Meet Kristen from OHUDDLE, a resident of BizDojo @GridAKL. She has recently launched her startup - an online matchmaking tool for kiwi entrepreneurs. We thought at this stage of her journey it would be a great time to ask her for some top tips on what you need to be thinking about when you're starting out. There's also a bit about OHUDDLE and some really high brow getting to know Kristen questions too.
Starting a business will challenge you in ways you had never imagined. The more you can embrace the process and get really comfortable being uncomfortable, the more exciting things become. Ryan Holiday articulates this much better than I can in his book, The Obstacle is the Way. He suggests that success lies in the ability to view every new obstacle as an opportunity to be better, tougher, stronger.
2. Knowing your why
Have a deep understanding of what is driving you and your business. Not only will it make it easier to communicate with your customers in a compelling way but it makes internal decisions easier. You don’t have to have it all figured out from day 1 but spend some serious time digging into what it is motivates you. If you haven’t watched Simon Sinek’s TED Talk (Know your Why), it will be the best 18 mins you’ve ever spent.
3. Taking ‘expert’ advice with a grain of salt
Every investor, advisor, mentor and regular human will have a different view on where your company needs to go. Everyone. Often these pieces of advice conflict with one another and it’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole trying to decide a clear path forward. Trust yourself and (if you go back to #2), you’ll know whether to love it or leave it. Two good questions to use as filters: 1) Does this person have expertise in the relevant area? 2) Is this person close enough to me and my business (i.e. do they get it)?
4. Listening to your customers
Talking to potential customers is usually pretty easy, listening is the hard part. Be honest about this. Don’t be so blinded by how great your own idea is that you aren’t actually hearing what they say. Sit down with a few dozen people you think are in your target market and you’ll start to see some trends. Most people will be more than happy to donate some time to your research and coffee is usually a pretty good bribe.
5. Surrounding yourself with likeminded people
Entrepreneurship is tough and if all of the closest people in your life are on their way up the corporate ladder, they won’t understand the struggles that come along with building a business. It’s important to have people in your life that really get it.
Startup events are a great way to find these kindred spirits. BizDojo hosts a ton of great events or check out Startup Weekend or Meetup.com. If you can find 2-3 people you really connect with - those who are at a similar stage in business, are positive and share your values - you’re laughing.
What is OHUDDLE?
We believe in making life easier for entrepreneurs starting out.
OHUDDLE is an online matchmaker for NZ startups to find affordable & quality local professional services. We vet and interview lawyers, accountants, web designers and graphic designers and then match entrepreneurs with the best-suited pros when they visit the site. We have a 48-hour turnaround and it’s free to use.
Who is it for?
‘The little business with big ambitions’. Switched-on entrepreneurs looking for professional services - they have high standards but don’t have time or money to waste.
How did you come up with the idea?
I interviewed many an entrepreneur when I was starting out. It was clear that most business owners know their core product or service well but have a limited understanding of the other areas of their business needed to be successful. Coupled with my own experience of overpriced local experts and being let down time and time again by overseas freelancers, I realised I wasn’t alone here. Most businesses are cost conscious and go through a lot of trial and error searching for good professional services. It’s not the only thing that needs fixing but it seemed like a good place to start.
What’s the most sought after skill based on your OHUDDLE experience so far?
Accounting and legal services - those seem to be the areas people have a hard time DIYing. We’ve also had quite a few matches recently for UX/UI designers. It’s very cool to see the requests that come through.
What’s the best thing about working out of BizDojo @GridAKL?
Besides the resident pooch? The community! The energy and vibe from the staff, residents and guests creates an atmosphere unlike any other.
A little bit about Kristen
Oasis or Blur?
Blur. Though I’m a DnB & electronic girl at heart.
Potato chips or chocolate?
Both. Together. In one happy family.
Friends or Seinfeld?
Ahhhh - that’s so tough! I’m a bit ashamed to admit I’ve almost certainly seen every episode of both. A little entrepreneurial flashback (for all the true fans) to Kramerica Industries’ first intern, Darren:
Dean Jones: Far as I can tell, your entire enterprise is little more than a solitary man with a messy apartment, which may or may not contain a chicken.
Kramer: And with Darren's help, we'll get that chicken!
Kristen's favourite GIF