54 Hours of Hustlin’​: What I learned from Startup Weekend

My first Techstars Startup Weekend is in the books! And boy, was it a whirlwind. After 54 hours of ideation, market research, business model creation, and pitch deck creation, my team, MoRA, went on to win first place for both People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice. However, we came a long way from day one. Since it was my first time, I thought i’d share a few takeaways from my first taste of entrepreneurship:

  1. Pivoting is okay! After settling on an idea Friday night, our team completely pivoted Saturday morning when we realized the market was already saturated with similar products. Pivoting seems to be a common theme, especially at Startup Weekend. So embrace this and keep going!
  2. Your team is everything. I attribute the majority of my teams success to our amazing team chemistry. Our skillsets complimented each other, and we knew when it was time to take a break and get some fresh air (Java House was a savior). Better yet, there was lots of laughter (and just a little bit of panicking).
  3. There WILL be highs and lows. Boy, was it a rollercoaster. It seemed like every half hour we’d go from “this is an amazing idea” to “why did we think this was a good idea??” This is normal, and you will make it though.
  4. It’s all about solving the problem. The Startup Weekend mentors were quick to remind us of this, especially when we were still stuck on our initial business idea, which wasn’t necessarily solving a dire problem. Once you have a problem, then it’s time to find a solution. Get to it!
  5. Entrepreneurship can be fun! While a lot of work, there’s something special about talking to people, learning about what their problems are, and working towards something that can help solve that problem.

While I don’t know how MoRA will turn out (we’re going to look more into the idea), I understand how people can easily become “serial entrepreneurs.” Once you get a taste of entrepreneurship, it’s hard to stop thinking about other problems you can tackle. I look forward to continuing my entrepreneurship state of mind, and seeing where things go!

Elizabeth Hubing is the Director of Communications for the Iowa City Area Development Group. This story was also published on LinkedIn.