I’m back! I haven’t updated my blog in FOREVER and so much has happened over the past few months!
- 1. Winning $10,000:
I finally won first place in the Morehouse Business Plan Competition! The first time I applied my sophomore year in college I won second place and $2000. That wasn’t quite enough money to get my idea off the ground. I wasn’t passionate about the idea, so nothing ensued from that. I applied again my junior year, and I didn’t even make it to the finals. I decided to give it one more shot and applied again my senior year, and I won! I honestly think that it wasn’t meant for me to win the previous years because winning this year seemed like perfect timing. This year they had the highest award amount ($10,000) and I submitted an idea that I’m super passionate about pursuing. I tell you this story in hopes to encourage you to be persistent, just because you may not succeed with someone on the first, second or even the 10th try, if you just keep trying you will achieve your goal.
I received an all expenses paid trip to Atlanta (my second free trip since my sophomore year I made it to the finals) which allowed me to spend quality time with my brother, sister in law, nephew and two nieces.I am a huge fan of business plan competitions because it gives you credibility, equity free and no strings attached money for your idea, a chance to travel for free and meet great people.
My next target is the Cupid’s Cup competition from the University of Maryland.
- 2. My College Hustle progress:
The My College Hustle mobile app for iPhone is almost completed. It’s been a long road and a lot of money. The $10,000 that I won is pretty much depleted. I’ve learned a lot about the process of building an application, and finding a great tech company to bring my vision to life. It’s been an awesome learning experience, the process began with me finding a great development team. I got over 200 applications between Elance, Odesk, and Freelancer from individuals and companies. After sifting through the applications I found an AMAZING technology company willing to build my app within budget. I literally hit the jackpot with them, they’re awesome communicators and coders, and they’ve guided me from idea to product. I literally had no idea about the process of developing an application and they were really patient with me.
You may be wondering, how did I figure out the right team to hire? Well I followed the advice of an article I found online.
I posted a job listing, and I was able to narrow down applications pretty quickly; if they were within my budget I kept them, teams and individuals with low ratings were eliminated, I checked their portfolio and if they’re work looked good then they advanced to the next round….A Skype chat. During the chat I asked them questions like, how would you go about building the app? Would you suggest building a native app? I asked very random questions that I didn’t really understand at the time, nor knew the answer to myself. On the other hand, I knew that good developers should know the answers to those questions and have the ability and willingness to explain it to me simply. I also checked to see if they could communicate well in English and were friendly (because who wants to work with unfriendly people?). In the end, I found my awesome development team from Jaipur India, and I have a great product coming out soon. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t go with whoever is offering you the cheapest price. Readers beware, because you get what you pay for.Although, it’s possible to find affordable talented developers, you just have to search.
They helped turn this horrid sketch I gave them:
Between the app design and coding this took about three months. The app is a native iOS app, which means that the code only works on iOS and can’t be reused for other platforms like Android or Windows. It costs more but the app functions better if it’s native. The app development process began with me receiving the designs from the tech company and approving each screen design and suggesting edits . Once I approved all of the screen designs (about 30) they proceeded to build the application.I planned launching in September 2013. However, the launch of iOS 7 completely changed everything! The changes between iOS 6 and 7 were huge and my app looked seriously outdated. My developers policy was that they only develop for the current iOS platform (which was iOS 6) so I had to pay extra for them to update the current design to iOS 7. It cost about an extra $2000 because there were major code changes between iOS 6 and 7. I was really annoyed but I decided to proceed with having them update it for iOS 7 ,and postponed the launch to January 2014.
Instead of using my developers to update the graphic design I decided to use the designer that made my logo. She is incredibly talented, and I found her on crowdSPRING. Once I got her to update the screen designs to iOS 7 (which added an additional $500 to my expenses) I then I sent it to the developers to code.
My designer is worth every penny, and I believe that I made the right decision in updating the app design and code for iOS 7. In my opinion, the usability and aesthetics of an app are integral to it’s success. Look for MCH in January 2014! I will provide more updates soon!
- 3. Back in Boston:
I received free summer housing from Howard University after I graduated, which was a huge blessing. I tried to get additional free housing for the school year but Howard wasn’t having that lol so I had to move back home. Since being home I’ve had a lot of free time, and I’ve been acquiring a lot of new technology skills; check out my Code Academy and Treehouse profile. I’m a big fan of self educating, and I plan on being a life long learner. I’ve also been traveling a lot which has been awesome. In the past month I’ve traveled to Bangalore India, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Jamaica. It was such an amazing experience, and it really expanded my world view and gave me a bunch of new ideas for future businesses.
What’s my next move?
Well, I spoke with a mentor of mine and he said that I shouldn’t waste anymore time in any city other than San Francisco if I’m truly passionate about entrepreneurship,startups and technology. My goal is to move there in 2014 and I’ve applied to several jobs. I am an entrepreneur at heart so working a 9-5 is totally not me but I can’t afford to move to San Francisco and live on my own dime. I don’t plan on losing focus and I will still work on My College Hustle on the side. I’m also currently searching for a coder to join my team (I actually have a meeting with a student from MIT on wednesday 12/18/13).
Ok, that’s all for now! I plan on updating my blog more regularly so I don’t have to do one large update all the time, as I wasn’t able to be as specific as I would have liked to about everything.