Have you ever started a project hoping to finish it quickly only to realize that it’s going to take much longer than expected? Perhaps you woke up one Saturday morning and decided this was the day you were going to tackle that backyard landscaping project or add a new deck to the house. You might have even taken off for a few days to remodel that room in your house thinking that a couple of days tacked on to a weekend would be sufficient. Maybe you had a friend ask you to help them move for a “couple of hours” on your day off. It seems like we are always underestimating the amount of time a project will take.
We started Aquilla back in August of 2016. I remember telling my wife after we started planning that I would most likely have to quit my job and go full time on the business at least by the end of the year. I had assumed that everything would come together, customers would flock to our services and products, and that we would be in such demand that I couldn’t possibly hold down my full-time job and run such a successful business. Oh, how naïve I was!
In fact, I was so confident that we would be ready to launch the company that I registered us for our first conference in San Antonio for the summer of 2017. I mean it was about a year out. Surely, we would have everything ready by then, right?
I told myself and everyone else that we were going to the San Antonio conference to do market research. It was true. That’s what we did but my initial intentions were to market our services and curriculum. Due to nothing being market ready and the fact that we had paid good money to register for the conference, we attended, set up our booth, met a lot of nice people and gathered intel on the type of services and curriculum they needed. That part was a success!
I came back from San Antonio determined that we were going to be ready for the next conference, which was about 5 months away in Nashville, November of 2017. Nashville was a national conference where we would have a chance to play with the big dogs! Major education companies who are known as heavy hitters in the industry would be there and I was going to be there going toe to toe, selling our products and services with the best of them! We even paid to have a presentation spot that we were sure would draw hundreds of educators to our brand.
Well… we did do some market research and we had about 15 people show up for our presentation! Again, the conference was a success! It may not have met our expectations, but we did meet some great people who have been instrumental in getting us connected with other groups most recently.
Here we go again…
So, the Nashville conference was followed by yet another national conference in San Antonio in 2018. We had another speaking gig and you guessed it, more market research! This time we had about 50 people or so attend our presentation. We also made quite a few more contacts who were definitely interested in buying our products, if we had actually had them.
I’m sure by now, you’re probably thinking, what the heck is taking so long? It’s been 2 ½ years already! Wouldn’t you have something ready to go by now? Two and half years ago, I would have been asking the same questions, in fact I was asking these same questions throughout the two and a half years. It wasn’t as if we were just sitting back expecting someone to hand us a successful business. We were working and have been almost every weekend, evenings after work, early mornings before work and in the middle of the night when we couldn’t sleep.
So, what got in the way? Life.
There is always that part you had to go back and research that you didn’t know. There are those things you didn’t think of and there are those things you didn’t actually plan for that happened. There are the things you had to redo because there were errors as well as things that were just bad ideas that you ran with without consulting anyone else. Oh, and don’t forget all of those other people who need your time, help, and attention. And did I mention, we were starting this company while working full time at our regular jobs, serving in our church and trying to maintain some form of normal life?
Well, finally, here we are in May of 2019 and we just got back from the DECA conference in Orlando, Florida. We didn’t have a speaking gig but this time we did in fact go with our product in hand! We finished our first curriculum and had it ready for market. We met so many great people who were interested and wanted our product and services. It was indeed a true success!
I wish I could say that we sold hundreds of products, but the fact is, most schools do not have their budgets to purchase until September. So, we wait. We pray. We market. We network. We look for ways to fine tune what we have and make it better and we work on the next curriculum.
Has it taken longer than we expected? Indeed, it has!
Don’t Stop Believing… (Journey)
The one thing we don’t do is give up. We keep believing and keep working towards our dream of building Aquilla into a successful business and changing the world of CTE education.
We’re thankful you are on this journey with us!
If you would like to see more information about Aquilla, you can find it here: www.aquillaed.com.