Amy Wyant is the cofounder of Tech Geekery and presented at 1 Million Cups Syracuse at Syracuse CoWorks.
Tech Geekery revolutionizes the managed technical support field by bringing an unprecedented level of customer service and business integration to Central New York.
What was holding you back from being an entrepreneur?
Originally, I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I had always traditionally worked for someone else; even in not-for-profit situations. I actually worked most of my career in the not-for-profit sector. After going to a for profit business, I realized that the ideas that I had could really help people if I had the guts to go out and try it. So I put it all together and put on my big girl pants and went out and did it. I guess the biggest thing was that fear of not having the weekly paycheck, the fear of not having the insurance, and the fear of not knowing where tomorrow comes from, and not having that backup. It is that piece that you know that you can go grocery shopping with and have a plan. I am a planner; I like to have plans from A-Z and also have backup plans. Without that weekly paycheck, you wonder how you are going to plan, but taking it away was actually the most amazing thing because, instead of making plans and working within constraints, it took a lid off of my box. I no longer had to think inside the box; my box was endless. I could be whatever I wanted to be, I could do whatever I wanted to do, and plan however I wanted to plan. My world expanded by letting myself out of the box of having a weekly paycheck. It was really amazing how much it did open it up where my plans no longer had to be limited within that paycheck. The paycheck was the limiting factor; I had to plan around it so I could plan a vacation in three years because that’s how long it would take me to save for it. Now I can plan around how am I going to change the world in three years? In three years, what is something that I could have done that could change the world? It’s not based on dollars and cents anymore; it’s based on making a difference.
What was your worst entrepreneurial moment?
My worst entrepreneurial moment? I would have to say that, it may sound silly but, I had confidence that I could do things until I didn’t. My worst entrepreneurial moment was when I second guessed myself so much that I ended up stalling. So I had those big ideas, I had the excitement, I had that behind me, and then for some reason that little voice in the back of my head doubted me. I then let it take over me. I let that doubt work me back into a corner where I couldn’t move forward. I thought that I wasn’t good enough to do any of them because I letting the little voice in my head take over me. That was my worst entrepreneurial moment, because I felt like everything in my life was a failure. My business was literally just getting off the ground and my house was a mess. It’s one of those things where every single thing on your list felt like it was complete defeatism, which I don’t know if it’s a word but now it is (laughs), but I defeated myself before I gave myself a chance. That was my hardest moment. I then realized that I am not a failure; I can do this as long as I believe in myself. I don’t need anyone else to believe in me. I believe in me. Once I put on my big girl pants and said I can do this; I don’t have to be perfect in everything. I just have to move forward in everything.
How did you gain clarity and know what steps to do next?
You have to let yourself succeed. We are always negative to ourselves. For fear of being overly confident, most of us don’t allow ourselves to succeed. Give yourself an inch just to say, “You know what? I can do this.” I am not saying people shouldn’t be perfectionists. I am one of the worst people when it comes to trying to be perfectionist. However, some things in your life only need to be just good enough. You can be a perfectionist in your business or the product you want to produce, but it means that your house might not be sparkly immaculate from top to bottom. As long as there are clean dishes, you are ok or there are clean socks you are ok. There are some things that have to give and not be perfect. This way you can put the time, energy, blood, sweat and tears into producing a good product or service.
What did you get out of presenting at 1MC?
I presented my VIP membership service portion of my business to the group and the biggest thing that I got out of the presentation was the fact that it was actually the naming scheme for my service. My company is so focused on giving people the best experience possible that the name VIP was actually a limiting factor in allowing that service to grow. People already feel like they are getting the VIP service so why should they pay for something in addition. It was eye opening and it was the very first comment that this is the wrong name. The naming scheme was scaring people and, if you are already receiving a high level of service, they don’t feel like I can actually give them more. So a different naming scheme is something that I’ve been working on and making it more of an inclusive rather than exclusive name for the program. Yea, it was really great to be able to participate and to get the feedback. The audience gave me some really neat ideas on how to make my program extra special. The new ideas included an onsite visit so people get that initial “Hi, how do you do.” I also got information that helps me to deliver better quality service at a faster rate in the future.
How can someone reading this help you?
At this point, because I haven’t put that new idea into place, it’s hard for me to say this is the thing we need right now. If I had to pinpoint something, one of the things that could be very helpful for me as an entrepreneur is how people are executing an online business model. How do you take that online business model and take it out to the world? Almost like how do you get viral? How do you get it out there especially when it is linked back to something that is service based? A model where it is hands off makes sense, because you let it do what it needs to do but, how you do you make sure that your model is growing? We are not growing too fast or not fast enough. How do you make sure you can grow at a healthy rate? I think it’s really about rolling the dice, but if anyone out there has already rolled the dice, please contact me.