Posts by Simon Tefula

Simon Tefula’s Startup Journey Vlog

Here’s the intro/trailer, all episodes to date are shot and edited on my iphone 6s I’m bootstrapping all the way baby. “It’s not a lack of resources, it’s a lack of resourcefulness that prevents us from fulfilling our full potential and dreams…” – Tony Robbins

 

After thinking about it for a very long time, I’ve decided to do it. I’m documenting the highs and lows of my Tech Startup Business Journey in a vlog that I will share on all my social media channels at least on a weekly basis specifically on my Facebook & Youtube Channels. I’m a very private individual so I’m naturally quite nervous about putting myself out here on blast like this. It’s completely out of my comfort zone however as Thomas Jefferson once said, “…if you want something you’ve never had you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” Life as they say begins outside your comfort zone, and I’ve just taken the plunge. Apologies in advance I didn’t realise I talk too much… I go on quite a bit but as I promised no filters. Please follow & support the journey by subscribing to my social channels. Thanks for supporting yours truly.

The Story of how I developed an app: PART 1: What is TRENDiPEOPLE? & How it All Started:

 

 

 

                                                                                 How it all Started:

In the next series of posts called ‘How I developed an app’ I’m going tell the story of how I fought tooth and nail and never gave on a dream of developing an app/mobile platform that actually solves a problem, empowers people and makes the world a better place. I will ge into the detail of how I was successfully able to build a team, secure partnerships, develop the prototype plus live updates of the day to day grind and hustle of developing a tech startup.

In an old post (What is TRENDiPEOPLE), I wrote about how I came up with idea for TRENDiPEOPLE. However I now have to admit that at the time of writing that post, I was being economical with the truth. At that moment in time, I was not yet comfortable enough to reveal everything because I was still in the process of refining the idea plus I wrongly believed that keeping the idea a ‘secret’ would give me an advantage however I was wrong. In a later post, I will write about the issues with keeping ideas a ‘secret’ particularly with reference to tech startups and in the context of Non Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). The time has now come for me to reveal all. As we all know in the world of startups, times, things and people change. The only thing that is constant in the startup world is change.

By way of a quick recap, I came up with the idea for TRENDiPEOPLE in 2010.  At the time I realised that the fashion and beauty industry in particular the media in its current state mainly promoted and to this day still promotes a negative & distorted image of beauty. I believe that everyone is a unique and beautiful individual. I wanted to do something that empowers people. The initial idea was a simple website that enabled anyone to upload and tag brands plus items that they were wearing. In doing this I wanted to create an equal playing field where anyone could kick-start a real time trending fashion look. Essentially the platform was meant to be a place where anyone could kick-start and discover real time global trending fashion. However there were two massive issues with that idea. In 2011 the costs of developing social platforms was extremely expensive, having only just completed university at the time it was a challenge to secure funding for the idea. Despite that I was actually able to develop a prototype which we tested however I decided to park the idea due to the enormous costs that were required to make it work. There was also the potential challenge of developing a viable revenue model. The main source of revenue was meant to be advertising, however as we all know, in order to make any sort of decent advertising revenue, you need to have a massive audience. The biggest challenge is two fold. Firstly how do you develop that audience and secondly how do you fund and sustain the operation while building the audience and more critically before you become profitable. I decided to park the idea for a while.

Fast forward 2013-2014 I lived in Cardiff City for about a year. During that time I had a massive Afro & beard. At the time, the nearest black barber shop was 45 minutes away from where I lived. Meaning that a round trip plus time taken waiting for and having a haircut and beard trim would be on average around two to two and a half hours. This was obviously an inconvenience that I could do without. One day as I was wondering around the shops in Cardiff City centre I bumped into another ‘brother’ i.e. black dude with a sleek hair cut. I stopped and asked him where he got his hair cut. He then proceeded to give me a number for a mobile barber that would make his way to my place. When I rang this mobile barber, he turned out to live only a couple of streets down from me. He was at my place in less than 10 minutes and in less than 30 minutes he had got my fro and beard looking sharp.

Light Bulb moment.

