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Interview with Amanda Lien, Content Writer

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Interview with Amanda Lien, Content Writer

Amanda is a thought leadership ghostwriter, brand copywriter and strategist, and creative content producer for PR and marketing firms, entrepreneurs, and small businesses worldwide. When she’s not donning her many professional hats (sometimes all at once!), you can find her writing short science fiction stories, polishing her novel, or attending to the needs of her cat, Warden.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

I’m a simple gal – I just used my own name! As a content writer, my ability to put my name behind each piece of copy I create is essential to me; if I couldn’t happily slap my byline on something, why did I produce it? So having my name tied to my work – even my ghostwriting, though very few people will ever know it’s me behind the words – is a nod to the integrity I want to carry with me into every client engagement I tackle.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

After I wake up, the first thing I do is brew some coffee and spend some quality time with my Balinese shorthair cat, Warden. I also try to journal at least a page every morning to get the gears in my brain turning and also to excise any doubts, worries, or anxieties that might be lingering subconsciously. This not only boosts my creativity but also helps me form a to-do list for the day ahead.

The actual scope of my work day varies day to day depending on what’s on my schedule, but I try to get at least three hours of client work in each day – it helps me stay “in the zone” and productive! At any given point, I’m either crafting brand strategy and messaging documents, writing thought leadership articles, drafting press releases, or sitting down with new clients to strategize content for their business.

After my lunch break, I pivot to working on my side projects; I write a column for Luna Station Quarterly about the intersection of speculative fiction and chronic illness and I’m also writing several academic papers about composition pedagogy and teaching methods for the 21st century. I know it sounds dry, but it’s a lot of fun!

By around 3 pm, my brain is pretty much tapped out, so I take a break and either hit the gym or go for a walk. I live in southern Virginia, where there is no shortage of beaches and scenic trails, so I often forsake weight lifting for walking along the bay or the beach. I’m trying to convince my cat to walk with me on a harness, but he keeps getting distracted by all the plants and sticks he can chew on in the great outdoors…

When I get home, I spend a little while cleaning up the kitchen and living room; my apartment is small but homey, and the key to keeping it clean and uncluttered is taking a few minutes every day to tidy up. While I do this, I typically listen to music or a podcast because it helps the time go by faster!

When dinner time rolls around, I transform from my go-getter self to my potato-shaped alter ego. Rest and relaxation is just as important as go-go-going all the time, and I engage with that by playing Animal Crossing and Mario Kart with my sister every night (purchasing the Nintendo Switch was the best holiday gift I gave myself), and reading a bit before bed.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I blend personality with prose to ensure my clients’ voice and tone shine through the copy I write, even if it’s something as simple and formulaic as a press release. People love other people, and by infusing the content I create with personality and a sense of who a person or business is, I’m ensuring that audiences are more compelled to engage in a meaningful way!

What’s one trend that excites you?

There’s a renewed push for, and emphasis on, quality and meaningful marketing and leadership content – and as someone who has spent her career in digital media, that trend is incredibly exciting to see. While SEO rankings and keyword density are important metrics to consider when sharing content online, there won’t be meaningful audience interactions if the content has no substance. I’m so glad more companies are seeing that, and I’m thrilled to be able to champion that content for my clients.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Working in sprints. I set timers for myself – typically in 30-minute increments – and work as quickly and intensely as I can within those time frames. It helps me hold myself accountable for my tasks and ensures I use my time well.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Your passion is what makes you a strong writer and leader. When I was younger, I was often teased or looked down on for being so passionate about my field and my craft – I think people around me mistook that passion for naiveté. But I wouldn’t be where I am today without that fire in my belly, and I’m sad that I spent so many years trying to tame it for no reason.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

There is no one “right” way to be productive. If popular productivity methods don’t work for you, that’s not something to be ashamed of; you just need to find a method that does work for you. As someone who is chronically ill and neurodivergent, I learned the hard way that trying to make my brain conform to someone else’s way of doing things when it really doesn’t work for me detracts from my workflow. That’s no good!

