The Real Journey To Create A Startup

First of all, let me go back to January 2013 which marked the start of my journey. After living in France all my life , I decided to move to the UK for better opportunities. After a few weeks I got a corporate job in a pretty good investment firm called BKRV. I was researching and and learning a lot about what makes a startup successful since the goal of the company was to invest and support developing ventures. While doing all the research and work I realized that startup founders are normal people like you and me. They do not have any special superpower, but they do have the hustler power.

After a few months working in a corporate job I knew that I did not want to be an employee working to build the dreams of someone else; I wanted to be independent and build my own dreams. I did not have much money, so I worked for 2 years, save some money, and then left BRKV to establish my own small business called Yolap.

The idea was simple: bring together what I had learnt during my time in BRKV in terms of marketing, strategy and product development, find my own clients and develop websites and web applications collaborating with freelancers. Additionally, I would do a bit of market and product research for small and medium sized companies. The start was pretty good; I was working with my first clients and granting myself a small salary. Back then, it seemed like I knew how to successfully start a company and I felt strong in my ability to grow the business.

It’s strange to say but things were taken out of my hands the day Mauricio and I met to brainstorm and create the company we run today: Pop & Rest. Even though this is definitely one of the best things that has ever happened to me, the decision of joining the new venture put me in a very difficult position a year later. I had just started to run my first business (Yolap) making enough money to live in London, but the Pop & Rest idea was so inspiring and game-changing that I really wanted to put some time on it. Now I was trying to work on 2 startup ideas while not having a very secure income.

I had to start working full-time again doing market research. Indeed, I took this corporate job because I needed to survive in one of the most expensive cities in the world, London.

At that time, it seemed like a good opportunity to learn more about market research and management. However, my plan was to keep this position for just a couple of months in order to make a leap in my startup ideas. It happened this way! After “only” 6 months of intense work, I decided it was enough, and therefore, the right time to quit the corporate world again to join the startup world. Period. What a good feeling! These 6 months were so tiring and stressful having to juggle between a highly demanding job and my projects.

Handling Two Startups

I worked hard on my first client projects for Yolap and at the same time, I was going to my first meetings with Mauricio. The idea of Pop & Rest is so amazing that I couldn’t just focus on Yolap, my first startup. I didn’t have a lot of money and I was really anxious about finding a new client but I kept thinking “man Pop & Rest is a concept in a lifetime”.

I remember inviting Mauricio over to my place after work to brainstorm and map out what would be popnrest.com — a peer-to-peer Airbnb-style platform to rest, refresh and relax. We spent a few weekends working on the concept. During this period, it was great because I lived in a big flat on Stoke Newington High Street. It was the perfect place to work on all my projects.

From September 2015 to January 2016, the vibe was awesome. I was very busy and paying myself a small salary; enough to cover my expenses. The main thing was that I was finally doing something I love on a daily basis! For some time I had a confident mindset and thought that I could run both startups. In hindsight I was too confident.

At some point around Christmas, my biggest Yolap client communicated that he wouldn’t renew our contract as fast as I had imagined, and I hadn’t signed a new client yet to support my living expenses. A lot of my focus and time was being spent on Pop & Rest and Mauricio and I were meeting more frequently but making zero pounds. Damn… I was losing control of my expenses and I was running out of money to pay rent.

By February 2016, I had spent most of my savings and had to sleep in Hostels or friends couches. However, I was sure of one thing: I had to give my full attention to Pop & Rest and make this new venture successful. No fears, no excuses… Subscribe for the rest of the story!

Yoann Demont
Written by Yoann Demont