2023 was the year I became a tech founder and I did it all in less than 11 months! I’ve had great blessings but even more lessons learned - many of which learned the hard way!
The number one mistake I made in 2023 was hiring an agency to build my live product. Please, do NOT hire an agency to build your live product and here’s why…
🔺If you’re building an MVP/prototype, go for it. But having an outside agency build the product that will go live will be a nightmare! Especially when it comes to handover. You will have to rebuild and restructure the product again anyway.
People Take Advantage
🔺Agencies build products on timelines and never have the buy-in to create a product that scales. Their main goal is to get the job done. I went through three agencies and experienced the exact same thing.
🔺If you’re not a techie, hire someone who is! Or take on a tech advisor. I made the mistake of not hiring someone who coded and was taken advantage of by the outside team for our lack of knowledge in that space - e.g. "It’s going to take four days and £2000 to build a reporting system into the app." This was already in the original scope and this was after four rejections from the App Store :/
Contract & Scope
🔺If you are using an agency, be sure to detail everything out in the scope of work! Down to "high-res image for splash screen." Yes, I’m serious.
🔺Structure a contract where you pay in milestones, NOT on a timeline.
🔺Be sure that the team is delivering your product with weekly demos, and that these demo meetings are not just chats but actual walkthroughs of what has been built.
🔺Ask questions and demand to see progress. Do NOT give this job to anyone else!
🔺Remember agencies will only work 9-5 weekdays. I repeat, do NOT go with an agency!
What to Do
👍Take on a tech advisor EARLY in your journey. We now have the absolute pleasure of having Adrian Mofakham by our side and in our corner at Maxion, The Matchmaking Concierge. My major mistake: NOT taking him on earlier when we first spoke in August!
👍Hire an in-house team. The amount of money I poured into a product that needs to be restructured, endless days of frustration, and downright rude behavior by the [agency[ team could have all been avoided with an in-house team that has buy-in and dedication to your product.
👍How do you create buy-in? Build a team that shares the same vision and drive as you do. Rewarding with salary is great, but coupling that with equity (for those who are worthy) will help build a team dedicated to growth because your win is their win!
2023 was challenging as I entered a space I had no clue about, but I wouldn’t change it for the world! I am so grateful for all of the lessons learned, even the hard ones! We are building a product that will change the way we all connect. Now, let’s build more in 2024.