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I talk about my work to someone who has no idea what I do. In my case, it’s my mom. I love her so much, but she doesn’t understand the world of content creation, but that’s a good thing because the questions she asks me and the explanations I give her force me to go back to the basics of what I do – and why. It’s a good attitude and reality check for me, and it’s therapeutic to talk about my process to someone who is more interested than listening than anything else.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Joining invite-only groups like Dreamers & Doers and Ellevate has enabled me to connect with likeminded businesswomen and non-men who are truly invested in supporting one another. While I am a solopreneur, I’m definitely not interested in going at this business-building thing by myself, and I’m very lucky to be in company with business leaders who help me give back and have given so much to me.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I struggled to keep up with client demand early in my business, and several projects nearly fell through the cracks as a result. While the clients didn’t feel the strain, I definitely did, and that’s why I established a lot of my time-dependent workflows. I didn’t like how stressed, burnt-out, and harried I felt during that time, and certainly never want to feel that way again!

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I would love it if someone would build a platform for freelancer rate calculation; specifically, somewhere where new freelancers could plug in their industry, their years of experience, location, and their areas of expertise, and get a comprehensive rate breakdown of what they should be charging and why. It’s something I wish I had when I was just starting out, and while there are platforms that do some of this, it would be lovely to have it all together.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I booked a weekend trip to my favorite city up the coast: Washington, DC. You’d be surprised how many ideas can pop into your head on a three-hour drive, and sometimes relaxing in a hotel room is just as recharging as an hour-long workout.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Shift! It’s an email management client that allows users to manage more than one email account at a time on desktop. A lot of my clients have onboarded me into their own domains, but having multiple email tabs open at a time can really mess with my computer’s processing power. Shift is an easy at-a-glance desktop solution that has really sped up my workflow.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Disciplined Dreaming by Josh Linker offers a really comprehensive approach that businesses and people can – and should! – take to harnessing creativity and turning those ideas into actual processes, businesses, or solutions. If you’re like me and sometimes struggle with the concept of taking ideas from ideation to execution, this book is for you.

What is your favorite quote?

My favorite poet, Richard Siken, wrote a line in my favorite poem of his (“Snow and Dirty Rain”) that has stuck with me for years: “We are all going forward. None of us are going back.” It’s a good reminder that looking to the past doesn’t get you anything, because the world is going to keep moving forward no matter what.

Key Learnings:

  • Transparency and passion are two key traits to running a successful creative business
  • A work/life balance isn’t a suggestion – it’s essential
  • Being honest with yourself about your failures will help you set yourself up for success
Originally published on IdeaMensch.

Interviews

Interview with Kristi Morris, Founder of Morris Public Relations

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Kristin  (Kristi) E. Morris founded Morris Public Relations, LLC, a strategic public relations, marketing and communications firm, in 1996. Backed by more than 25 years of corporate communications experience in both for-profit and not-for-profit arenas, MPR specializes in innovative public relations, marketing and communications for a variety of industries, including: health care, pharmaceutical packaging, education, fitness, commercial real estate, manufacturing and journalism.

Morris focuses on over-the-top creativity as well as pinpoint-strategy for clients. Her professional background, prior to opening MPR, includes: senior marketing executive for a Columbus, Ohio, hospital; award-winning strategic planning operative for city-government economic development marketing; and senior advertising/PR executive for an international industrial computing and technology corporation.

She is an avid martial artist and kickboxer who holds a 4th Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo, and she is a former competitive bodybuilder. In her spare time, Morris teaches women’s and family self-defense workshops to benefit area non-profit organizations, and she thoroughly enjoys spending time with her husband, David, her daughter, Paige, and her special-needs cat, Sophie.

Where did the idea for Morris Public Relations come from?

It came from Mike Suddendorf, who was my boss at the time. I was a marketing/PR executive with a Columbus hospital, and I had just had my daughter. When maternity leave was over, I went back to work, but I missed her terribly. I’d arrive at work, go straight to my office, shut the door and cry. Every day. One day Mike knocked on the door and asked if he could come in. He was so kind – and incredibly forward thinking. “Why don’t you start your own business?” he asked.

What? I didn’t know anything about running a company of my own. “Get yourself some good mentors and do it. You’ll learn.” He was so confident.

It sounded daunting, far-fetched, hard. But being away from my baby was even harder.

