To start, I want to give a little bit of insight into my life, which has been kept somewhat hidden in 2017. At the time of writing this blog, it has been 365 days since I graduated from the University of Missouri. If social media is any indication, almost everyone is "killing it" or "living their best life" (I really don't like when people say those phrases). People that looked at my Instagram or Facebook in 2017 may think that I am on top of the world every time I post. That is often far from the truth, as it has been a struggle.
To be quite frank, at the beginning of the year I fell flat on my face.
As alluded to in one of my previous blog posts, Entrepreneurship – A Lonely Path to Success, living as an entrepreneur can be very difficult. The emotional toll that it can take on a person is something that you cannot really empathize with until you set out to do it on your own. I've lost touch with a lot of friends this year for various reasons, including the startup, and it has hurt. Sometimes checking in on an entrepreneur to make sure they are doing okay or just cheering them on can really make a difference. Just "liking" their posts on social media and letting them see support can make them feel like they are a part of a community, even if it is only online.
To me, 2017 is a story of perseverance.
At the same time, there is nothing that I'd rather be doing then what I am currently doing. I love everything about being an entrepreneur and am so excited to see what the future holds. It is not easy by any means and very few people can live in such an uncertain lifestyle, but those that can have an obligation to create. To show how crazy my life has been this year, below is my timeline on how and where I lived in 2017:
Columbia- Studio Apartment
Prague - Hilton
Prague - Hostel
Copenhagen - Hostel
Trondheim - Thea's House
Lucerne - Corina's
Genoa - Airbnb
Cardiff - Rachel's house
London - Airbnb
Dallas - Hilton
Saint Peters - Uncle's Basement
Columbia - Nick's House
Columbia - Riley's House
Saint Louis – Logan's House
Los Angeles - Hostel
Beverly Hills - Cam's house
Columbia - Forest Village Apartment
Springfield - Riley's Parent's House
Toronto - Airbnb
Columbia - Arch Apartment
Brooklyn - Airbnb
Manhattan – Kate's Apartment
New Jersey – Tina's House
Hillsboro – My Parent's House
Santa Monica - Airbnb
Columbia – Cliff Drive House
January: Once the new year approached I reflected on my graduation and time at Mizzou. After a week in Columbia, I left for my European Journey – Czech Republic, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, and Italy. Along the way met with old friends that I had not seen in years as well as making new friends along the way.
February: My European journey continued to Wales and England as returned to Columbia in the middle of the month. I spend the rest of the time in Columbia packing and gearing up for the move to Saint Peter's. During this time, I accepted a job as Business Developer for a virtual company in Washington D.C. and started this blog!
March: I moved in with my Uncle Greg in Saint Peters, Missouri to plan for my potential move to Los Angeles. After just moving to a new city and coming off of a breakup I started to become lonely. This was the first time in my life that I didn't have school dictating my life.
April: I applied for over 50 jobs Los Angeles, I made it to the final round for two different positions. After a few weeks, I was informed that I was not chosen for the job. This was a very pivotal point in my life as I felt as though my dreams of moving to California were crushed. After speaking with my mentor, she suggested I take a trip to Los Angeles to scope out the jobs so I did. I grew a lot on my trip meeting with successful founders and picking their brain.
May: In the background, Global Hiker had still been an active part of my life with weekly meetings still taking place. After close consideration, the team decided to rebrand to Kolu. After Riley took over the brand people started taking us more seriously as we were finally starting to connect with our target market. At the beginning of the month I decided to move back to Columbia to be closer to the team, but then things took a turn for the worst. At the end of my trip, I received a call from my sister informing me that my uncle had passed away. This was really hard for me to digest and even harder giving speaking on his behave at the funeral.
June: One of the goals for the year was getting back into Karate. I attended class for 5 years until I got sick and started running out of money. Due to creative differences, I stepped down from my business developer job to seek a job that had more alignment. After quitting, I applied for over 100 jobs and let fear get the best of me. I becoming anxious as I started to fear bankruptcy. Learning to trust in the process was a valuable lesson, because at the end of the month I received 3 job offers.
July: I accepted a job as Leasing Manager at the Arch Columbia Apartments. To celebrate I drove with Emily to Toronto for Canada 150. We also visited Niagara for fireworks which lived up to expectations. Towards the end of the month, I decided to adopt a boxer/lab puppy – Arya. There had also been a lot of progress on Kolu throughout the summer and we were ready to launch our beta at the end of the month.
August: Another goal that I wanted to work on was learning Japanese. I started working with a tutor in anticipation of my trip to Japan in 2018. Just like any other day I woke up early, walked the dog, and worked out. About an hour later my stomach started hurting and I drove to Urgent Care and then to the ER to be informed that I had appendicitis. Shortly after I was informed that I had to have immediate surgery, which put me out of commission for a few weeks recovering. Once I healed I continued work at the Arch and Kolu.
September: Over the last couple of months of working over 75 hours a week I knew that I needed to regroup, so booked a flight to New York for the middle of the month. A few weeks before my flight I was notified that I won Jimmy Fallon tickets for myself and a friend coming in from Norway. The show was great and I was also able to connect with Mizzou Alumni for the move to New York next year.
October: At the beginning of the month, Kolu was accepted into an Accelerator in New York. This served as validation and the start of the snowball effect we had been searching for over the past year. I turned 24 and Arya had her first birthday.
November: Kolu successfully raised and closed its Pre-Seed Investment, which only 0.91% of startups are able to accomplish. I resigned as Leasing Manager at the Arch to pursue working on Kolu full-time. As a team, we flew to Los Angeles to meet up with Cam and a few other mentors for Innovate LA. We were able to attend VR/AR conferences and made our way to Silicon Valley as well. Once we got back from LA, we moved to the East side of Columbia.
December: I began focusing more on my mental health, which was something that I had been struggling with for the majority of 2017. I can finally say that things are the best that they have been in as long as I can remember and my hard work is finally paying off. Kolu's mobile app was finally built and much more is on the horizon.
2018: I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions because I believe that one can make the change at any moment. The new year does bring upon a perpetual desire for change. With that being said, I believe it is up to me to realize it. Sometimes it is hard for me to articulate gratitude. But with that in mind, I'd like to end this by letting it be known that I have not gotten to where I am today without the help of so many people in my life. Thank you to everyone that has had an impact on my life as I am truly humbled in thinking of all of the deeds done for and alongside me. Embracing gratitude is advantageous not only for one's self but the for the benefit of society. Cheers to 2018 and I hope all of you reading this prosper in the new year.
To Be Continued…