From Our CEO: Going Solo and Lessons Learned
Quite a few of you have reached out to me with questions after changing my company and position on LinkedIn last week. I wanted to generally address some of those questions here.
About six months ago I parted ways with a company I was thriving at. If you had asked me a year ago what my plans were I would have told you this; I'll stay here and grow within the company for at least three more years, then I'll reach out to our investor and build my own company. I had a plan and I was executing on it. I want to be clear here, I don't regret my time with this company. I learned so much about the technology and the commercial real estate industry. I grew professionally and personally. I still refer people to this company and maintain friendships there. I had come to a point where it was clear I would not be able to accomplish my professional goals with this company so I moved forward.
Once I made the decision to stop fighting to stay, to keep accounts I had worked incredibly hard on, to keep working for someone else's company like it was my own; I knew the only way I would truly be happy is to build a company around helping other sales professionals. In a Save Mart parking lot in Oakland on receipts and napkins the ideas for Perfrm were formed.
I knew I wanted to establish a support system for sales professionals, create a place to efficiently learn sales skills, to help sales individuals better track their individual quotas and goals, and most of all I wanted to change the culture of sales teams. Over the next few months I reached out to everyone I knew in sales to discuss their sales teams. A consensus was reached; overall the majority of sales teams had a culture problem, initiating training was difficult and mentorship was lacking. It became very clear to me that Perfrm would need to incorporate all of these things into a platform.
As I get ready to launch this company I'm realizing how amazing it is to be able to build an idea that was just in your head. At launch we have seven parts to the platform; Quota Tracking Tools and interactive course to identify strengths and areas for improvement, four Sales Skill Courses, Mentor Matching, Living Balanced Tips, Sales Expert Advice, Sales Community and Sales Team Coaching. Obviously I didn't do this alone, which is an even more humbling part of this experience. I've learned quite a bit over the last few months, I'll share a few below.
6 things I learned in giving up a six figure income to self fund a business:
1.) Your personal happiness and health is more important than most companies care to acknowledge. I sacrificed many workout classes, time with friends and family, relationships and sleep for a company someone else owned. With leaving I also made the decision to work on my health and relationships. My level of happiness has drastically improved.
2.) $30,000 is not as much money as we would like to think it is. I quickly realized that I would need to either find investors (pre launch) or leave San Francisco. I chose to leave SF and move back to my hometown. While this is a drastic lifestyle change it has allowed for me to extend the runway of my funds by 3 times.
3.) Ask for help. Ask for help! ASK FOR HELP!!! This is a big one for me and I am still surprised daily on how often people say yes.
4.) Building and maintaining relationships is the key to true professional success. The relationships I built over the past several years in sales are still beneficial now. I made it a point to become friends with my clients at my past few companies. Many of these past clients are becoming new clients, contributing content and even offering to invest.
5.) You are capable of being whoever you want to be. I have and some mornings still do question if it's possible to be a powerhouse woman founder of a "serious" tech company. Every time I've started to doubt myself or this industry something or someone has popped up to remind me I'm doing exactly what I should and want to be doing.
6.) There will always be people who don't like you and want to see you fail. They don't matter! I posted this article last week and ended up deleting it because of someone hiding behind fake profiles and making untrue comments. While I have an idea of who this person is, it doesn't actually matter. I hope this person finds happiness and can learn to support their team members who excel and help those who do not. Life is not about tearing each other down or making others look bad to make ourselves look & feel better. Life is about building each other up, sharing ideas and helping others. Be kind and learn to truly love those who show you hate.