My name is Thomas Andersson and I am the CEO and co-founder of HappyBooking.
With this, and upcoming blogs, I will focus on the challenges that I face as a co-founder and CEO of HappyBooking.
Back to when it all started for me
I started my first company when I was sixteen years old. Back then it wasn't part of my plan, but due to Swedish laws I wasn’t allowed to work weekends and late evenings since I was under 18. Me and my co-founder Axel worked with publishing the local newspaper online, copying text from a publishing software called QuarkXPress and then add HTML manually to give it proper online formatting. We charged something like 199 SEK per hour, around €19. After tax we got a little less than half. As you can imagine we did not get rich by doing this but it was a great extra income during high school. Most of the money we earned went to new mobile phones and computers.
We kept the company on the side of University studies and some other part-time jobs. After the University I wanted to give it a shot and work with the company full time. Since then I have started a handful companies, some that I am proud of and some that did not go that well.
The first company I co-founded is still alive and kicking though (one of the good ones), now called meramedia (www.meramedia.se) – a communication agency in the north of Sweden with fifteen brilliant employees.
Without the history of the other companies HappyBooking would probably not be here today, but I will give you a piece more of the history in each of my blogs, otherwise you would probably fall asleep.
A new challenge
With three angel investors and a Swedish VC-fund called Almi Invest backing us up we started HappyBooking at full speed in December 2015. The software had been under development and in use for 2-3 years by then. In January this year I could jump over from my position as CEO in meramedia which I've had for 10 years by then, and in to this new challenge.
As I wrote above I have started companies before. I look back to when I took the step from a steady employment to provide for myself with my own company meramedia, I had a few clients but not nearly enough to cover what I needed to pay my bills. I remember the amount of work it took, selling to clients during the day and producing the websites during evening and night. This all had to balance with my private life, our first daughter, my wife Maria and our project to build a house. I will probably not forget the bad feeling in my stomach when I did not know how next month would be.
Sooner or later reality catches up with all of us
But, that shouldn't happen again.. I mean, I have made most of the mistakes more than once.. or have I?
Even though I thought I was prepared for starting a new company it still came as a small shock to me. Sure, we had a few clients 8 months ago, we had a working software. But there were a lot of things we still needed to figure out, we did not have any incoming leads at all. No brand, an incomplete team, we had built a small process with outbound sales that focused on telemarketing, but looking in the rear-view mirror I would not say that the process was as great as we thought it was back then. Just creating some kind of initial processes for marketing, administration, sales and new employees is a lot more work than I thought it would be. Luckily my co-founder Henri and I have been able to give each other good insights and energy when needed.
During my years as an entrepreneur I have learned not to get the bad feeling in my stomach anymore, I figured out that it does not help to get stressed out. Usually that leads to bad decisions as you are unable to see things for what they are.
Even if it was more work than what I was prepared for, and I had less use of my earlier experiences than I thought, I would still not trade the challenge to make HappyBooking the best Hotel Management System provider out there for anything else right now.
Take care until next time,