It was at this time that I noticed that there was a problem which needed to be solved. This is when the idea for TRENDiPEOPLE was resuscitated. That problem being that there are plenty of people with skills in beauty and fashion i.e. Hairstylists, Barbers, Makeup Artists/Beauticians, Nail Artists & Fashion stylists. They have skills however in most cases do not own a saloon and/or do not have a job moreover they need a way to find clients and earn revenue. On the other hand, there are clients like myself and other busy professionals that would love the convenience of having these sort of services on demand.  In a nutshell as of today, TRENDiPEOPLE is an on-demand app for Finding & Booking Mobile Freelance Fashion, Hair, Nail, Beauty, Stylists that come to you. This is done based on location and reviews. The updated idea is still consistent with our original founding values. We believe in empowering people,  simplifying things and making the world a better place.  We promise to remain true to those values as we continue to evolve and grow. The first version of the platform will be launching in 4 weeks. If you have any skills in fashion and beauty or have any friends that do and would like to set off with us on an exciting journey then lease help us spread the word. Leave us with your email address here (www.trendipeople.com) and we’ll contact you as soon we are ready so that you can test and give us feedback of how we can make TRENDiPEOPLE better for you.

In Part two I will explore how I was able to build a team and the resources required to get the Mininum Viable Product(The First Version) of the platform out of the door.

Yours (i) truly,

Simon Tefula 

Entrepreneur Interview Series: Episode #001 – Sophie Tea Artist & Entrepreneur

Artists are the original Kings and Queens of Entrepreneurship. Great Artists & Entrepreneurs are excellent at creating something unique, Branding & Marketing it while building a following. It is in striking this balance that separates the successful ones from those that are mediocre. Meet Sophie Tea, a new Artist & Entrepreneur getting rave reviews from several sections of the media and the Art world for her vibrant art style. She has hit that sweet spot of turning her hobby into a business. Find out more about Sophie Tea‘s work and Commission her before she blows up & is still affordable.

Entrepreneur Interview Series: Episode #001 – Sophie Tea: Artist & Entrepreneur

Introducing The Entrepreneur Interview Series

Over the past 12 months I’ve met over 200 aspiring and inspiring entrepreneurs, artists and creatives all across the country specifically in my local stomping grounds in London and Manchester. The motivational speaker Jim Rohn once famously said that we are the average of the five people that we spend the most time with. I therefore tend to spend most of my time around creative, artistic and entrepreneurial individuals and events because I’m a combination of those three qualities and skills. I recently decided to start interviewing these individuals because they have really interesting and inspiring stories to tell. I will be sharing these via my Youtube Channel and Facebook Page once a week.

In 2016 I made a conscious decision to network more and increase the number of my enterprise skills training workshops which is how I got to meet all these interesting people.

I believe that creativity and storytelling can be used as a way of inspiring, motivating and empowering people. The aim is to inspire, motivate and empower others to make that ever so brave decision of embarking on the journey of pursuing their dreams. For the average person, it’s almost impossible to meet such a diverse range of artists, creatives and entrepreneurs. The plan is to shoot and edit an interview between 7 – 15 minutes that can be watched during a work lunch break or during that daily commute to provide a motivational boost. Look out for some very insightful and surprising interviews coming up.

Please like, subscribe and share Refined Creatives on Facebook & Youtube:

Where there is no vision, the people perish – Proverbs 28:19

Many moons ago…

when I was about 14 or 15 years old, I had a vision, I was sat at the top of a table in a fancy boardroom somewhere in the City of London. I was flanked by 3 other people on either side (6 people in total were paying attention to what I was saying). I was wearing a burgundy turtleneck and a blue blazer.  At the time I had no idea where that vision came from or what it meant however something incredible happened four weeks ago. I found myself in a strangely familiar boardroom of a fancy Digital Agency called Modular. I had this sense of Déjà vu. It was only after I had left the meeting that it all came back to me. This is an experience that I’d had been through before.

 

What’s your vision of yourself?

