So I'm a 19 year old college student with a website and app idea that I believe can thrive in today's society. I've contacted multiple developers but they are all so expensive. I have no where near the capital to build what I want to build. I've considered learning how to code but with having a job and focusing on school it's kind of been hard. I have read that some start ups have presented a business plan to investors and acquired some funding. Would this be the ideal way to go? Also, how would I go about building a team? It's only me right now, but I feel like I would need some guidance by someone that has had experience in this. So how do you guys think I should go about this?
Try and find someone your age that can code and persuade them to join you on your journey. It's either that, or learn to code. I've done both.
Learning to Code
+ many other.
Finding a Co-Founder
- Go to meetups
- Find a school that teaches computer science
- Find someone on GitHub.com
The truth is there's 100 ways to solve your problem, but it will take risk and based on your question it doesn't seem like you're willing to take any. If you believe in your idea, it may mean sacrificing school? If you're not willing to risk that, then why should an investor risk his capital on you? It just shows your conviction.
Not everyone is suppose to be an entrepreneur. If you are, you'll need to step up and take action.
P.S. I started when I was 17. Failed. Tried again at 19. Failed. Kept at it till I was 24. Won. Again at 29. Won. Again at 31. Still going (= Clarity). Just start.
I started my first company when I was 13 and started working full time at Apple when I was 15. So I certainly believe people can accomplish whatever they set their minds to at almost any age.
But in many cases, I think the best starting point for someone like yourself is to work for a founder and gain experience first-hand before starting your own company.
Find a startup of less than 10 people who operates in an area similar to yours. Offer to volunteer or work for next to no money. Offer your help in any area you think you can help. But pick a team whose CEO is transparent and willing to give you time to immerse you into what's going on at their company.
I think "plunging into the deep end" of entrepreneurship is really painful and hard. Why should you have to learn every lesson the hardest way possible?
Happy to talk about any of this in a call. Best of luck.
There are many ways to solve your problems. And to me the main problem in your case is money.
In my opinion, seeking for an investor nowadays is useless. The most popular way to raise some money today is crowdfunding. You can go to indiegogo.com or any similar website, present your project and the amount of money you want to raise and people will start making donations. Or you can look for a developer who's willing to go into a partnership with you.
I'll be more than happy to discuss more details with you on the phone.
If you think your idea would attract investors, you could take a route similar to many other tech startups. Investors don't care about your product, remember this, they care about your company. Will your team be able to innovate? You will want to start building a team of qualified candidates before you even seek funding, because without them, all you have is a product idea. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Assembling your team before you even have funding shows initiative and sets the foundation for what investors can expect from you.
I agree with the other answers on this page as well, there is no one right way, but you are surely capable and nothing *really* stands in your way. Go get it!
All of these answers are important, but before doing any of that, first consider validating your idea. That means getting customer feedback outside of your circle of family and friends. Funding can certainly speed things up but it also means you lose some control over the vision, the pace and the deliverables. The sooner you get funding the more likely it is going to cost a higher portion of your equity. I'd consider going as far as you can without funding first, if it's possible.
Bottom line is that you shouldn't go far into building your product, and certainly shouldn't spend more than a few dollars before having some solid customer validation on the concept.
Depending on yur location there may be some grants available for early stage validatioin of your concept without having to give up too much control or ownership.
My Startup is just about to launch our flagship product on the Google Playstore and so far we have not pursued investment. We are all (including the programmer) working for equity (part ownership).
Lots of people have ideas. It is the execution that is very difficult. There are a lot of obstacles to cross between an idea and reality and along the way you learn many lessons. Sometimes on the basis of feedback you revise your idea and are able to understand the market better so you may come up with new and better ideas. Failures do happen and success comes to those who persevere and work hard. In your situation, you really need to test your idea and see whether there is a real need for the app in the market. If you are able to sell others on your idea, you may be able to get them to partner with you. If you cannot code, either learn how to or offer a partnership to someone who can code well. Do not partner with someone just because he is your friend or relative but choose people for the complementary skills that they bring which you need. And remember Rome was not built in a day and there are no overnight successes.
First, I salute the courage you have to move this forward! Believing is the first step to success, and that's a lot harder than it sounds.
