[quote style=”boxed”]With passion and determination. I learned pretty early on that my greatest advantage is being willing to slug it out in any circumstance.[/quote]
Geoff Weathersby is a recent graduate of the University of Richmond, where he was a Business Administration major in the Robins School of Business. He would like to credit The Berenstain Bears: Trouble with Money for planting the entrepreneurial bug in him at a young age.
Geoff has been an active volunteer and philanthropist all his life and firmly believes that businesses can “do well by doing good.” Geoff is an Eagle Scout and, during college, also held various internships at non-profit organizations both at home and abroad through the Bonner Scholar Foundation. He would like to thank his friends, advisers, Kailey and, most importantly, his family for their support in bringing inLieu from the dream world into reality.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on our relationships with non-profits in the Richmond area. So far, I’ve met with about 20 organizations, and I have about five more to go. I demo the product with these organizations; most love it, then we talk about cross-promoting.
What does your typical day look like?
Right now, my days are filled with shuttling around to various organizations to show them our website. On a good day, I meet four organizations. In between, I’m constantly strategizing and trying to think of ways to grow the business.
How do you bring ideas to life?
With passion and determination. I learned pretty early on that my greatest advantage is being willing to slug it out in any circumstance. By putting my head down and staying true to our original mission, there’s little that can get in my way.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Crowd-funding? [Laughs.] It’s true. I think it’s genius. It’s a way for literally anyone to lend a hand.
What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?
I haven’t really ever had a job that I hated. The one that probably gave me the most anxiety was working at a tennis club in high school. It was just me, the tennis pros and a ton of wealthy tennis enthusiasts. Unfortunately, this also meant that a lot of the customers had an undue sense of entitlement. I think back to my first few months on the job and shudder.
Working with an outdated payment and booking system and being the only administrative person on the premises meant I got asked a lot of questions that I didn’t know the answer to, and occasionally these questions were asked in not the nicest of ways. I remember having to call the manager multiple times every shift because of some unique agreement a particular person had with the management. I screwed up plenty of times to learn that it’s okay to mess up as long as you learn from it. I also learned that it’s okay to say you don’t know, as long as you make it your mission to find out. That’s sort of my take on life right now. In launching a startup, there are a lot of things that I don’t know, but I don’t pretend that I do. Instead, I just find someone who does know and soak up anything that they say.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
The only thing would be to have done a prior art search with the US Patent and Trademark Office before we launched. Other than that, I think we’ve had a pretty blessed launch.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Taking time to congratulate others on their successes. If you don’t do this, you’ll find out pretty fast that you won’t have anyone beside you when successes start to come your way. Moreover, success will be more seldom in finding you because other people won’t want to see you succeed. Taking time to really connect with another person is one of the best things you can do in life.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
It’s not so much a failure as just something I’ve overcome, but it was taking the plunge with inLieu. A lot of people told me to take the safe route (I already had a job offer), but after some soul-searching, I realized that this was something I just had to do.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Start a website that links nonprofits with employees of firms with matching gift campaigns. To my knowledge, there’s nothing out there that does this, and it’s just money that’s waiting to be scooped up. Start a website and take a small percentage off the top. Make relationships in the nonprofit and private sectors, and soon enough you’ll be flying high.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I would change the disconnectedness of everything. I feel that with every need, there is someone with surplus. The internet helps greatly with this, but it’s not the complete solution. While not a Marxist myself, I firmly believe in his overriding maxim, “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.” Not sure how to go about it on a large scale, though. Definitely actionable on a person-to-person basis.
Tell us a secret.
I killed a bunch of minnows once. Just caught them all and dumped them in the sand. I was three, so it’s excusable…sort of.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources, and what do you love about them?
1. Google – It’s all things to all people, and everyday I’m amazed at another service they offer that makes my job a little easier.
2. Facebook – It’s become a mode of communication at this point. You can talk to someone, write to them, call them or Facebook them. Incredible.
3. And, of course, inLieu!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The BFG. I can’t tell you why, but the feeling that I felt when I read that book growing up is unlike anything else I’ve felt before.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
1. Kanye West – For the laughs.
2. TechCrunch – For the info.
3. TED Talks – For the inspiration.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Last night, because of a text my friend sent me. For reasons of decency, I can’t tell you what that text said.
Who is your hero?
What advice would you give someone who doesn’t know what they want to do?
Think about what makes you happy, what revs your engine like nothing else, and do that. Whatever it takes, just do that. Nothing’s impossible.
Just a tip: repeat someone’s name back to them when you meet them. That way it’s actually an introduction rather than just a “here, let me tell you my name” type of deal.
Geoff Weathersby on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/geoff-weathersby/2b/93/413
inLieu’s Website: http://www.inlieugiving.com/
Geoff Weathersby’s Email: [email protected]