My Journey From Burnout to Pivot and to Bootstrapped Success

My Journey From Burnout to Pivot and to Bootstrapped Success

Jun 1, 2023

Jun 1, 2023


Pivoting into the Market where there was most money and Embracing the Unexpected: How We Pivoted from a Selfie Social App to Stadium Fan Engagement System

Hey there! Let me take you on an exciting adventure through my entrepreneurial rollercoaster ride. Get ready for a story filled with burnout, pivots, and ultimately, sweet success as a bootstrapped solopreneur. Trust me, it's a tale that'll leave you inspired and ready to conquer your own dreams. So, let's dive in!

The Beginning: Burnout and the Need for Change

Remember the drone hype similar to ChatGPT's buzz today? After pouring our heart and soul into a selfie social app on blimps, reality hit hard. Despite two years of relentless effort, we were running on empty with no significant progress. It was time for a drastic shift.

Well, we decided to follow the money and pivot our direction.

A Eureka Moment in Sports

Sports had a lot money spent on advertisements and it was the biggest market we've come across doing the blimps. So we decided to follow the money.

Intense brainstorming sessions led us to a brilliant idea: fan engagement system in stadiums! We held onto our camera system but bid farewell to the blimps.

No more wasting time building something that nobody wanted. This time, we were determined to validate our idea before investing heavily.

Selling First, Building Later

With newfound enthusiasm, we took a daring approach. Instead of diving headfirst into development, we decided to sell our concept before building anything. Armed with passion and persistence, we presented our idea to eight sports marketers.

And boy, their excitement was palpable! They bombarded us with questions, igniting a spark of hope unlike anything we had experienced before.

Our First Pilot

One CFL team saw the potential and took a leap of faith. Just a week later, we inked a $10,000 deal for a game happening in only four weeks.

Panic set in as we realized we hadn't written a single line of code yet. Determined to make it happen, we dove into four weeks of tireless building, fueled by countless sleepless nights.

Game Day Drama

As the big day arrived, we faced a series of challenges. We were truly a startup - Being scrappy. Manual mapping of 24,000 seats consumed 16 grueling hours. Armed with $15 tripods and duct tape, we set up our cameras, while our server demanded last-minute bug fixes. But the magic began as people entered the stadium and started using our app. Witnessing real-time usage was nothing short of extraordinary, even though we encountered a few expected bugs along the way.

Shit Hits the Fan

Oh my... we still had bugs (of course). We were heads down catching and fixing bugs in real time. One after another, we tirelessly tackled the issues. We only had around 2 hours of game time to prove ourselves. Honestly, I still don't remember how that 2 hours went by.

We were Defeated

As the game neared its end, we were devastated. Our server had gone down a staggering 83 times during the event. Tears welled up as we contemplated returning the pilot money and offering our apologies. We felt defeated.

Finally the game has finished.
Our heads were bowed down, waiting to apologize to the CFL marketing team person.
She finally arrives.

"Hey! That was amazing! Can we do this again next week?"

The Rest is History

From that point on, we signed deals with NBA teams, rocked world tennis tournaments, and even rubbed shoulders with sports legends like Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Serena Williams. It was surreal, my friend!

At 2 years, we reached 1M ARR, completely bootstrapped.

Lessons From the Journey

Now, let me share some priceless lessons I learned along the way:

  1. 'Market' is one of the most important things you need to consider.

  2. You don't need to build to validate your idea.

  3. Pivots can work if they are within a similar problem space.

So, my friend, if you're feeling stuck or burnt out right now, I want you to know that you're not alone. I've been there, trust me. But here's the thing: never give up. Embrace the challenges, pivot when necessary, and keep that fire burning.

Wishing everyone who is struggling now the best of luck. Hope this story gives you some inspiration to not give up and keep going 💪

© 2023 LaunchLane Inc.

Reach me here 👉

© 2023 LaunchLane Inc.

Reach me here 👉