We are one week away from launching ClassMax, a web-based data tracker and classroom management tool for teachers. Over the past six months, we have worked primarily with freelance web developers who we hire by the week and pay by the hour. They have done a fantastic job of taking ClassMax from a drawing I scratched in a notebook to a functioning tool that I can use in my classroom.
Over the past month, as we have gotten closer and closer to launching, we have begun to solidify a core group of developers who have come on staff with us as more than simply hourly hires. Currently, we have a full-time front end developer, a full-time backend developer, a front-end styling and CSS designer, and a marketing associate who will be orchestrating our launch and brand for the next several months while we get ClassMax up and running in classrooms across the country. And, of course, there are the ever-vigilant owners – me, Chris, and our business partner, Nick – who are working around the clock making sure we are ready for business next Tuesday. None of this would have been possible without generous investors who have taken us from a kitchen-table venture to a $50,000 viable product.
When I look back over the past six months of blood, sweat, and tears, I can’t help but marvel at what we have accomplished so far. To identify a need, draw a picture of a tool, and then to be walking around my classroom now, using that tool absolutely blows my mind.
Which is why as we head into the last week of final preparations, I find myself strangely at peace. Isn’t that odd? Especially for someone who struggles with anxiety. All of the pieces are here for a 100% nervous breakdown for me – spending lots of money, having many people invested and waiting for YOU to be successful so that THEY can be successful, not knowing if, when we open the gates on Tuesday, there will even be anyone standing there waiting… so many variables! So much pressure! And yet, I’m sleeping good, I’m working hard (a good sign because I tend to stop doing things when I start to become overwhelmed), and I’m even excited!
And I think my excitement stems from knowing that we have a GOOD PRODUCT. We have a product that is not only needed in classrooms, but that teachers deserve to have access to. We’ve created a product that actually eliminates paperwork and enhances the amount of time a teacher can (gasp!) TEACH! Imagine that!
While this could be an homage to the entrepreneur and the American dream and all that, I’m really more focused on myself personally and how this experience has changed me.
I’ve learned that just because I don’t have the skills needed doesn’t mean I can’t learn them.
I’ve learned that the difference between complaining and doing something is just having the guts to keep pushing through until you get what you need.
I’ve learned that asking for and receiving help is critical, and that when you ask for help, you don’t have to do it with your hat in your hand.
I’ve learned that big projects, dreams, and ideas are all accomplished by simply putting one foot in front of the other.
I’ve learned that I am not above begging. 🙂
I’ve learned that setbacks are not failures and failures are not the end of the world.
I’ve learned that having the right team is key because your burdens are halved and your celebrations are doubled.
I’ve learned that even if this whole thing fails miserably, it is still a success in my book because I set out to make a product that transforms the teaching experience and we’ve done that.
This week will be a record-breaker for our ClassMax team. We are all preparing for around-the-clock hours and more work than we’ve done yet. And as we get closer and closer to sharing what we’ve made with teachers across the country, the workload is truly a labor of love for me. I am ITCHING with excitement. I am TWITCHING with excitement. I just cannot wait.
And, my goodness, that alone is a testament to the amount of change I’ve gone through during this process.
Well, that and the gray hair I’ve noticed recently.
Apparently, my hair is not as excited as I am.
The ClassMax party kicks off on Sept. 5, kids. Share with your teacher friends and help spread the word!