As I was brainstorming ideas on unique pieces of content, the idea of doing a six-month reflection since the birth of elevateUX sprung to mind. As well as it (hopefully) being an interesting read for you, it allowed me to reflect on all the things I have achieved as well as the challenges I have faced since beginning my first company in the blockchain space. I also close the article with some tips on how you can get started with your own project and other routes into full time crypto to consider.
Where did the idea come from?
Since joining the space in January 2018, all I’ve ever really known is a bear market. For some bizarre reason, I decided to stick around and it became clear to me that the hardworking people were continuing to build despite the market continuing to tumble at the time. It was clear that all these people or teams believed in the long term future of blockchain technology and so did I.
As I was searching for the part I could play in the space, I realised there was a huge issue with user experience(UX). I realised that I had found a genuine problem and not a solution. My background and experience in UX is a complete coincidence. I was working in UX well before developing an interest in crypto which worked out well in the end. I was continued to research, it became clear that many of these blockchain projects lacked guidance and expertise when it comes to making user friendly products and communicating effectively with the users themselves.
At the beginning of this year, I was in regular communication with Alex Libertas and Jonathan Habicht. These guys were (and still are) working on their own projects (TDC and Blockfyre) which later became partners of elevateUX. We started to build our projects at a similar time which definitely helped and motivated me to make progress through the early stages and still remain great friends of mine. Whilst I have the chance, I want to make it clear that networking is unbelievably powerful and underrated.
Preparing for launch.
There were a number of things that I had to have in place before publicly announcing that elevateUX was up and running. I needed a brand, a website and detailed services to offer. I needed a logo and a brand and that is where networking became a powerful tool, once again. A good friend of mine, JohnyCrypto kindly helped me design a logo and a header to use on Twitter and on my website. There was a lot of back and forth, tweaks and changes, but it’s important to get the branding right.
Due to my brief background in web design, I was able to build the website myself and manage all hosting, domain and analytical responsibilities internally. As well as cutting costs, it’s nice to have control of these things so you can make quick and effective changes. At this point, I had a website, a name and a logo but needed something specific to offer these projects rather than very vaguely offering projects ‘UX help’. I carefully thought about how I can offer a range of services that cater for different projects needs but would simultaneously add value.
UX Article/Interview: If you are proud of your products user experience you can show case this in the form of an article or interview to an audience of over 12,500 crypto enthusiasts.
Expert Product Review: The expert review is a quick and convenient solution to improve your user experience. We simply provide you with feedback on your product from a users perspective.
UX Advisory: Using our expertise and knowledge, we are able to advise on how to implement correct procedure and methodologies to improve the user experience of your products.
I also needed a portfolio to show projects the quality of my work and the value it can bring to them. Although I have worked in UX for a number of years, I had no portfolio within the blockchain space. Without a portfolio, it is extremely difficult to build a reputation. How I overcame this was by offering one month of free consultations. I used Twitter as a platform to advertise that I was providing free UX guidance to projects and I helped as many as I could. I provided free Expert Product Reviews for a number of projects such as Dragonchain and Lethean to build credibility but it also gave me experience of working with blockchain projects and helped me understand how it differs from traditional companies and organisations.
Nobody wants to work for free, but sometimes it is the best thing you can do. It can sometimes be an extremely valuable, long-term investment in yourself and what you’re working on. Whilst I was doing this voluntary work, it never felt like a chore as I was excited about the opportunities that the free work could lead too. This work actually lead to me receiving some generous testimonials that are currently on the homepage of the elevateUX website.
Once elevateUX launched, I was then able to push forward and get to work. I was actively making projects aware of the services that I provided but the real game changer for me was when projects began to approach me to leverage my services. That was when I felt the whole business model came to life and really kicked on. However, new challenges and bumps in the road still appeared. Things I never even considered or had any prior experience with became obstacles such as building contracts and invoices. This kind of stuff was all new to me but provided me with skills and experience that I will probably use for the rest of my life.
I had to adapt as I continued to grow and diversify my services to ensure that I continued to provide value. This whole process taught me that things don’t always work out the way you originally plan them, but so many new pathways and opportunities spring up along the way.
Present time and what’s next?
As I returned from my trip to Bali, I knew it was time to take things to the next level. In order to provide trust and legitimacy, I decided to doxx myself and put a real face to the project. This was a decision that I thought long and hard about, but decided that if I was serious about doing this long term, it was a decision I had to make.
Besides this, elevateUX are continuing to help new projects on a regular basis. We have recently completed an Expert Product Review on the AtomicDEX which is built by a number of the Komodo developers on the Komodo Platform. We have also been working on designing the Beaxy mobile app for a number of months to ensure that the app is really user friendly and logical. Just last week I taken on the role of Product Strategist on the FomoHunt project which I am also really excited to get started with. There are plenty of great things in the pipeline and it is going to be extremely rewarding when some of these products are released or have been improved based on the feedback that we have provided.
Tips for starting your own crypto related project.
This tip may sound silly but I suggest just diving in head first. If you have an idea that you feel can really make an impact or resolve a current problem, put together a brief plan and go for it. There will be many barriers that appear along the way that you cannot prepare for so stop worrying about it and take a chance. It’s those who don’t take a chance in life that have regrets.
Even if things don’t work out, I can guarantee there will be so much you will learn and take from the experience into your next venture. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve already learned and gained so much that I could take from the past six months.
The other thing I would like to make clear is that, start ups are not for everyone. If you think that taking a role at an existing project is much more suited to you and your personality then go for it. There is nothing wrong with becoming an employee at an exciting new start up!
Although it was a complete coincidence that the blockchain space lacked user experience expertise, I capitalised on something that I knew I could add value too. I honestly believe that good user experience will help take some of these projects to the next level and accomplish ‘mainstream adoption’.
Until the average person can use these exciting products and services easily and stress free, we are only going to see the tech savvy individuals using this technology. My goal is for elevateUX to play a critical part in blockchain going mainstream, and that’s what I will continue to work towards.
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