Things I learned by creating a startup in France
France and Paris is very demanding. High standards and a lot of competition. One way to manage the locals rejection is investing in professional services to make your business look good, and this is not optional it is mandatory. It do matters if your business plan is formatted with the right style and backed by the right CPA, but not only that actually it applies for many things like market studies, lawyers concepts, contracts, get it done by a pro. So don't be cheap. You can buy your way in by hiring the right freelancer, but we as consultants and coaches get things done in the local way. In the end an expert offers you a network. As a foreigner that's gold, you need that to be known, so rely on them. These first group of people you end up hiring will become the spoke person of your initiative, and you can reference them anywhere in your pitch, emails or investor meetings, so choose wisely your network.
Many people before you have come here to feed from the system, but of course you don't. You are a creator, an innovator, the hope for a generation and you are here for the only purpose of wealth creation. This region loves opportunities and relies on you to create jobs and support the system, create an income and pay taxes, yes taxes are high but they are worth it. In order to earn your settle down in this society, it is mandatory that you set yourself apart from the rest. How? With the mindset of a high tech professional talent. I'm not talking about stubbornness or arrogance, I'm talking about the value of your knowledge and talent. Actually that's why the visa you'll get is called a Passeport Talent. You don't need anything for free you'll earn what you deserve. You are a hard worker so that means that if you generate enought wealth you won't need assistance but thrive and creat more wealth for the country. But you don't approach the system to get things without giving back. Social aids exist but they are just not intended for you, that's for others what your really need, is capital access, big grants, and you are just in the most priviledged possition, cause they country is thirsty for innovators.
The main difference of being an entrepreneur and comming from a french tech company is that you have the power to make people dream that your idea can change the world. Now let me explain you one thing, and this is by no means a critic, it is more like a praise, France have built a story about their country, a brand people love and they are top players in many categories. Knowing and realizing that you are dealing with people that have been hearing for years that their country offers them the best things, then it actually demands much more creativity to be able to surprise a local customer. I mean that you will only start getting real echo on your business when you can back up your actions and show people that you have a real potential for a breakthrough to create wealth for others. If you don't have it no worries, you can still try to find it, and if you don't have it at least you could get a sense of a fast-paced innovative market. I've lived here, but if when I decied to join the french tech community, I had to reinvent myself and adapt to start a differently life, in a way that anyone will eventually start to take you seriously, I mean, you'll have to be able to start getting aroung another smart minds, and talk with them about disrupting things, talk about world innovations, big dreams, world changing ambitions even though you might not have it made yet, you will always have to inspire people, make them feel your passion and invite them to share your vision, and when you achieve that you will earn your place in France.
France and the 5 near by economies are super rich. Let me introduce you to a concept I call the Grid of Preconceived Wealth. For you and me, let's say that we have different appreciations on richness, and people here don't like talking too much about money, but maybe you can distinguish someone by their face or attire. But here we all take the metro and line up in the bakery to get our bread. So you'll have to learn another grid system in your head, to navigate rapidly whenever you need to make a smart decision. Well the fact is that many foreigners set the bar too low, and by doing that you just become unseen because people don't value themselves that much. It's a fact that business people will evaluate you by the amount you are able to generate or contribute in revenue from the first minutes of any conversation. I'm not talking about stereotypes, if you undertand what I'm about to say is that people will frame you rapidly based on your ambitions and will respond with different types of predefined roadmaps for you. If you don't know that grid with their ceilings you are basically out of the market. Understanding this tacit categorization will allow you to know what is low or big enough, as it is always more complicated to get things done and to learn this it will take a lot of time on your own. But if you follow my advice and you end up putting the right efforts you will get results, meaning there will be options of getting ahead but you can't miss out to get it right when the moment arrives.
When in Paris, Do as the Parisians Do and in the country side as well. Learn the language, immerse in their traditions, study their history, attend to their gatterings, love their music, follow their habits, make some local friends and live more local than the locals, and believe me you'll have to learn very good french. It will be hard but it will get you places. Don't get surrounded only from people that can speak your mother tongue or english. That's why I'm here for you. If you need assistance navigating this with your startup, we'll have to get you a nice mentor to train you intensively in record time. Many more things can be explored based on the culture but I'll leave that for another time or better when we'll discuss about your project over a call.