Tenacity is a trait I admire. I probably have never met an entrepreneur who doesn't have tenacity as part of their character. It maybe be required. I was at Fred's Donors Choose meet-up this past week and had the pleasure of meeting Brittany Laughlin who is one of the partners at gtrot. I love her story.
Brittany's father was in the Navy until she was 5 years old so she spent her early years living in a variety of different locations. They finally settled in North Carolina where her father built a business helping people who retired from the services enter private life. And so, Brittany is a daughter of an entrepreneur.
After graduating from NYU she landed a job at American Express in the small business division. She knew it was a great start out of college but in the back of her mind she knew that she wanted to do something on her own. She planned accordingly by saving money for the time when there would probably be no income coming in the door. Putting away just a little bit ever week.
Outside of her day job at American Express, Brittany attended events and took on freelance projects in the Green tech field. What she found is that without degrees in engineer or science, that there wasn't a role for her. Heavily male driven made her feel like a fish out of water. So she left and began to figure out what rocked her boat. Using Twitter, she began to follow steams of 10 different industries that might have been of interest reading 50 tweets a day from each industry. Slowly she began to narrow down her interests to travel and tech. She loves to travel and she loves tech so she found a way to meld those interests.
Spending time looking at the travel sites out there she zeroed in on four that she thought were doing it right. She started to comment and reach out to them as she used their site. What worked, what didn't, what she'd like to see, etc. Eventually coming up with what she thought would be the type of site she would build.
She found gtrot had many similarities to her vision and met with Zach Smith who started the company. A half hour coffee turned into a few hours. Brittany talked to him about her ideas and visa-versa. Zach's partner was going off to medical school and Zach asked Brittany to join him. Over time, they became partners. I like this too. Zack let Brittany settle in until he realized she was the perfect partner. Good business.
gTrot is a travel site geared towards college students and students who have just graduated. Built on top of Facebook and integrated into FourSquare. People are posting their favorite spots, places to stay, spring break, etc. The travel space is not easy. Most people only tend to think about traveling when they are going to travel. gtrot is smart because they are geared towards a niche audience and through that they will create community around travel for the 18-30 year old generation.
What I really love is Brittany. She knew what she wanted and she went out and got it. It took her some time but she had a vision of what her work world would look like. She wanted to work for herself, she wanted to be the master of her own destiny and she wanted to do something that turned her on. Slowly but surely she narrowed down the opportunities that were right for her and went for it. That takes tenacity. Something we can all learn from. Not only for recent graduates but for women getting back on the ramp. Pick your point and move toward it slowly and surely, piece by piece, and eventually you will land somewhere in the area -- and that can be the beginning of something new.
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