Communication and positivity with your team keeps you excited and interested in your job.
Kristen RH Wilson is CMO and founder of Enzoic, which provides compromised credential screening to protect users and employees from account takeover and fraud. She has over 20 years experience in software marketing and product management and held various positions at CA Technologies, Rally, SSA Global, Oracle, Siebel Systems and Black&Decker/Dewalt before founding Enzoic.
Where did the idea for Enzoic come from?
My cofounder and I came up with the idea after witnessing a number of family members using the same password across multiple accounts—and subsequently having their accounts hacked.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Wearing multiple hats at a cybersecurity startup means my role changes minute by minute. It can range each day from developing wireframes and user acceptance testing, to editing blogs and customer support. It spans from strategic planning to execution. I have to look at each task and determine how valuable it is – to our customers and our business. Highest value gets highest priority. Having worked at an agile software company in a previous role, I take an agile approach to my schedule and it helps me prioritize.
How do you bring ideas to life?
We do a lot of team brainstorming and we prioritize action. We discuss issues and come up with solutions as a team. In my experience, companies are more collaborative and effective when everyone is bought-in.
What’s one trend that excites you?
People becoming more security-minded and savvy. As online businesses grow and more devices because connected (Nest, front door locks, etc.) so does the threat of hacking but consumers are getting smarter about their online accounts and privacy.
Another trend I’m excited by is that women are increasingly becoming entrepreneurs and executives. I look forward to seeing what the workplace looks like in 20 years.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
You have to be open to learning. No one knows everything, even if it is their own business. You need to listen to your employees, partners and customers. If you pay attention to the market, it can help you learn where you need to go. It also keeps you fresh and curious. Otherwise, you can get stagnant.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Treat everyone with respect and kindness, even in harsh work environments where you may not be treated with respect and kindness yourself. No one ever regretted taking the high road. There have been times I have been harsher than I intended in companies that valued command/control environments. Those situations have been my biggest career regrets.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Most of the time, tradeshows are not a good investment for B2B lead generation. They are decent for branding and awareness, but not leads. The ROI is among the worst of all the marketing activities. But sales people love them.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Have a daily stand up with your team—especially if you have remote employees. It creates a sense of team and people share what they are working on. Even in small companies, employees can often feel disconnected and a daily stand up helps solve for that.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Flexibility. There is no one path to revenue and if you blindly follow one direction, you can miss out on other and better opportunities. While you want to stay focused, it is worthwhile to explore other avenues for revenue.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Burn out. After working 80+ hours for a solid year, working on holidays and every weekend, I was burnt out. As a business owner, I am the only one that can put the brakes on myself and make sure that I have personal time to keep a clear head. I am always struggling with this one because I am passionate about the business and its growth. But I am better at what I do when I have balance.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Healthy, fast food for busy people that want to still eat healthy. Hoping more fast food restaurants offer healthier fare. I will buy!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I spent $100 to get tickets to a water lantern festival. While working hard, it is important to have time outside the office and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
InVision- great to build demos fast.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Not a book but the Agile Manifesto. Every entrepreneur should read it because this is the future of work for everyone, not just those of us in software development. It is all about people, empowerment, communication, customer collaboration and responsiveness to market changes—critical things for entrepreneurs to master in order to be successful in the digital age.
What is your favorite quote?
You can’t change everything but you can change your reaction. Define your own happiness. Happiness is a choice.
• Balance is important- without it, the business shines less bright.
• Openness to learning keeps your mind fresh and revitalizes you.
• Communication and positivity with your team keeps you excited and interested in your job.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.