I started GovLia a year after I completed my time us the US Navy. I was working at a job and I did not feel fulfilled. One day I saw a flyer for a start up accelerator created by Career Source Broward and Broward College Innovation Hub the program was free so I decided to apply and try my luck in this class. I had no idea what business I wanted to create. I was interested in gaining knowledge and I am a strong believer in the idea of things happening for a reason. Once I was accepted into the program I took that as a sign that I was on the right path and that is how I started my journey.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
My first, second and third business ideas turned out to be inviable through market research. Luckily, the program allowed me to pivot multiple times. GovLia was my fourth business idea and I came to the conclusion via idea from peers telling me to stick to what I know and build a business around the problems. Throughout the program numerous times they would say “your business has to solve a problem.” Unfortunately, we always hear it but never listen. So, I decided to take their advice and focus on the problems in my field of expertise which was selling products to the government. When the first three business ideas did not pan out I was a little discouraged and I began to believe “maybe being a business owner was not for me.” That is when I realized throughout this process you have to be a fighter and your motivation needs to be strong enough that it draws out the thought of quitting.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
Internal contentions are difficult to deal with but the external contentions were worse. An example of an external contention is your family and friends will not fully understand the time, energy and support it takes to start, let alone, run a company if they are not in business themselves. There were many times where I would miss an outing or not respond to a text message because I was in the middle of something that later became an issue in my personal relationships. This situation will be different for everyone but I would say identify time when you are free for friend and family engagement because most of those relationships were there before and will be long after your business venture but make sure your family understands the importance of starting and operating your business and the time requirement it takes.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?
The single most influential factor in the success of my business has been me learning not to prolong the process focusing on perfection. Once you realize there is no such thing as perfection and focus on killing it in business that’s when things change. Also, it is important to leave room for improvement. That is also the advice I would give to upcoming entrepreneurs in addition to “Think milestone to milestone and focus on execution!”