A year ago I was doodling in a notebook. Today I have a working app on my phone.
I’m honestly a bit in shock.
Over the years I’ve had a lot of ideas. I remember having the flu for several days in the dead of winter. I was living alone, there was nothing on TV and I was bored. There was a Blockbuster down the street but I didn’t feel well enough to go. I started thinking about a mail order movie service, but at the time movies were on VHS so I let the idea go when I couldn’t figure out easy mailing. Netflix eventually figured it out.
A year or two later I was sick again and had very little food in the house. I thought about grocery delivery, restaurant meal delivery, and then online restaurant reservations. I didn’t pursue any of them, but GrubHub, BiteSquad, and OpenTable did.
Then I got married and had a baby. My world revolved around “stuff” – all of these baby things that were needed for a very short period of time. We had a nice source of hand-me-downs but there were still so many things we ended up purchasing that were hardly used. This time I thought of baby rental equipment. I started investigating and learned there were a few companies already providing this service.
While my world revolved around stuff, it also included a whole bunch of lists to keep track of that stuff and the little person in my life who used all of it. I was constantly writing down information for babysitters. I made packing list after packing list every time we went somewhere. When we left our son with my parents for a few days I’d have to make a packing list plus tell them how to take care of him. Then when it was time for him to come home they’d have to pack everything back up to send home. List after list after list. And so much stuff!
Then one day I got a smart phone and started using apps. I found an app for nearly everything I thought I needed to do on my phone. What I couldn’t find, though, was an app that helped me prepare for outings or trips by combining a packing list with a care schedule. I searched and searched but couldn’t find anything. So I asked my friends. None of them knew of any such app but they thought it was a great idea since they were all making lists too – by hand, on the computer – some even made spreadsheets for Grandma and Grandpa.
So I started doodling in a notebook. What would I want an app to do for me as a parent? What do I want to communicate to the caregiver? What do I want from the caregiver? What would the caregiver want the app to do for them? Then I talked to other parents and grandparents to get their feedback, too.
I have to admit the list of features was long. Very long. But when it came down to it, the important concepts were to provide an easy way to pack and prepare for any outing, communicate each child’s care schedule to a caregiver, and provide parents comfort knowing their children were well cared for. Packing, planning, and connecting.
I continued to doodle and started taking steps forward to make the app a reality. At any point in the last year when someone asked me how things were going I was like a duck in the water – on the surface I appeared calm but underneath my feet were paddling like mad. The list of tasks was (and still is) overwhelming – starting a company, finding a lawyer, interviewing developers, designing the app, creating branding, developing a website, maintaining social media, blogging, producing videos, trademarking, app testing, app store approvals, marketing, advertising, customer support…and likely a whole lot more I have yet to experience.
It’s been an incredible year with a lot of learning and fantastic experiences. I want to thank my “momvisors” – you know who you are – I couldn’t have done this without you. And of course my husband and my son, because without them, I would never have needed this app.
Only a few weeks until launch…when my idea becomes reality.