Mike let me give seven months notice so I could build a client base, work from home two days a week as long as I kept my beeper on me at all times (remember those?), then signed my first client contract. This was unheard of then. He was one of the best bosses and mentors I ever had.

I opened Morris Public Relations on July 8, 1996, and I’ve never looked back. As business grew, I still got to watch my daughter’s first giggle, first steps, first runny nose, first day of school … so many firsts that are priceless.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My morning prior to work begins with reading my Bible and doing a quick puzzle. The workday always begins with checking emails and messages. As a communicator, it’s imperative to stay connected with our clients in the way they most prefer and to respond in a timely manner. They trust us to do that.

Productivity, for me, starts with a prioritized to-do list. Because we serve multiple clients who also have multiple projects at any given time, we prioritize each client’s projects by due dates, deliverables and the amount of time needed to complete the efforts. Organization is critical to productivity.

How do you bring ideas to life?

It depends on the clients and their needs. For some, that might be a discovery session with their team members to assess goals, successes and challenges. For others it might be brainstorming while throwing axes (actually quite effective – and fun!). Still for others, it might be what we call a “Grab & Gab” – a relaxed-atmosphere focus group that’s inviting for everyone to participate while enjoying healthful appetizers and snacks.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The “over and above” experience. For example, remember when we made reservations or used call-ahead seating before the pandemic? That all ended with the shutdowns, so restaurants had to find a way to stay afloat. They would text patrons when a socially distanced table was available or when food was ready to be delivered to their car. So convenient! When the shutdowns ended, people had come to expect that over-and-above experience in all areas – restaurants, shopping, healthcare, pharmacies, you name it.

I like that. I like the idea that customers expect more and expect personalization. That’s how it should be. It pushes all of us to be better.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I can choose only one? For me it’s a combination of habits that work well, so if I string them all together in one sentence, will that count as one? Here we go: I pray every morning and throughout the day – God is my CEO and has been since Day 1; I work out at least 4-5 days a week, setting aside a specific time of day just like I would for meetings, so that I get the exercise I need to keep me focused and fit; I do regular calls with a dear friend, Mary, who is extraordinarily wise and wickedly funny – nothing like a good belly laugh while getting great counsel and opinions; I make lists and keep a calendar that allows for blocks of in-office time to get work done (everything is color-coded for easy reference); and finally, coffee – give me all the coffee!

What advice would you give your younger self?

Oooo, good question. I would start with the definitions of “no” and “yes.” When someone says no to an idea, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad one – keep going until that no becomes a yes if you want it badly enough. Conversely, “no” can be a full sentence; it should be used when someone is trying to take advantage of you, your skills or your expertise.

“Yes” can be scary and exhilarating – sometimes we have to say yes to things out of our comfort zone so we can stretch, grow and put some new experiences in our quiver of talents.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Calendly! Oh, how arrogant it is. It so easily masquerades as a convenience, but for whom? “Here’s my calendar … see when I can fit you in.” It’s the scheduling version of a humble brag. What happened to a bit of graciousness and asking others what dates and times might be convenient for them? It’s really about putting others first – especially if we’re seeking their business and time.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Okay, I need multiple answers (are you rolling your eyes yet?). Prayer is number 1: take it to God and get His take on things. Number 2: do everything with honor and integrity. Your word is everything in this business. People need to be able to trust and count on you. Number 3: breathing – combat breathing, to be specific. First responders use it to bring calm and clarity in high-intensity situations. Breathe in deeply and slowing for four seconds, then release that breath slowly. Repeat until you feel calmness settle over you. Nothing like lungs full of air and a brain full of peace and clarity.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Rising above the white noise. Columbus is fortunate to have an insane amount of crazy-talented PR/marketing professionals, all of whom pride themselves on what they can do for clients – and they can do a lot. I’ve never seen a city with so much brilliance and talent. So for us, we had to pinpoint our parity-plus and deploy it consistently and continuously for all clients. What can we do that others can’t or don’t have time for? How can we deliver the best possible experience and results for our clients – and then some? Once we zeroed in on that, word of mouth was pretty swift.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

When I first started Morris PR, I was hesitant to hold my ground on requested contract changes and deposit/billing due-date practices. I worried that if I didn’t change certain terms to meet client-asks or if I didn’t waive deposit fees/late fees that I would lose account opportunities.

