Pivotal lessons learned by a founder who burned through 1 million funding
An eBook of unspoken and tough startup lessons from building products, to driving initial growth, to dealing with investors.
My name is Jessica Leo. In early 2019, I was flattered to get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be hired as a startup CEO to turn a failing company around.
It was a tough challenge. It involved firing all customers and letting go some employees to set us on a new path. We came up with new ideas, searched for product/market fit and we grew ... all while I was learning as a first-time founder.
18 months and 1 million funding went by, while we had growing traction, I didn't see a future in what we were doing, so I decided it was time to put a "period" to all this.
It was a failure on my part. But I learned A TON from user interviews to validation, from initial marketing to getting #1 positions for keywords, from fundraising to relationships with shareholders, from making slow decisions to regretting ...
I learned the hard way, and I recapped the lessons in this eBook to share with all the first-time founders out there.
Startup stories are glorified. We talk about success and secret sauce, yet not enough mistakes and failures are shared with you, especially when it comes to investor relations.
As a first-time startup founder, I made all these stupid and terrifying mistakes. Although I believe the best learnings come from your own failures, you can definitely reference my mistakes.
Each mistake led to a reflective lesson within myself, and I made sure to come up with actionable steps to move forward. I want to share all these with you.
A Million Dollar Opportunity
Validating and Building Phase
Refining and Scaling Phase
Shutting Down and After Thoughts
"Jessica here. I grew up in Luxembourg. I love tech, creating things that people enjoy, helping people and sharing knowledge. That's why I'm writing this.
Something you should know - every plot in this book is real, and that's also why I want to tell it under a pseudonym. This means names, characters, locations, descriptions are all modified.
I debated about sharing the story under my real name, yet I want other first-time founders to know the context of my failures and lessons. If I were to share with my own name, I'd be cutting out a lot of crucial parts because I respected everyone who was involved in this startup journey of mine.
My intention is to 1) share my lessons with others and 2) if the lessons are useful, make a few bucks to validate and convince myself that I could create something people want. Thanks for reading!"