By Meg Wirth (Founder, Maternova)
We’re very happy to have the chance to share lessons learned in the five years since Maternova was conceptualized. I sat in a coffee shop in 2007 coming up with initial ideas around Maternova, not on a napkin but in a small notebook which I just recently found. I remember knowing next to nothing about social media, posting an initial blog post on a brand new WordPress site and waiting…. but eventually through a lot of trial and error the site grew and now fields visits from 170 countries and over 80,000 unique visitors.
Lesson #1: You can create something out of nothing.
So much you will have to learn yourself, in large part because a bootstrapped startup company can’t afford a lot of expertise. I spent a lot of time waiting to have enough revenue to be able to bring in a consultant to tell us how to do X and how to do Y. The truth is that in fact most of the research will need to be done by your team or by you.
Whether it is market research or export rules or analysis of the competition, most of the time you will need to simply buckle down and figure it out yourself.
Lesson #2: Don’t wait for expertise to fly in.
It’s never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket or to rely on one set of advice. I believe it’s a good idea to start with three advisors. A seasoned advisor who agrees to mentor you will often work with you free of charge, and based upon his or her passion for your business idea.
Don’t be afraid to part ways with those who don’t fit into your company, your mission or your passion.
Lesson #3: Use several informal advisors early on and don’t be afraid to part ways.
We hope that is helpful! We are still learning as we go.
Women 2.0 readers: What are your tips for starting up? Let us know in the comments below!
About the guest blogger: Meg Wirth is Founder of Maternova. She has worked in global health for 15+ years at the Rockefeller Foundation, the UN Millennium Project and in Indonesia. She has consulted to startup companies pursuing global health markets. Meg has been a finalist in the MassChallenge, Cartier Awards, LOHAS prize, the RI Business Plan Competition and most recently the Women 2.0 PITCH NYC 2012 Startup Competition. Follow her on Twitter at @maternova.