Startup Spotlight: Apiarity
Startup Spotlight: Apiarity
This week we spoke to Stephanie Leishman, founder of Apiarity a startup that helps organizations with digital marketing strategy. She tells us why she lives by a quote from Theodore Roosevelt: “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
GH: What is Apiarity?
GH: What was your Eureka moment: how did Apiarity get started?
GH: What is your company philosophy driving your company culture?
Before a deliverable is sent to a client, I ask one question: “Is this strategic, organized, and creative?” First, strategy is more than tactics. There are too many clickbait blog posts out in cyberspace promising quick growth through stand-alone tactics. What organizations need is real strategy. Second, being organized means good project management and clear communication with the client, who deserves to feel peace of mind rather than chaos. Third, creativity. Don’t copy what everyone else is doing. Experimentation and creativity can result in cool outcomes as well as data that inform future decisions.
GH: Startup life is full of failures and ‘make it work’ moments – can you identify how you bounced back from one of yours?
Every startup experiences failure because experimentation and testing by definition involve failure, and experimentation is a critical part of creative innovation. I fail on a daily basis, and that’s a good thing, because it means I’m quickly learning how to succeed. Failure has been a great way to learn. I don’t feel the need to “bounce back” from that type of failure; instead, I use it to my advantage. For example, I underestimated the price I should set for a project, but that forced me to learn how to contract out work that was not core to my business and find the right tools to be more productive. My mistake pushed me into a more profitable way of working that positively affected my business.
The real focus of this question, however, seems to be coping with the feeling of failure. This is where I think some of the most interesting stories of entrepreneurship can be told. I have experienced self-doubt at times throughout my journey, and many other business owners have expressed the same struggle. What helps me accept my imperfections and mistakes is a quote by Theodore Roosevelt: “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
GH: What did you learn from your first customers?
One of my first customers hadn’t used social media at all except for Facebook, which she used minimally to connect with friends and family. I was tempted to tell her to use a more traditional platform like Facebook Pages since she had some experience with Facebook on a personal level already. However, in my heart I knew Periscope would be the best for her brand at that time. I wanted to suggest what I really believed was the stronger strategy, so I advised her to set up Periscope account and taught her how to use it to build a loyal following. She followed my advice and her audience grew like wildfire. She gained thousands of followers within weeks. That’s when I learned that if I am sincere, expert at what I do, and open, my customers will be willing to trust me and take a leap into the unknown. Seeing her live video posts go viral convinced me that if I speak the truth, it can benefit my clients in significant ways.