I was wrong, and I quickly learned that that’s an easy way to get burned.

How did I overcome it? Using the power of the word “no” and the services of wonderful legal minds.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

It would be so nice if someone would invent a way to get the last bit of the shampoo or lotion out of pump-bottles without having to remove the pump and pound the bottle on the shower door or counter. Any takers?

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I bought all the ingredients for a made-from-scratch birthday lunch for my dad, who just turned 88. I absolutely love to cook, so making everything from scratch was a blast. I made an entire feast.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Webroot, Malwarebytes and CCleaner. All necessary in this day and age. That and an excellent IT person (an actual human).

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Constitution & The Declaration of Independence by the Founding Fathers and Paul B. Skousen.

Skousen breaks it down brilliantly. Reading both documents, especially together, is an eye-opener – I hadn’t done it in years. Our founding fathers lay out their grievances and the human- and civil-rights violations committed by the king of Great Britain, step by step, point by point.

When someone casually throws out what he or she believes is right or wrong, constitutional or unconstitutional – it’s helpful to know exactly what the documents actually say and why they were necessary. They’re beautiful and they cemented the sovereignty of the United States.

What is your favorite quote?

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

Key Learnings:

  • Faith and family first, do hard things that scare you and push for success.
  • Take care of your physical health so that you can focus on priorities and stay vigilantly organized.
  • Add fun and laughter to brainstorming sessions – do something different to get new results (hence the ax-throwing).
  • Over-and-above service makes us better entrepreneurs – and better humans.
  • Find your company’s parity-plus, then deploy it consistently and continuously.
Originally published on IdeaMensch.
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Interview with Kelly Motley, Author of “The Fight for My Life”

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Interview with Kelly Motley, Author of “The Fight for My Life”

Kelly Motley is the author of The Fight for My Life: Boxing Through Chemo, which chronicles how boxing helped her to navigate a breast cancer diagnosis and chemotherapy. Kelly’s been interviewed on TV and her guest appearance on the biggest podcast in the boxing industry garnered more than 50K views. Parnassus, one of the most celebrated Indie bookstores in America, hosted an in-person conversation event with Kelly about her book.

The Fight for My Life received praise from bestselling authors such as Rebecca Wells the author of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. One of the world’s biggest Christian authors Stormie Omartian said,“Kelly Motley’s book is about spiritual hope and power and courageously getting into the ring when facing your worst enemy. In her case it is a formidable cancer opponent. This is one of the best written books I have read and there is an important lesson for everyone who reads it. She does not gloss over her raw feelings or her struggles as she has to deal with each new stage, disappointment, and complication. She faced her worst fears head on – including near death – and came out the other side stronger than ever. Whenever I have to face my worst fear or greatest enemy, I intend to read this book again to remind me how to do it.”

Kelly owned her own public relations and brand marketing company, working with publicly traded companies, CEOs and entrepreneurs in Nashville’s $92 billion healthcare industry. She landed stories America’s top news sources. She and her husband of almost 30 years live in Nashville and they have two sons, a new daughter-in-law, a German Shepard named Chloe (who was written about in The WSJ) and chickens.

Where did the idea for your book come from?

I was feeling stuck in my life despite having a successful PR business and a wonderful family. One day I just wanted to hit something (we’ve all been there) so I did – I found a boxing class. I loved boxing so much I hired a super middle weight professional boxer and former Olympic boxing coach. The principles I learned about boxing became life savers when I faced my most difficult fight – breast cancer. “The Fight for My Life” lays out those principles. I wrote the book I wished I could have read when I was diagnosed but it didn’t exist then.

My Story is about developing a stronger mind, body and soul for facing your worst enemy. And so I wanted to write the book I wished I would have had read when I got diagnosed, but didn’t exist then. I wrote this book as a sincere desire to help people when facing their worst enemy.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I always start off each morning with meditation and prayer for guidance and how to prosper. I treat my day like a professional boxing match or a sports event—approach is everything. I then stretch on my yoga wheel which improves my athletic performance, improves flexibility and opens my heart and mind. I take a morning Pure Barre class (since 2009) that cranks up my metabolism and builds lean muscle. A few days a week I go to different neighborhood boxing gyms to box or practice Jeet Kune Do. Some activities include shadowboxing, speed bag, hitting the mitts and strength training.