All throughout my years at school, university and various job that I did I always had this vision. Although I didn’t specifically know what or how I wanted to do, I believed in doing and contributing something that makes this world a better place. I kept seeking for inspiration and setting goals while working towards them because I had a vision. I then came up with some ideas, most were disastrous but some worked out. I learnt and continue to learn plenty of lessons most of which I share in my workshops. To say that my path has been challenging is an understatement. As I continue to tell my story – and it’s a long and eventful one, one thing that I’ve learnt is this.

It’s never talent that holds somebody back, 99 out of 100 times it’s somebody’s vision of themselves and their idea of what is possible.

The book of Proverbs 28:19 says “…where there is no vision, the people shall perish.” Develop a crystal clear vision for yourself, see yourself in particular situations, imagine how you would sound and feel in those scenarios. Create goals, write them down, work towards them and in good time, you’ll find yourself living Déjà vu experiences.

 

Focus on building followers

Following, followers, Followed:

Vitaly’s audition on Britain’s got talent is pretty much exactly how things tend to pan out in the entrepreneurship world. When you have an idea that you’re trying to execute, you’ll always get ‘experts & consultants’ standing in your way, looking sceptical and doubtful, giving you that look that says ‘so you think you’ve got what it takes, so you think you’re the best thing since sliced bread, we’ve seen it all before…’ However as an entrepreneur, you just have to focus on impressing and capturing the imagination and attention of your target audience. That’s all that matters. Because once you’ve been able to acquire a massive following, once you’ve got the traction/momentum, then all the experts will come on board. The majority of investors will make you offers. Having traction and a growing following is the difference between success and failure. How many times have we seen or heard of startup companies backed by experts and well funded however they end up failing because they cannot gain that initial traction. Moral of the story is ignore the naysayers and focus on building a following. I’m currently in the process of building traction/following. Look out for a post on my experiences of building a following.

The road to success is always under construction

agile-methodolody_695x260

Success means different things to different people. In the context of this post, I will refer to success in the context of career and personal development.

Agile Development:

In software development there’s a concept known as the ‘Agile Development Cycle.’ (See diagram above). This is normally used in the process of developing a new piece of software, a mobile app or website. Those involved in this process usually follow these steps. The first part of it is to plan extensively, then to design a prototype, build the prototype, test the prototype, review and then launch the prototype to the general target audience. This process is great because it focuses on constantly making small incremental modifications/improvements that take into consideration analysis and learnings from previous steps. For as long as the product i.e. website, mobile app or software is openly available to users/customers, the agile methodology/process never ceases. It’s on going. It’s constant. This is the reason we all constantly receive notifications prompting us to update our apps/software to the latest ‘improved’ versions.

Life lessons

go-your-own-road-by-erik-johansson

This model provides a great methodology applicable to individual/personal development. You constantly have to plan for what you need to achieve out of your life, this could include goals in terms of career, health, financial, education, relationships etc. What is required is designing a strategy, building a way, testing, reviewing and eventually launching yourself into it. Say for example you are interested in pursuing a specific career path as a Lawyer or Doctor. You have to plan extensively before you embark on such a path. You have to plan which college/university you will attend. Then when you get to university, you’ve got to design or choose the specific optional subjects or a major in your chosen area of study. This process goes on until you become a qualified professional. However even while you’re qualified and in a ‘stable career,’ in order to maintain your qualified professional status and climb up the ‘career ladder’ you need to plan, design, build, test, review and launch for the role or office that you aspire to hold. This means that there’s a constant need to train & develop yourself while in the job in order to keep up with the latest practices in that specific field of work. Hence the reason why The road to success is always under construction.’ Every decision you make requires you to go through this agile development process. The time spent on each specific step will vary depending on a number of different factors that you deem important to your own pursuits. Moral of the story is to get into the habit of planing, designing, building, testing, reviewing and launching. That’s how one is able to constantly reinvent themselves time and time again. No one can afford to remain static or dormant. As one of the greatest scientists – Charles Darwin once said, “…it’s not the strongest that survive the longest, but those that can adapt to change’

If you need any help designing or developing a web or mobile product using the agile mobile development method then please feel free to get in touch here or check us out over at Refined Creatives to see what we can do for you. You might also be interest in some of our Entrepreneur Training Workshops that we run for those with ideas that they wish to turn into a business.