Next, if I were in your shoes, I would focus hard on Richard's advice above.
The absolute most critical, number one thing you must do before you think about code, teams, money or anything in the comments preceding Richard's, is make sure you have valid, quantifiable answers (meaning you have proof your conclusions are reasonably accurate) to these questions:
*1. What's Worth Doing?*
You never want to waste time or money addressing things that (a) aren’t important and (b) probably aren’t possible. So the place to start is making sure you know, beyond doubt, what’s actually worth your time effort. What’s worth your (or others') investment in the project?
The answer those questions are determined by figuring out what the tradeoffs are between the product’s importance and its viability/feasibility.
IMPORTANCE: How important is the product as a whole – to the business, to users, to achieving the intended end goals? Particular features and functions, and the degrees to which they fulfill needs and deliver value, have to be weighed and considered.
VIABILITY/FEASIBILITY: What can you actually pull off in the time you have to devote to this, with the budget and resources (read: people) you have available? How much can you conceivably do, and if you get it done, how will you continue to maintain and improve it?
*2. Why does it matter to people who will use it?*
Unless you know to some reasonable degree what value you’re giving people, and why it matters to them specifically, you’re shooting in the dark, hoping that you hit something. And that’s not a good place to be. You need to do more than just identify a target user audience; you must define very specific experiences they'll have using your product that are meaningful and valuable to them in some way. Something that fulfills a critical need and is important enough to motivate use. And along similar lines, you also need to figure out how your product will be perceived as different from competitors and substitutes. Notice the word "perceived:" it's not a matter of whether your product actually IS different that the competition -- it's about whether your target users BELIEVE it to be different.
If you're solid in those areas (and getting those answers takes time), the next step is to spend some serious time thinking about (1) your market strategy and (2) the scope of the effort to design and build the product.
Then, only AFTER you've done that heavy lifting, will you be able to accurately determine what you need in terms of teams and talent. Trying to do that at the outset is a recipe for failure. I don't say that because I somehow know more than anybody else; I say that because 25 years of working with startups of all shapes and sizes, in addition to Fortune 100 companies, proves this out. I've watched products succeed and fail. And the ones that succeed are the ones that took the proper time up front to (1) make sure that their big idea was worth doing, (2) mattered to the people expected to use and/or pay for it and (3) feasible to design, build and incrementally improve over time.
Jumping into designing and building before you validate the idea is a recipe for something that will be very long, unpredictably expensive and extremely painful for you. Take a step back and focus on the strategic concerns.
I'd be more than happy to talk through all of this with you, give you real-time advice and feedback on your approach and help you work through the details of successful product development. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or reply here if you'd like to know more.
Wishing you much success!
If you want to learn programming yourself, I have aggregated a ton of free resources and online guides:
I find that there is a high quantity of very useful/ high quality programming/engineering information on the internet but the "order" of which you learn things and how the different subjects interact with each other isn't very well enunciated.
My list of guides tries to serve as a "repo" to centralize high quality learning material.
Now a days, you create a basic 1 page landing page on Instapage.com with a free mailchimp account to collect emails and start putting the idea out there through channels such as producthunt.com, Facebook Ads (target other countries for lower CPC), and Google AdWords targeting (with .25 cent CPC) to start getting some traffic.
In your "website test" include a contact form and a way to submit email if a person is interested. This will also help in getting other people to help you (show that, "hey, people really want to buy this.")
What you're doing is putting your website and app in the market first to see the response. You'll get an idea how much it costs to acquire a customer, or if people are willing to pay for it.
I think you can do all this yourself. With the landing page and material, make sure it is clear that you are not preselling an app you don't have but taking info for people that are interested.
You can probably find a person on Elance that can assist with feedback and making the app.
try fiverr or dollar 3
I usually ask people this - if you were offered a million dollars, what would you do with it and how would you spend it? It's a mind-opener - it takes away the financial aspect and makes you think of what you would do if you already had the money.
Maybe your 19 year old can figure out how to code? Maybe there is someone at their college that they can entice to join them for a portion of future profits/sales.
Let the kid learn how to start a business - it's good for them!