Writing, media outreach and work in my home

Riding my Greg LeMond “Pink Cadillac” bike around Nashville’s largest urban park Percy Warner Park

Real time with my family, dog Chloe and chickens

Balance, movement in my day makes me more productive. Going to different neighborhoods—seeing different people from all walks of life keeps me thinking “out of the box.”

How do you bring ideas to life?

Through prayer to find a higher power, physical movement (boxing training) with a focus on breath and then connecting later in the day to people through story and conversation. I’m a big connector and know how to find and reach out to people. I often times initiate big ideas with boxing coaches and trainers and then bring them to life later in the day. Executing with confidence is critical.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Tapping to access my body’s energy to send signals of the brain to live the kind of life I want to live. I experience successful results each day from tapping to bring my energy up.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I pray for guidance each day. Approach is critical to everything you do in life. This prayer formula of belief and practice helps me to achieve victories throughout my day.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Here’s what I talk about in my book: In life there are circumstances we can’t see coming—circumstances we would never voluntarily choose. When you are blindsided with a breast cancer diagnosis it’s not going to be a comfortable road—your mind, body and spirit needs to be sharp like a sword for the battle. One of my coaches always says, “Your purpose is greater than your circumstance.”

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Physically and mentally lean into those things, situations and threats that we fear the most in life. What happens with you lean away? When slipping or rolling to avoid a punch, you have to physically lean forward into your opponent or the threatening situation and not away, making you well-grounded and better positioned to follow up. Leaning away affects your balance, keeps you in the line of fire and puts you in an even worse situation.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Do things that petrify you. Get into a boxing ring and hit the mitts, shadow box, or hit a speed bag.

The link between boxing and the mind and body empowers me to shift my mindset and completely alter any experience. Instead of catastrophic thinking, I start viewing an unexpected circumstance as management/do-able/achievable and acknowledging my body as capable and resilient.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Don’t end your day with failure. I will stay focused on persisting until I succeed. Each new opportunity is like a test, a process to reach a goal, with one step at a time. It’s often about taking small, repeated steps. Each small obstacle can be viewed as a small detour.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I lost a major contract with a publicly traded company after three solid years of helping the company grow its brand and build its reputation with investors. I had just landed the company 3 incredible stories in the WSJ in the same day! I started to master my emotions around the loss and started to laugh more and not fall into the trap of the mind with the thought that, “This too shall pass.”

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

My 18-year old son just started his own business—it’s around how to beautify and cover up all the ugly, unsightly garbage cans around the city of Nashville with wooden storage bins.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

On boxing lessons with an Olympic boxing coach. I would use principles I learned inside the ring to help me to climb out of a hopeless, desperate situation,…where the opponent I’d be facing, moves and tries to dictate the pace of the fight.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Canva and Black Hat Accelerator for promotions and communications to grow my brand.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

My book, The Fight for My Life: Boxing Through Chemo that was released in the fall of 2021.

We are all blindsided at some point, by an unexpected circumstance and have to face our worst enemy. It might be divorce, financial struggles, the sudden loss of a career.

We are all beset by the same internal conflicts, for some it might be self-doubt, feeling dismissed, not recognized, worry or fear.

I understand firsthand how an unexpected circumstance can take a toll on someone. I was blindsided by a cancer diagnosis and pushed to the brink where my life felt threatened by defeat. Ultimately, I was dragged into a fight I wasn’t prepared for.

But instead of shrinking and surrendering to my situation, I put together a plan and approach to continue my business and keep a strong mental and physical wellbeing.

And so I wanted to write the book I wished I would have had read when I got diagnosed, but didn’t exist then.

What is your favorite quote?

