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Your Biggest Strength Is Understanding Your Weaknesses

Photo Credit: Annie Spratt

My passion for software testing turned into a business at the end of 2012. Testlio’s first year was just my co-founder (and husband) Marko and I figuring out how to make our idea work — from building the platform and our tester network to pleasing our very first customers. Without any experience in sales, marketing or recruiting we learned a lot of things on our own by pushing our limits and not giving in to any obstacles.

From 2013–2015 we lived day-to-day, unsure of what the next day, week or month might bring. We learned to go with the flow and tackle problems as soon as they arose. We had a big dream — to change how software testing gets done — that kept us focused on what mattered most.

As our customer base grew, we knew we needed some help. We hired our first employees to help shoulder the burden of getting Testlio off the ground. We started releasing features more quickly, building strong customer partnerships, and getting referrals from current clients.

We could have delegated even more duties to new employees. We brought in talented people, who had been enjoying the things we needed to get done for years. They ramped up faster than it had taken us and helped us move even faster. Every hiring decision is crucial — you have to make sure that a new team member can do a task substantially better and faster than you could.

But even then, throughout the process of finding a scalable business model for your company and juggling between many things at the same time. You realise that you enjoy doing some things so much more than others around you that are so natural and like common sense to you. Me and Marko found it by just communicating with each other about the challenges.

My mom taught me that the only way to find your weaknesses is to try out a lot of things.
Building a company was something I had never done, but as soon as I got the idea for Testlio I just immediately had the positive not-give-up attitude. Every challenge we’ve faced has been painful — I’ve cried a lot — but through this hard work and constantly finding ourselves in unknown situations, Marko and I have found ourselves and our strengths.

Discovering your strengths and weaknesses is a long exercise, but in the end everybody around you will benefit from it.

Improving Yourself

You will be more empowered, motivated, satisfied and happier when you do the things you love. Accepting yourself for who you truly are has helped me to cope with the mistakes I’ve made and understand that mistakes are inevitable. It’s important to just keep going, accept these mistakes and do better next time.

In the early days we hustled so much, doing things we had never ever done before, but we kept our eyes on the vision and managed to get through every challenge. Throughout the process we learned that people are all different and hopefully their strengths will elevate the rest of the team to keep moving faster.

Empowering Your Team

Once you have found your true talents and personal strengths, you know you need to focus on improving these traits to support your company’s growth. As a team member I’ve learned to question myself a lot. It injected some self-doubt too, but I constantly learn from it more, than lose. Putting your company’s goals ahead of your personal ambitions is something we all have to do. You constantly have to think “How can I be better?” and “Am I the right person for this job at this time?”. It’s just the hard truth of building a startup. You have to level up all the time, like a video game, unlocking level after level.

To win, you have to be constantly self-critical, make mistakes and learn from them as fast as possible. You have to be honest with yourself and respect your team members time. Leaving your ego at the door is admirable trait. People who can check their egos are never ‘know-it-all’, they are ‘learn-it-all’.

As your company grows, you learn to put yourself on the side so your team can be successful.
There’s an old saying that happiness is seeing people you care about the most, happy. As a founder I care about my team so much and I always emphasize, how much I appreciate their hard work and believing in our big dream. I admire everyone who have taken up the challenge to be on this journey with us that’s full of constant battles. By the end of the day the bigger the company gets, the biggest force that keeps me going is my team, making them successful.

Once you find your superpowers, you can encourage others to do the same and support them in finding their true selves. This spring, Marko and I discovered our own superpowers. His strategic mindset and ability to operationalize the business complements my tester-first perspective and relationships with our community, customers, and investors.

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