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Struggling to find a babysitter for your little cuties? Now you can leave that stress behind thanks to mama Lauren Mansell the founder and CEO of Hello Sitter, a new app that’s changing the world of childcare. Not only does Hello Sitter give you the on-the-go ability to find someone to look after your kids when you’re in a jam, but each sitter affiliated with the app has undergone an in depth vetting process (Thanks Lauren!). In other words, what you’ve wished you had the time to do in the past to find the perfect sitter, Lauren has done  for you – HOW AMAZE IS THAT? And while we are beyond thankful for her new #kickass app, that’s not all this mama has to offer… keep reading to learn her startup tips about building an app.  

  1. Finding a developer to work with, that you trust to bring your vision to life, within the budget you can afford, and in the time-frame you request, will be hard and time consuming.
  • Have realistic expectations in this area, building an app is expensive — if someone says they can build it for cheap be wary or expect a product that doesn’t work!
  • I chose developers in New York because I did my research and found that building abroad can actually cost more money as there is a higher risk of having to spend a lot of time reiterating the product or redoing it completely.  This may work for some (and I do in fact know a couple of people that have succeeded), but for me, it was better having a team on-shore.  Ultimately, it came down to language barriers, time difference, and finding a team that understood my vision. The last key component was trust; I had to be able to trust that the work was completed properly, as I am not an engineer and was therefore unable to proof.
  • If you want a project done in a quick amount of time, then expect to pay a premium.  Less time = more developers = more money.
  1. How hard it will be (every day!)
  • I think this refers to starting a business in general as opposed to just building an app.
  • If you are a start-up, like me, and working out of your home then it can also be isolating. To combat this, take some time and go do work in a coffee shop, café, or hotel– you’ll find other people doing the same thing, and the bustle and background noise can change your energy completely (you may not even realize it).
  1. It will help, a lot, to have a basic understanding of coding.
  • I skipped this entirely when in hindsight I should have just taken a couple of classes or read a book; because of it, I had to hire a consultant to simplify things for me and help with more complicated decisions, like what language to code in (it was an expensive form of simplification).
  1.  Your work is never finished.
  • There is a sense of satisfaction that comes from completing a task and unfortunately, you do not have this luxury.  There is always something that needs doing, improving, fixing, changing, and it will forever be that way.
  1. It is not just about having an idea and building it.
  • Market research, design, branding, incorporating, and legal are all things you need to think about and have a plan for.
  • Don’t spend all that money on building an app unless you truly believe there is a need in the market for it or you can do it 10 times better than the current players.
  1.  You will have A LOT of doubts
  • There will be people that say “oh, I would never use that’ – doubt no.1
  • I have spent so much time, money, and energy – doubt no.2
  • What if x, y, or z goes wrong? – doubt no.3
  • Doubts no.4-6 include the never ending list of possible doubts
  1. You will feel like you don’t know what you are doing half the time.
  • A successful and close friend once said to me, “I’m faking it until I make it most of the time and so are a lot of other people.”  I remember this saying when I have days where I feel like I’m drowning in all the areas I am clueless about.
  1. Your relationships will suffer.
  • Again, I think this applies to starting a business in general.
  • There are times when my daughter wants to play, but it is still within ‘work hours’ and I have to sometimes sacrifice my time with her to get my work done.
  • My husband, bless him, gets the least amount of my attention because in hours when Adrienne is sleeping I am generally working (support and understanding is a necessity).
  • Thankfully, I have friends that understand what I am trying to do but be prepared to have some that don’t and who will get upset by your lack of availability.
  1. You will lean on people, a lot.
  • There are so many areas I needed help on and for a long time I was too embarrassed to ask and so I tried to teach myself; however, the fact of the matter is, I will never have the same skillset as someone who has years of experience.  If you have friends in sectors that you need help in, ask them. What is the worst that can happen?  They say no to helping you (and I bet you this happens very rarely)?
  1. You MUST check your own referrals.
  • I was given this piece of advice and it has been invaluable.  I always ask for referrals when working with anyone and call them if possible as speaking to someone directly is much better than email.
  • But, find your own references, see who they’ve worked with before, based on their client lists or case studies, and then try to talk to those people – that is how you will get the most honest feedback.

Lauren Mansell

You can learn more about Lauren on her heymama profile here. To get some peace of mind. check out her incredible babysitting service Hello Sitter here.

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