“The road to the top is a lonely one”. It’s important to remember that at times starting a business can be lonely. Understand that it’s ok, and that it’s part of the journey. Don’t let other people get you down; don’t let people veer you off your road. Stay the course and you’ll make it to the top. Remembering this has helped me in every stage of Beeya.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Ladan Davia. Ladan Davia is the CEO and Founder of Beeya. Prior to founding Beeya, she worked in the entertainment industry pursuing her career as an on camera host and was also the Founder and President of Excelerate Test Prep. She currently sits on the board of The American Heart Association and has been nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year, Innovator of the Year, and Women in Business.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what events have drawn you to this specific career path
I graduated in 3 years instead of 4 from Chapman University, so what would have been my senior year in college I was pursuing my dream of being an on camera host in the entertainment industry. After a year, I realized I wanted more control over my future than the entertainment industry had to offer. I joined my peers at graduation wanting to change careers, not knowing how, and realizing I was one of many walking without a job. This was really surprising to me considering we all went to a prestigious 4-year university. The more I looked into it; I learned it wasn’t just my school. Most college graduates walk without a job. I started researching online job platforms, took notes of the flaws they each had and wrote what I wanted to see as a job seeker. That’s when I decided to start Beeya.
Can you share your story of Grit and Success? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
Starting a company at any age, in any industry, is difficult. I wrote our business plan, designed every screen of the website, mapped out its functionality and was able to raise my first round of funding. My next steps were to hire an engineering team to build not just the website, but the algorithm that would set us apart from competitors. I started by asking the chancellor of my alma mater at the time if he knew anyone. He referred me two students that he said were the top students in his class and he had full faith in their capabilities. I hired them immediately and they began building Beeya. After 8 months, they stole ¼ of our funding and never delivered one line of code. I learned two things from this experience, 1) referrals are not always good and 2) to do everything in my power to avoid being robbed again.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Our mission statement is what gave me the drive to push through hard times. What bothered me most about the engineers stealing from me was that they stole our time. Hitting the market at the right time is a big part of the battle and I was afraid we were late to the game now that we had to start over. I remember sitting and thinking to myself, is this path I want one I want to continue on? Is this company what I want to commit myself to? After remembering why I started Beeya and my mission, I decided it was and I never looked back. Our mission statement is to take the bias out of job searching. Getting a job should be based on merit alone, not gender, skin color, or socio-economic background. That mission statement gave me the strength to start the company, and gave me the drive to keep going when things were hard.
So how did Grit lead to your eventual success? How did Grit turn things around?
-Grit is the only thing that got Beeya to the point we’re at today. We have a long way to go, and grit is the only thing that will get us there. I think there are ways to work smart, but there is nothing that will replace the hard work you have to put into starting and growing a business. When I was starting out, I would go to any event I could get invited to even if there was only one potential new user there. We still go to events where most people would turn down because there isn’t a confirmed high turn out. If someone on my team doesn’t go, I go myself. People are always surprised to see the CEO there but I think leadership and work ethic at a company come from the top down. I want my team to see that grit is everything, no matter what your position is.
So, how are things going today? 🙂
–Beeya is officially in revenue! For me, when I look back on the early days, it’s been a long journey but worth every hard minute. We’re in a place right now where we have strong technology, a loyal user base, amazing partnerships, and a clean platform people enjoy using. The next steps for Beeya are more marketing, more outreach and more growth.
Based on your experience, can you share 5 pieces of advice about how one can develop Grit? (Please share a story or example for each)
- Say yes to everything.
-19 out of 20 meetings will be a waste of time but you won’t know which one will pay off unless you go to all 20.
2. Go to networking events, even if it’s not in your space.
-When you put yourself out of your comfort zone and go to events, you’ll learn new things and get used to going out and socializing with people. It also will keep you in the rhythm of hustling.
3. Go to events alone.
-Going to an event with a friend is the easy way out. I used to go to networking events with my best friend and we would end up only talking to each other and leaving early and going to dinner. When I started going by myself, I was forced to talk to people even if I was uncomfortable. That’s how I learned how to perfect my elevator pitch, meet fellow entrepreneurs, and learn from other businesses.
4. Surround yourself with friends who are hustling.
-This was one of the hardest things I had to learn. I had so many friends but when we graduated college that I drifted from because I couldn’t do the things they wanted to anymore. Instead of going out on weekends or going to happy hour, I had to work on my business. You have to surround yourself with other people who are hustling and working. You’ll be inspired by their stories, by their work ethic, and their drive. Those people will help your mindset along the way, and not hold it against you if you have to cancel a few times here and there.
5. Seek feedback, especially negative feedback.
– Negative feedback is what you need as an entrepreneur to constantly better your business. Seek negative feedback, fix your product, and practice until it’s perfect. The more feedback you get, the harder you will work.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped you when things were tough? Can you share a story about that?
My uncle. My uncle is an amazing entrepreneur who has believed in me basically my whole life. When I told him about Beeya, I’m not sure he believed in the idea but he believed in me and had faith I could execute. He has always been there to give me advice, pick me up when I’m down, and keep pushing me to be better. Without him Beeya might still just be an idea.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
– I’ve used my success to help people find jobs who need them. My passion is to help people without a voice get opportunities they didn’t have before, so working with underprivileged youth is something I take very seriously. I have big plans for Beeya and the larger we grow, the more people we will be able to help.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
– Yes, we have really exciting partnerships coming up that I can’t announce yet, but will help thousands of people in a few days and that’s exactly the kind of impact we want to make. We’re going to be finding jobs for a lot of deserving people who have lost their way, while also providing them with tools, clothes, and other resources.
What advice would you give to other executives or founders to help their employees to thrive?
– I always let any employee I bring on know that this is a partnership. I don’t view myself as their “boss”; I treat everyone with the same respect that I expect them to give to me. I also really make every member on my team know that I am there as a resource to help them any way that I can. I would advice any founder to treat their team as equals (within reason).
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
-I think any movement that involves reality is a positive one for our generation. It’s so easy to develop insecurities and anxiety from social media, and I want to start a movement that strays away from that. The last thing the world needs is another meme page, so I am starting a movement that will feature real people who have struggled finding jobs. We want to tell their stories and connect our community of employers to people they might not know or ever come in contact with because of boundary limitations. If anyone is interested in learning more about this campaign and how to be featured, please DM us on instagram
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
– “The road to the top is a lonely one”. It’s important to remember that at times starting a business can be lonely. Understand that it’s ok, and that it’s part of the journey. Don’t let other people get you down; don’t let people veer you off your road. Stay the course and you’ll make it to the top. Remembering this has helped me in every stage of Beeya.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Instagram, twitter and facebook: @beeyaofficial
My personal instagram: @ladandavia
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.