The story of Hummingbiird originates back to April of 2017. My partner, Matthew Solomon and I were both seniors at Florida State University when Matt originally came to me with the idea. We had met through our fraternity freshman year, lived together for our sophomore and junior years, and both have always been very entrepreneurial-minded. During our tenure in college, Matt was able to launch an extremely successful T-Shirt company, The Collegiate Lineup, while also being a full-time student, and working night shifts at a local bar for extra money. As for me, I was lucky enough to get accepted into the Entrepreneurship Program for one of my majors. I was also the General Manager of a new lounge in town, Room 21V, and the GM for the hospitality group Top Tier Entertainment.
We were those kids that just wanted to get involved in so many different things to make an extra buck or gain a little more business experience. Whether it was starting a t-shirt company, exploring dropshipping, selling on eBay/Etsy/Amazon, or doing local service jobs, we were your modern day aspiring entrepreneurs. Yet there never seemed to be enough hours in the day. We started getting caught up in so many different projects that it became to be a lot for us. And not just work wise, things in our personal lives too. Things like keeping up with our schoolwork, cleaning our house, walking Matt’s dog Brady, doing the laundry, working out and eating healthy, all things that were just put on the backburner.
Beginning our new ventures, we consistently found ourselves running into the same problem. Each time we needed a graphic designer, needed T-shirts made, needed business cards and product pictures. Where do we go to get these things done? Do we sit there and blow up every Craigslist group on Facebook? Is that even safe? How much do these services cost and how do we know if we are getting a good deal or getting ripped off? For two college students on a budget, we didn’t have much disposable income to throw around. And let me tell you, once we finally found someone, this stuff was not cheap!
That’s when the idea of Hummingbiird first appeared. We knew that same entrepreneurial spirit lived within many fellow students at Florida State, FAMU and TCC, and there were so many extremely talented student workers out there looking for more clientele. Why wasn’t the student entrepreneurial community connected? Why even limit it to that? There are so many students who put themselves through school and juggling a job on top of that is not easy. Why isn’t there a way to seamlessly search through commonly requested services? A way to scroll through all those talented students around us praying for a way to grow their brands and make some extra money. It seemed like a theory that would have been put in place years ago. Yet no one had done it, until now.
To be honest, we have Matt to thank for the original compilation of it all. He’s the one who originally pointed this all out to me, and I’m just happy he chose to bring this idea my way. Since the first day he invited me over, our goal has not changed. That goal is, and always will be, to create the first student-to-student freelancing platform that is SAFE, TRANSPARENT and AFFORDABLE for all its users. We want young entrepreneurs to be able to grow their brand and have a central place to find more potential jobs. We also strive to make the college experience as simple as possible for all students. No more waiting in lines or leaving your house to get your phone screen fixed, no more getting out of bed on a Sunday morning to clean up that mess from the pregame you threw last night, and no more sad puppies when their owners are locked away in the library studying all day. Hummingbiird is here, and we are here to stay.
To portray that this was just one happy stroll through the park wouldn’t do the story of Hummingbiird justice. The road to getting where we are now, FINALLY just a few weeks out from launch (yes, that was a huge relief to type), definitely had its fair share of twists and turns. I don’t want to go too far into detail because no one likes a complainer, but some of this may help other young Entrepreneurs like us learn and avoid these mistakes.
So Matt and I, we may be business savvy, but when it came to computers and coding… we definitely were NOT your go to guys. (Funny considering we are now in the tech business, but hey I guess you have to start somewhere.) First thing was first, we needed to find a developer. I’ll save you the time on that, just know it wasn’t easy. We over saturated Facebook with help wanted requests, searched the web, and asked friends and family. Basically if you had a conversation with one of us during that time, in one way or another we probably asked if you knew an affordable coder. Fast forward a few months and we had our coder lined up and the business plan we had laid out was underway. From there, we hit the college campuses in the Tallahassee area surveying hundreds of students to narrow down the 20+ categories we had, get input on logo decision and layout simplicity, and also to simply test the market. Six months into the process of getting things up and running we got word that we would have to find a new developer. That’s where things took a dramatic turn. It was like we had spent all this time building a huge complex puzzle, and then right when it came down to placing the last piece, it was kicked and scattered all over the table. We lost the hype we had worked so hard to build, we lost money, we lost time, and for a period we even lost all motivation. I mean Matt took off school that entire semester to get the launch going. At the time, it all seemed to be just one big waste. But then we remembered one important quote, “Sometimes you make the right decision, and sometimes you make the decision right.”
We were back at square one and made the decision to focus on the positives. Consequently, we opened up free time to focus more on the consumer before launching. We were able to survey and get more input from students as well as renowned professors across the University. We were able to go more in depth on our background checks for Professionals to really ensure a safe community. The end goal never changed: unparralled convenience, cheap and transparent. Finally, we found ourselves picking up right back where we left off. Moving forward to our goal we set back in April of 2017. We would love for you to follow along on our journey. Keep up with our blogs to see how the road for a startup company really is.
Zachary Polito | Co-Founder