IT from the Very Beginning: How to Start a Business
Your own business gives you free hand with developing projects and ideas. It was the main reason why Dmitry Kovalchuk and Nikolay Chernobaev decided to organize an online school for IT specialists. In the interview to our news portalthey talked about their Loftschool.
An advantage of the information technology’s field is that it gives an opportunity to work in different companies remotely. I got a position at a company which deals with electric equipment and Smart House technologies, Nikolay was a member of a startup team which worked nearby. We usually met during lunch breaks — we discussed various things, made plans while my colleagues just gossiped. I have never been interested in gossips, so I focused on making business plans together with Nikolay.
An IT-loft or a web studio was the easiest thing to start with because we didn’t need specialists, developers, managers and PR experts, as we could solve all the tasks by ourselves. We used a flat of our relatives as an office and worked there on weekdays when they left for work. So we didn’t have to pay rent. We kept our startup capital in case our business failed and we had no money to live on. We had about 60,000 rubles for both of us — it was enough for a month.
The fact I want to focus on: when we launched our project, I already had a wife and the little daughter. So, I had to explain my wife what I planned to do and why it was important. It is wonderful when your relatives appreciate your idea, and when they are ready to support you.
We started looking for clients — our friends were the first ones. First of all, we made a website for them, then we developed our own site with articles and lectures so as to attract users. In the meantime, it is the largest media on YouTube devoted to IT.
We made our projects in the daytime and recorded our lessons at nights. We spent a lot of time to adapt and translate large amount information — it helped us acquire new site visitors. The newcomers started to put their comments. We were happy that people need our project but had no idea how to gain profit.
We found a friend who had a legal body and offered services in the field of IT. We made contracts using this legal body but at the same time found many clients at freelance sources.
Our business plan was not very detailed. We just calculated a minimal budget, made some predictions related to our profits and pointed out circumstances that would make us stop developing this project.
We decided that we would publish at least one video guide per day. The idea was to attract many people and then deal with monetizing.
We started to gain money in a year and a half. One has to be ready that getting benefits takes time. If one looks at stories of Google’s or Yandex’s development, these companies followed the same way.
Tips for beginners
Think of a motto and a mission, as they navigate you when you make decisions. Sometimes you have to think on your feet — be ready for that. A clear understanding of your mission will prevent you from hesitating.
Follow your plans. You don’t have to break with it from the very beginning. Some doubtful companies wanted us to make websites for them but we refused because principles were more valuable than money.
Being useful makes your project popular.
Inspire your future staff members. Once you will need to hire employees because you will not have enough time to solve all the tasks. How to find people if other companies offer much more? You should share an idea which would motivate them. But don’t flatter yourself -enthusiasm can make them work at your company for several months. If they don’t see any progress, they will leave.
Be ready for controversial feedback. It is ok when someone dislikes what you do. YouTube made us very strong — we couldn’t even imagine that we would receive so many negative comments.
Partnership is what you need. From the very beginning, we let staff members know that we were all equal. We didn’t want to be inaccessible officials. However, friendly relationships can provoke a decrease in efficiency, as people will try to manipulate you.
Visiting conferences gives an opportunity to become apparent. By doing it we got acquainted with dozens of large companies including the IT giants.