Renee Teeley is the founder of Startup Studios, an online resource for startups and entrepreneurs. Renee has over 14 years of experience working at media and video technology companies ranging from early stage startups to large public companies. She has worked with some of the biggest brands and enterprise companies worldwide, such as Cisco, Oracle, Google, LinkedIn, Intel, Macy’s, Adobe, and many more.
Prior to Startup Studios, she was the Global Director of Digital Marketing Solutions at Brightcove, the leading online video platform and solution for media companies and digital marketers. She has also worked at Ooyala (acquired by Telstra), LiveRail (acquired by Facebook), BitGravity (acquired by Tata), and Kiptronic (acquired by Limelight).
In this interview, Renee shares her experiences and duty as a busy solopreneur and founder, how she balances life and career, and how she overcomes many challenges.
You can follow Renee on twitter @rteeley or connect through linkedin.com/in/reneeteeley
What do you typically tell people when they ask you what you do?
I help people build businesses. I’m the founder of Startup Studios, a content network and online resource for startup companies and entrepreneurs. It’s currently in beta and I have a lot of future plans, but right now, the focus is creating online video courses that teach people about different things they need to build a successful business i.e., finding a co-founder, getting funding, and marketing their business.
Have you encountered troubles or mishaps when starting Startup Studios? How did you fix them?
On a daily basis! Luckily I haven’t had any major things going wrong per se, but every day I’m faced with new challenges. I keep the overarching goal in mind, but I try to be flexible about how I get there.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? Is there something you are most proud of?
The thing I enjoy most about being an entrepreneur is also the thing I enjoy the least. I have to wear many hats as an entrepreneur, but I also get to wear many hats so my skill set is constantly evolving.
I’m particularly proud of the partnerships that I’m building for Startup Studios. I’m only working with brands and organizations that truly provide value for my audience and companies that I personally believe in.
What is the most exciting moment of your entrepreneurial journey?
The moment when it really hit me that I didn’t need to get approval from a corporate executive team to try something new. As a solopreneur at a scrappy startup, I don’t have a lot of resources to waste, however, I have complete freedom to experiment and see what works.
What is the toughest decision you’ve ever made when starting a business? How did it make you better at the end of the day?
The toughest decision for me was deciding when to start a business and committing to one idea. I’ve always wanted to start my own company, but I was waiting for the right time and the right idea.
Those two things never collided in the way I anticipated, so eventually I put a stake in the ground, quit my job, and gave myself 1 year to start a business. That decision has forever changed me. Not only am I happier in my day to day work life, but I have learned so much about myself and what I’m truly passionate about.
What does your day-in, day-out look like? Is there any specific habit that has helped you become a better person?
I’m a solopreneur, so I spend a lot of time by myself in my home office/production studio. When I started my company I don’t think I was completely prepared for how lonely the journey would feel. There are 3 big things that have really helped me:
I routinely go for “creative walks.” I walk the same route every day, so nothing creative about that, but going outside for long walks tends to put me in my flow state. It’s the time when I’m most productive.
I meet with other entrepreneurs on a fairly regular basis. I’m fortunate to have such an extensive network of entrepreneurs – some very seasoned and others struggling to start their first business. Meeting with other entrepreneurs on a regular basis gives me an opportunity to learn from them, but moreover, just a chance to connect with people that deeply understand the peaks and valleys of starting a business.
I spend time with people that I care about. This sounds simple, but it’s very easy to get sucked into working all the time because there’s always SO MUCH to get done. I think I’m a lot more discerning about how I spend my time now, but I try to be very present and make the most of my time with friends and family.
Who has been your greatest influencer along your entrepreneurial journey? How did they shape Startup Studios?
This might sound cheesy, but I think very early on my mom was a great role model for me as an entrepreneur. When I was young, my dad went to law school and my mom was an RN at a hospital.
After an unfortunate injury my mom wasn’t able to continue her work at the hospital, so she started her own business that blended two of her passions – traveling and helping the elderly. I think experiencing that at an early age showed me that there are a lot of different paths to explore.
How do you balance life and work to remain connected and available for your loved ones? Any advice for me?
I touched on this topics already, but I think it’s incredibly important to stay connected with people that you care about. Make time, even when you feel like you don’t have the time to make.
I don’t have a lot of time available, so I’ve had to make some tough decisions and prioritize who I am spending my time with. My advice is quality over quantity though – be present and make the most of the time you are spending with loved ones.
Do you think being an entrepreneur has turned you into a better person? If so, how?
Absolutely! Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. There has been a lot of self-reflection along this crazy journey and I think it has humbled me in many ways. I also feel a greater sense of freedom to just be my open authentic self and balance my life in the way that suits me.
What advice would you give to our readers who want to start a business in California today? Where should they start?
It really depends on the type of business you are trying to start and your skill set, but my general recommendation is to create a support network of entrepreneurs and trusted advisors. Beyond that, I recommend applying to accelerator programs that fit your business.
Even if you decide not to take funding or for whatever reason don’t get accepted, going through the process will help you answer some tough, but necessary, questions about your newly budding business.