Entrepreneurial Journey

Does NetworkingPhoenix have a future?

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 …

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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.

Both.

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?

YES.

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. hustle

15 comments

  1. Networking Phoebix gave me the chance to meet the woman who changed my whole world! The functions have enabled me to stay present in a group of like minded business professionals all looking to achieve. I have met many people, friends, business partners and business contacts. The relationships that have formed from the events have been what has helped me build my community within NP’s large community. I am grateful for the company over the last three years it has been a large role in my community networking.
    Great post. Thank you for sharing! You will make it happen! The dark times make us so much more grateful for the bright times. They are not far away for you Gelie! And you still workout on top of all that! #Boom #BossBabe
    Keep up the hustle! You inspire and drive me and many others!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So, in a previous life, before I was an author and screenwriter, I was a Creative Director at Young & Rubicam. Biggest ad agency in the world at the time. Started there as a Copywriter. One of the things we did religiously every week was look at portfolios. We were always on the lookout for great writers, or Art Directors, to hire and make us even more killer. Saw a lot of shit, as you can imagine. I was thinking about those days as I read your “story.” Made me smile. Because if this had come across my desk back then, I would have read it aloud to my creative teams, and I guarantee someone would have said, “Fuck. We gotta get her in here!” And it would have been unanimous.

    I hope you find your person. And funding. And I’m even going to think about who I know that might be able to help.

    Very well done, Gelie. Carry on.

    bower yousse

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I know we’ve not built a “close” relationship over the 6+ years I’ve been a member of NP… but I will tell you this. One of the few reasons I moved back to the Valley permanently back in 2010 was NP and the incredible potential I saw there. If I can help in ANY way, Funding, Visioning, etc… let me know because NP is not only important to you, its important to Phoenix!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Gelie i just poured myself out to you in a previous text to only loose. Yes it is late i am tired but feel so compelled to send you a message so hear goes once again. Hi just so you know i can feel your pain and frustrations in striving forward with your buisness. Personally and intellectually. Yes to be truthful i have failed myself by not progressing forward in buisness and in my personel life. With meeting professionals like yourself myself on a regular bases. I have allowed myself to become comfortable in my projects all the while I new i was to be doing so much more. And have so much to offer to give to those all around me. Yes it is intellectually sabotaging my desires have been to take that leap of faith in going to the next level. And finding that special person of interest. One whom we can hope to connect with on every level. A special person that has the fire the faith and desire in sharing ones personal ideas listening to their views of Inspirations and aspirations. To the buisnees we have already sacrificed so much of our very lives for yrs. Unbeknown to anyone else. So yes i feel you Gelie and must admit your an amazing person and such an inspirational lady. This why you have 37,000 members sharing so much of yourself willing and able to articulate these various events with your videos emails social media sites its beautifully amazing. And how candid you are sharing so much of yourself personally life. Wow Especially by submitting your posts on facebook your inspirational videos your emails. Your a gifted woman from my perspective viewing all you do have done and wany to do. From my perspective watching from the outside of your business. I sincerely feel your just so close to become a national success i can feel it. Witnessing your success is the same feeling i get about my own personal success just amazing. You will breathe success in the lives you bring together helping to fill hope dreams for so many others. Phoenix Networking and Marketing fullfilling the hopes and dreams of every bsns one at a time. With all I have said lady i feel it is time to meet with you make these things happen!!! I have said on a few occasions i would like to have made it to anyone of your events. And i have allowed my projects to keep me from doing what is necessary for true success. Today it is a new day of commitment. I feel i have to make a move that feeling i get well i just cant deny it any longer. I know with your ideas abilities ots a winning benefit both our businesses. I will check your email you sent me about your next meeting. And look so forward to meeting you on weds day and so many of your members I hope you will welcome me as i have been inspired to welcome you all into my life as well.
    Ok Gelie….
    Sincerely,
    John Moore
    dba Beyond Code Green

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, the travails of a business that outgrew it’s original infrastructure and in many ways, I suspect it’s original purpose. In most ways that is the good news but as you have outlined it does not come without many gut-wrenching issues. Gelie, the other good news is that you recognize it – something that many do not. It is that dirty word “Change” that always rears its ugly head. One thing you might want to consider is that someone has already written software that might address your purposes. It might not be a total answer but might provide a solid base that would come up much more quickly than starting from scratch. By the way, one other bit of good news; most start-ups that do not go through this phase have already failed! Hope this helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gelie, You have been such an asset to this community. I developed many great relationships as a result of your platform and even inadvertently got a job once because of you. So Thanks! Let me know how I can support you in all of your endeavors.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Randomly found this post while searching WordPress for interesting things to read. I’ve been on both sides of this story in the past (I’m a web developer) – many moons ago I built a website for aspiring writers to share their work with each other. After a year or so, and perhaps a thousand members, I re-built the site, and it kind of exploded – with schools, writers groups, etc all over the world using it. It eventually fell in because it was too successful for it’s own good, and because aspiring writers can be hilariously thin skinned. Anyway… chalking that one up to experience, I was a member of Tumblr a few years ago, and like so many others, grew frustrated with the lack of development in the platform – so built a prototype blogging platform in my spare time – which coincided with Tumblr going down one weekend. We had 15 thousand visitors in a few hours. And then Tumblr came back up, and everybody melted away…

    Anyway (didn’t mean to write a long story here) – I know all about the pain of looking after an old system – I can’t imagine the hell the guys at LiveJournal have gone through – the backbone of their system really is archaic.

    Love your blog btw.

    Like

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