“Today I begin a new life. Today I shed my old skin, which hath, too long, suffered the bruises of failure and the wounds of mediocrity. Today I am born anew…”

-Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman In The World

Key Learnings:

  • Boxing like entrepreneurship or cancer tests a person’s will and courage. So much of boxing is a mindset. Growing a business is a mindset. Healing is a mindset. Boxing became my remedy, to uphold and guide me to make the right decisions, something to turn to for a higher help when growing my business, dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis. Boxing taught me there’s tremendous satisfaction derived from recognizing you can discipline yourself, to take your mind and your body from point A to point B.
  • Just like in boxing, I knew the better conditioned fighter has an advantage. I would need to move and dictate the pace of the fight. The techniques I used were tested in the laboratory of life.
Originally published on IdeaMensch.
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Interview with Andrew Luong, Co-Founder & CEO of Doorvest

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Interview with Andrew Luong, Co-Founder & CEO of Doorvest

What Is Doorvest? Tell Us All About Your Company And Mission.

90% of the world’s millionaires have attributed their wealth to real estate investing, yet homeownership rates have declined to all-time lows. This unfortunate reality is due to the time commitment and friction of the traditional process and the capital barrier due to rising home values, stagnant wages, and mounting student loan debt. Similar to other high-quality assets, everyday investors have been locked out of the #1 most favored investment asset class, real estate. This is why we built Doorvest.

Doorvest is the first end-to-end real estate investment platform with a mission to advance financial security for all via ownership of out-of-state rental properties.

Doorvest lives at the intersection between technology and real estate by providing an all-in-one solution, eliminating the most painful steps for the end customer. We mitigate risk from the customer’s perspective by providing extensive renovations to deliver a new home. In addition, we’ve aligned our pricing with our customers to ensure we’re both working towards the same goal: a long-term and successful investment property with a series of guarantees that fosters a stress-free and happy customer.

In traditional real estate investing, the end-to-end timeline is 6 months with at least 26 steps for a customer to comb through. Doorvest does it in 12 steps, half the time. We also emphasize pricing transparency. This means home prices are set to effectively remove the traditional bidding wars and simplify the process overall for old and new homeowners.

In the end, a customer receives a completely renovated home with a first-year rental and maintenance guarantee, an average cash-on-cash return of 6% while still capturing tax and equity advantages that generate passive income from day 1.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

Doorvest is an organic embodiment of many of our team’s backgrounds. Personally, I grew up middle class. Never truly financially secure, I saw firsthand the downside of financial instability and how it jeopardized my family unit. As I grew up, those memories stuck with me and shaped my path working in sales and partnerships. This led me to real estate investing as an avenue to generate passive income and build a long-term nest egg. I was fortunate enough to build a small portfolio with a small starting capital, and friends around me began to take notice. There was never a singular platform that I could point them towards to make it easier for friends to get started, so Doorvest became the embodiment of that.

The name Doorvest derives from the idea of investors investing in front doors. I do remember a funny story about our name – When I first secured the domain for doorvest.com, someone offered me $500 to buy the domain. At the time, we had no traction and no customers, so I thought this was a funny way to make some extra bucks if the name didn’t stick.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

Funding varies by round. We’ve raised close to $18M in equity to date and $25M in debt to fund the real estate part of the business. Most recently, we had our Series A round and that was focused on market expansion and bringing on more awesome team members to support the increased scope of the business. Ultimately, driving growth in the business and growth in new customers/ homeowners.

Who Are Your Co-Founders Or People Who You Work Very Closely With? How Do Their Skills Supplement Yours?

In the traditional sense, Justin Kasad is my Co-Founder and CTO of Doorvest. The company, however, went through multiple iterations, and every time was a new founding moment. As such, I see all of the team members as co-founders as they played a pivotal role in those times. Moving forward, I imagine having more founding moments as we track down the road to advancing financial security for all.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

This journey – with Doorvest – is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever attempted in my life. The ability to serve lots and lots of customers and build an excellent work culture that has folks excited to work every day are some of the things I find most rewarding. Seeing our progress so far gives me a lot of optimism for the future ahead. From a challenge standpoint, it depends on the chapter and what’s happening worldwide. One of the biggest challenges I dealt with was our 1st round of funding, getting enough cash to get the business off the ground, and it took us 5 months fighting tooth and nail for every dollar. Many times, we didn’t think we could get enough cash to get Doorvest off the ground. Recently, one of the most challenging times was ensuring the company is rowing in the same direction, and alignment takes a lot of work.

How Has Recent Housing Supply Shortages Impacted Business For Doorvest? How Has COVID-19 Impacted Doorvest Both In Terms Of Growth Plans As Well As Day-to-day Operations?

