By Justin Sacks, StartupPoint
You never forget your first...customer. That moment when someone says to you that they actually want to pay money for what you're selling. Seriously, it’s burned into my memory for life.
As an entrepreneur, I’ve poured my heart and soul (and some of my life savings) into creating something. So when someone says that they want to buy that something, it’s like them saying that the countless days/month/years I’ve spent creating that something haven’t been totally wasted.
My first customer was Monica Callahan, the Planning Director at the City of Madison, Georgia. We met at the 2012 Georgia Forward conference. It was a warm autumn day, and our eyes met across a crowded room… Okay, it was a panel discussion devoid of sunlight and not really that crowded. And if you’ve ever met Monica, you'd encounter her strong personality far before you made eye contact.
The sale itself actually happened a few weeks later, in a high-ceilinged room filled with city artifacts that possibly dated as far back as the city itself and a large boardroom table around which we sat. I had rehearsed my sales speech several times. What I had never actually rehearsed was what I would say after someone said, "Yes." While I had lots of lines prepared for rejections, I realized I hadn't thought about what to say when a customer actually said yes.
Whatever I did say, it clearly sounded coherent enough. Which led to another first. My first invoice (for this business at least). The only question there: Do I make this Invoice 1, 01, 001, 0001? I think the question of how many zeros to put in your invoice may be a story for another day.