Have you ever been in a situation or conversation where you didn’t know what was being said, whether figuratively or literally?
In 2019 I traveled with a friend to Paris and we stayed with her aunt. We had delicious dinners that lasted 3+ hours… and during the dinners, I didn’t know what was happening…literally. I was the only person who couldn’t speak or understand the French language.
It was one of the most interesting experiences I’ve ever had. I mean it’s one thing to be around people speaking a different language for a few minutes, but these were hours of me being silent and watching everyone else talk.
Since I didn’t know the language, it forced me to be hyper-focused on nonverbal behaviors: facial expressions, body language, and hand gestures to name a few.
It helped me figure out if they were talking about serious topics, being sarcastic, or making fun of someone at the table.
This is what being a non-technical founder feels like.
It means entering a world where you don’t know technical words.
It means not understanding how the pieces come together through processes you don’t even know exist.
It is most definitely a language of its own.
When I first started QuickSit I didn’t know anything about mobile apps. I didn’t know the difference between front-end and back-end or what a requirements doc was.
A lot of people will say you need a technical co-founder. I don’t believe you need a co-founder, but I do agree with putting someone in some sort of technical position, like a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to have the best chance at a successful launch.
Below are 3 mistakes I made as I was starting out to create my mobile app!
One of the biggest mistakes I made was not putting someone in a technical role from the very beginning. I wrote about that experience in this post. If I had hired someone technical on my team before looking around for a developer, it would have saved me a lot of time, money, and stress. I made the rookie mistake of believing that my developer would fill the technical role, but learned you need someone on your actual team in the technical role to manage a third party developer- it will make things so much easier!
Looking back I wish I would have taken longer to explore all of my developer options before deciding on one. I never looked into hiring anyone overseas, which could have been a cheaper option. I essentially googled “mobile app development in Dallas-Fort Worth” and started looking at local companies. By the end of my search, I had phone calls with 2 different companies and met with one in person before making the final decision. By the time QuickSit officially launched I was using a developer in Pakistan and continued working with him for more than a year and it was the cheapest option I’ve ever done!
Not speaking up and asking more questions. Being a non-technical person I didn’t know half of the phrases and processes the developer was telling me. Instead of doing more research on my own or asking more questions I just said “okay” to anything they told me. As the client, you have a right to understand what is going on, why they aren’t sticking to the timeline, etc.
So there they are! These are my top 3 mistakes I made as a non-technical founder when I was starting out and I hope they are helpful, especially if you decide to go down the path of creating a mobile app!