Lindsay’s In Business: part 11: It’s alive!

by Lindsay Uittenbogaard

What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…(you can find previous parts of Lindsay’s story here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10.)

The Mirror Mirror concept had started out in July out as 3 slides before growing into a bigger slide pack, and then into an actual Descriptive Pack, the one we circulated to our Alpha expert test group for comment some time ago (much like a new born being passed around to some doctors for examination). It had survived their tests.

To recap from the last blog: Mirror Mirror is a structured way of capturing how people in teams perceive the internal and external context in which their team operates, including how each team member’s values and preferences tend to shape their perceptions and the way they respond. The combined data is reflected to the team in one whole picture, providing powerful insights that lead to improved engagement, teamwork and business unit performance.

I’m going to take you on a fast tour over a couple of months to bring the story up to the present.

In order to move Mirror Mirror from being a concept to ready deliverable, I needed a graphic designer and a data visualisation programmer. A FANTASTIC website was referred to me – www.Upwork.com, which is a brokering service for people offering or requesting any kind of work, from designers to translators and PA services… It’s got shortlisting processes, contracts, milestones, payment facilities… Within 12 hours of posting my design work job I had 12 applications. Same for the programmer role – write your brief (1 hour), post the job (5 mins), get respondents (12 hours), short skype interviews (a day), make your choice and done.

Both choices I made were unbelievably good ones (luckily – as there’s always a risk), but Miroslav Boljevic in Montenegro (graphic designer) and Kawa Shwaish in Arizona (programmer who also comes with a load of other amazingly diverse competencies and experiences), came through with fantastic references and the aptitude and eagerness to deliver within the timeframe. The reporting platform was going to take quite a lot of more time and money, but within one week I got a Mirror Mirror logo to consider. Like it?

It’s an icon, a cube, a face, a maze, and more… why go around and around in circles on a logo if you love it. First pass accepted! Miroslav did a brand book, suggested imagery, set up a powerpoint template and more. I totally recommend him.

So all of these preparations were going to come together into a SAMPLE REPORT. Sounded like just another item, along with FAQ’s etc, but the sample report is what potential clients would see to show them what the output looked like. That’s why I needed a fictional case study, the reporting platform, the brand design etc. I wanted to get everything ready for my next meeting with Jeremy, Saira and Sebastian at 3 Minute Mile, the Leadership Development company I was working with.

I carefully drafted and redrafted interview questions and had them checked by a VERY COOL ex-colleague / friend, Antonia based in Hong Kong who checks research questions against objectives, professionally.

I made up a list of graphs that would need to be produced via the reporting software that was being programmed (big piece that), then designed the fictional case study and the data we would use to populate the reporting software. All of this with some help from Miss X, of course.

In between drafts and feedbacks, I started putting a brochure together, and started investigating how to set up a robust IT Data Privacy Policy.

During this phase of, let’s call it – activation – there was also quite a lot of administration to be done. Did I tell you the Dutch government have this great plan whereby you can receive 70% of unemployment benefit payments for 6 months without looking for work if you are starting a business? Fantastic! For that, I wrote a business plan. I also registered with the Chamber of Commerce, set up a bank account, got an accountant, took legal advice on the partnerships that were forming…

So, let’s now fast forward from the admin, concept development and resourcing efforts – are you ready? Blup blup blup! blup! blup!! (sorry – that’s the best I could do to put the fast forward sound effect into words)….

I tell you, it felt quite incredible: once

  • the reporting software had been programmed
  • the data from the fictional case study had been added
  • every possible chart from the different cuts of that data was generated
  • then the ones needed to tell this particular story were chosen to go into the first sample report – with logo and branding applied
  • and the supporting commentary was added

it came to life! Activation (drafts) complete! It was like it had jumped right out of its box and was running around, ready to go!

YAY AND DOUBLE YAY!!! I’m not deluded!! The sample report did indeed show what a team could see with Mirror Mirror that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to see – and any leader worth their salt would be able to get a lot of value from that.

Oh, sweet exhilaration and relief: for all these months I’ve been betting on, and describing to other people, something that doesn’t exist. And now it does! IT FULLY FREAKING WELL DOES!!!

I slept well, ready for the next meeting with 3 Minute Mile, high on an oasis of positivity.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections on 2016, or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

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