For dog owners, finding someone to trust with their dogs is a difficult task. Kennels, boarders, or paying a professional is costly and can be difficult to arrange. Waggit was my solution to that problem, and a way for me to try my hand entrepreneurship.
Using my experience in product design and working with engineers I befriended from getting plugged into the New York Startup community, I was able to design and launch a website entirely devoted to helping New York dog owners find and connect with people in their own neighborhoods that would be willing to trade dog sitting favors.
Getting Out of the Building
One of the most valuable things Waggit taught me was the value of getting in front of customers and doing actual customer development. I spent a lot of time visiting dog parks, emailing animal shelters, partnering with other dog businesses, and posting ads on Craigslist to get a verified sense of what dog owners want in a site like Waggit. It was a draining and sometimes scary experience, but getting out of my comfort zone has helped me be a better designer because I'm more willing to put my biases aside and actively listen to what customers want. As a result, the idea morphed from being an AirBnb for dogs copycat marketplace, to more of a place where people could casually introduce themselves, their dog, and post requests for help.
Deciding to try tech entrepreneurship was the most pivotal moment in my career. Trying my own business taught me deeper empathy, made me more aware of my strengths and weaknesses, and introduced me to an impressive community of people who are passionate about using technology to build great things.