I worked so hard earlier in making sure they would stay together, and the general issues with “looky-loos” and people passing with skateboards and basketballs as you would expect during school holidays in a public place.

The final issue was when we went to take the door back to the car, and the whole thing broke into two pieces. At least it was lighter to load.

Embrace the faults with some cheese

By the time we were done, I could have been crying, but instead I told my cameraman from the beginning that this was not going to be a fancy product commercial. So we might as well embrace the faults and make it slightly cheesy. In laughter, we agreed that a blooper reel would have to be created afterwards which would include scenes from the pets.

At this point in the journey, I haven’t had a perfect week or day, but we’re on the homestretch (at least to Milestone 1A), and I cannot possibly try any harder to get this business off the ground, That’s really all I can do. The results will reveal themselves soon.