RateMyInvestor Founder Series: Episode 2 with Amanda McCreight (Mark Your Map)
1. How did you first get started in the world of entrepreneurship?
It was my sophomore year in college and I felt that my creativity was stirring sitting in class all day. I had come up with the concept for Mark Your Map two years prior and decided why not do some research. It was about that time when I also learned about the Entrepreneurship Center at my university. I made a few appointments to meet with the mentors in the program and they helped me outline my project, teach me about business models and pressure me (out of love) into joining a pitch competition. I had never spoken in public before, let alone at a competition…I went for it and the audience responded so well. The judges asked me, “Amanda, what’s next?” It all snowballed from there.
2. Tell us about your current company and the inspiration behind it
One day before school, I was thinking about how I just went on this awesome trip to Belize. I took so many photos, but they were now scattered into the mix of party pics, selfies and screenshots on my camera roll ( and I don’t want people to see all those!). As someone who loves to travel, I wanted one platform to organize, share and relive my travel photos and memories. And from there, the Mark Your Map idea was born! A mobile app that is the combination of a scratch off map and a scrapbook within the palm of your hand. Each state/country that you’ve uploaded photos to is colored in like a scratch off map which creates an experience to share with someone rather than aimlessly scrolling through a grid in your camera roll.
3. How is your company currently funded?
My company is currently funded by myself (trying to bootstrap it here), but am looking to raise money within the next few months.
4. What are some unique challenges you face as a female founder?
From my experience, there are always significantly less women than men who attend conferences. The first conference I ever attended I went by myself, eager to make connections and learn more about the entrepreneurial world. The first night, I was sitting at a dinner table with all men when one of them said, “Don’t get me wrong, some women can do important things, but they should definitely stick to being a waitresses or something.” It is easy for comments like that to get in your head, especially when you already feel like the odd man out. I immediately rallied back, and noticed was that a few men at the table did too. Being singled out may hurt sometimes, but it also shows you who really has your back.
5. What is something you’ve learned while building your startup that you wish someone had told you before you began?
I found that my developer was using a lot of technical jargon to make it sound like he was working on the project more often than he was. Since I am non-technical, I believed him for a few months too many. I wish someone had told me to be more aware of something like that happening, but because I am more experienced now I am able to spot that way quicker than I was in the past.
6. Sometimes, running a startup can feel like a constant grind. How do you find a balance between your professional and personal life?
I do find this difficult at times. My mind tends to gravitate towards my startup quite frequently, and if I have my phone on me, it’s really easy to check emails, update social media and work on Mark Your Map when I’m supposed to be present amongst friends/family. When I know I’m going to be with friends, I’ve started leaving my phone at home or turning it off which reminds me to be present. I’ve definitely been working on how to compartmentalize the two.
7. What is your favorite blog/newsletter and why?
I really enjoy the Next Gen Summit newsletter. It helps me stay up to date with opportunities and the cool projects that people are working on. It’s such an engaging community and definitely motivates me to get involved.