Qasim talks to us about his experiences as a founder of MyBubble Ltd. and gives some brilliant advice to those just starting out.
Can you introduce your start-up? What is it, and how did it come about?
MyBubble is a mental health technology company that provides a free mental health app for users to find support through family, friends and experts. It came about after my younger sibling attempted suicide and my family’s subsequent efforts to support each other.
MyBubble was designed to make it easier to communicate about how we’re all feeling, support those we care about and access professional insights 24/7.
Where are you in your startup journey?
MyBubble’s MVP has launched and has organically grown traction with users. Up until this point, the business has been self-funded. However, in order to truly provide a collaborative, accessible support vector for people around the world we need to scale and recruit brilliant people to help fulfil our mission.
To date, what has been the biggest triumph for your business?
MyBubble’s biggest triumph has been actually helping people as I hoped it would. Initially, the idea came from wanting to help my own family support each other’s mental health. Along the way, I realized that it could help other people find support in one another. I self-funded the MVP with the hope that it may help somebody else that may need support. Since its launch, it’s helped a lot of people feel more connected with family or friends as well as open up more about their mental health.
Are you a sole founder? If so, how have you found it? And do you have any advice you would give to other sole founders?
Yes, I’m a sole founder. Honestly, it has been the hardest thing I have ever undertaken, but also the most fulfilling journey I’ve ever been on.
My advice to other sole founders would be to network with as many people as possible. It’s difficult being the only person driving a business and there is the fear that if you give away too much about your idea that other people may copy it. However, you can only do and know so much. Find support in those around you and share your vision with people that you encounter along the way. It can be really useful to get outside perspectives and, more importantly, you can learn a lot from other people’s experiences.
How do you manage to balance growing a start-up with having a personal life?
It can be extremely demanding to start a business and it requires a lot of hours to grow it from an idea to something tangible. I’ve managed it by sharing my vision with those around me and being honest about work demands. This has meant that my family and friends have been incredibly supportive, accommodating and understanding about the commitment I need in order to grow this business.
How do you cope with the pressures that come with building a business?
As a Founder, the business and its success or failure rest on your shoulders. The main way I’ve coped with this pressure is by always remembering the purpose behind the business. I see each day that it is bringing a meaningful impact on other people’s lives, many of whom I’ve never met personally. I hold on to the belief that if I can scale the business, then it can potentially help many more people that need it most. That purpose helps me to overcome the stress, obstacles and hard times.
Did you pursue investment? If so, what advice would you give on pitching? What was your secret weapon?
I have not pursued investment yet. I’m getting ready to raise investment for MyBubble, which is a first for me. I hope that the decision to release an MVP to prove that users love the concept will aid me in my funding round!
If you could name one thing that you wish you knew when you started, what would it be?
It’s normal to fail. I’ve found that if you don’t try new things or put yourself out there for fear of failure, you’ll miss out on a lot of important lessons and opportunities.
To date, what has been your most important lesson?
My most important lesson has been that consistency is key. I’ve encountered a lot of obstacles and rejections so far, but remaining persistent, pivoting when needed and continuing to keep going when it’s tough has been vital.
The other important lesson would be to assume that every single person you encounter has something to teach you and to always know your limitations. I’ve learnt so much from listening to those better than me in their respective specialisms or fields. I’m a first-time entrepreneur, so drawing upon other people’s experiences and using them to inform my decision-making has helped steer me.
Do you have any tips or advice for anyone thinking about starting up their own business, or who has just started their journey?
My advice would be to solve a problem that you’ve encountered personally and validate your ideas by asking people their honest opinions.
What has been the most challenging part of your start-up journey so far?
Without a doubt, [it’s] the resilience, time and dedication required to grow a business. I thought I had worked hard before starting a business, but you cannot appreciate how much you need to juggle until you do it yourself.
What’s next for your business?
The next step is to raise investment in order to scale MyBubble. I’m excited to recruit, expand and improve the service so that it can provide a network-based, accessible alternative for mental health support in the market.
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