How This Startup Founder Triumphed Over His Year of Hell
“It's just tenacity," says Proposify co-founder and CEO Kyle Racki
Any experienced entrepreneur can tell you that two keys to a successful startup are a solid business idea — especially one that solves a big problem for others — and the tenacity to make it work. Kyle Racki hit on the former when he was running a web design agency and came up with a faster, better way to create proposals for clients. It was what happened to him in the following year that tested his tenacity.
In 2013, Racki co-founded Proposify with Kevin Springer in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The startup created a cloud-based service that mixes templates, design features and flexible customization to speed up the chore of sales, marketing and web design proposals. Traditionally, these were created in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, but Proposify’s tools are tailored specifically for proposals, adding collaboration and signature features to simplify the process. Some users say the software has cut a two-week process down to a couple of hours.
But it took about a year for Proposify to get enough traction to generate a substantial customer base. During that period, the co-founders almost gave up. Along the way, nearly everything began to go wrong in Racki’s life. The digital agency he was also running ran into debt. Selling it turned into a lengthy and arduous task. His father died, weighing him down with grief. He separated from his wife. On top of that, Racki’s mother and sister broke off contact with him after he began to question the religion in which his parents had raised him, Jehovah’s Witnesses.
“I finally gave myself permission to look at outside material that was critical of the religion. And when I told my mother about it, she said she would never speak to me again. Everyone I knew in that religion would not even say hi to me on the street,” says Racki. “So, yeah, it was a crazy year, and in the midst of that, trying to run a business and keep that flow was really tough.”
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Shameless plug for Kyle’s company: https://www.proposify.biz/