When in doubt, don’t hire — keep looking.
A professional ballerina-turned-entrepreneur, Emily Egbert is the co-founder of HitUp, an app that allows customers to purchase and send business gifts to clients or employees in an efficient and personalized way. Sending and receiving gifts should be as easy as sending an email or updating a social media status, yet it still takes a long time to wade through the process of purchasing a gift and sending it. HitUp is designed to change that by making it incredibly easy to send gifts and establish or build relationships offline.
Where did the idea for HitUp come from?
The idea for HitUp came from receiving and also sending business gifts. We realized that there wasn’t an easy way to do this on a smartphone. Everything is mobile now, and we saw that there wasn’t an app or even a website that made it easy to send or receive a business gift.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I usually wake up excited. I find that I gain more energy as I’m working, so I like to attend to emails first thing in the morning to start the day off right. I’m a visual person, so I’m most productive by creating a list of what needs to be accomplished that day and then crossing each task off the list as I go.
I’m always reading new books and industry news. I research and study other apps that are released to determine what I think works best. I also attend conferences and talk with others who have been successful in this industry. I’m always learning. I want to make sure that there’s no one who knows our niche better than I do.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I start by asking a few people what they think. A wise person once told me that if your next-door neighbor loves the idea and is crazy about it, then you’re probably too late. So, if my next-door neighbor doesn’t love the idea, then I know I’m probably on to something. I then ask myself, “Who are the right people to bring on?”
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Most everything is on demand and at your fingertips via mobile apps. There’s an app for almost everything.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I will only do things that I’m really passionate about. I know so many people who aren’t productive because they’re not motivated. I think it’s because they don’t love what they do. They lack passion. You have to love what you do; it’s so important. When you’re passionate about something, you’re motivated, and that makes you productive.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
My dad was an entrepreneur, and I worked for him when I was 17 years old. One of his companies did real estate appraisals, and I had to help measure the outside of the homes and log the square footage. I actually loved the job in the summertime. In the winters, I hated working outside. I learned that I needed to live in a city where the weather was nice all year!
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would take more time to decide whom to hire. I think hiring the right people is a skill, and it’s one that I didn’t have when I first started. When in doubt, don’t hire — keep looking.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
You have to build on your strengths. You cannot build upon weaknesses, so find one thing that you’re really good at and make sure you’re doing it 60 or 70 percent of the day.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Put your best people on your biggest opportunities — not your biggest problems. Managing your problems can only make you good. Building your opportunities is the only way to become great.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
A few years ago, I launched a dating site and made a lot of expensive mistakes. I hired a few developers I needed to tightly manage. I found that the best people don’t need to be tightly managed. Guided and led? Yes. But not tightly managed.
I waited. I delayed. I tried alternatives. I gave them third and fourth chances, hoping that the situation would improve. I invested my time in building systems for their shortcomings. All that did was siphon energy off developing and working with the right people. I finally acted and made a change.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
There was a pretty big earthquake in Los Angeles recently, and I read somewhere that there are systems that provide an early warning prior to an earthquake. Someone should find a way to get these into people’s homes. I would buy one!
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I don’t have any tattoos, and I’m a Washington Redskins fan.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I’ve been using Uber since it started in 2012. It’s getting all my money. I also, of course, use Google, Gmail, and YouTube. All of them make my life easier on a daily basis.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Poor Charlie’s Almanack” by Charles T. Munger is great. He is so wise.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Tai Lopez has a great website with mentoring tips and great book recommendations.
HitUp App on Twitter: @hitupapp
HitUp App on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hit-Up-App/207945756037352
Emily Egbert on Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/emilyegbert
Emily Egbert on Twitter: @emilyegbert