Ed's startup story
Ed escaped a big corporate law firm to join an alternative, smaller firm as a freelancer 2-3 days a week, giving him the space and financial support he needs to build his startup, Sitterstars. Sitterstars is an online platform that helps parents find vetted baby sitters months in advance or last minute.
He and his co-founder have built a strong community of both parents and sitters, and have secured several customers who are engaged with the online service. Ed and his partner will seek funding from angel investors in the coming months.
Here he shares with us he’s found the transition into entrepreneurship so far…
Describe your life before you ‘escaped’? What were you doing professionally before you ‘escaped’?
I was a partner in a big old law firm
How were you feeling at this point in time?
I was feeling held back, constrained. It was very difficult to be creative in that environment – I tried my best but, by doing so, I felt I was not meeting other people’s expectations within the firm. So then I would try to comply, which made me bored. I used to vacillate between these two states.
What main blockers were stopping you from starting your own business before joining a Tribe?
Big firms are very good at keeping you engaged with the promise of more money, promotion, a bigger slice of the equity. “Success” within big firms is often measured in financial terms.
I got to a point where I realised the money was just an enabler. I didn’t want to measure my success by how much I was earning. I wanted enough money to enable me to do the things I wanted to do in life, and then I wanted the time and freedom to go and do those things!
Fear of failure is also significant – in particular, what other people will think of you if you “fail”. I got over it.
Lack of time was the other big factor. Being a partner in a law firm is all consuming – it makes it difficult to find time to think about other things, let alone follow your dreams.
Why did you decide to join a Tribe?
Reading the website, I felt an affinity for the objectives ESC was trying to achieve, and I thought I wanted to be part of it.
What did the Tribe mean to you?
It was a safe environment to explore, to learn, to get feedback, and to fail. There was a real sense of being in it together. Through the positivity and ‘can do’ attitude of the Tribe, I realised that there must be a way to leave law and continue to be financially okay. I started to see options.
I learnt that once you break huge goals down into small tasks, taking the first step is not nearly so hard or scary, and that once you take the first step, you may as well take the second and then the third and then…
How did you start to overcome your startup blockers?
By setting aside time to think about life goals and what I wanted to achieve. Breaking goals down into next steps, and taking them. And by working out a way to earn enough money from lawyering, without it taking up all my time – thereby giving me time to start my own business.
From the Tribe experience, which learning has served you most going forwards?
Work out what the next step is AND TAKE IT.
How are you feeling about yourself now?
I’m feeling great. Relaxed. I may not know what I am doing, but at least I now know where I am going. Learning lots. Being creative. Being authentic too.
Excited about creating Sitterstars and about the opportunity getting it to scale.