What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial bug. My parent’s had their own business and so it kind of came really naturally to me, seeing my parents having their own business.
Tell us about your business.
Corgibytes is software business and we focus on maintenance and modernization, which is kind of a niche, but there is a big need. We’re proud to be menders. We love adding value to software applications through modernization and maintenance. We squash bugs, stabilize infrastructures, add test coverage, refactor, document our findings, upgrade versions, and pay down tech debt with glee.
- Named as LinkedIn’s Top 10 in Software under 35
- Graduated Magna Cum Laude from Virginia Commonwealth University
Where is your business based?
Corgibytes is based in Richmond, VA, but we are an intentionally distributed team.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
For quite a while, Corgibytes was a side hustle. I worked at Capitol One. My business partner had approached me at our high school reunion and we just worked on the business on nights and weekends and kind of got clients that way. We worked on it full time for a couple of years and then took a couple of years off, went into consulting, and then came back.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
For me, it has been speaking at conferences and blogging and really educating our customer base.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
I think, like most companies, it is cash flow and maintaining growth. So it’s not growing too fast, not growing too slow, making sure that you’re keeping your eye on operations, and that you’re always delivering really good service and at the same time always learning.
How did you overcome these challenges?
For me, it’s all about a growth mindset. There’s research from Carol Dweck about neuroplasticity and how your intelligence isn’t fixed. Realizing that when I feel stretched and I feel like I’m growing, that’s because I am, so recognizing that, that makes me stronger.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I meditate and I go to church. I am a Unitarian Universalist and I love my community. I love volunteering and that keeps me going, staying connected to something bigger than myself.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
The majority of software development companies are focused on startups and are focused on building new applications, so what Corgibytes does is we focus on maintaining existing applications. That’s a really big need, on which not of lot of people in the market are focused on – so we’ve been able to really stand out. We’ve even developed some terminology, like software remodeling, that has really helped.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
It’s from my dad. Whenever you have a business you’re always growing and he told me, “The best way to succeed in business is to stay in business, so just find a way to make it work. Sometimes you have to lay people off, sometimes you have to hire people, sometimes you have to take risks, but just stick it out and figure out a way to make it work.”
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Focus on product market fit. Find something that everyone needs and no one else wants to do. Building a business around that is much easier in my experience.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
We use a few things; number one has to be Google. We use it for everything, but we also use:
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly” is one of my favorites and then her most recent one was, “Rising Strong”, which I also really, really liked as well.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I’m currently learning about lobbying and the way that government procures work. There’s a lot of legacy code within our government, but the way that our systems are set up to purchase these services is totally opposite of what it should be in order to actually perform those services to be effective. So I’m trying to learn more about how to be effective at the government level and kind of be an advocate to help shape some of the policy around how legacy code is purchased.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Our goals are to, kind of through the end of the year, are really stabilization. We’re at 12 people now, so maybe growing to 18, but really focused on really, really honing in on our operations and kind of standardizing everything that’s going on.
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