I have now been in good ol’ London town for about 3 weeks. And what a whirlwind of a maelstrom of dizzy madness its been. Somehow in this time I have moved to a new country, found a place to live, bought furniture, found a housemate, plus attend the Future of Web Apps conference, applied for a loan through the Small Business Loans Guarantee scheme, and of course, ran a start-up. Calling it hectic and a trifle stressful would be an understatement, but I am determined to enjoy the ride. This is a dream come true – I have to keep reminding myself – so I need to stop focusing on the fact that I am living in the world’s most expensive city with no income, and that I am risking everything on this venture.
Instead, I am loving being back in London. In the dynamic exciting ambience where truly anything can – and generally does – happen. I always used to say that London’s magic stems from the fact that it is the city in the world where more people come to chase their dreams. Everywhere you turn, someone is trying their hardest to achieve something, and these attempts should be even more celebrated because they are doing it amidst such greyness and coldness.
I have left sunny exuberant Sydney just as it gets warm, and am here already wearing scarves and using hot water bottles. And I couldn’t be happier.
I attended the Future of Web Apps conference last week, which was the first major web conference I have been to, and I loved it! This kind of thing just doesn’t happen in Sydney. And to be in the midst of such successful inspiring smart people, and to meet other budding entrepreneurs, and some intensely blooming ones, was extraordinarily exciting for me.
My biggest challenge is funding. I have decided to pursue a loan initially rather than seed funding. This is for many reasons:
- delaying diluting my equity til I’ve built the business up more
- there is a chance if my site does well that I won’t need seed funding
- I have a better chance of getting seed funding once I get this loan
- Its a safe way to get a loan
The reason its a safe way is because its not an ordinary loan. The blessed English government, in its efforts to encourage enterprise, gives out loans underwritten by the Small Loans Guarantee. This means the government takes on 85% of the risk of the loan, and the bank takes on the remaining 15%. Plus the bank is arranging a 6 months interest repayment holiday. This makes it an ideal way to finance my business at this early stage. My plan – if/when I get this loan – is to seek seed funding shortly after, so that I have a safety net to repay the loan regardless. It just means I am not in a rush to get funding, and I’m in a strong position for negotiations. All round positive stuff!
So… I will bear the late nights, the lack of social life, the incessant walking past beguiling shoe shops and not walking in… and am enjoying having a very clear focus that I am entirely passionate about. Hopefully it will be short-lived, and at some stage in the not too distant future, I will be able to buy a pair of shoes (not that I need them, but its the ability that counts!)