The Beginning – My Story!
I’m Nicole Chavez, Founder and CEO of Urbaceous.
About 3 years ago, on a road trip to a wedding in Oregon, I had an idea.
At the time, I had been working on weddings for 4 years as a Day-Of Coordinator. Event planning has always been in my blood, so I had taken the plunge (pun-intended) and pursued weddings as a ‘weekend job.’
With my new ‘weekend job’ occupying every weekend or every other weekend, I thought to myself ‘there must be a better way…. to help vendors and clients plan events.’ Over the years of meetings with brides, grooms, and event clients, I felt their stress and pain from event planning, especially if this was their first time planning a large event. So many details and so many questions about organizing logistics and feeling like they were forgetting something. The inspiration to provide guidance through a tech product felt natural since all of the clients I spoke to were using apps for planning purposes. But what apps? What websites were they using? After years of research, I knew I could create a system to help bring event clients and vendors together to simplify the process.
Throughout the years, the challenges, the blood, sweat, and (many) tears, have taught me some valuable lessons. I wanted to share some of the lessons I have learned along the way!
Lesson 1: Verify your value proposition & Carry Out market research
Do your research. Is there a there there? All ideas are great until you find that it’s been thought of, and patented. Check the competition, check their stats and social media, see what they’re working on. Does your value proposition provide what you originally intended?
Lesson 2: Decide if you are ready for business ownership/ entrepreneurship
Do whatever it takes, take risks! Set expectations for yourself and do your best to stick to them. Make quick decisions, be willing to work 24/7, be willing to move in with family/friends. Who will be your support system?
Lesson 3: Surround yourself with a great team/Advisors
Look to family/friends, then look at others who can provide advice in business, business development, sales, marketing. Who is willing to provide guidance, consultation, in exchange for a coffee or lunch.
Lesson 4: Ensure Your Business Is set up correctly
Very important lesson here! Have you ever started a business? If not, look to local city websites and reach out to your support team for assistance with contracts, and possibly a lawyer to ensure you are on the right track. And as always, read the fine print!
Lesson 5: Have a great Brand/Name/Social Presence
Thought of a company name? Logo? Run this by family/friends/marketing friends to check the brand presence. Is the name available? Is the domain available? Are the social media names available? Is the name close/similar to other companies?
Lesson 6: Sourcing developers. Silicon Valley – Don’t believe the hype
When thinking about a website or application, see if anyone else you know has worked with any developers/developer companies and the pros and cons, local versus international developers/developer companies, research reviews, check past work.
Lesson 7: Networking
Always be networking. From coffee shops to meet-ups, to Trade Shows to Industry Presentations, keep talking. And always bring business cards with you!
Lesson 8: Investors
Need money? Join the club. Investors are hard to find, but not if you know the right people. Start your Seed Round with Family/Friends/Colleagues. There are also Accelerator groups and even local Pitch Presentation groups you can join. Research Angel Investors and VC’s who are investing in similar fields as your business and connect with them on LinkedIn or at networking events.
Lesson 9: Make time to re-energize
This might be the most challenging, it is for me as there really is never enough time! Look to your support team for adding fun activities to the calendar and take a break from the monitor screen. Creativeness and energy needs to be revived to stay motivated.
Lesson 10: Keep Learning
If it’s working on what you’re passionate about (for me, it’s events)-Keep learning, keep doing, keep researching, find others who love what you do, keep being creative.