If you haven’t heard of mint.com, you are missing out on arguably the best financial sites in existence. Mint.com is a free, advertiser supported website that allows consumers to track all areas of their personal finances. Everything from checking accounts, loans, bills, investments, automobile, and home equity, this is truly a one stop financial website that is used by millions. What was the creation of a twenty-something entrepreneur was later bought by Intuit.com, the maker of quicken and turbotax.
Aaron Patzer, creator of Mint.com, like all entrepreneurs faced plenty of challenges as mint.com was born. When asked, he named these as his top three.
Challenge #1- The Decision to Quit his Job
Patzer was an up and coming engineer with a rapidly growing startup making a very comfortable salary. He had no friends, no network, or any support system for his new project when he moved to the San Francisco Bay area for his job.
Fortunately, he had enough money to fund the project for a few months so in between his 10 hours of programming 7 days a week, he joining entrepreneur clubs in the San Francisco Bay area as well as hiking clubs and other groups that allowed him to meet people. When he had done all he could on his own, he had developed a network of professional colleagues that were able to help.
Challenge #2- Getting his First Yes from an Investor
During the early days of mint.com he was seeking financing. He heard a lot of discouraging comments from investors. In the Silicon Valley, there are thousands of people with the next technology idea so standing out in a crowd was a difficult task. Most believed that his idea of bring advertiser supported financial services to the average consumer was an idea with no chance of making money.
He did what every successful entrepreneur has done. He didn’t take no for an answer. He kept on building his website and kept on pitching investors. Once he got his first yes, mint.com took off!
Challenge #3- Hiring employees
Patzer said that finding help wasn’t a problem but finding great help was nearly impossible. He knew that in order to make this idea take off, he didn’t want good people. He had to have great people who had the skills to think in ways that others had not. This product had to stand out in an area that was jammed packed with products. He succeed by again calling on his contacts in the area. He asked for recommendations and after some hiring and firing, he found a great team.
No entrepreneur has an easy ride to success. If you’re in the beginning stages of your startup, remember to persevere. The bumps in the road are part of the process.