Why I created my start-up during my studies (1/3)
On the occasion of the publication of the first French Tech Entrepreneurs survey, FrenchWeb produced a series on student entrepreneurs.
Six years ago, high school student Jonathan Noble created ClockTweets, a platform to program these tweets. Today at 21, where is he?
FrenchWeb: Why did you decide to launch your start-up during your studies?
Jonathan Noble, CEO, ClockTweets: I decided to launch my start-up at the end of my studies, because I simply felt that it was THE moment or never to get involved in such an adventure. I didn’t want to regret in a few years not having tried to move from the project to the real start-up.
And all the lights were green! Indeed:
ClockTweets was already 4 years old (I created this project when I was 15) and was already well established in the world of community management;
More than 2 million Tweets had already been programmed by more than 20,000 users, including 300 large groups (France Télévisions, PMU, Direct matin, etc.);
I crossed paths with my partner Thibaud Spieser and he was ready to embark with me in this crazy adventure;
I was fortunate to have the support of my relatives, my teachers, my former boss Nicolas Chaunu and even that of Olivier Gonzalez (ex-DG Twitter) whom we had met a few months before.
For me, “if you don’t build your own dream, someone will hire you to build yours”, so as they say in start-up weekend: No Talk, All Action!
How did you organize your time?
Being self-taught in web design and integration since I was 13, I have always loved working on many projects at the same time. This allows you to learn very quickly, improve your skills and expand your network.
2 years ago, when I was still a work-study student, I organized my working time as follows:
10% freelance projects;
60% course + Tuto.com (start-up in which I was in work-study program).
This is not necessarily an example to follow (even if I very quickly managed to find a balance)! Because even if I have always worked out of passion, I slept even less than today (5 hours / night) and I linked days of lessons with 3 or 4 hours on ClockTweets, then 1 or 2 hours on projects freelance. In short, my day started at 8 a.m. and ended at 3 a.m.
What I have learned over time is that for a business to succeed, you have to be 100% in it. Since I stopped my studies to launch ClockTweets as a startup, I decided to stop freelance projects among other things. You absolutely have to stay focused to give yourself the maximum chance of success!
What did your university education bring you? How do you complete it?
My university studies first of all gave me many theoretical bases that I had not seen as an autodidact. It must be said that I had the chance to do a DUT MMI (Multimedia and Internet Professions) at the IUT of Toulon, in which we were able to work on more than 25 different disciplines, ranging from law, to programming, through video production or even 3D.
It also allowed me to be in contact with expert contractors in their fields, all of whom had experience in start-ups, which is very enriching for someone who wanted to set up a business at the end of his studies. .
At the same time, I completed my skills with the help of my many weeks in a company for 2 years, thanks to the work-study program. This learning method is for me one of the best: it is a daily enrichment. Indeed, one of the strengths of the work-study program is that you learn very quickly by being surrounded by passionate and extremely qualified start-ups. Note all the same that this method requires being very rigorous, because each action can have an impact on the business of the company.
In addition, I have always trained thanks to the resources available on the internet. I exchange a lot on forums related to web design and integration, I constantly read and watch training courses (I don’t think I was too wrong about the start-up for my work-study program) and I experiment by myself- even then. Because the best way to learn is to try, to apply what you have just seen.
Finally, I must admit that I have the chance to be part of a “Web” family in which I have always been supported for each of my steps. For example, one of my big brothers is UX / UI Designer Senior and taught me a lot of tricks as soon as I started to open Photoshop.
Do you recommend starting a business when you’re a student?
I recommend without hesitation to create your start-up when you are still in school or at the end of your studies! Even if, in itself, there is no ideal time to start a business, but in my eyes, setting up a start-up as a student remains a real opportunity: it is a time when we have not yet children, no house, no credit… It is then much easier to embark on a new adventure and try to set up your own project in order to perpetuate it. In the best of cases, we create the job of our dreams. At worst, if we “fail” (and quotes are very important here), we set off on another adventure (studies, hiring, self-entrepreneurship…) in which the experience acquired will be valued and more than useful. So what are we afraid of?
What is the next step?
For our part, we are currently working on a fundraising, scheduled for the end of the first quarter of 2017. It will allow us, among other things, to accelerate our growth and strengthen the presence of ClockTweets in French-speaking countries and in Europe. This shot boost We will also be able to recruit new talents in order to strengthen our technical and commercial teams, in a spirit of joy and good humor, start-ups oblige!
Note that on the side of our platform, we have just taken one of the biggest stages of our adventure, since a few days ago we added a new social network to our tool: Facebook (currently available in beta). Either way, going through all of this at 21 is just crazy!
Read also: Entrepreneurs under 20: Jonathan Noble