Posted by kari.petroschmidt
When you have an idea that you are enthusiastic about, the most natural thing is to want share it with other people. Once you do that, you get a better idea of whether any of these people might also be excited by it. And, if they are, perhaps they want to help you with it. One of the most important components of starting a business is to have the right team behind you. You can’t do it alone. You can try, but it will be a lot of work and, frankly, being able to bounce ideas and plans off of another person who is like-minded enough but who also have their own unique perspective on things is, in my view, invaluable to the long-term sustainability of your project.
I finally solidified in “print” my concept for Throw Like a Girl in December of last year after months of musing. In the back of my mind, I had a vague idea of how to carry it out, but quite honestly, I didn’t see it happening. I’d already designed the logo, came up with our mission statement, our goals, our actions, and even the ten points our whole organization and assembly would be based on. I just hadn’t told anyone about it yet – not a single soul. I’d just moved from Wellington (my home since August of 2002) to Dunedin. But, I was now in a city without any of my friends around and I wasn’t about to accost some stranger on the street and hold them captive while forcing them to ingest the concept of Throw Like a Girl. So, as you do, I put the business in a folder on my computer and figured that was that…for the foreseeable future. And then I went back to University.
As it turns out, this was the best thing to happen to Throw Like a Girl. Never underestimate the enthusiasm of 20 year olds. I met most of my team at Stammtisch (a University German language meet-up) at Robbie Burns Pub the Tuesday after the first German class I attended. I don’t know what possessed me to go. I guess I just wanted to meet new people and I didn’t want to waste any time. What I stumbled into (literally) was a group of great students who eventually became my friends as well as my colleagues. I don’t even remember which Stammtisch I told Freya (my Co-Director) about TLG. I think it might have been completely off-the-cuff – i.e. I have this cool idea, but who knows if it’ll go anywhere…
What I didn’t count on was Freya coming back with, “Let’s do it.” I also met Alice (my Creative Consultant) and Sarah (my Education Consultant) at Stammtisch. Chontelle (my PR woman) was in my German class last semester.
The team waiting with anticipation for our names to be called. I knew in this moment that they were behind me.
How did we end up at Audacious? I decided to take Freya and Sarah along to a session with my careers counsellor to run TLG by her. Basically to see if an ‘adult’ thought it was feasible. She mentioned Audacious. We had no idea what it was – none of us being affiliated with the business school in any way, shape or form. The furthest thing from our minds was entering a business competition. On a lark (and admittedly because of the free food and wine), we went to this year’s launch and thought, “Hmmm….okay. Let’s do it” (we may have had some shots of wasabi vodka, courtesy of Julian by this point). At the very least, it was going to give us the kick in the pants we needed to propel us into action, make our idea truly coherent, and force us to come up with a concrete product as well as a preliminary business plan. So, we went and participated in all the seminars. We met as many people as we could and got as much input from knowledgeable people as we could. Basically, we got ourselves organized and put ourselves out there.
So, here we are. With a start-up. Almost entirely by chance, default and serendipity! And, I will be forever grateful that somehow, every single decision I made in the last year culminated in the second that I walked through the door of the Robbie Burns Pub that day, putting myself out there to a new group of people who eventually became my team.
Natasha J. Stillman is the Director of Throw Like a Girl (competing in Audacious this semester) and a Dunedin based writer who is following her bliss.