How Startup Weekend Changed my Life and Career

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In October of 2011 I attended my first Startup Weekend.  At the time I had a boring 9-5 salaried job as a computer programmer and I wanted to break out of my comfort zone and try something new.  My first startup weekend experience was amazing.  I met new friends that are now some of my best and made so many important contacts in my professional network it transformed my career.  More importantly Startup Weekend 2011 was the spark that got me interested in entrepreneurship and made my future dreams and goals for myself so much bigger.

I was hooked.

In October 2012 I attended SW Hartford again, my 5th Startup Weekend in total.  This time was a bit different.  Since SW Hartford 2011 I dove into entrepreneurship and read and studied all that I could.  I learned how to think like an entrepreneur.  After 4 other practice events I learned how to pitch.  I learned how to validate my idea by talking to my customers.  I learned how to think like the founders of other great startup companies that I admired.Movid - Winning 2012

At the close of Startup Weekend Hartford 2012, after 72 hours with a team of six talented individuals all that practice and work paid off. My team and idea won both the 1st place prize and the People’s Choice award.  This was the start of Movidhep.com, a healthcare focused software as a service application.

Over the past year we’ve grown from a team with an idea to a company with a product. We launch this October.  In fact, during Startup Weekend Hartford 2013 we’ll be presenting our product to over 500 potential customers at an industry tradeshow.  The journey has been simply amazing and it’s changed my life.

Having a company on a clear path to profitability and growth is an empowering feeling. Knowing that I’ve taken the reigns to truly improve upon my future makes all the effort and learning I’ve done over the past years worth it.  I can only look back on my life before entrepreneurship and wonder why I spent so long on the 9-5 hamster wheel.

Entrepreneurship has also improved my career by giving me a new startup mindset.  My employers appreciate somebody who can think outside of the box and innovate beyond what’s normally expected of them.  People respect somebody who takes a risk, who builds something from nothing and its really impacted my professional life.  My network has also grown considerably and there are tons of people, both peers and mentors, I can call up anytime for advice or help and makes finding a real job ( Movid isn’t a success yet ) much easier.

All of this started because of attending a Startup Weekend.  In two years a guy who was only interested in going home at 5:01 pm became somebody who now works on his passions and dreams.  What’s holding you back from attending?  It could change your life as it changed mine.

johnfarrellJohn Farrell is an entrepreneur living in downtown Hartford and wishing every weekend could be Startup Weekend. He also claims that Startup Weekend made his teeth whiter and makes doing his taxes easier, which we’re a little skeptical of but are happy to pass along just in case it gets a few more of you to register.