I come from a small town. It’s this little place called Black River Matheson. I doubt you could find its speck on a map. My Mom moved us to Sudbury when I was 6 and I’ve lived in or around the A Dot (Azilda) ever since. Innovation and technology was not where I was supposed to land. I majored in English and Psychology and I’m a huge advocate of living the life you want because it’s filled with everything you love. I’m sure that my Mom thought I would be a writer, a teacher, a singer/songwriter or something that is known to ‘feed the soul’. I spent 10 years running an organization before making my way to Plan A (the first and only Northern Health Care Staffing Agency) in 2011. Plan A taught me humility, it taught me strength and to take it a step further; it taught me resilience.
From Plan A came the brain child that I now nurture, StaffStat. Scary but true: It’s software and yet, I don’t have a background in technology. Don’t get me wrong… I love anything and everything technology. I buy it, I read about it, I learn fast and I thrive on introducing it to people who are unaware of its blissful utility. However, the tech world is in and of itself a foreign landscape for me. I’m treading and learning to navigate the waters but there’s some rough ocean patches out there! I’ve grown to accept that I can’t possibly be everything to everyone but as we get this baby off the ground, I feel confident that our methodology of growing our software organically, with nothing but bootstrapped and limited local funding attached is the way to go. We’ve been connecting, we’ve been working hard and we’re getting there. We’re knocking down corporation doors, we’re meeting with the people that matter and we’re being heard and embraced.
We didn’t seek out a VC. We didn’t know the difference between churn and burn rate. We didn’t understand the point of or how to create a white paper. We did this blind. We had some guidance and some mentorship but to be quite honest, most of those individuals felt that we were going about everything the wrong way. We were being encouraged to move some of our work overseas. We were being told that we need to give in order to get (give some of the ownership in order to get capital). We were quite literally called fools and ignorant for not doing things a ‘certain’ way, for not following the path of so many before us.
We stuck to our guns and here’s the truth. Sheri Tomchick conceptualized software. We found an amazing company to write the code. We tried it, tested it, altered some things and fell in love. We were encouraged to bring it to the market. We opted out of perfection. We found 2 great organizations to trial it in their environment while we enhanced it based on user and end user demand. We worked out some kinks. We built some great relationships. Then, we brought it to the market. We cold called. We provided online and in person demos. They bought into it because it’s a fabulous idea! Organization by organization, we knocked on doors and introduced them to the smartest solution to their hugest pain point. We’ve never lost a customer (our churn rate is zero). Our user base is growing steadily. We moved forward and designed an app for our end users. Our phone is ringing with opportunities. Bottom line? We invented something and people love it.
Sounds like a fairytale, right? Here’s the beauty: We’re only just at the beginning of this story. There’s so much untapped customer potential in our chosen sector and across other sectors that we know we’ve only covered one small corner of a huge canvas.
The moral of the story is this: Follow your passion and your life fills with good things. Even on a bad day, I love my job! I say it openly and proudly. My Mom was right: I found work that feeds my soul. I fall in love with our product more and more every day. It’s solution driven. It makes customers happy and if I’ve learned anything thus far, it’s that there’s nothing better than a happy and satisfied customer.