10 Questions with Jessica Mah
CEO of inDinero
At 26, inDinero CEO Jessica Mah has the scars and successes to candidly help any entrepreneur succeed. After firing all of her staff in 2012, she was on the cover of the 2015 Inc. 5000 for skillfully rebuilding inDinero to over 200 employees, all focused on taking away the pains of small business accounting and taxes.
- When did you know you wanted to be in tech?
Entrepreneurship and computer science both run in my family so I’m really just keeping the family business going. I’ve been an entrepreneur since grade school, selling traced drawings on the playground, so why not go to the mecca and swim with the biggest fish in the pond? I also taught myself how to code in 5th grade; I was naturally drawn to technology from the start.
2. Who’s been a role model you look up to?
From a forward-thinking standpoint it’s the Elon Musks of the world — entrepreneurs that really stir things up, reinventing a market or creating a whole new way of thinking.
3. What gets you out of bed every morning?
I’m actually not a huge morning person, so it’s truly a testament to the fact inDinero is my inspiration, my morning coffee so to speak. Specifically I think that fin-tech is going through a big time growth and reinvention phase. The fact that banks don’t look like the banks of old, that you can track payments and expenses and monitor every financial aspect of a business like never before — that new frontier really gets my juices flowing, in a Tony-Robbins-level-of-enthusiasm kind of way!
4. What’s a challenge you’ve faced in your career journey?
There was a time when I read and believed my own headlines. What I found out the hard way is that things are typically never as good or as bad as they seem. By surrounding myself with a great network of people, friends and mentors and keeping those faces fresh — that’s been a major help in my career. Now I can keep my feet planted firmly on the ground knowing that I can rely on my network for a reality check, whether my head were to swell or I felt like jumping off a bridge; either way I can keep a healthy balance. I’ve learned to not react to, but digest, information and calculate if it will move me and the business in the right direction.
5. Describe a time when you felt immense pride in yourself.
Once our comeback was complete. We’d hit the 200 employee mark, and Inc. Magazine ranked us among the top 150 of the Inc. 5000. That was a great feeling, knowing we were back and better than ever!
6. What’s something you want to get better at?
I’m close to getting my commercial pilot license so that’s definitely on the list.
7. Comfort food of choice?
I love New York pizza. It’s not the same in the West Coast!
8. Favorite book?
Pretty tough question since I read about 2 books a week, but I think Tim Ferriss’ The Four Hour Work Week has always stuck with me.
9. If you could try another job for a day, what would it be?
Air traffic controller. Since I’m a pilot and CEO, it would be great to experience how the symphony of planes and routes are all guided to safety. It’s very translatable to my day-to-day running inDinero.
10. If you could give your 18-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?
Enjoy the journey. Whether it’s business or life, it’s all a long journey. There are plenty of sprints and long-hauls, but it’s what pace you keep that matters in the long run. Learn from wins and failures; good or bad, you can learn from a situation.