Vi Nguyen

Structure frees you to be more productive and creates time to be creative.


World traveler with a passion to improve the communities we live in. From supporting families affected by HIV/AIDs in Vietnam to fighting for the rights of immigrants during the BP oil spill, she craftily uses her skills in media and business to solve real world problems. Her sociology background allows her to concentrate on solutions that positively affect our communities and society. Currently, she is the founder and CEO of Homads, a real estate tech company that helps people find a place they love, in a neighborhood that feels like home.

Where did the idea for Homads come from?

It initially started out as a “scratch your own itch” sort of project. I needed better ways to rent out my property and didn’t want to spend so much time and money resetting after short term rentals. We spent the first two years grinding at a peer to peer rental site for 30+ day rentals. We then took a pivot last year and talked with our core users to build out the site we have today. Homads uses machine learning to help you find a neighborhood that feels more like you.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I typically batch my days into “maker” or “manager” schedules. I’ll spend Monday planning out my week and doing admin tasks such as processing invoices etc. I have all my team meetings, since we’re a remote team, on Tuesdays. From there, I have days where it’s mainly meetings with partners, investors, and other relevant people in our industry. The remaining days of the week when I’m not meeting with people, I’ll spend my time doing more “deep work” type of tasks. This type of organization helps me be productive and also on top of my always changing days.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I think the best way to bring ideas to life is to work with other people. I am great at finding smart people and connecting everyone together with a common vision and goal.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I’m super excited about technology is changing how people work and live. It’s not necessary for people to stay in one place now that most jobs can be done online with a laptop.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I’m very organized as one of my pet peeves is inefficiency. As I illustrated earlier, I like to plan out my week so that I’m not stressed out about all the things that need to be done during the week. With the whirlwind of startups, time goes quickly and you have to plan for productivity.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell myself to spend time finding work- life balance. This is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. Your company is only as sustainable as you are.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Miley Cyrus is a great singer and an even greater businesswoman.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I know my playbook when it comes to managing stress/adrenaline from work. For me, it’s running, journaling and meditating. Everyone has their own playbook but learn yours and stick to it.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I’m big about everyone winning. I’ve built teams by aligning your personal and career goals with the company.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

As an entrepreneur, you have tons of failures but I think the biggest one was being slow about reiterating. I believed that we just had to work harder rather than asking our customers and doing market research. I wish we had learned to do this much earlier. We now are very data-centric and base majority of our decisions based off of this.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I’m an outgoing introvert which means I enjoy going to events, but I like to know who is all there. I’d love to see someone make an app that allows you to see who or how many people are at the event. That way you don’t have to go through the awkwardness of being the first person there and waiting around. I know that’s a big brother privacy issue but would still love to see this!

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

We recently found which allows us to do a lot of growth hacking methods. It’s helped us spend very little while getting a lot of online traffic.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

This answer actually is the same as above!

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I love Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. It’s all about your mindset and talks about how the challenges you face is actually what makes you who you are and builds character.

What is your favorite quote?

“Be nice to people on your way up because you’ll meet them on your way down.”

Key Learnings:

  • Structure frees you to be more productive and creates time to be creative
  • Listen to your customers
  • You get more done with a team