Posted on Sun 27 April 2014

Why we're going on holiday

Next Tuesday Josh and I are flying to London. We're going on holiday for two weeks: a fortnight of gallivanting around Europe, minimising our stress and maximising our fun.

Aside from scouting each place we go as a potential new home for our company, we're purely taking a holiday. We're only taking one laptop between us. There'll be no work time unless something important comes up—all non-urgent work is being pushed back while we travel.

Of course we have various personal reasons that factored into our travel decisions but right now I want to look at how Exist factors into this process.

Since we booked our trip, I've been wondering what people would think of us as startup founders if they knew we were going on a holiday—not even a business trip—just before the public launch of our beta, which feels like a milestone we've been working towards forever.

Although we will be taking time off from our non-critical work, there are several reasons we feel this holiday will actually be good for Exist in the long run.

1. We need to look after our team

Right now our team is me (Belle) and Josh. Each of us takes on half the responsibilities of running Hello Code and building Exist into the blow-your-mind, crazy-big vision we're working towards. We also take on half of the stress of running a company, half of the pressure of living up to expectations, half of the worry that we don't know what we're doing and we're going to crash and burn in mediocre, who-ever-heard-of-us-anyway fashion, and half the pain of making big decisions. Plus, because we're bootstrapped, we're both working part-time to keep the bills paid.

If one of us gets sick, or run-down, or cracks under the pressure, that's half our team down. Looking after ourselves now is as important, if not moreso, as when we have a team of people to help us in the future. We know how important it is to stop and recharge (Habit 7, anyone?) and we're adamant that we're going to remember that.

2. We don't want to defer our life plan

Something I loved about the Buffer culture is how regular company retreats help everyone to avoid the deferred life plan. Instead of waiting until it's holiday time or putting off world travel until they're retired, everyone at Buffer gets to experience new cultures and widen their horizons three times per year.

It will be a while before Exist is successful enough that even just Josh and I can go on international retreats, so we wanted to have one international trip before we launch Exist to the public and go all in.

3. Things are about to get crazy

When we return to Melbourne, our first order of business is to launch our beta version of Exist to the public. Everything is going to change when we do this. Everything we do day-to-day will be bigger: we'll have more bugs reported, more users to talk to, more feedback to take on, more pressure to keep building. And we'll have different things to focus on, like building traction and working out the best way to market Exist.

We're excited about hitting this big milestone and pushing Exist forward, but we're confident that returning from a holiday refreshed and inspired will help us find a better mindset to work hard on the next stage of Exist.


P.S. I make some stuff you might like: Exist, a personal analytics app to help you understand your life, and Larder, a bookmarking app for developers.

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