Starting Up Our Startup

In September we decided to team up to launch a sunscreen company. It was clear that our vision couldn’t be brought to life overnight, and we couldn’t do it alone. Our research suggested the timeline would be something like one year to have our initial products in market.

A leisurely year or a ticking clock?

Having a year time horizon, and being forced to outsource much of the labor (we’re neither sunscreen manufacturers nor packaging designers), it’s reasonable to think we might have sat back and relaxed and taken our time, knowing things would be crazy busy as we got closer to launch. Even putting the work itself aside, we’re in the midst of a pandemic, we just sold a company, I have a new baby at home — there’s a lot going on.

But one of the things I love about Carylyne, and that makes her a great cofounder, is that a time horizon of a year doesn’t sound long and luxurious to her. Instead, it sounds like the start of a countdown clock during which there’s a ton we’d better accomplish if we want this business to succeed.

The origins of our startup precrastination

Before I knew it, we were lining up manufacturers and designers and forming our legal entity. I’ll be the first to admit that if it weren’t for Carylyne, we wouldn’t be so far along. In one of my conversations with a vendor, I remarked that I’ve long considered myself to be a precrastinator, and Carylyne is like me but even more so. In reality, it turns out Carylyne didn’t necessarily see herself as a precrastinator (our quiz suggests that she’s a pre-inclined perhapstinator).

For us, one of the biggest things to precrastinate on is marketing, which both of us have some experience in from our previous roles. We’ve read enough business startup books to know that some of the best companies launched with thousands of customers on day one because they had already built an audience.

Within our first month of forming the company, we had launched not one but two websites. Our initial idea was to launch a self care site (you can take a peek at it here), but the more we reflected on our own habits and practices, the more we started to focus on the topic of precrastination, and thus, Preinclined was born.

Earlier in my career, I received the advice that you only have one shot to make a first impression, so you should make it perfect.
This time around, we’re trying a different approach.

Best foot forward vs. minimum-viable product (MVP)

Earlier in my career, when I was starting my first business, I received the advice that you only have one shot to make a first impression, so you should make it perfect. That spoke to me, and I tossed aside the super scrappy proof-of-concept site I was developing and invested much of my life savings into working with professional designers and developers to get my vision off the ground. Whether that shift was necessary or not, when the site launched, I was proud of it, and it got early traction in relevant media outlets and customers from across the US.

This time around, we’re trying a different approach. Our site isn’t ready. Our sunscreen product certainly isn’t ready. We don’t even know where this precrastination site will take us. But what we do know is that we’re eager to get started, and we’re grateful to have you along for the ride.

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