Could you provide a brief recap of your career since graduating?
Life as an entrepreneur is a winding road and my career path after graduation has been no different. I left Nashville to build a ticketing technology company in Seattle and after a few years of struggling to find the right development team, I ended up becoming a developer myself. During that time, I built a consulting firm that gave me the ability to work from anywhere and I traveled the US in an RV for more than six months. Later, I moved to Raleigh, NC and in 2019, I joined forces with a lifelong friend to start our current company. Now, I’m a Principal and Technology Solutions Architect for The L&W Team. I work with clients to dream up efficient solutions to their business challenges. I’m obsessed with getting stuff done effectively, so it’s a perfect role for me.
What is your company and where did the idea come from? What served as the the biggest motivator or influence in starting your company?
The L&W Team helps companies save time and money via technology. We work mainly with companies in the tourism and travel industry to remove paperwork and payroll from their business. I’ve been annoyed with paperwork and inefficiency for years. When a good friend of mine implemented technology within his department to solve this problem, we recognized that this service would be valuable to others. Technology doesn’t have to be a big, scary thing. It can be straightforward and easy to use and most businesses are using paper forms or spreadsheets to address issues. Consequently, data is locked in a file cabinet or lives on one computer. Unlocking that information is very powerful. We listen to our clients’ problems and then find, build and implement solutions.
What is the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur and how have you worked to overcome this challenge?
You have to learn how to be good at things you’re not good at. There’s no easy way to overcome this besides jumping in and getting started. When you embrace being bad at something when you start, it’s a lot easier to learn from each interaction. I love helping people and connecting people together, but it was tough for me to say, “I can help you,” so I wasn’t very good at selling our product. I’m still not very good at the hard sell, but now I’m comfortable being 100% authentic in what we can do and how we can help.
What qualities are most important to possess as an entrepreneur?
Grit. If you haven’t read the book by Angela Duckworth, it’s worth a read. It doesn’t matter what your background, education or current status is, when you have grit, you persevere and get things done. Anyone can be an entrepreneur with this attitude.
What are you most proud of about your business?
We help companies save time and money through the use of technology. During the pandemic, that’s been incredibly helpful for companies to stay afloat. There are things that humans can and should be doing and there’s a lot of other paperwork that technology can take care of faster, easier and more accurately. I’m proud that we’ve taken workload off their staff for the “robots” to do instead.
What advice do you have for students as they launch their business? Are there any tools you consistently use as an entrepreneur?
Find a partner or build a team and get mentors. I could list five or ten tools that we use to simplify our business to make things easier but it’s the people I can’t live without. My business partner energizes me on days when I’m less motivated and my mentors give me the tough love that I need to hear when I’m grappling with a difficult decision. It’s the greatest change that I’ve made to my business since I started out on my own after graduation.
What do you do to live a balanced life? Do you have any interesting or fun hobbies?
I don’t know any entrepreneur who describes their life as “balanced.” The truth is that you have to love it. There will be days when you had other plans and your business needs you. There will be days when the opposite is true and it’s nice to have the flexibility to take care of the right things at the right time. The thing about running your own company is that you are the person who has to make it happen, so if you don’t love your clients and your product and believe wholeheartedly in what you’re doing, it’s really hard to find anything that “balances” the energy you spend at work.
Here is a video of Trisha during a talk at Owen.