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Startup Journal: The Difference a Year in Business Makes

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It's amazing what you learn during your first year in business. It feels almost surreal.

I've been with Text Request for about 14 months at the time of this writing. So much has changed! Mostly for the better.

I don't even mean within the company, necessarily, though Text Request has certainly come a long way.

What I really mean is me and our team. We've grown so much in the last year.

Timing is the single largest contributing factor to whether a startup succeeds or fails. Thankfully, we seem to have nailed timing on the head.

We've taken about 15 months to grow and to figure out what the heck we're doing. But now that we've become experts for our industry, and know how to communicate that, all these companies we talk to really get it.

They get how important mobile is for the future of business, and they're looking to us for guidance.

That's what being part of a startup does to you. It forces you to learn and grow and try and fail, until you look up one day and realize you're an expert at what you do.

Related: Startup Journal: Accepting Failure vs. Expecting Failure

Earlier this week, our director of sales (James) and I went to the local Business Radio X. We're trying to get started making podcasts of our own for Text Request, and were really there as guinea pigs to test out BRX's new setup.

We ended up doing a full podcast for Text Request on content marketing, and it was great! It felt great, at least.

As we finished the impromptu session, the guys we were with said even they got value out of listening. They're in this world every day! And we're still able to provide value.

For a startup, that's the difference a year in business makes, when you spend every hour intentionally learning and trying to figure out what the best in the business do.

This time last year I was cold calling college admissions departments. That wasn't exactly wonderful - or effective.

Now I'm establishing an online brand, and using the knowledge I've gained to bring in revenue for our business. It's a great position to be in. It's a great feeling!

But I'm only in this position because I dredged through the last year of learning and stress and everything else included in a new business.

A lot of the last year left me questioning whether I had any value to offer.

Sure, I worked hard, had a few good ideas, got some accounts. But it's all been a building process.

I'm still building! And I will be for years to come (at least).

As much as being part of a startup - or being an entrepreneur in general - can suck, as painful as it can be, I actually think it's worth it.

Entrepreneurship has forced me to grow far more quickly than any other type of employment could, and that's invaluable.

The past year has felt like sailing through a hurricane without a compass. It's been crazy, but it's been a cool journey, and I'm incredibly hopeful about what Text Request will push me to do and be next.

Related: Startup Journal: Is Explosive Growth Really the Goal?