THE SECRET COMPANY — If you see a pirate ship leaving the harbor, Jump on it! Who knows?
Have you ever had the opportunity to join a pirate ship for an unknown but exciting adventure? A project with friends, a business challenge, a desire to join forces? I have, and I’m going to tell you why, if you are looking for the same treasure with a group of fellow pirates, you must join forces on the same ship. My name is Julian Ivaldy, I’m Co-Founder & Head of Growth at The Secret Company, a startup studio created about 1 year ago.
I’ve always had a taste for challenges, that’s probably what pushed me to create a mobile app to compete with TripAdvisor at 18yo 😂 ! I think I’m one of those people who are driven by experiences and adventures. This led me to join and finally co-create The Secret Company, and here are the lessons I’ve learned over the past 12 months.
Entrepreneurship is never easy, and one thing that makes it even harder is the feeling of loneliness. My adventure at The Secret Company started at a time when I was getting tired of working alone and losing meaning in my businesses. I joined incubators, Facebook communities, Meetup groups, but I was always missing something.
Entrepreneurs often work alone and have to rely only on themselves to achieve their objectives. Even if their business grows and they start to have a bigger team, being at the center of every decision can make them feel that they have no one to lean on.
FUN IS ESSENTIAL
I remember discussing it with my friend Maxime (aka Blondy). He had a very interesting vision on the subject, I had to have more fun in my projects. I didn’t realize it, but enjoyment in an entrepreneurial project is extremely important. If you don’t have a fun memory every month, you will gradually lose the motivation to get up for your projects.
We continued our discussion and Maxime told me that he structured a sort of muse factory & start-up studio that he was launching with The Family. This was the genesis of the Secret Company 🗝. I immediately fell in love with the project and especially with the team that Maxime was creating. The idea was to build a team of pirates, hustlers, who would help each other create and support self-funded internet businesses.
PIRATES + TEAM > PLAN
The positioning and business model were not very clear at the beginning, but the team and the treasure were. Do not be afraid to start a project if you have doubts about the plan, the key is to not have doubts about the team and their ambition to discover the same treasure.
Having already developed a business studio model on my side, I was very curious and interested in the development of The Secret Company. One day, Maxime proposed me to join the ship.
This opportunity was in complete alignment with my personal goals. It would allow me to keep (co)creating new exciting businesses, alongside talented and hardworking entrepreneurs. So of course, I jumped on the ship!
When you create your own business, your investment and your level of ambition will often determine the evolution of your project. There is no right or wrong investment choice, it just has to fit your lifestyle and your true ambition. You should not lie to yourself to avoid failure.
INVESTMENT AND AMBITION EVOLVE
For many years, I developed several side businesses. My goal was not to create an empire or to make a particular impact, but rather to get money with a minimum of time and effort invested. Why? Because it matched my student situation at the time, and I had not yet found a real motivation to go further.
I joined The Secret Company with a much higher ambition: to create the best startup studio within 5 years. Naturally, I followed my own advice given at the time to the startup I supported: ⚠️ Focus is key ⚠️
BET EVERYTHING OR DROP EVERYTHING
I decided to bet everything on The Secret Company by making professional and personal sacrifices. I cut short my previous businesses, canceled my academic exchange, and completely re-organized my workflow. Being enrolled at a full-time business school, I had to find new strategies to be able to graduate in time… if you ever need some advice, I can share my secrets 🤫.
Like a pirate mission, an entrepreneurial adventure is full of twists and turns. Our plan, our positioning, and even our program have really been defined over the past 12 months, and I’m aware it will probably change in the next 12 months 🙃.
For the mission I really believed in, and for the crew I loved sailing with, I started working for free. I soon became a freelancer and after 8 months of intensive work, I became co-founder 🦸♂️.
TREASURE AS THE FIRST PRIORITY
Pirates go on quests leaving everything behind, some of them don’t even have a life other than their ship. They do so because they know the treasure is worth it, and that finding it will depend only on them.
As long as you are aligned and brutally honest with each other, it is in your best interest to join your own pirate ship. The first port may not be the right one, but the second will surely hold surprises.