Those of you who know me very well might have heard about the startup that I created with my pal Mary, one year ago, last August 2011.
For those of you who hadn’t heard, Mary and I attended an event called Startup Weekend Tucson that I heard about from my good friend Justin. I pitched an idea for combining QR codes and tipping street musicians/street artists with smart phones. The audience picked this idea as well as several others to create a company over a weekend and pitch to Angel Investors at the end of the event. The event was so invigorating and we got such great feedback from other teams that we decided to go forward with our company.
In the months that followed, Mary and I formed iTipArtists LLC, and joined a business incubator, the Arizona Center for Innovation. I worked harder than I’d ever worked in my life, planning every moment of the day down to the minute. It was a wonderful feeling to grow the idea into something that would help the arts community I love so much make more money.
But of course it was a ton of work. I had to let go of my harp teaching studio and put aside the promotion of the harp CD I’d worked three years to record, The Bright Green Bough, (I released it during the formation of iTipArtists in 2012). I hired two great babysitters to juggle childcare with meetings. I knew I needed to hire a nanny soon.
And that was the sticking point. Three times during the whirlwind of company creation, I got a huge sinking feeling that something was not right. The first two times I chocked it up to nerves, fatigue, growing pains, time management and the direction of the company. But the third time I wised up and realized that I was no longer living my life in parallel with my values.
I didn’t want to hire a nanny. I wanted to see my baby through her early times and my son through the change of preschool to kindergarten. After two early term miscarriages before having our second child, I really felt an urgent importance of appreciating the time I had with her. I know that people have been through far worse, but the experiences of losing the babies make me I feel very strongly that a healthy baby is not something to take for granted.
So annoying, especially when I was enjoying so much of what I was doing with the company.
I left the partnership. We ended up closing iTipArtists and I transferred the startup capital to Mary, who wants to develop the idea in some form. I am a fan of whatever form Mary’s company takes: Artam.us!
I learned a ton from this experience and I don’t want to forget these lessons. They might come in handy if I ever decide to go into business again. They might help someone who is starting a business as well. These lessons are also a treasure trove of great life lessons in general.
I do not regret leaving the company. It was not the right time. I feel like I am getting my life back. I am healing from departing from my values and I’m also hoping that writing this little series of articles might help.
The next bunch of posts are going to be about what I learned. Particularly I hope to share this with the people who worked with me and supported me during this time. I hope they can understand the gratitude I feel toward them.