Guest Blog By Michelle Lam, Founder of VisioMobile

VisioMobile – Learning to Walk Timeline

By Michelle Lam, Founder of VisioMobile

I am the founder of VisioMobile, an online TV platform featuring global (multilingual) TV and entertainment content. I received an email from Espark Accelerator one month after I submitted my application. My first thought was they sent me a rejection email. I took a deep breath and started to read. I couldn’t believe what I had just read. They invited me to the first round of interview in less than two and a half weeks at their Edinburgh Hatchery. My feelings at that time was indescribable.

Time was limited. I had to make my decision within the week. Then, I could spend the following week to search for plane tickets and accommodations, take care of things, pack my belongings, say goodbye to my mom, and fly to the UK. At that time, I could not make up my mind. A very good friend said to me, ‘Go for it. This is a great opportunity for you to make things happen.’

Moving from Silicon Valley to London, it was a big decision to make. The journey of building a business is challenging. I have to devote 100% of my time without a regular income for as long as it needs. It was the most riskiest decision I have ever made in my life. No matter what, one thing for sure a new life journey has just begun. No turning back… No time to look back.

I arrived in London four days prior to the interview. While staying with my friends, I worked on my 60 second pitch presentation and prepared for the one-on-one panel interview. After rewriting and rehearsing my presentation several times, I finally was satisfied. On the day before I flew to Edinburgh, there was a Tube strike. I was so worried that might affect me getting to the airport the next day. It seemed like everything happened all at once. Luckily, it was lifted in the same evening. What a relief!

On the day of my first interview, I had done my 60 second pitch presentation in front of the judges and other entrepreneurs. I thought it was the most unnerving experience I had ever had, but I was wrong. Following to that, the one-on-one panel interview was extremely intense. In a blink of an eye, I had already finished answering a series of questions from the judges. I had completed my first interview!

The experience was absolutely fascinating at the same time surreal. By the time I was on the plane flying back to London, I still couldn’t believe I had done it. I had met so many amazing entrepreneurs in the hatchery. They all had great ideas and valuable experiences. It was absolutely a rewarding experience to make my journey in creating my startup here in the UK more meaningful.

Back to London, my anxiety level has gone up a notch. I was not sure when I would receive the result. My mom and friends were very supportive, which I was thankful for this. One day later, on a Friday morning, I got an email from the accelerator to invite me for the second interview, which was in less than two months. Again, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I was reading the email. Then, 30 minutes later, I got a call from the accelerator confirming the details of my second interview. I called, emailed, texted my mom and friends to share this incredible news.

While I studied for my master’s degree at Manchester Business School back in 2012, I conducted research on BBC webcasting for my dissertation which was an excellent way to start brainstorming my business idea. After moving back to Silicon Valley, I conducted research on my business idea and had written a business plan.

Finally, it was time to execute my plan after two years of preparation. Since building a business from scratch requires a lot of time and effort, I have devoted all my time working with my CTO to create a prototype, creating fan base via social media, meeting like-minded entrepreneurs, connecting with investors and firms ever since. I have to admit that I have established a strict schedule: working seven days a week, and staying up late to work.

Work-life balance is a virtue, thank you for the guest speaker’s, Ms. Avid Larizadeh’s, advice at a Women 2.0 event. While I enjoy working and creating what I love, most of the time I have forgotten to take time off to rest or have regular meals. As I am too focused all the time, I have found it difficult to shut off my mind before bedtimes which often resulting in staying up late to work. As a founder of a startup, enough sleep, exercise, healthy meals, take time off are beneficial in order to achieve a work-life balance life. I try to prevent burnout because it will only have a negative impact on both myself and my business.

In the past one and a half months, I loved every bit of it even though it was exhausting. Work-life balance is definitely what I need to work on. This week, the first week of July, I am going to Edinburgh for my second interview with the accelerator. I cannot say I am ready for it. However, when great opportunities come knocking, I have to put myself together and seize the opportunities.

Building a business from scratch is like learning to walk for the first time, which I am in the crawling stage at the moment.

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