To be honest, I don’t know.
This is a horrible thing to say in a public forum about my “baby” … but let me break it down for you.
When Erin (my ex and tech-cofounder) built this platform 9 years ago, it was ahead of its time. Now it’s old, clunky, a nightmare to use, a nightmare to manage (you should see the customer service inquiries!!) and still running mainly because it’s momma (me), refuses to give up on it.
There, I said it. My baby is kinda ugly.
And it’s freaking hard.
EVERYDAY. IS. HARD.
The site’s internal systems are somewhat working, many are broken, and the only person that knows how they all work is Mitra.
Mitra came into my life right as NetworkingPhoenix was launching and helped me develop the platform into what it is today.
I LOVE MITRA.
After about 6 years together, Mitra has moved on to another full-time opportunity, but because of our bond, she still helps me out a few hours a week.
So if you’re sending customer service emails and not hearing back within a timely manner … now you know why. Sorry, it is what it is for the moment …
I’ve tried hiring others to train them on the system to replace her, but it’s basically been impossible. I don’t even know how to begin to train someone on a broken system. I tried and it doesn’t work.
Does Erin help out when needed? Yes. But Erin is also busy and the last thing I want to do is go to Erin with every annoying “fix” that needs to be done.
Are you getting a headache just reading this?
Honestly, there have been many times I just wanted to be done.
But each time I tried walking away from this mess … something pulled me back in. Someone told me how NP changed their life, how it got them a job, how the Networking Passport is the reason they excelled, how they moved to Phoenix because of the calendar, etc etc etc.
The site is still popular, we have over 37,000 local members and clearly, this is how I make my living …
It’s kind of a shit show, but it still works.
But even so … I’ve been THIS close to just walking away.
I haven’t because I just don’t want to.
And, truly, would you want me to leave?
Think of all the amazing things NetworkingPhoenix has done for you in the last 8.5 years.
Some of you built businesses because I created this platform. Some of you met your best friend, business partner or landed a giant deal at one of my Signature Events.
I don’t have stats documenting this statement … but we all know it’s true.
NetworkingPhoenix has changed the local community for the better.
I have cried many tears and fought many internal battles to keep this platform alive.
But am I on some mighty altruistic mission or am I trying to turn my startup into a multi-million dollar business.
I question my sanity often. I’m an entrepreneur … its just part of the package.
So why am I questioning something that has become so invaluable?
Because with the current technology, it’s at a standstill and it’s driving me cray cray.
The platform needs to be completely re-built. I need a new team. I need new life breathed into my baby to give it a facelift.
And I need this sooner than later.
Every freaking door I’ve knocked on so far hasn’t been “the door.”
That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop knocking on doors … in fact, that just means I have many more doors to knock on until I find the one.
It’s a process.
Many days I feel defeated.
Many days I feel lost.
Other days I look back at what I’ve accomplished and I’m proud.
I look ahead and I see a bright future.
This platform is truly amazing. There is nothing else like it.
I just need some help. The right kind of help.
Alone is daunting.
So is there a future for NetworkingPhoenix?
I refuse to give up.
Even if I wanted to, I don’t think I’m allowed …
… some supernatural power always reels me back in.
NetworkingPhoenix is mine to carry forward.
And as I’ve been knocking on these doors, I’ve learned a lot. I learned how simple it would be to re-build the platform.
I learned what pieces we need to keep and what pieces we don’t need.
The list of what I learned is long and I feel good about the conversations that I need to have moving forward.
So here is what I’m looking for …
Option 1: Tech partner to replace Erin. The entire platform needs to be re-built. This person would have to be a rock-star software engineer who gets my business and is willing to work in a lean startup environment.
We need to re-build in such a way that we can scale and grow the network quickly.
Most importantly – he/she would have to be able to jive with me and we’d need to have a similar vision of how we want the company to grow. This is the deal breaker.
I’m open to giving up equity in the company and/or getting funded to pay this person.
The thing about funding …
What are the chance of me being funded? Well, most likely not by any VC groups. Possibly angel funds, but I find most investors I talk to … unless they personally know me they don’t really get it. It’s all very frustrating.
I have had a few people approach me that have shown some interest. So not all hope is lost.
Option 2: If I start to raise money and I get it, I can always hire a team of people to bring my vision to fruition.
But I need more than just money to pay for talent. I’m looking for someone who GETS IT. Possibly, those could be the angels coming in with the money. Know of any interested angels who want to take on a great project? 🙂
So here I am … a CEO by default, managing a community of 37,000+ members, dealing with nightmare software, running all of this by myself, trying to find the right people/team to help me move forward while taking on new projects, making time for my daughter, trying to live life, finalize the divorce and stay consistent with my workouts.
Phew. Did I say it was freaking hard? Yeah, it’s hard.
But, hey, it’s me … if I was interested in “easy” I would have done that a long time ago.
I do think that the fact that I’ve stuck around for this long with NetworkingPhoenix the way it is is a bit crazy.
I also know that I won’t leave until I feel that I’ve exhausted every option. If at some point I do have to walk away from it, at least I won’t have any regrets. I won’t wonder “what if I did that or tried this …” because I plan on knocking on every door and seeing what answers I find.
I’m writing this blog post because I want to document my journey.
Sometimes it’s dark and it sucks.
I want this to be a chapter in my book where I talk about how ugly things got and how I somehow figured it out and made it happen.
Not only did I make it happen, but in the process, my platform truly helped thousands upon thousands of people while I turned it into a multi-million dollar business.
It’s gonna happen. Just watch.