In short, this made all of our jobs harder. With the lack of supply, there will be more competition and rising home values that compress customer yield, which ultimately leads to fewer homes that attract customers than before. Such conditions pressed us to be more creative in acquiring homes that would guarantee attraction. We have lots of optimism ahead because the real estate market will soften at some point – meaning less competition and allowing us to offer our customers increasingly higher yields and investments. Our team has managed to combat these challenges by carrying out quick and consistent sprints that are sustainable for the long run.

How Has Growth Been Over The Last Year? Any New And Exciting Products Launching Soon?

In 2022 alone, we introduced a home matching algorithm called Doormatch. Doormatch takes customers’ investment criteria and automatically matches their preferences to the ideal investment home. We also revamped the path to access Doorvest home profiles and how to easily reserve homes of interest. Most importantly, we expanded into 3 new markets: Atlanta, San Antonio, and recently, Oklahoma City. Be on the lookout for more expansions as we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines? What Are Some Tips You Have For Staying Productive?

My day starts around 7 in the morning. Get up, meditate, drink some coffee or work out, hit the shower, and get ready for the work day. Work begins around 8:30-9 am and runs until 6:30 pm. Then I log off, grab dinner and rinse and repeat. This schedule varies by day as sometimes I’ll do another hour or two in the evenings. But ultimately, my schedule is the same every day for 5 workdays. Fridays and Saturdays are my off days where I intentionally stay away from email and Slack. Initially, I deleted the email app on my phone because I found myself constantly opening emails and scrolling, and there’s a mental stimulation that goes on even when I wasn’t replying to those emails. On Sundays, I’ll work another 2-4 hours to clean up my inbox and give myself a soft start to the week ahead. This routine has given me the right balance to stay energetic, and I believe energy is essential to perform at the highest levels for the long run consistently.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

It’s essential to have a strong understanding of your purpose and your “why.” There are many ups and downs in startup environments, so having a clear Northstar that you are working towards is critical, especially in downtimes. Also, it’s vital to ensure that you and your team are resilient and can handle questions like: How do we, as a team/ as a company, withstand outside conditions? How do we ensure we can consistently build despite changing, uncontrollable circumstances?

What Is One Thing About Building A Business You Did Not Know That You’ve Learned So Far Since Launching Doorvest?

It’s very, very hard to build a business. There are tactical and psychological learnings, but when outside conditions constantly evolve, and you are working to bring a platform into existence that’s never done before, it’s inevitably really hard. Many team members would agree. The upside is the magnitude of how rewarding it feels to have brought something to life.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Tim Ferriss is the first that comes to mind. Tim Ferriss’ books have fundamentally shaped how I view life, work, personal finances, and lifestyle design.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

“Your problems never cease, they just change.”

At first glance, the quote sounds morbid with your life having problems consistently. But if you take a step back, challenges/ struggles/ problems are inevitability human life. The disconnect here is people tend to think they live an unhappy life until they get a new shiny car, get a new job, make X amount of money, marry a beautiful spouse, etc., and all of their problems will go away. The reality is as soon as you arrive at those milestones, you will want and face new challenges, and enough will never be enough. The goal is to enjoy the journey vs. the destination.

Any Other Thoughts You Want To Share Relating To Current Events, The Economy, Political Climate, Or Any Other Topic?

We are very optimistic about the future despite turbulent market conditions. As mentioned earlier, we have successfully made progress despite many headwinds within a competitive housing market. As the market softens, it’s Doorvest’s chance to play offense and provide customers with more stability in their investments and income streams. And ultimately, build an increasingly bigger business.

What Does Success Mean To You?

Success means three things for me:

  1. Success means driving the most meaningful impact for as many people as possible – how can Doorvest create more homeowners and increase the speed of homeownership? How can we partner with our customers as they build their investment portfolios, go on their financial journey to freedom, enter retirement, and live off these income streams?

  2. Success is our team. How can Doorvest, as a company, also cultivate an environment where members can feel supported and grow?

  3. Success is building a meaningful business that drives a solid financial return for all of our stakeholders (as we have quite a few investors in the company, and it was intentionally designed as such).

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