Unbelievable that it’s December already.
As entrepreneurs, we need to remind ourselves to celebrate the wins, even the smallest ones. We also need to reflect on the challenges and failures to learn and keep moving forward.
So, let’s take a look back at 2022, our founding year.
It was one year ago when I fully recognized there was a gap in local entrepreneurial ecosystems. Founders find it difficult to connect with each other or locate an “agenda-less” guide for navigating resources. Most founders and entrepreneurs are head-down into the business, so when we do have a moment to look up to seek support, the disconnect can be overwhelming.
I learned this was not a “my community” problem, but it seemed to be an “every community” problem. So, I wanted to solve it by being a dedicated voice for the local founder and entrepreneur. And by doing so, we can also strengthen local economies.
I shopped this idea around last December, and officially created OrangeWIP in January 2022. Our first digital media platforms launched in three cities in May. That was a big win. Going from concept to product launch in less than six months was amazing. And we learned so much.
First lesson: Testing 1, 2, 3.
The initial media product was an aggregated newsletter. “Join the newsletter movement” is what we heard from multiple ecosystem organizations. So, we tried. But, when we tested that product in March, it received an overwhelmingly negative reaction. “Looks like every organization.” “This doesn’t feel special.” “Too cluttered.” So, we scrapped that product and built a media platform that is innovative, unique, scalable, dynamic, and beautiful.
Second lesson: Listen.
We received such gracious input from other media publishers that advised us to focus on the audience we serve and build everything for them that helps solve their needs. The sponsors and advertisers would follow. So, we serve the founders and entrepreneurs and are their dedicated voice in the local market. To do this well, we continuously listen to their feedback.
Then, over the summer, we started hearing about the brand – “OrangeWIP” was a hit, but the “Innovates” name of the local city platforms was forgettable. So, we tossed it. We listened, acted, and simplified.
Third lesson: Be patient.
To be honest, it’s been frustrating to see less participation than expected from the organizations supporting the ecosystem – our potential sponsors. Our media platform is ripe for their stories and resources and is built to be their connective tissue with founders they’re not reaching.
But we need to be patient. Trailblazers often do. In the meantime, we will make our official public launch before the end of this year. The company is growing, and our strong and mighty audience is expanding. We’re excited for 2023.